Silly, short and boring. One Piece’s second arc isn’t very exciting. Although it’s not bad enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Buggy the Clown is still cool to me!! I’d say that the best part to come out of this arc was a flashback to Buggy and Shanks’ youth. Where we later find out was actually the ship of Gol D. Roger. Or at least one of them. Rayleigh makes his first appearance in this arc, which is insanity. For some context: Rayleigh is the first mate of Gol D. Roger, and we don’t officially meet him until the late 400s.
Kuro is one of the more unique villains, in that he’s chasing peace. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t make this arc any less boring. A standout of the arc is my boy Usopp, but that’s about it.
Yes, I have this arc ranked too low. But I address this in the podcast. I forgot about Zoro versus Mihawk when ranking the arcs. Whoop! But this is the first One Piece arc that really hooked me. I was a fan after reading this one. Zoro’s moment is the standout, and having the best cook on the ocean join the Straw Hats was the icing on the cake.
Not caring for the giants’ plight whatsoever is the main reason for this arc being so low. I’m with Nami on this one, seeing as she thought their fight was stupid as well. But the fights with the officer agents are pretty fun, though. Oda can always retcon that Luffy “Instinct” chapter as his early stages of Haki!
I wouldn’t say that this arc is bad, but it is boring. It’s just a transition to the Impel Down events. The coolest moment was when we got to know the story behind Boa Hancock. Oh, and Luffy using Haki.
One Piece has one of the best first chapters I’ve ever read. That’s honestly the main reason I put it above the arcs below. That and Roronoa freaking Zoro!
16.Davy Back Fight
A lot of people hate this arc, but I think it’s tons of fun. It’s cool seeing Oda experiment with rules and games. It felt very Hunter x Hunter-esque in that way. Afro Luffy is amazing, and the Aokiji dramatics at the end puts the cherry on top.
15.Laboon/ Whiskey Peak
The Laboon stuff is alright, but when you take the Brook events into account, it becomes that much more exciting. As for Whiskey Peak? Zoro versus 100 bounty hunters. Does anything else need to be said? An overall good arc, setting up the Baroque Works saga.
Short, but very exciting. We get a taste of the powers to come thanks to Smoker, and Buggy and Alvida make their returns. Seeing Dragon here for the first time is insane, considering how I don’t expect him to be a main character until the end of the series.
The first half of Impel Down is pretty boring. It’s cool to see Luffy gets his own Rogue’s Gallery, but it is very predictable, as they’re just going level to level in the prison. Things get exciting during Luffy and Magellan’s fight.
Fishman Island gets a lot of crap. While it’s deserved, I still think people go a bit overboard. It is pretty underwhelming for an arc that has been foreshadowed since damn near the beginning of the series, but is still very cool. The setting is one of the coolest of the series, and Oda’s art is top notch. The villains are very cookie-cutter, but the fights are cool as hell. Seeing everyone’s new abilities after two years of training was refreshing. And the Big Mom stuff after Hody’s been defeated? Exciting.
Nami’s hopelessness as she’s been robbed of all her money, and stabbing her tattoo of the fishman who has tortured her for years was devastating. She yells out Arlong’s name, then finally turning to Luffy, asking him to help her. That’s one of my favorite moments of the series. Along with that, we get awesome fights from the Straw Hats, including Usopp, who wins his first fight!! Nami’s flashback is good, but definitely gets worse after reading future flashback stories, where Oda’s writing is better.
I love winter settings, so Drum was instantly on good terms with me. The reason for it being in my top 10 is simple: Chopper. Being introduced to a talking reindeer who can transform into different “points/boosts” was just the beginning of many weird things to come. Chopper’s backstory is also heartbreaking, and one of the best ones in the series. This arc also introduces the readers to Ace and Blackbeard, two VERY important characters.
Isn’t it crazy that we didn’t actually know about Luffy’s past until this arc? The Post-War events aren’t world shattering, but are still very exciting. We got to know the story about how Luffy and Ace became brothers, and even got introduced to their third brother, Sabo (who is now one of my favorite characters). Outside of that, we get to see what all of the Supernovas are doing in the New World. I love the Supernovas, so seeing their progress is awesome. This arc is short but sweet.
Here’s where we start moving to what I call “old One Piece.” These are arcs which are great, but I feel like have been done better by Oda in future material. But Alabasta is still really good, and the years of buildup helped tremendously. The fights were cool, but, like I said, after the fights we get now, I just don’t get as excited over this stuff. The Vivi stuff was fantastic, though. Seeing her do anything for her country was moving, and I miss her dearly. But remember, we’ll always be “nakama.”
