A little bit of a background first. I started watching One Piece about 2 years back. And even though i was already seasoned with a large "anime watching" experience, knowing all the most common tropes and story line types it still managed to overwhelmingly captivate and ensnare me into its world and as such it is a series that is near and dear to my heart.
What impressed me about it was a number of things but probably the most central things that make it so entertaining and captivating is three in number:
• The emotional relationship that it makes you form with its characters (as well as very interesting characters),
• Its epic feel and scale to the world and adventures it goes through with the characters
• Simple and unique type of comedy.
Sadly though I see a definite decline in its quality beginning with the time-skip (Fishman island). The first two arks were still ok-ish but some rather bad elements started to appear steadily and increasingly to the point that now it is in my opinion rather bad.
Nami and Robin have been turned from the interesting and unique characters in the past to walking talking boobs and ass (especially Nami). The sad thing is that I generally do not have a problem with the sexualisation of characters as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the character progression and is done intelligently. I mean Nami and Robin were sexualized before but it was done naturally and it was not their defining characteristic, now I feel like the creators of the show are just putting them there to catch my attention as if I am some idiot that needs boobs and ass shoved in my face every 10 seconds.
Sanji who used to be the smartest and most calculated out of the crew is now just a 24/7 female obsessed lunatic who almost died of a nose bleed (seriously a nose bleed ?) that was actually treated like a serious matter to introduce the hole no blood transfusion thing.
Usop even though he is stronger, is now more of a coward and actually duchbagy (the fight with sugar babe).
The rest with maybe the exception of Zoro have the same fate. Basically their quarks have been amped up to a thousand and all other traits thrown away.
. Before the Time skip the arks were built up appropriately with their own self-contained stories, with interesting settings and memorable characters. One of the things One Pice did very well in my opinion is make you HATE the bad guy to the point that when the Main characters finally squared off it was satisfying to see the antagonist get his ass handed to him. Even the fillers did a decently good job of doing this.
I do not know what happened but it looks to me like the author is running out of ideas because the arks are getting increasingly repetitive. Currently with the Dressrosa ark I do not care about pretty much anything: the main villain, the premise of the ark, the good guys, it all seems too repetitive and weak sauce in my opinion.
The humour in One Piece was always great in my opinion. It was a simple kind of comedy that relied on a couple of things: the exaggerated and ridiculous situations the characters found themselves in, the quarks of each character (Zoros lack of direction, Namis hunger for money, Ussops lying and cowardly nature, Choppers innocence and gullibility, and so on) and the smart and witty dialog between the characters. Interestingly enough one element that I believe was a major contributor to this unique comedy (as far as animes goes at least) is the fact that the main characters , the crew did not see themselves and were not presented as simply the good guys that do no wrong (as is often the case with shonen MCs). They all had their quarks and faults and they knew this and didn’t pretend otherwise especially Luffy who didn’t see himself as a good guy just someone with a definite goal in mind among a sea of other people with their own goals weather he agreed with their positions or not. One of the most telling examples of this (AND A LITTLE SPOILER WARNING HERE) (is with the Arlong Park Ark when he is talking to Nami right before going to fight the big boss. When Nami angrily tells him he doesn’t understand the situation and what she had went through, instead of giving a stereotypical good guy speech “ you must have faith in your friends and I do understand, and blab la bla” he says no I don’t and doesn’t pretend to do so)
These little things are what makes the characters fell so deep and interesting, so lovable and relatable. Now after the Time Skip the three-dimensionality of the MC seems to have been taken away like I explained in the character section. Now Namis smarmy remarks and money making schemes are replaced with “ oh I wonder if she can have less clothes on and get even bigger Brest implants”, Sanji’s caulated attitude and smart plans are replace with “ I hope he doesn’t die from nose bleeds” and Ussops sneaky tactics and bravery in critical moments is replace with “ I am a douche bag that lies and runs away”.
Any way just wanted to get that off of my chest, I am sure I am not the only one that sees this and I don’t mean to offend anyone that still loves the series (I still watch it too). Just because I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as I used to and think the quality has declined it is in no way proof of it. It is just my opinion. If you still like and enjoy it I am happy for you and sincerely hope you will continue liking it.