I don't typically dedicate an entire post as to why I love a certain anime, but I think I'll make an exception with this one; after all, One Piece is incredibly long, so it only makes sense that it could fill an entire read.
We all have one really long anime that we like. Personally, I didn't grow up with One Piece, I grew up with Yu Yu Hakusho, which I still have so much loyalty to. But when I was a little bit older, and finally understanding what anime and manga was, I started reading the One Piece series and found so much joy. There was a lot of discouragement from friends because it was so long and the art style wasn't typical for most popular anime during that time.
However, I think there was something really special about the kind of character Luffy was. Sure, there's tons of shounen leads like him; loud boys that want to go on grand adventures. Take Naruto or Asta for example, because they're textbook shounen leads. Luffy wasn't really much different in that respect, but there was something about taking to the seas on this pirate's journey and the mysticism that surrounded things like Haki or Devil Fruit.
I can understand why a lot of people feel intimidated by the show; there's now over 900 chapters in the manga and over 800 episodes in the subtitled animation. That's a lot of binge watching or reading, depending on how you want to consume it. But what kept me invested in the story was that there was struggles, unwinnable goals, caps to power levels and serious stories about loss and love.
Unlike when I used to watch shows like other shounen shows I used to watch as a kid growing up, One Piece provided me great fights that didn't have to sacrifice the story itself. It built character development. And even when a fight took longer than a couple of chapters, it didn't always end in Luffy winning; sometimes he lost. Sometimes, characters died.
Through all that the Straw Hat crew has been through, they've always been wonderful friends with unwavering loyalty not only to their captain, but also to each other. And Oda, as a writer, is always so thoughtful in his creation. Every panel had meaning, pertaining to the overall world building and story. That kind of expansive universe inspired so much in me as a fellow writer; it felt like a real world with so many small stories creating it.
I'll always love One Piece and it won't always be for the story, characters or even art style. There's a lot of personal reasons that this show means something to me. It's a series I read throughout my entire high school and college career, it's the show my partner and I talked about when we first met and the show I watch when I'm going through difficult times.
Regardless of those personal reasons that I love One Piece, I hope that other people take the time to watch the show or read the manga. It's definitely worth it and the fan base is, for the most part, full of really great people. If you want a story about adversity and friendship that never wavers, please give it a chance.