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One Piece pop-ups

Tuesday 15th October 2013

Rayna Denison goes One-Piece shopping

Mugiwara StoreWhat’s not to love about pirates who fight on the side of the angels, searching for the inescapably McGuffin-esque “One Piece” treasure? The reason I finally succumbed to the joys of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate gang are simple: One Piece has been popping up all over Tokyo in recent years. I first noted the trend in 2012 when a 15-year anniversary One Piece Exhibition was held in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills venue, usually a site given over to temporary art exhibitions for artists like Alphonse Mucha. The Exhibition was remarkable – interactive projected video games were dispersed among displays of Eiichiro Oda’s sketches and 3-d videos that made the pages of the manga literally come to life. The Exhibition showed the cross-generational appeal of One Piece, with whole families queuing to see the displays alongside couples and the kinds of otaku you might expect to have been interested.

This hopefully all helps to explain why One Piece popped up again shortly thereafter in the trendy Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo: in the form of the Mugiwara store on the sixth floor of the Parco (Part 1) department store. Nor was it alone – there are other One Piece Mugiwara shops popping up (and closing) around Japan. The one in Osaka looks to have closed, but another in Ogura has been announced. Parco’s Mugiwara is a bit of an “event” in its own right – a scale model of the pirate gang’s ship, the Going Merry, sits in the middle of the store, laden super-deformed cute models. A life-sized statue of main character Monkey D. Luffy also greets fans with a massive grin as they enter. That alone will probably make the trek up to the top of Parco worth it for fans, but the shop also boasts sketches by Eiichiro Oda as another draw.

Mugiwara StoreBeyond those things, there are also One Piece goods to suit most pockets and tastes. Those of you who have been to Japan will know that there are “standard” kinds of anime and manga merchandise (stationery, posters, trading cards, key chains, gatchapon figures and such like) that get created for most shows. The difference with something like One Piece, which has been so massively popular for so long, is that its goods span a much wider spectrum of potential tastes. So, if you have the money you could buy some expensive One Piece jewellery, or a sketch; or, if you are on a budget there is everything from soft toys to T-shirts to kitchen goods on offer. Or, if you are heading to Japan in the next couple of months, you have the chance to enjoy the tie-in One Piece restaurant that has opened on Floor 7 of Parco Part 1 in celebration of the Mugiwara store’s first anniversary (it will be there until the end of December). So, if you want to be immersed in the world of One Piece, you could do a lot worse than going shopping in Shibuya.

The Parco department stores are one of Shibuya’s landmarks, so they are easy to find. Generally speaking, head out of the station past the statue to faithful-dog Hachiko, then go across the super-busy, famous Shibuya crossing and head up the main shopping drag, turning right up the hill after the police box. You should find the Parco Department stores next to one another at the top of the hill. For more information about the Mugiwara shop, there is a Japanese website at http://www.mugiwara-store.com/.


One Piece (uncut) Collection 1 (episodes 1-26)

was £34.99
Set Sail for One Piece!
Monkey D. Luffy is a boy with big dreams. This daring rubber-man refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become king of all pirates. With a course charted for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line, Luffy strikes out in search of a crew – and a boat. Along the way he’ll do battle with scallywag clowns, fishy foes, and an entire fleet of marines eager to see him walk the plank. The stakes are high, but with each adventure, Luffy adds a new friend to his gang of Straw Hat Pirates! Like his hero Gold Roger, this is one captain who’ll never drop anchor until he’s claimed the greatest treasure on Earth – the Legendary One Piece!



One Piece. Pieces of Hate

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt....
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

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Matt Kamen turns video pirate!
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.

One piece: Crew Manifest #1

Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.

One Piece: Crew Manifest #2

Back at sea for volume two of One Piece
Before you set sail on the second round of voyages for One Piece, brush up on who you’ll be encountering in this latest volume of nautical nonsense

One Piece music: TOMATO CUBE

Tom Smith on One Piece’s TOMATO CUBE
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.


Bleach music: Kenichi Asai

Tom Smith on ‘Mad Surfer’ Kenichi Asai
“Try ‘n boogie, guns n’ tattoo” – there’s no greater embodiment of Kenichi Asai’s work than that opening line. As the words are dragged across the bluesy, rock n’ roll riff of Mad Surfer – the Japanese rebel’s song used as the 20th closing of Bleach – it’s difficult not to imagine smoke filled bars, motorcycles or leather jacketed misfits sporting hairdos your mother wouldn’t approve of.
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With the UK Blu-ray and DVD release upon us at last, it's a great time to take a look at Noragami and why it belongs on your shelf.
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