Misato Ugaki Misato Ugaki

Misato Ugaki, who loves manga so much that she has a manga column in a magazine, reported on "ONE PIECE DAY '23" held at Tokyo Big Sight on July 21 and 22.In this interview, she speaks in depth about the allure of "ONE PIECE"!


The predicament of liking too many characters

--When did you start reading "ONE PIECE"?

Ugaki: I can't remember exactly, but I think it all started when I was in elementary school, and I borrowed a book from a friend's older brother and read it. It was almost a given among classmates at that time that everyone was reading "ONE PIECE". I have been reading it ever since, and these days I love reading the electronic version of the comics.

--Who is your favorite character?

Ugaki: Ohhh, it's so hard to choose, as there are too many, but if I had to pick one, I would say Chopper . Not only is his form cute, but he has grit, and as the ship's doctor, he would help people regardless of whether they are enemies or not. The story of Chopper being befriended by the Straw Hats is one of my favorite scenes in "ONE PIECE". Also, watching his interaction with Carrot from the Mink Tribe is so heartwarming. The way Carrot calls Chopper "Choniki " is also super cute!

--The female characters are also cute and very attractive.

Ugaki: In the early days, there weren't as many strong female characters, but part way through, lots of strong female characters started coming out one after another. Rather than girls who just need protecting, I like girls who are strong both physically and mentally. It's exhilarating to see.

--Do you have a favorite among them?

Ugaki: I'd have to say Nami and Nico Robin. From the Land of Wano Arc, it'd be Komurasaki! She is Momonosuke's younger sister, and although she's not such a skilled fighter, there was a scene where we see that she has a strong mind, and that really left an impression on me. As for Nami, I also like Zeus the Thundercloud. When I read about his conflict with Big Mom and how he became Nami's sidekick, it made me realize that even if you betray someone or make mistakes, you may be able to get a second chance, and Zeus looked cute in my eyes.

--There are currently 106 volumes of "ONE PIECE". So many storylines have unfolded up to this point, but which is your favorite chapter?

Ugaki: I like the part where Nico Robin joins the clan, I also like the Enies Lobby Arc , and I love the Fish-Man Island Arc as well... The Doflamingo story from the Punk Hazard Arc left quite an impression, too. There were many characters who showed the stance of people in positions of authority, depicting how a country, government, or king should be, and that really got me thinking about a lot of things. The story also speaks to the responsibilities that come with being in such positions, and I hope that even the most arrogant of "important" people would read it.

--Have you learned any lessons from "ONE PIECE"?

Ugaki: The importance of being sincere and earnest, and not wavering or changing regardless of who you're dealing with. Luffy is so animalistic and outlandish that I find it hard to relate to him, but the feelings of the people around him are expressed so well in the dialogue and script that I can't help but like them. There are many characters, and each reader will have their own favorite character, so I think that every person would be able to feel an affinity for someone. That's another incredible thing about "ONE PIECE".

--That's so true.

Ugaki: Going back to my favorite chapter, the Land of Wano Arc was very interesting because it talks about Luffy's true identity, or rather, who he really is. The enemies keep getting stronger and stronger, so there is always a sense of anticipation as to how they will fight them next.

--In the Land of Wano Arc, Luffy's new form, Gear 5 was activated. What is the best part about reading "ONE PIECE"?

Ugaki: There is countless foreshadowing. For example, when the payoff comes, I'm reminded of a frame from earlier that only showed the back of the character, and then I have an aha moment where I realize that it was foreshadowing this outcome. Friends would often tell me, "This scene is actually..." so I'd go back and read it again, and I think, "oh yeah!" lol

The ROAD TO GEAR 5 Exhibition showcased the process leading up to Gear 5. 'You can follow what happened from Gear 1 to Gear 5 through the reproductions of the original drawings, and I was stoked to see that famous scene that I love!' The ROAD TO GEAR 5 Exhibition showcased the process leading up to Gear 5. 'You can follow what happened from Gear 1 to Gear 5 through the reproductions of the original drawings, and I was stoked to see that famous scene that I love!'

When I finish reading I feel hungry

--What is your way of reading "ONE PIECE"?

Ugaki: First of all, I like to read it normally, and then I like to read and hear others' thoughts on it. There are many realizations through doing this. Every time I read "ONE PIECE", I am amazed at how each and every frame is drawn. I recently watched the movie "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse " and it was super enjoyable, but there was so much information to process that I burned a lot of calories watching it and felt hungry afterwards. It's the same with "ONE PIECE" and I always find myself hungry when I finish reading it.

--Don't you feel there's a unique sense of immersion when reading the manga?

Ugaki: When I talk to younger people, they sometimes say that they only watch the anime version, but I want them to read the series in "Weekly Shonen Jump " and the comics, too. I buy the digital comics, so every time I read them, I zoom in to look at all the details. I also recommend the SBS column of the comics!

--There are times when previously unknown facts and important information are announced in the exchanges between Eiichiro Oda and the readers in the SBS column, aren't there?

Ugaki: I always look forward to reading these, as there are always new discoveries, such as who a certain character was based on, or when their birthdays are.

--We've entered the final chapter of "ONE PIECE".

Ugaki: I can't wait to see what happens from here, and I'm sure there will be a lot of unexpected turns of events. I will definitely keep reading until the very end!


●Misato Ugaki 
Born on April 16, 1991, in Kobe, Japan. After graduating from Doshisha University, she joined TBS Television as an announcer in 2014 and became a freelance announcer in April 2019. She is the brand ambassador of Takara's canned chuhai "Sumika" and appears on TBS Radio's program, "After 6 Junction" (Monday - Friday 6pm/Ugaki features on Tuesdays). Her latest photo essay, "Kaze wo Taberu 2" (Shueisha) is currently on sale. 

Styling/Mana Takizawa Hair & Make-up/Tomoko Yamashita Costume cooperation/Ezick, ALM. 

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha Inc. © Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha Inc., Fuji Television Network, Inc., Toei Animation Co., Ltd.