Social media is really wonderful sometimes. I follow an artist on tumblr, who happened to mention a wonderful collaboration of One Piece fans - to recreate, in their own ways, a character (or 2, 3, 4) each. I am all for collaborations, especially if they're just small pieces.
I chose Kalifa, one of my favourite One Piece ladies. Kalifa is an assassin who went undercover for many, many years. She's gorgeous with immense leg power; she masters the highest level powers humanly (cartoon physically) possible, but also has the ability to create bubbles and turn herself into a hilariously wonderful giant bubble sheep. She's seductive, she flirts and she's confident in her own skin; she's also manipulative and brutal, fiercely loyal to the assassins, and terrifying in fights.
All through University and even back in school I was told how bad manga and anime are for the creative industry. I can understand the sentiment: stylistically, the artists behind the books and animation don't have much leeway - except now I know they do; there is variation within the styles of manga, but there does seem to be a default large-eyes, dainty features, long-legs approach.
One Piece pushes the boundaries of characters. Perhaps not with the main characters' design as much (like all shows, they tend to be classically pretty), but there's a great variation with all the others they meet; and since their arcs last 50+ episodes, even the minor characters are not exactly minor. Character personalities are just as rich. It's one of the reasons I love the show: each character is complex and they each have different sides to them - even the strongest ones break down over a bad past, and the weakest ones gain power through confidence and dignity.
If you would like to contribute to the One Piece Collab, take a look at the list, find the character you want, understand the guidelines and brief and tweet/message Andrew aka @Viruul to tell him which one you'd like.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!