I just started watching One Piece over at Hulu about a week, maybe a week and a half ago. I'm a little over 40 episodes in now because, wow, am I enjoying it! I wish I had started in with this much earlier.
I don't want to do a full-on review -- I haven't even seen a tenth of the episodes yet and haven't read any of the manga. I gave it a pass when I first heard about it for two reasons: 1) the pirate theme which first caught my attention seemed pretty limited at best, and 2) the logo sucks.
Seriously, I read that as "One Peg" for the longest time. The silhouette totally doesn't work as the letter "I" here, especially when it's colored differently. Plus, the "E" looks too much like an anchor and not enough like an "E", especially when compared to the other two that are shown.
But I finally gave the anime a trial run, and I was hooked almost instantly. The notion of establishing a close group of friends like that has always been a theme that appealed to me, and the character of Luffy is particularly refreshing. He's not exactly naive, but just exceptionally forthright about everything in a manner that almost sounds naive.
Where I connect least with the series is that the main characters all have a singular, driving ambition. To be king of the pirates, or the world's greatest swordsman, or whatever. I don't know that I've ever had that kind of driving force in me. I try to do well at what I do, of course, but there was never a burning desire to be the best comic book writer or anything like that. I suppose the closest I have to that is just to be the best me that I can be, which isn't so much a destination like in One Piece but an ongoing journey.
In watching the episodes, one of the themes thus far has been that you can conquer your obstacles through sheer force of will if you're powerful enough. I like to think of myself as pretty strong-willed in the first place, but I wonder if a guiding principle or quest of sorts would improve that.
(And here you thought anime was just a form of entertainment!)