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: 313 – 316 + 320 – 325 – Post-Enies Lobby Arc
The fillers are over and done with, so now it’s time to talk about canon.
The Post-Enies Lobby Arc tied up some loose ends from the previous arc while also introducing a ton of new information. The pacing was great, and aside from the fillers, very little time was wasted. I enjoyed this arc a lot!
One of my favorite parts was the Straw Hat crew’s interaction with the Marines. I knew that Garp was Luffy’s grandfather from reading spoilers for my Ranker articles, but I didn’t know much about their relationship. Despite being on different sides, they really do love and respect each other – but that doesn’t mean that Garp won’t lob cannonballs in Luffy’s direction. Their interactions are amusing, but also pretty sad if you think too hard about it. That makes for some interesting complexity.
Another thing I loved about the Marines scenes was the re-introduction of Coby and Helmeppo. As long-time readers of this column may remember, I have a huge soft spot for the lemon man and his stupid little butt chin. It’s cool seeing him acknowledge his former mistakes and act like an adult – while still retaining just a smidge of his old personality. Coby’s transformation was cool too, but in his case, it was mostly physical – he’s still basically the same person. I liked how he can simultaneously adore Luffy while also realizing that they’re technically enemies.
Franky joining the Straw Hats went a lot better than I thought it would. I knew he was going to do it, but the idea of him leaving his buddies behind was kind of upsetting – they obviously had such a strong bond. But Franky’s bounty combined with the revelation that he was putting his own dreams on hold to protect the town that Tom used to live in made it seem like a much better idea. The fact that his whole crew begged Luffy to take him by force made it pretty clear that they wanted him to leave and pursue his best life. The whole ‘stealing his bathing suit’ in order to force the issue thing was juvenile, but it was pretty damn funny. I just hope nobody looked over at my phone while I was watching the episode at the gym.
Speaking of crew members, let’s talk about Usopp’s return. He spends most of the arc trying to figure out the best way to reintegrate. Many of his hundreds of strategies involve grandiosity and lies. It’s only when he finally, sincerely apologizes for leaving the way he did that he’s accepted back. That was some good character development for him, and it also created some interesting tension for the other characters. At first, I thought that Zoro’s insistence that Luffy not just let Usopp back in like he wanted to was some dumb male pride thing – but it was more than that. It was about Luffy’s strength and integrity as a leader. That actually made a lot of sense – he can’t just let his crew members get away with behavior like that, or it will be hard to remain a cohesive group in a crisis situation.
We also got more information about what’s going on outside the world of the Straw Hats. Shanks met with Whitebeard to ask him not to fight Blackbeard, since he thought the consequences for doing so would be far too severe. Whitebeard wouldn’t hear of it, since Blackbeard had once been one of his crew mates until he killed another one – Thatch. Later, we get to see Blackbeard’s showdown with Ace, which involved not only the debut of Blackbeard’s Dark-Dark Fruit, but also Blackbeard’s insistence that Ace join his crew. I’m not sure what to think about either of these scenes yet, since it’s hard to know what sort of plot points either of them connects to, but I’m enjoying a glimpse at the wider world.
Next up, I’m finally starting the Thriller Bark Saga. Sadly, it begins with the Ice Hunter arc, which is a filler. I didn’t realize that and was hyped to start the actual Thriller Bark arc, but hopefully, there will be something to enjoy. I’ll let you know next time.
For more of my work, check me out at Ranker, at Medium, on Twitter @annalindwasser and @sinistealatte, and on my website annalindwasser.com. If you like my writing and want to help pay for my Crunchyroll subscription, you can donate to my Ko-Fi.