As someone who hates Nightmare Before Christmas and the Time Burton aesthetic, I’m surprised I like Thriller Bark as much as I do. But leave it to Oda to make me love something that I don’t usually enjoy. His Halloween style makes me want to go back and watch a bunch of old monster films. Gecko Moriah is so dumb and great, and all of the Brook stuff makes me love this arc automatically. And then the stuff with Zoro and Kuma… are you kidding me, Oda?! Then to top it off with Brook’s flashback and “Bink’s Sake”? This arc is amazing!!
Skypiea is gets a ton of hate for “having nothing to do with anything,” and that’s ridiculous. Not only are the races we meet on Skypiea going to be the most important parts of One Piece, but Eneru’s (Enel) plight is going to come back in a huge way, once we get to that point. That, and this arc is just a ton of fun. The only parts I could have done without are the challenges, which are a bit boring. And a huge shoutout to the most underrated flashback in the series: the Calgara and Noland story, which is so damn good. We’ve included Jaya because of how much it ties in with Skypiea, and that alone elevates this to top-10 material. The introduction of Blackbeard, a meetup with Shanks and some of the never-before-seen Warlords, the introduction of the Five Elder Stars… like, you’re kidding me you don’t think this is some of One Piece’s most important material. Great stuff all around.
The Supernovas are one of the best things to happen to One Piece, so it’s no surprise that this is high on my list. Kid and Law are two of my favorite characters, and their introductions could not have been any cooler. This arc gives us so much juicy info about Roger and his crew. On top of that, Luffy’s punch on the Celestial Dragons is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever read in a piece of fiction.
I’m not a huge fan of the kid stuff, but everything else aside from the Yeti Cool brothers is fantastic. The setting of this arc is super cool, and I freaking love Caesar Clown, despite how awful of a person he is. Also, my dude Law gets to shine a bunch of times. His speech to Vergo about the new era is almost half the reason why I have this arc so high up. What a badass. And I can’t forget Zoro’s fight with Monet, where he completely PUNKED her. Is that the most dominant we’ve seen Zoro? Punk Hazard sets up the Kaido and Doflamingo plots, so this arc is very important to the overall story.
The most recent arc and longest arc. Dressrosa moved very, very slow when reading it weekly, so I understand the recent groaning over it. But after reading it all in two days, it’s impossible not to put this in my top 3. SO many things happen. One Piece gets its first tournament, Bartolomeo is introduced, Sabo is back, Koala is back, Doflamingo and his “family” are now the main villains, Fujitora is introduced, the seeds for a Big Mom arc are planted, the Dwarven race is officially revealed, Law gets a flashback, the remaining Straw Hats get fights along with the future Straw Hat alliance commanders, Gear 4, and I’m probably missing a lot more. The overall story of getting the country back from Doffy isn’t anything original, but it’s the characters, moments and impact on the One Piece world that make this arc one of the best.
This arc is what made ranking Water 7/Enies Lobby at #1 so tough. Marineford is completely different than anything that One Piece has given us. No Straw Hats, just Luffy and his rogues gallery of villains fighting for their own reasons. The biggest players in the One Piece universe up to this point in the series all make an appearance. Ace’s death and his acceptance of his life was beautifully done, and Whitebeard’s “manly” death was well worth his sacrifice. On top of that, Blackbeard comes into the game with his new crew, steals Whitebeard’s powers, Shanks shows up, and Law steps in to rescue Luffy. To me, this is where Shanks solidifies himself as the strongest character in the One Piece universe. It’s crazy, because he seemed like a goofy good guy during his first appearance, so seeing him like this feels rewarding. If One Piece’s final arc is anything like this, then the 20 years leading up to it will be well worth it.
1.Water Seven/Enies Lobby
As a hippie at heart, I want to rank others arcs higher than this one and call it overrated, but it is THAT good. We get one of the coolest cities imagined by Oda, and the best drama in One Piece. Luffy vs Usopp is so traumatic, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg!! Robin’s background gets explored as we learn exactly how she fits into this universe. Not only that, but we get much needed information about the void century, the ancient weapons, and the possibility of there being six moons orbiting One Piece’s Earth? And as a shonen manga fan, I can’t help but to love that my favorite manga finally got the cliche mid-fight power ups. There’s so much more I can bring up, but I’ll leave it at that. Water Seven and Enies Lobby are what future Shonen manga should hope to achieve.