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  • Writer's pictureShadowNinja77

One Piece Arcs Ranked: 5-1

Updated: Jan 15

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 5-1.

Special: Wano Country

I marked this one as special for the simple reason that I haven't finished it yet. Once I have, I'll add it to the list proper. But already I know this one takes one of the top spots. Wano is the most built-up story arc in all of One Piece so far with it and the main villain Kaido mentioned way back in Thriller Bark. From there, the characters of Kin'emon and Momonosuke appeared in Punk Hazard to further set it up along with the pirate alliance with Law and each subsequent arc just further set it up until finally, we arrived. An island drowning under the cruel reign of shogun Orochi (literally the most hatable character in One Piece) and Pirate Emperor Kaido. The first half of the arc is comprised of the Strawhats preparing for the big fight but also witnessing all the cruel and horrible things happening and all the suffering the citizens of Wano endure. Yasuie's final words are one of the saddest moments in One Piece but help the Strawhats and everyone's own resolve to finish the fight. This arc also contains one of the best flashbacks as Oden's history is told, how he managed to recruit his Akazaya samurai and later how he became a pirate on both Whitebeard and then Rogers's crew, even helping to find the final island Laugh Tale and the One Piece. But, when he returns home, he finds Orochi and Kaido in power and, to save his people, is forced to make impossible choices that ultimately leads to his death. Still, he went out like a boss and very nearly took out Kaido. All this leads to the final battle as the Strawhats alongside all their allies attack both Kaido and Big Mom in an all-out war. The Akazaya's initial attack is animation gold but the greatest scene in One Piece history is when the Worst Generation pirates attack the Emperors, Luffy's Red Roc attack the highlight. After that, it really is just one big battle after another but it's the fact that at this point Luffy really isn't just fighting for himself or his dream or even his crew anymore but for all of Wano that makes it special as he truly wants to help all these people. And in all of that, Oda manages to find time to introduce new fan-favorite Yamato, self-proclaimed Oden and Kaido's son who defies his father and fights for Wano's freedom. For me, there are still some scenes left to come that I know of but have yet to see so they will remain unwritten. Still, from where I am this is already one of the best arcs and one epic ride.

5. Whole Cake Island

Learning Sanji has been taken for an arranged marriage to Emperor Big Mom's daughter, the Strawhats quickly sail over to rescue him. This arc went a long way to show just how outmatched they were in the New World. Up until then, Luffy and friends had done pretty well with their opponents. But the Emperor's crew are a whole other breed, proven with Luffy's fight with Cracker and later with his epic fight with Katakuri, both pushing him past his limits. And he wasn't even able to land a hit on Big Mom. Once again, Oda's imagination takes over as he treats fans to the wondrous island made out of cake where almost everything, from the trees to the flowers to the hills are alive thanks to Big Mom's abilities. And, like out of every fairy tail, it's hiding a lot of dark stuff. More about Sanji's tragic and abusive past with his family is revealed here which leads to his heartbreaking fight with Luffy. It also brings Jimbei back as well as other Worst Generation member Capone Gang Bege, the mafia-like pirate who almost has a heart of gold (when it comes to his family). There are a lot of moments worth talking about, my personal favorite being how Luffy destroys the tea party, but what makes this arc standout was once again how far Luffy will go for his crew and the attack (if unsuccessful) attack on an Emperor.

4. Alabasta

This was the first arc that was built-up in a way, mentioned at the start of the Grand Line and hyped up ever since as the Strawhats met Princess Vivi who was on a quest to save her her homeland Alabasta from the Warlord Crocodile. Here is where the crew is really challenged, up against one of the most powerful pirates in the sea. With the rebels laying siege to the royal palace and Crocodile's own men wreaking havoc, the whole city becomes a battleground with little hope of stopping it. It's also the harsh journey to get there as Vivi sees the devastation that has occurred in her absence and it's up to Luffy to snap her out of it and remind her she's not alone. Some truly standout fights would be Usopp and Chopper vs. Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas as those two don't get too many fight afterwards. But the Zoro vs. Daz Bones fight was nothing short of epic as the Strawhats' swordsman is forced to learn how to cut through steel to beat his enemy. But, of course, it's the Luffy vs. Crocodile fight that takes the cake as Luffy fights an enemy so much stronger than he is and loses twice. But he still keeps coming back, proving his combat intelligence as he fights smarter and harder and the final punch not only saves the city but proves Luffy's worth as a pirate, shaping his journey even more. Alabasta was a major stepping point for the crew and the series, adding some major worldbuilding as well with the introduction of the Poleglyphs as well as Firefist Ace, instant favorite character. The work on Robin is excellent as well, fleshing her character out more but still keeping her a mystery for later. The development for Marine characters Smoker and Tashigi was also a highlight. This arc is one of the best for the high stakes and drama as Oden rolls out all he's built up so far in a fantastic way and setting the stage for what comes next.

