I hate to say it but that first batch was quite difficult to write about because there really wasn’t much to say that I could be entirely positive about. They aren’t all trash, but they just aren’t great. I’m hoping I have a bit more to talk about with this next group of ranked covers as we start to close in on the line where the volumes are all quality in their own right. As I said though in the last post, my criteria is based on the overall quality of the volume as far as art, design and actual importance to the story.
The early volumes all struggled with doing something to make the covers stand out save for a few that rank higher. Some of them come off more as color pages rather than that of an actual cover that manages to tell a story without you having to know what the story is. The cover needs to strike you in a way where you want to open it up and see what’s going on or at least start from the beginning of the story. With that though, let’s get to my rankings #90-#81!
90. Volume 17
This one is pretty cut and dry as far as why I do like parts of it, but there is a big reason why I don’t like it. We have Luffy ready to fight alongside Sanji and Chopper. The best thing about the importance of this volume is that we get to see Chopper in his reindeer form. When you contrast it with volume 16, it’s even more interesting because 16 shows us our normal form Chopper while this one gives us a different form. Also it’s great to see our characters wearing different outfits based on the snowy weather. It gives some intrigue as to where they are at. The downfall of this cover and what makes me drop it so low is that I really don’t like Wapol. Oda has a good sense of how to write villains and he’s written very well, but he and his henchmen are just a pass for me. I don’t like the designs and they just aren’t represented as imposing in this volume. They are trying to look like a threat but the design just doesn’t work for me. I feel like it could really be a turn off for some people that don’t know One Piece.
89. Volume 24
This one was actually tougher to place than I thought. So the actual art style is very different from what we’ve seen in other volumes. I’m not an art major so I can’t really explain the difference by an actual term, but it’s very apparent that it’s different. I also am a big fan of Bellamy and liked his return in the Dressrosa arc. There’s a lot I really like in this volume, but when it comes down to it, there just isn’t much going on with this cover. You have some new characters as well as Robin appearing in the background and Luffy there at center, but that’s it. There just isn’t much going on to help tell you what the story is about. It’s just kind of bland.
88. Volume 63
The coolest thing about this volume is the presence of Fisher Tiger whose design is pretty badass, unfortunately Oda only drew his head in a corner of the cover so we don’t get to see him in all of his glory. This volume suffers from the boring and bland problem. Fisher Tiger bumps it up a bit more and I actually like the color of the volume but Shirahoshi is just there and I’m not a huge fan of her, and Luffy and Zoro are just kind of there. Megalo the shark is there too, but that’s it. It’s just a bland volume that doesn’t offer much other than just being the next volume to add to the collection. Man I really wish they would have embraced the past characters a bit more and brought Fisher Tiger to the front alongside past Arlong and others. Oh well.
87. Volume 32
This volume is one of those sense of adventure covers that I mentioned in the first post. We leave our adventure on Skypiea and literally drop out of the sky towards our new adventure. We get to see the whole crew happy as ever as they continue their journey and the journey is presented very well with them dropping out of the sky. There’s not much else to say about this cover outside of how well it shows that sense of adventure and going from one point to another. It does what it’s supposed to do, but it only does that. I’d say that I would like to have a little more, but I don’t think you need to add anything to it. Even though it seems like everything is perfect with this cover, it still comes off as not as memorable. That’s the only downside, that and I feel like it’s overshadowed by the Afro Luffy volume after it.
86. Volume 38
This one is fine. There’s a lot going on, but eh it’s just fine. This is one of the volumes with the train to Enies Lobby that I didn’t care too much about. I just remember Sanji finally using his knives on the noodle guy I think, but that was about it. Just because there’s a lot going on with the cover doesn’t mean that it’s actually good. It conveys the events that happen within, but it just doesn’t seem as cool or appealing. I like to have a cover that just rocks and is awesome visually to look at and this one just isn’t that. I’m more likely to forget this one in a few hours. I give it credit though for dedicating itself to the events that happen, but it doesn’t quite make the mark of being good not great.
