"The ending is already decided," said the manga creator.
One Piece manga creator Eiichiro Oda claimed in an interview back in September 2019 that there were only 5 years left of the One Piece manga. Now, nearly a year later, Oda has said in an interview with Japanese megaband Arashi, for their show Arashi Tsu Bo, that the series only has 4 to 5 years left in it.
Oda went on to say on the TV special that the ending of the series has been solidified, with the editors already being informed on how the series will end. An editor then piped up exclaiming that the ending was "awesome," nodding in complete confidence of himself.
Cover of the 97th volume of the series, in stores in Japan on September 16.
Official One Piece columnist Greg Werner live-tweeted the entire episode, chronicling the interview and Oda walking around the Weekly Shonen Jump office, somewhere Oda doesn't go very often anymore. Click through the Tweet for the entire thread.
Starting! They're in Shueisha!— Greg (@ochimusha108) August 27, 2020
Oda has previously said that the time-skip was the midway point of the series, and has at various other times claimed the ending was near, though it seems this time he is sticking to his Gum-Gums and having the Wano Arc cap off One Piece's truly historical voyage. Even if a virus did get in the way of that a little bit.
Source: Arashi Tsubo on Japanese TV
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs the YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.