The Uncanny Resemblances Between One Piece and Fairy Tail

Despite featuring differing plotlines, One Piece and Fairy Tail share many peculiar similarities that are worth exploring. It’s not uncommon for anime series to bear a few resemblances, as mangaka often tend to draw inspiration from other works, especially with the anime industry being extremely saturated. However, there’s a certain limit when it comes to drawing inspiration, as crossing that particular line leads to the territory of plagiarism. While there aren’t many cases in the anime industry as a whole, however, one example that comes close is the striking similarity between two popular shonen series – One Piece and Fairy Tail.

A few resemblances here and there are nothing out of the ordinary, yet the peculiar similarities between these two series have led fans to believe that this might be a case of deliberate replication. It’s also common knowledge that the series’ authors, Hiro Mashima and Eiichiro Oda, are long-time friends, meaning it’s highly likely that Mashima based several aspects of Fairy Tail on Oda’s works. While these resemblances are still quite vague, exploring some of these aspects can shed more light onto this matter.

One of the most apparent similarities between the two shows is their character designs, with many characters bearing an almost identical outline. At the forefront of this similitude is Fairy Tail’s Gildarts, who bears a striking resemblance to One Piece’s Shanks. Their character designs feature a bulky build with a wide stature face, along with slightly long hair with a tint of red. With such a saturated industry, character designs are bound to be replicated in different series, but in this case, even their role in the series is quite similar. Both Gildarts and Shanks play the role of a mentor and father figure for their respective protagonists, yet their role gets diminished as the plot moves on.

Another obvious replication is the character Gajeel in Fairy Tail, who strongly resembles Monkey D. Dragon from One Piece. Their hairstyle, facial features, and overall expressions seem to be almost carbon copies of each other. Apart from these two notable examples, several other characters with oddly similar features can be seen throughout the two series. Mangaka tend to draw inspiration from other anime series quite often, but the extreme similitude in these two series points towards a deliberate imitation.

In addition to character designs, the two series’ respective protagonists, Monkey D. Luffy and Natsu Dragneel, bear an almost identical disposition in terms of personality design. Both characters boast an over-the-top personality and a radiating energy that seems to bring every other character together. Both possess the same sense of adventure, coupled with a reckless, carefree, and optimistic personality that is ready to take on any challenge that comes their way.

Their morals and values are also oddly similar, as they encompass a righteous attitude, making a point to clearly portray their contempt for cruelty and evil. Loyalty is also a shared value that both characters vehemently depict, as their respective guild and crew comes first, and they’ll go to any lengths to protect the ones they care about the most. While many shonen anime protagonists bear these values and traits, none come close to how identical Natsu and Luffy’s personalities are.

While the main ancillary characters in the two series are somewhat distinguishable, their dispositions and roles are almost identical. This is most notable in the cases of Lucy and Nami, both supporting characters who are somewhat weak in the beginning of the series but grow stronger over time and aid the protagonist in achieving their goals. Their hot-headed personalities are also quite similar, especially when dealing with the protagonist’s unhinged behavior, making them all the more indistinguishable.

Similarly, in both series, one of the main ancillary characters bears a reserved yet irritated personality, a role played by Gray in Fairy Tail and Zoro in One Piece. Their positions as the protagonist’s friend and trusted brother-in-arms are also strangely similar, almost as if one was entirely based on the other character.

While One Piece puts more effort into its worldbuilding, the two anime inherently have similar features in terms of this aspect. Apart from the obvious difference of One Piece’s pirates and Fairy Tail’s mages, both series revolve around going on adventures, fighting battles, and overcoming challenges they may face along the way, with everything leading towards a looming main plotline. An expansive world with mythical creatures and unexplained mysteries are also a staple in both series, fortifying a clear resemblance between the two.

While Fairy Tail and One Piece have their fair share of distinguishing aspects, these peculiar similarities clearly point towards an intentional imitation that lies between the two anime. Seeing a reference or a coincidental similarity between two series is relatively common, but characters and their roles being based on a preexisting series goes further than just drawing inspiration, forcing fans to speculate whether this was merely a coincidence or a deliberate imitation by the author.

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