85. Volume 15
This one may be more of a selfish feeling as to why I have it ranked high, but then again maybe not. This is when we get to meet our first giants of Elbaf who are an important point to note and connect to. Elbaf will eventually become an arc relevant to Usopp as he wants to go there and at the time, the thought of the giants was just awesome to think about. In the current chapters though giants aren’t as surprising as the feeling we had back then, but seeing the giants on this cover immediately makes me think about how exciting it’s going to be to see Elbaf in the future. It’s also awesome to see them as the main focus of the cover with Luffy of course making his appearance but the surprise being that Usopp is also right in the middle to show his significance of connection to the giants and his dream to go to Elbaf.
84. Volume 2
I’m a little torn on how to describe my feelings towards this cover. The immediate reaction I have is that this shows our first look at Buggy on a cover and Buggy is one of those characters that I strangely like a lot. He is goofy and his design is a little silly, but he actually has a lot of depth and backstory. His design on the cover also makes him look very menacing which is cool to see because that’s how he’s represented early on. Luffy makes his typical appearance at the top making a face at the Buggy pirates, but I like that Oda brought the Buggy trio to the forefront and gave them the villain spotlight on the cover. It’s a great contrast to volume one as we get our first big villain for Luffy. Everything on the cover just works well and its very memorable for me in my early days of reading One Piece.
83. Volume 13
Volume 13 gives us a good look at several of the villains of Baroque Works in the early stages of the arc. We get all of them surrounding Luffy in the cover which immediately builds the intrigue of all of these new characters. All of which stand out in their own right with very different designs. I like this cover because it gives us several of these new characters, something that Oda does very well is creating new characters that are all unique in their own way regardless of whether or not they are actually good designs. The only problem with this cover for me is having fat Luffy right in the middle. It’s understandable because of the events in the story of the volume, but I feel like it takes away from the imposing threat that these new characters could be. I’m not saying that it’s bad or a mistake, but I just like when the cover can stick to one tone despite the fact that One Piece excels at being both humorous and serious with ease. I’m just mixed on this cover that overall I do like.
82. Volume 6
This is going to contradict some of the points I made in my first post with some of the earlier volumes. Yes, this cover does represent more of a color spread like artwork like some of the others did. Yes, I’m pretty sure this was actually a color spread, now that I think about it, are all covers color spreads? Weird…I feel like I should know this. Anyways, the cover feels more like just a fun color spread rather than that of an actual cover which worked against some of the other volumes, but something about this I really like. First of all, the background color of the volume being black is pretty sweet because I believe there are only two volumes that are balck so it’s different, and the cover with all of the characters in black outfits is a nice look too. This is just a guilty pleasure volume despite my previous criticisms of similar covers. I just like it.
81. Volume 36
We are slowly starting to move into the volumes that I start to just say that they’re good just not great with this being one of them. You aren’t going to understand what this cover means if you haven’t read the story within and that works against it, but it’s striking with the various characters who are all wearing masks or costumes of some kind outside of Luffy and Robin. The problem though, which is a good thing, is that Robin is also wearing something different with no mask but it is represented as if she’s with these others while Luffy tops the cover above the others. It is represented as if the masked individuals are against Luffy which also puts Robin in the place of being against Luffy. This ends up being the case of course, but the layout of everything is careful and works well and the designs stand out as making you wonder and I like that. Of course now I know who is under those masks which makes it even more interesting, but overall it’s a good cover.
As I said in my previous post, I would start to approach the covers that begin to be good but not great and I feel volume 36 was the perfect one to leave off at for this post. That wasn’t planned at all I promise, but it was a perfect example of me starting to get into covers that I really do like a lot, but there are so many covers that are just fantastic that unfortunately it pushes some great covers lower than you would think.
I’m curious where you all are at in your personal ranking of the covers and whether or not you agree or disagree. Please comment below and let me know or email us at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and be sure to follow us @TowerCityMedia