Last week a heartwarming interview between Oda and Watsuki in “Rurouni Kenshin Exhibition official artbook” was published.
Here’s the translation by sandman:
Shortly after One Piece started (1997-2000), Oda told Watsuki that Zoro would become a one-eyed character in the future.
After hearing about it, Watsuki gave up his idea to create a one-eyed protagonist in Gun Blaze West that was supposed to be serialized soon. Actually he wanted to avoid the situation that some audience may consider Oda stole Watsuki’s idea.
Watsuki says he’d like to know why Zoro has become one-eyed, but Oda doesn’t answer this question…
Watsuki asks Oda about the rumor that One Piece will end in 5 years. Oda replies that someone over 40 years old shouldn’t draw weekly serialization manga.
It’s well known that Oda planned to finish One Piece in 5 years before serialization, but according to Watsuki, Oda told Watsuki that before One Piece started he would finish it in 10 years….
When Watsuki met Oda (19-20 years old) for the first time, he felt Oda looked younger than his age, so he was worried if Oda could do a decent job as an assistant. But soon Watsuki realized there was nothing to worry. Watsuki drew Straw Hats’ Jolly Roger in chapter 161 to celebrate One Piece serialization.
Oda is glad that Watsuki calls him “genius” in this interview. When Watsuki read Chapter 1, he was convinced that One Piece would become the best in popularity survey among Jump readers.