During a One Piece fan event celebrating the popular manga and anime series, Animation Digital Network (ADN), a French streaming platform, revealed some exciting news. They announced that they had acquired the rights to create an anime adaptation of a lesser-known manga called Monsters by acclaimed artist Eiichiro Oda.
This manga first appeared nearly 30 years ago in 1994 as a one-shot in the anthology series Oda’s Wanted!, which featured several short stories by the then up-and-coming manga creator.
Though not as widely read as his later hit series One Piece, this Monster’s tale made an impression on fans. It focuses on a ronin named Ryuma who slays a dragon terrorizing a village, only to have the townspeople turn on him in fear.
Now, ADN plans to bring this story to life as an animated film slated for release in 2024. This gives fans a unique glimpse into Oda’s early artistic talents and storytelling abilities.
The themes of the dangerous nature of power and the complex relationship between the hero and society seem remarkably sophisticated, considering Oda was only 18 when he authored this manga.
Though details are still scarce, animation fans can look forward to revisiting this nearly forgotten one-shot as it makes its anime debut three decades after first hitting the pages of Shonen Jump.
New Anime By the Creator of One Piece Is Absolutely A Must Watch
Interestingly, this lesser-known one-shot manga contains a character that later shows up in Oda’s signature series, One Piece. Ryuma, the formidable dragon-slaying ronin at the center of Monsters, makes an appearance years later as a legendary swordmaster in the popular pirate saga.
So, this anime adaptation offers fans a unique opportunity to see an early version of a figure who plays an important role in the lore of One Piece.
MONSTERS, en 2024 sur ADN.
Une sortie monstrueuse se prépare… Le one-shot d'Eiichirō Oda, enfin adapté en anime !
Pas de doute, les amoureux de One Piece seront conquis par cette préquelle narrant les aventures du samouraï Ryûma 💙 pic.twitter.com/zaaquyr5Ll
— Animation Digital Network (@ADNanime) November 29, 2023
Leading up to the 2024 release, details remain sparse, but some key production personnel have been announced.
Sunghoo Park, a veteran Korean storyboard artist and director, will helm the anime. He will oversee the entire creative vision as director while also handling composition duties, which involve framing and blocking out scenes. The animation itself will be handled by his Seoul-based startup studio, E&H Production.
Given the source material is only a single one-shot manga, fans can expect this anime interpretation to be a self-contained, one-episode OVA rather than an ongoing series. This offers plenty of room for Park and his team to flesh out the story of Ryuma and the monsters he faces.
And with Park’s experience on titles like Jujutsu Kaisen and Vinland Saga, the anime is in capable directorial hands.
So, in just over a year, audiences will get to see Oda’s early manga work brought to life by a rising animation studio led by an up-and-coming director.
This adaptation should intrigue both loyal One Piece followers and more casual anime fans when it arrives in 2024 as a feature-length animated film.
Everything We Know About ‘Monsters’
The one-shot manga begins by establishing a bit of intriguing backstory – 10 years prior to the main events, a priceless dragon’s horn with mystical powers was stolen, though the incident seems lost to time now.
We then meet a down-on-his-lucky Ronin named Ryuma, who gets kicked out of a restaurant for being unable to pay. Meanwhile, a famed swordsman called Cyrano is dining in another restaurant when Ryuma stumbles and starves.
The kind waitress, Flare, takes pity and gives the desperate Ronin a meal. Ryuma declares he owes the young woman a life debt for this act of salvation, though Flare brushes it off.
When Cyrano prepares to leave, his sword accidentally taps Ryuma’s blade. The proud yet destitute samurai takes enormous offense at this slight to his honor. He challenges Cyrano to a lethal duel on the spot.
Twists and Revelations
As the two cross swords, Ryuma effortlessly slices a metal Buddha statue in half, displaying his strength. But before violence erupts further, Flare calls out for them to stop. Surprisingly, the fearsome Ryuma immediately ceases his attack, hinting at hidden complexities within the ronin.
Meanwhile, news spreads of another skilled swordsman named D.R. recently arriving in town. With multiple master combatants crossing paths thanks to chance and fate, conflict seems inevitable.
So, in just a few pages, Oda establishes an intriguing setting, hints at a larger mystery regarding the stolen dragon horn, and introduces several compelling characters with uncertain motivations and loyalties.
This all sets the stage for an action-packed and drama-filled manga one-shot showcasing his early talents at spinning a compelling pulp adventure tale.
As Ryuma nurses his wounded pride at the bar, the bartender fills in some critical backstory about the kind waitress, Flare. Seven years prior, her remote mountain village suffered a devastating attack by a monstrous dragon that left her the sole survivor.
