One Piece author Eiichiro Oda revealed in his recently published recent interview that Luffy’s Gear 5 battle with Kaido and his funny expressions in the same were inspired from Tom and Jerry.
“When thinking about its concept, you can think of it as if it suddenly became ‘Tom & Jerry’,” Oda said talking about the design of Gear 5 and Luffy changing his whole attitude.
However, the author said that he struggled a lot while drawing the recently concluded fight. Unlike Tom and Jerry, where both characters equally add to the humor of the story, Oda had to handle the difference in attitude between a light-hearted Luffy and a serious Kaido.
But in the end, Oda was of the opinion that he managed to pull it off.
“When I tried to draw it for the first time, it was pretty difficult. The world of ‘Tom & Jerry’ works because of both characters, so I struggled a lot looking at the difference in attitude between Luffy, who was making pranks in the middle of the battle, and his serious opponent. But in the end, I feel like I actually pulled it off,” Oda said.
The author added that he purposely littered the battle between Gear 5 Luffy and Kaido with humor because he wanted to have fun.
“I drew this because I really want to have fun, and I think that it’s okay if people don’t like it. I just want to play around with my battles”.
According to him, the characteristic silly expressions in manga that were used a lot before were slowly being lost, with modern day battle shonen manga getting more and more serious. This was not something that Oda liked.
“Since I was an assistant, I have felt that silly expressions that were so characteristic in manga have been gradually lost. Putting a light bulb in a character’s head when they come up with some idea, or making the character’s legs go in circles when they’re running, for example,” Oda said.
“I have always loved those symbolic expressions, but they keep disappearing. Nobody draws them anymore even though they’re our predecessors’ creations who also left many formulae we still use. Battle manga has to keep getting more and more serious to keep up with readers’ expectations and I honestly hate that,” he added.
Oda said that he does not want One Piece to become serious manga like modern day battle shonens. Instead, he has decided to have fun while drawing manga, something which he had while drawing the battle between Kaido and Luffy.
“I definitely don’t want my work to become a serious manga like that. I want and have decided to have fun, and I feel like I’m finally able to do that. When I was drawing this, I actually had fun,” Oda told in the interview.
Oda was speaking in a joint interview with Detective Conan author Gosho Aoyama when he mentioned all of this. In the same interview, Oda also touched upon his health issues, saying it was getting harder for him to draw battles as he grew older.
The joint interview between Oda and Aoyama will be published in two parts. The first part was published in issue #34 of Weekly Shonen Jump. The second part will be published in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday on July 27, 2022.
Source: Interview translations by WSS Talk Back.