One Piece Arcs Ranked: 30-26
Updated: Oct 16
In celebration of Netflix's live-action adaptation of the anime, I will be ranking most of the many story arcs (fillers included). These are just based on my personal opinion. So, here are arcs 30-26. Also, like with my Fairy Tail rankings, if there are any secondary paragraphs, those will be more spoiler-filled.
30. Long Ring Long Land
Personally I think this arc was Oda's first attempt at doing a tournament style arc and while it was entertaining for the most apart, it doesn't offer much and features some of the most annoying antagonists in the entire series. Introducing the concept of the Davy Back Fight where two pirate crews contest each other in random games with the winner able to poach desirable pirates from the other crew. Foxy isn't really an antagonist as he's not evil and he's not even a real threat as he only has one ability. What he does to win all the time is just blatant cheating, making him that much more aggravating. Still, while this arc is too long for its own good and is the most skippable non-filler arc of them all, it does have some moments like the individual games. Sanji and Zoro's team up is a highlight as is Red Light-Green Light. But the final duel between Luffy and Foxy, while having the funny moment of 'Afro Power,' is just an overuse of Foxy's one skill and something you're waiting for to be over. The whole history of the island of Long Ring Long Land is much more fascinating as is the tale of Tonjit and Shelly. Of course, in the manga, the ending has huge ramifications for the future of One Piece (the anime pushed it down to a filler arc later on) with the introduction of Admiral Aokiji, the most powerful threat the Straw Hats have faced up til that point who easily handles them, showing off the power scale here.
29. Reverse Mountain
The introduction to the Grand Line and it starts with a bang as the crew has to sail up a mountain, thanks to Oda's use of 'physics' and 'geography' in his world only to run into the gigantic whale Laboon on the way down. It also introduces Crocus, who proves to have more importance down the line, as well as Mr. 9 and the incredibly important Ms. Wednesday. Laboon's backstory is yet another of tragic backstories that Oda loves to throw in and while at first look, it seems to only be a cautionary tale about the dangers of the Grand Line, Oda always has a plan as he brings it full circle in a truly shocking and heart-warming moment way down the line. This arc is one of the shortest, clocking in at only two episodes, but it has big ramifications for the future and officially starts the Straw Hat's journey across the Grand Line, giving it more credence.
28. Post-Enies Lobby
This arc, taking place after the fantastic and pulse-pounding Enies Lobby arc, serves as sort of a breather that allows the Straw Hats and the audience a moment to relax before the next major arc starts up. The main focus here was to find a new ship, introducing Vice-Admiral Garp, increasing all the crew's bounties, bringing Franky aboard, returning Usopp to the crew, and of course having the fated battle between Ace and Blackbeard. All of these are important moments for the crew and for the future of the series. Garp himself quickly becomes a fan favorite thanks to his eccentric personality. Both Frankly's and Usopp's moments were emotional though did have their humorous side, mostly Franky thanks to Robin. And Sanji's wanted poster will always be hilarious though the world's reactions to all wanted posters was a nice touch. But the final sequence of Ace finally facing off against the man who betrayed him is an epic fight for a non-Straw Hat and has major repercussions for the rest of the story.
While new One Piece fans (thanks to the Netflic series) are already aware of the big Garp reveal of him as Luffy's grandfather, it's still a good shock. The return of Koby and Helmeppo was also a nice touch. It's clear this arc was a big inspiration for the Netflix series.
This arc is one that just sets things up for the next big arc, in this case that being Skypeia. Still, Oda always loves setting things in motion and while this arc does have a lot of good things going for it already like the tale of Mont-Blanc Noland, Luffy's one-way fight with Bellamy, and the Knock Up Stream, the official introduction to who seems most likely to be Luffy's final enemy or at least one of his greatest in the series: Blackbeard who shares the same dreams and passion as Luffy just with none of his morals or ethics. It is one of the silliest ways to introduce such a powerful foe and yet it works in the end. The whole arc examines who pirates are in this era and what they're supposed to be, highlighting Luffy's lifestyle as an outlier and also how much he doesn't care. For an introductory arc, it did a lot of great stuff.
26. Orange Town
The second arc of the story and the one that contains the Straw Hat's first official challenge as a crew. It also officially introduces Nami who made appearances in previous episodes unnamed. It also features the introduction to one of the most recurring villains in One Piece, Buggy the Clown who, outside of this small arc, isn't much of a threat and is honestly more of a joke. Still, he does test both Zoro and Luffy for a bit and shows some of the future threats they'll have to face. His chop-chop powers are pretty sweet and match his personality. In addition to all that, the moment that highlights this arc the most is Chouchou the dog and his steadfast determination to protect his home from anyone, even a giant lion. It's the small moments coming from side characters that truly make this story great. After the first arc started things off, this one had to keep the ball rolling and it did so very well.
And there's the next batch. Thanks for reading and check back soon for 25-21 which should come sooner than this one.