In the recently released Volume 97, Oda responds to a reader question regarding the end of the story of One Piece.
In multiple interviews over the past couple years, Oda has hinted at the approaching conclusion of the series, in which he estimated the story would be complete within four to five years. Given the current rate of publication, this equates to about 180 chapters. Of course, most people have assumed Oda would not meet this deadline exactly, but the marketing push, advertising the events which will follow Wano as the series final saga coupled with Oda’s definitive statements about his intention to conclude the series have weighed heavily in conversations about the future of One Piece.
A reader asked for Oda to confirm the veracity of his interview statements and his answer has, to the surprise of no one, precipitated some pretty heated discussion. There are essentially two parts of Oda’s answer. First he clarifies that his past statements mean the most exciting part of Luffy’s adventure, culminating in the discovery of the treasure One Piece will be complete within five years. He didn’t state this directly, but I feel like we should put an asterisk on this part of the answer to mean five years after the conclusion of Wano.
Oda goes on to state that beyond Wano, he’s going to draw the biggest war to date in One Piece.
Personally, I feel relieved reading this statement because to me, it signals the fact that the series as a whole is not coming to a close within five years. I was always incredibly skeptical of Oda’s past statements on this topic. Personally, I just don’t see any way he can wrap up everything in such a short amount of time. I guess five years being short is relative, but given the sheer volume of remaining questions and characters whose storylines need to be concluded, it would be a herculean task to say the least. Significantly, I believe there are two major parts of the story remaining and I think that is both clarified and confirmed by volume 97.
Regardless of the translation, it’s clear that the mystery of ‘what is the One Piece?’ will be answered in five years. Oda refers to this as the most exciting part of Luffy’s adventure. But it’s important to remember the fact that the story must continue beyond the discovery of the treasure which was left behind by Joy Boy 800 years ago to fulfill a very particular purpose.
Roger was a dying man when he reached Laugh Tale and the pieces needed to challenge the world were not yet in place. He thus decided to disband his crew, using his final words to initiate the great pirate era and inspire a successor to inherit his will and re-discover One Piece.
Whitebeard echoed Roger’s words at the Battle of Marineford where he warned that the whole world will be turned upside down when someone who inherits the will of Roger discovers the treasure which will be the catalyst for a war of epic proportion.
It’s important to note that discovery One Piece initiates the final war, so, barring the Straw Hats proceeding directly from Wano to the final island, it’s impossible for this conflict to begin immediately following the current story arc. What Oda’s statement about the greatest war following Wano refers to is likely the battle for supremacy forewarned by Doflamingo after the collapse of his underworld empire. Morgans similarly foreshadows this conflict when he states that one of the worst generation pirates will soon succeed Roger as the next Pirate King. This group includes Luffy, Law, Kid and the other members of the Eleven Supernovas as well as Blackbeard.
At the end of Wano, the Straw Hats will have three of the four Road Poneglyphs needed to reach Laugh Tale.