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Peter Paltridge

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On October 20, 1999 — exactly 22 years ago — Eiichiro Oda‘s hit manga One Piece aired the first episode of its TV adaption. It’s aired a new episode almost every week since that point, and over two decades later, its episode library is about to roll into quadruple digits. What is the secret of its staying power?
Well, there’s really no anime like One Piece, even after all these years. Its look and feel is distinctly Oda: big mouths instead of big eyes, exaggerated and rubbery physics (sometimes literally), characters that are purposely silly yet surprisingly deep, an engaging plot that stretches for years yet is simple enough to jump into at any point…all these things have helped One Piece become an anime classic. And yet it still can’t maintain a reliable toehold on American television.
It had a disastrous US premiere on the Fox Box in 2002, hacked and censored by 4Kids. Toonami picked it up later, but it was the 4Kids version and didn’t win over any fans. Several years after...

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