3. Dressrosa

At this point, Luffy's interacted and met with every other Warlord there is. And Doflamingo is someone who was introduced early on as a villain, hyped up so much that a fight between them was inevitable. Well, this is the arc that has it as the Strawhats alongside new ally Law arrive in the passionate island of Dressrosa to take down the Warlord. There is a lot to love in this arc from Oda's attempt at a tournament arc as well as Sabo's return and Law's backstory. As always, Dressrosa is ripe with history and lore, especially around gladiator Rebecca and the mysterious toy soldier. The fact that living toys wander around the city was a cute add-in with a horrifying revelation which is quintissential Oda. The tournament is fantastic, pushing Luffy against tough opponents including Don Chinjao which was an amazing fight. But the fact that the previous round held entirely new faces, forcing the audience to choose who to root for, was a nice touch. All of that serves as a way to introduce many new characters who are promised to be integral later on in One Piece, though Bartolomeo made his mark in a truly unexpected and adorable way. The return of Sabo was a welcome reunion after everything Luffy's been through and he never felt shoe-horned in. And Bellamy's return was also a nice surprise, showing his growth as a character. This is one arc that keeps building up and building up, surprising viewers with how it goes. Doflamingo also proves himself as One Piece's greatest villain with his ruthless nature, decimating the entire island in his purtuit of revenge. His final fight with Luffy is nothing short of awesome. But what really pushes this arc to be one of the greatest is Law's backstory, undoubtedly the saddest so far as his life, from losing his whole family in the most horrific way to becoming a pirate and then having one man to rely on and losing him to is enough to make anyone cry. There is so much to love about this arc, from Usopp's five-star moment to Zoro's fight with Pica and so much more. But what it comes down to was Luffy's fight to help all the people of Dressrosa 'breathe again' by taking Doflamingo down once and for all. One of his best lines there.

2. Marineford

This arc marks the halfway point in the series and the only reason it's not higher on the list is because only Luffy is present, the rest of the Strawhats absent. Here, the war between the Marines and the Whitebeard pirates unfolds as they battle it out for the captured Ace. Luffy is thrown into the battle and while does do some major damage, it also proves just how out of his league he really is amongst all the big names. Introducing new hated character Akainu as the third Navy Admiral, this arc is a rescue and war all at the same time with so many standout moments its hard to pick. Oars Jr.'s scene will never not make me cry and Marco v. Kizaru is just pure awesomeness. And of course Luffy's arrival on the battlefield is iconic. It just goes to show how devoted Luffy is to saving the ones he loves. And Whitebeard proves himself as a Pirate Emperor in the battle, taking out more enemies than anyone else. This arc had a lot going for it but Oda proves himself a master storyteller by constantly pushing the viewers through twists and turns until it's all over. The fact that he pulled the ending off is amazing but it is necessary to show the might of the Marines and the threat they pose as well as new enemy Blackbeard who is only growing in power. This arc was a necessary breaking point for Luffy so he could build himself back up for the second half of the series. There are so many great moments though a certain Emperor's arrival will always be a favorite as well as Koby's speech. But Luffy facing off against all three admirals will always rise above them all, something I hope is brought back down the road.

1. Enies Lobby

This is the arc that most people describe as their favorite, even stating it as one of the greatest anime arcs of all time, and with good reason. When Robin is taken by the World Government, the Strawhats go all out to save her, invading Marine base of Enies Lobby and taking on hundreds of Marines for her. Everyone gets their moment to shine on the charge to the base and it's a non-stop action thrillfest with so many cool moments. But Luffy gets the highlight when he takes on Blueno and proves how far he'll go to save his friends, mastering a new technique for the fight. Everything leads to the iconic rooftop scene as the crew stand side-by-side against the World Government and then effectively declaring war on them, all for Robin's sake. Robin's heartbreaking backstory is revealed where she lost everything and was chased away her entire life only to finally find a family in the Strawhats is enough to make anyone cry, especially as she finally rediscovers her will to live thanks to Luffy. Oda really loves to tear our heartstrings apart. From there, the action takes it up a notch as almost every Strawhat faces off against a government agent in an epic fight, Sanji's, Zoro's, and Luffy's being the cream of the crop with epic scenes and breathtaking finishers. Luffy's fight with master assassin Rob Lucci is just proof of his determination as he keeps going, knowing if he loses then Robin will be gone. This is an arc that showcases what friends and family really mean to the Strawhats and how far they'll go for the ones they love. This arc is nothing short of awesome from beginning to end and it will be very hard to top it.

And that's it. All arcs ranked. Which ones are your favorite? Did you agree or disagree with this list?

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