Kumamoto Prefecture recently released a short video (with English subtitles) that shows off the skill and process behind crafting the bronze One Piece statues installed around the prefecture.
The statues were built by Tappei Maruyama, a sculptor from Toyama Prefecture. In the video, he discusses what it was like getting the call with the offer to sculpt these statues and the pressure he felt to design statues that would please as many One Piece fans as possible.
For those unfamiliar with bronze sculpture, the process is extremely labor-intensive and involves first creating multiple clay sculptures of differing sizes. The sculptor then creates a huge, life-sized clay sculpture that acts as the model for casting the bronze statue.
Maruyama also goes into some of the specific details of the sculptures that were the most difficult to implement, as well as some of the difficulties of translating two-dimensional characters into three-dimensional sculptures. For example, Maruyama states that Brook was the hardest statue to get right, due to his very thin bones and abundance of curly hair and fur on his jacket. He also notes that Brook is playing a specific chord on the guitar: the first chord oof the One Piece theme song!
Maruyama received lots of input from Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece, and the publisher Shueisha to make sure the statues met the character models to a T. He touches on the creation of the enormous Jinbe statue, the newest and possible final statue to be installed, and the importance of making him seem both fearsome and friendly at the same time.
Check out the video here or in the embed below. Check out our article listing the locations of each of the One Piece statues in Kumamoto! If you’re a One Piece fan in Kumamoto (or in Japan for that matter), it’s definitely worth the trip to see at least a couple of these amazing statues!