Eiichiro Oda (尾田 栄一郎 Oda Eiichirō, born January 1, 1975 in Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture) is a Japanese manga artist, best known for his manga series One Piece (1997-present). Having sold over 300 million copies worldwide, One Piece is the best-selling manga series of all time. The series' popularity resulted in him being named one of the manga artists that changed the history of manga.
As a child, Oda was inspired by Akira Toriyama's works and aspired to become a manga artist. He recalls that his interest in pirates was probably sparked by the popular TV animation series titled Vicky the Viking. He submitted a character named Pandaman for Yudetamago's classic wrestling manga Kinnikuman. Pandaman was not only used in a chapter of the manga but would later return as a recurring cameo character in Oda's own works.
Main article: One Piece
At the age of 17, Oda submitted his work Wanted! and won several awards, including second place in the coveted Tezuka Award. That got him into a job at the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, where he originally worked as assistant to Shinobu Kaitani's series Suizan Police Gang before moving to Masaya Tokuhiro on Jungle King Tar-chan and Mizu no Tomodachi Kappaman, which gave him an unexpected influence on his artistic style. At the age of 19, he worked as an assistant to Nobuhiro Watsuki on Rurouni Kenshin, before winning the Hop Step Award for new artists. Watsuki also credits Oda for the creation of the character Honjō Kamatari who appears in Rurouni Kenshin. During this time, he drew two pirate-themed one-shot stories, called "Romance Dawn", which would debut in Akamaru Jump and Weekly Jump in late 1996-early 1997. "Romance Dawn" featured Monkey D. Luffy as the protagonist, who then became the protagonist of One Piece. While Oda was an assistant of Watsuki, his colleague was Hiroyuki Takei, and the three of them are good friends. He also stated in a Shonen Jump Alpha interview that he was friends with Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, the author of Toriko.
In 1997, One Piece appeared for the first time in Weekly Shōnen Jump and promptly became one of the most popular manga in Japan. His biggest influence is Akira Toriyama, who is the creator of Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump. In an interview with Shonen Jump, when asked what his three favorite manga by other authors were, he stated 'everything by Akira Toriyama'. Oda and Toriyama have made a one shot called Cross Epoch containing characters from Toriyama's Dragon Ball and Oda's One Piece.
One Piece (1997 - ongoing)
Wanted! (1998, collection of the short stories below)
God's Present for the Future (1993)
Ikki Yakou (1993)
Romance Dawn (Version 2, 1996)
Dragon Ball x One Piece: Cross Epoch (2007)
One Piece x Toriko (2011)
In a 2008 poll, conducted by marketing research firm Oricon, Oda was elected fifth most favorite manga artists of Japan. He shared the place with Yoshihiro Togashi, creator of YuYu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter.