I’m a little bit afraid to approach this topic because of its massive fan following, but someone has to say it.
One Piece is not about pirates.
I don’t mean that in the One-Piece-Is-A-Giant-Metaphor-For-Communism sort of way, I mean it literally. Are there pirates in it? Yes, but they aren’t the main characters.
Now if you are a fan of the series or just want to argue you may say, “So what if they don’t look like pirates, they still do pirate things!” Which is a good retort, I actually like the fact that they don’t look like conventional pirates, but the problem is they don’t do any pirate like things. Let’s make a list of things that pirates do: steal, pillage, kill, get drunk, and those are just the nice ones! In fact, The Straw Hats kinda do the exact opposite of what a pirate would do.
I stopped reading One Piece a long time ago, but where I left off the crew had already: saved several towns from evil powers, increased the livelihood of hundreds, taken out corruption in The Navy, and destroyed a crime syndicate to save a nation. Hell they don’t even steal their treasure, most of their stuff is given to them because they are so nice and helpful!
Although the Straw Hats maybe be cursed, outlawed, and nomads, they are anything but pirates.
Not that One Piece isn’t good, because it is a great manga with an interesting concept and characters, but there aren’t that many honest-to-goodness pirate mangas. Sure we got plenty of space pirates like Outlaw Star or Captain Harlock, but what about the pirates who take to the waves and pillage as they please? Are there no good stories to be had on the open seas?!
-Karinacus the pirate hunter