The renowned swordsman Cyrano happened to pass through during the tragedy and managed to rescue the young Flare from the ravenous flames engulfing her hometown. This brave deed cemented his reputation as a hero to the people.
After hearing the harrowing origins of Flare’s encounter with Cyrano, Ryuma gains immense respect for the waitress, having endured such an ordeal.
The stoic Ronin recognizes her quiet strength in carrying on after disaster. His conversation drifts to discussing rumors of an invincible warrior known only as “The King” – supposedly the greatest swordsman alive.
Ryuma boldly states his ambition to duel this mythic figure, sensing The King has the soul of a true fighter rather than merely a killer.
With his stomach full for the first time in days, Ryuma sets out once more on his lonely travels in search of his next meal, his next fight, and perhaps one day, a showdown with The King himself.
Though the proud ronin only appeared briefly in Flare’s life, their chance encounter seems to have left an impression on the demon-dragon slayer.
As fate would have it, Ryuma crosses paths with the mysterious swordsman D.R. again when their sheathed blades inadvertently knock together while passing on the street.
The unhinged D.R. immediately accuses Ryuma of stabbing him while the baffled Ronin protests his innocence.
D.R. further claims Ryuma stole a valuable dragon horn artifact to summon the beasts to destroy the town. As the raving man blows on the purported horn, he suddenly drops dead.
The Battle Against Mythic Beasts
The panicked townspeople assume Ryuma murdered D.R. and move to violently punish this perceived outrage. Flare arrives and shocks Ryuma by slapping him for his “crime” of unleashing chaos.
Still confused, the ronin refuses culpability while Flare stresses he can’t grasp the terror of facing a dragon’s wrath, having never endured their devastation before.
The celebrated hero Cyrano verifies the dragon horn’s authenticity and urges the residents to flee for safety. Despite Flare’s desperate pleas, the brave swordsman is intent on battling the dragon alone to defend the town. Ryuma calls this a foolish waste of life over material things, but Cyrano’s honor compels him to stand resolute.
Whipped into a frenzy, the villagers demand the “murderous” Ryuma take his own life as atonement, but Cyrano surprisingly stops them, intrigued by discoveries yet to come in the standoff between man and mythic beast.
In the aftermath, only Flare and Ryuma remain behind as the rest of the townspeople evacuate. Safe in the restaurant, Ryuma questions why Flare seems so afraid when the legendary hero Cyrano is sure to defeat any rampaging dragon.
Overcome by traumatic memories, Flare races outside, determined to stop Cyrano with Ryuma giving chase.
He tries to shield her eyes before she can see an appalling sight – Cyrano assisting a very much alive D.R. in looting the now abandoned town.
Hidden Motives and Unseen Threads
Ryuma realizes the two swordsmen were co-conspirators all along, having framed him to conceal their ruse with the horn. Furthermore, it’s revealed Cyrano and D.R. were the ones who orchestrated the dragon attack on Flare’s village seven years prior.
On that horrific night, D.R. used the stolen dragon horn to summon the beasts and destroy Flare’s hometown. Amidst the inferno, the young Flare encountered Cyrano and begged for his help.
But rather than rescuing the lone survivor, the conniving swordsman murdered Flare’s father and kidnapped the girl while she was unconscious.
By staging her rescue, Cyrano bolstered his fame and used the traumatized Flare as an unwitting pawn to elevate his prestige ever since.
Hiding from the villains, Flare implores Ryuma that they must flee before the imminent dragon attack destroys everything.
But rather than escape with the ronin, she heads back to resign herself to her fate amidst the restaurant’s ruins, overwhelmed by grief. Witnessing Flare’s desperate sobs, something snaps in the normally detached drifter.
The Roaring Conclusion
Ryuma confronts Cyrano and D.R., declaring he realized from their careless sword collisions that the cowards lacked a true fighter’s soul.
The cocky Cyrano attacks, but Ryuma effortlessly cuts him down with one swift stroke before the blow lands. A terrified D.R. attempts to bargain for his life by offering the genuine dragon horn, but Ryuma rebuffs him – he has no ties to this doomed town.
As the mythical beast descends, Flare awaits her end on a rooftop while Ryuma boldly leaps to engage the horror mid-flight.
With a single graceful slash, the soaring ronin decapitates the dragon in a burst of fire and fury. Having defended the town and avenged Flare’s pain, Ryuma’s fateful crossing of paths with the waitress and Cyrano comes to a heroic yet enigmatic conclusion.