One Piece’s story and art are full of detail, including frequent appearances of a mysterious background character in various locations.
Eiichiro Oda seems to have A piece carefully planned. It’s as if all of his key characters, settings, and plots are written down somewhere as he’s been steadily working to convey every detail since 1997. With all the important things taken care of, Oda has plenty of time to play around with the finer details. background. Thus, he made a little game for A piece fans: find Pandaman.
Pandaman is sort of the Waldo of A piece. He makes brief flashing appearances, and you’ll miss him as a background character in various settings and time periods. He doesn’t seem to have any predictable influence on the narrative; He’s mostly there to have fun.
Pandaman’s origins don’t actually come from A piece. In 1998, Oda designed Pandaman as a character for the Kinnikuman 77 Mysteries tribute book. Oda has since repurposed Pandaman for the above A piece cameos.
If someone wants to research Pandaman, there are some key features to look out for. Its defining feature is a unique panda head, with dark, circular eyes and ears and a 3-shaped mouth resting on its side. He’s a little easier to spot in the anime as his black and white head contrasts with the colors of the rest of his body.
Pandaman’s body changes with each appearance, though there are some frequently used physical traits to watch out for. The word “PANDA” may appear on his forehead. He has a human torso that is technically muscular, but he’s often drawn lean in his cameos to make him harder to spot. He also has red heart-shaped tattoos on each pectoral, and since he’s often shirtless, they can be a bit easier to spot. His arms are black with green bamboo tattoos and bamboo leaves sticking out of the elbows. He also wears a green sash-style obi, black shorts with flame patterns, and lace-up boots. None of these features are guaranteed to appear, but these are the most likely to appear.
Pandaman is often drawn to large groups of people, so fans should stay alert and keep a close eye on him. It might only be possible to see his head poking out from behind several people or brushing the edge of a panel. It’s usually so small that fans have to look at each person in a group or crowd to find it.
Pandaman can be seen for the first time in the manga chapter 44, “Three Cooks”. In the anime, he makes his debut in episode 16, “Protect Kaya! Usopp’s Pirate Gang Springs Into Action!” Anyone looking for Pandaman should start with one of these points.
In addition to Pandaman, there are a number of other related characters who make appearances. Pandawoman can be seen in the background of Amazon Lily, an all-female island, and she first appears in chapter 517 and episode 409. She has Pandaman’s face, but a female body and pigtails.
There’s also Tomato Gang, a debt collector who Pandaman owes money to, but chooses to run away from. He has a long black coat, an oval-shaped head, a handlebar mustache, a wavy tuft of hair and what looks like a handgun but could well be konbu maki. It is exclusive to the manga and debuts in Chapter 179, “The End Will Be in Alubarna”.
Aiding Tomato Gang is Unforgivable Mask, which looks like Pandaman but has a panda-shaped mask, black swim trunks, and boots. Although he does not appear in the anime or the manga, he can be found in other media like One Piece Color Walk 2. Beyond these characters, there are even more cameos to watch out for that aren’t associated with Pandaman.
In Chapter 1034, “Sanji vs Queen”, Pandaman made around 263 manga cameos. From episode 987, “His Shattered Dream?! The Trap That Draws Sanji!” Pandaman has made approximately 108 appearances in the anime. He also has various cameos in the other installments of the franchise.
Despite his surprising ubiquity, Pandaman is unlikely to have any influence on One Piece overall plot. It appears in too many different places to have a concrete history. Maybe Oda will surprise fans but, for now, Pandaman is just a fun Easter egg.
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