Japan woke up this morning to a bunch of One Piece-related materials, including its 100th volume manga being released and accompanying it, an advertisement featuring creator Eiichiro Oda and the phrase "the story is in its final stage." This is on the heels of the editor for One Piece saying in an interview yesterday that he feels "a strong sense that [the series] drawing to a close."
The advertisement ran in this mornings issues Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, and Mainichi Shimbun, newspapers that are circulated around the country, and features Oda at his desk drawing Luffy looking fierce. The text on the side reads "the story is in its final stage."
While this may not be a surprise to many fans who have been following Eiichiro Oda's epic and has seen the manga creator claim again and again that the series is on its maiden voyage, with only a mere few years left in the adventure, the double whammy of the editor talking about the series' end and this advertisement feels like they're preparing fans to say goodbye.
Celebrations for the 100th volume's release have been happening on the official YouTube channel for One Piece all week, culminating with a special featuring JAXA's astronaut Akihiko Hoshide onboard the International Space Station, and the full music video of the theme song "Twilight" to the WE ARE ONE web shorts from RADWIMPS.
Eiichiro Odo also animated a special short for the channel featuring Luffy getting punched by Luffy.
Sources: Comic Natalie, One Piece on YouTube
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs the YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.