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: 229 – 236 – Water 7 Arc
I love writing this column, but sometimes it feels like a curse. Sometimes, it’s because I’ve compelled myself to slog through parts of One Piece that I find boring, annoying, or insulting. This time, it’s because I have to stop watching an amazing collection of episodes long enough to actually get my thoughts down.
As you probably gathered from that intro, I freaking love this arc so far.
The highlight for me was probably Luffy and Usopp’s disagreement over what to do with the Going Merry.
I knew that Usopp and Luffy were going to fight over ownership of the Going Merry. I didn’t know all the context around it, so I thought there was a high chance that I’d think Usopp was being overly dramatic and unreasonable. He was being unreasonable, but his feelings and behavior made perfect sense. He’d just been robbed and beaten half to death by the Franky family, so he was in severe pain. What’s more, he was humiliated because he’d been entrusted with the money that would have been used to fix Merry in the first place, and he lost it.
He’s always known that he was one of the weakest members of the crew, and he’s terrified that they’ll start seeing him as a liability and get rid of him – just like they plan to get rid of their ship. That’s why he has to leave before they abandon him first. His emotions are too intense and his self-esteem is too low for him to see that his crew loves him, and he’s not in the same category as an inanimate object like a ship. And while he can’t beat Luffy in strength, he uses the skills he has to put up a good fight.
I also liked that Luffy fought him. I tend to get annoyed when Luffy opts to fight instead of a more logical option – I wanted to strangle him throughout the Davy Back fight! – but this was different. It was about respecting Usopp’s feelings and treating him like an equal. Not fighting him would have been truly insulting. It was nice to see Luffy show that he truly cares about his people in a nuanced way.
Essentially, these episodes featured absolutely excellent characterization. I was so impressed. But that wasn’t the only good thing about these past few episodes. The setting was fantastic. Loosely based on Venice, Water 7 is a fascinating community filled with small details that make it feel real, like the water meat that Luffy buys from stands to the laundry hanging out of back alley windows.
I’m also really interested in what’s going on with the Galley-La Company. I already know that most of the members are the antagonists of the arc, but I don’t know too many of the details. Luckily, this spoiler isn’t spoiling things for me – it just makes me more intrigued to find out how everything hangs together. Also, I’m glad Rob Lucci isn’t going to be a minor character because he’s hot and I like looking at him. I also hope that talking through a pigeon isn’t a one-off gag and that he’ll keep doing it, because it’s hilarious.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I can’t wait to find out. I’m especially intrigued to find out what’s going on with Robin – I’ll talk about that more once I know more.