Is the One Piece prequel canon?

2024 will be an important year for “One Piece“, and in case 2023 had not already left us with enough wild emotions between anime and manga, it turns out that In a matter of approximately 1 month we will be able to enjoy “MONSTERS”. What is “MONSTERS” and why should it matter as a “One Piece” fan? Well, that is precisely what I come to discuss today, just a few weeks after Netflix host a premiere that could be truly interesting.

What is MONSTERS in the One Piece universe

“MONSTERS” is about a one-shot that Eiichiro Oda published on October 30, 1994dealing with a series of events in the “One Piece” universe that took place some 400 years before the story through which we know Luffy began and company.

To contextualize a bit, the story of “MONSTERS” revolves around Ryuma, that zombie samurai ascendant from Wano that the members of the Straw Hat Pirates encounter during their little ‘stay’ on Thriller Bark. This prequel thus follows the samurai in question during his youth and explores some of the great deeds that he carried out during his lifetime.

ryuma one piece
Ryuma, the legend around which the main plot of MONSTERS revolves

Is the content seen in MONSTERS canon?

In a universe as complex as that of “One Piece” it is better to have well defined what is canon and what is not, since a single gear can make the wheel start to spin in a completely different way. That said, I refer to the explanations of @newworldartur to talk about the relevance of what is seen in this story:

  • In general, the truth is that Ryuma from One Piece and Ryuma presented in MONSTERS can be understood as 90% the same character, but they have certain marked differences.
  • To begin, a small detail in which they differ is hair color: While in the One Piece anime Ryuma appears in flashbacks of his youth with a blue/greenish tone, in the MONSTERS anime designs he is shown having completely black hair.
  • Another distinction is that while both Ryuma They killed a living dragon, the truth is that they did it in different locations:
    • Ryuma from MONSTERS killed the dragon in a completely unknown town.
    • One Piece’s Ryuma did it in the capital of Wano itself.
  • Eiichiro Oda himself went so far as to explain that although One Piece’s Ryuma is obviously inspired by MONSTERS, there are (as has been seen) certain differences between one and the other. As such, it could be interpreted that MONSTERS’ Ryuma was a kind of prototype which Oda-sensei later polished in order to expand the lore of One Piece and, specifically, the one that referred to Wano and the story of Zoro’s past.

And in case there are any doubts as to whether what is seen in “MONSTERS” is canon with respect to “One Piece” or not… well, I would say yes and no at the same time (but much more so than yes). Yes because, in general terms, we visit a bygone era on which the foundations of many aspects of the history of “One Piece” arise that have been gaining relevance in recent years. But not because, in fact, The two Ryuma are not exactly the same character, but are rather understood as a kind of altered reflection of each other.. In any case, my personal recommendation is to see “MONSTERS” as part of the “One Piece” universe and without getting too bothered by the little things.

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