One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at close to 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.
Before we get started, I have some exciting news. CASETiFY is launching a line of One Piece themed products that include iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch bands, grip stands, and stainless steel water bottles. The designs include Luffy’s hand-drawn Jolly Roger, a compass for Nami fans, a graffiti-like sticker design (my personal fave), and some cute chibi renditions of the Straw Hats themselves. There’s also a Devil Fruit-style 3D printed AirPods case and a limited edition Laboon basketball.
Full disclosure: CASETiFY is sending me some samples of the product in exchange for this shoutout. But that wouldn’t be all that exciting to me if their products didn’t look like quality anime swag. I didn’t spend my entire childhood haunting anime convention dealers’ rooms to not get hyped for things like this!
Now, back to me yelling about my viewing experience.
Episodes Watched: 62 – 63 – Reverse Mountain
Last time, I said I’d be combining three arcs into one. It turns out that they’re incredibly dense arcs with a lot to cover, so I’ll be writing them up individually – starting with Reverse Mountain!
Reverse Mountain sees Luffy and the rest of the crew actually enter the Grand Line. They’re interrupted from their quest when they get swallowed by a whale. But instead of being digested, they find themselves in a habitable spot in the whale’s body artificially created so that a human doctor named Crocus could deal with his internal injuries. While trying to escape from the whale and enter the Grand Line, they encounter Miss Wednesday and Mr. 9, two henchmen who seek to capture the whale and take it home to feed their town.
But these vaguely villainous figures aren’t the biggest problem to contend with in this arc. They’ll become more relevant later, but the bulk of the arc is about the whale’s feelings. The whale, Laboon, traveled alongside a pirate crew that entered the Grand Line without him. They asked him to stay just outside of it and wait for their return – which never came. But Laboon has been waiting for 50 long years. Crocus believes that the crew is still alive, but that they left the Grand Line without coming back for Laboon. The whale expresses his pain by bashing his head against Reverse Mountain, severely injuring himself and creating scars all over his body.
I haven’t seen the animals at my mother’s house in over a year because of the pandemic, and I know they’re going to flip out when I finally manage to visit. Seriously, Diego (an elderly cat) is going to rage-pee everywhere and then either totally ignore me or refuse to get off my lap. I haven’t abandoned them for 50 years, but watching Laboon’s reaction still made me think about them. If you have beloved animals you haven’t seen for a while, you might feel a bit guilty watching this arc.
But Luffy doesn’t waste time feeling bad about Laboon’s tragic past. Instead, he decides to start a fight with Laboon in order to establish a “rivalry” with him. He paints a Jolly Roger on his head and tells him to keep it pristine until their next meeting – which means not hitting his head anymore. His ability to instantly figure out the best way to get through to a traumatized whale was truly impressive – and it proves that he’s a lot smarter than his reputation gives him credit for.
At the end of the arc, Miss Wednesday and Mr. 9 beg to be let onto Luffy’s ship after getting attacked by the Unluckies for failing their mission. Luffy says yes without a second thought. It’s not that he trusts them, it’s that he’s confident that he can handle whatever problems they pose.
Speaking of pose, the “log pose” was introduced in this arc. In the Grand Line, magnetic fields work differently than they do in the rest of the world, so a special device is needed to record each island’s source of magnetism and lead the user to the next source. I have no idea if this is scientifically realistic, but it’s a cool way of amping up the challenges faced in the Grand Line. It’s also a good way to specifically challenge Nami – I hope there will also be unique issues that the other characters will have to face based on their specialties, too.
I’m also really taken by the foreshadowing present in these episodes. Because I have to talk about One Piece a lot when I write articles for Ranker, I already know a ton of spoilers. I know that Laboon’s story is a precursor to the introduction of character who will appear hundreds of episodes later. I’m truly impressed by the planning that’s going on!
Overall, this was a great mini-arc. It’s so common for shonen anime to spend long stretches of time getting nothing done, so I’m happy that these episodes packed in so much story. I’ll be back next time to talk about Whisky Peak!