One Piece Diaries #27: Ocean’s Dream Arc

by Anna Lindwasser

One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at over 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for those who haven’t been watching from the start to jump on board. One Piece Diaries tracks one writer’s experience with this daunting rite of passage. With hype for the highs and critique for the lows, this column will help you decide whether to take your own One Piece journey – or let you relive the one you’re already on. It will update biweekly every other Thursday.

Episodes Watched: 220-224 – Ocean’s Dream Arc

I wasn’t expecting to like this arc as much as I did.

The premise, which was that the Straw Hats all lose their memories, sounded like a thinly veiled excuse to do a clip show. It’s about their memories, so I assumed they were going to spend 75% of the arc having flashbacks that are literally the same footage as we’ve seen in previous arcs. That’s what would have happened if this were, say, a Naruto filler arc.

I was wrong! Yes, there were a few flashbacks, but they didn’t dominate the storyline. The only flashbacks were moments that actually contributed to the current story. And the story itself was genuinely compelling.

Getting back their memories is a simple goal, but it’s a crucial one. Their unity as a group depends on it. Each of them reacts differently to finding themselves suddenly involved with a gang of pirates. In their actual memories, the decision to join happens gradually and because of specific circumstances. The arc did a really good job of parsing how they’d feel if they’d never had those bonding experiences. That made for some genuinely good character exploration, which is hard to do without adding new info that filler arcs need to avoid.

The fact that Robin was the only one who knew what was going on was interesting. It felt a little bit too convenient since she’s the one who would know the least about their memories, but I can’t really fault the writers for that. The fact that she was able to stay calm made things go a lot more smoothly – it would have been a very different story if, say, Usopp or Luffy were the only ones who still had their memory. I also liked that Robin wasn’t as calm as she seemed – in the end, she was really disturbed by the fact that she could have lost her memories.

Besides the characterization, I loved that the final enemy was the sea horse. When I was about halfway through the arc, I was joking with my sister that the crew was going to fight a sea horse, but I didn’t actually believe that the sea horse was the villain!

I figured that it probably wasn’t Drim, but I thought he was probably being manipulated by an actual person. The fact that it turned out to be the seahorse was a hilarious twist.

Another cool thing was the callback to the Warship Island arc. The seahorse wanted to become a Millenium Dragon and thought it could do so by stealing memories. Since Millenium Dragons only appear in the filler, bringing them up creates a pleasant sense of continuity.

Overall, I’m really happy with this arc. Up next is Foxy Returns, which should be interesting since I’ll get to meet Aokiji for the first time. Either that or I’ll be annoyed for the same reasons I was about the Davy Back fight. We’ll see!

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