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.
Episodes Watched: 113 – 122 – Arabasta
I’ll start by saying that it was pretty hard to stop watching the show long enough to write up my thoughts about it. After watching Luffy get destroyed a second time around, I really wanted to keep watching and find out what happens next. The arc is just that good!
Let’s start with the fights. Usually, I’m not a big fight person. You might not guess that based on the fact that I’ve dedicated a whole column to a shonen anime, but it’s true. I’m perfectly happy to go through multiple episodes with no battles, and I’m rarely compelled by fights that aren’t doing character or plot work. I get bored easily when it’s all about showing off skills.
That said, I really liked the fights in this arc. My favorite was probably Nami’s fight against Miss Doublefinger. Nami hasn’t really had a chance to fight yet, so I enjoyed seeing her go to her non-combatant friend for help fashioning a weapon that could bring out her strengths. She struggled with the Clima-Tact at first, but eventually figured out how to use it to her advantage. I also liked watching Miss Doublefinger transform into a giant ball of spikes – that was just cool.
The other fights were good too – I liked the unexpected moment of mutual respect between Sanji and Mr. 2, and I liked how aggressively weird the whole ‘gun that turned into a dog that sneezes out exploding baseballs’ thing was. The actual battle didn’t really stand out to me, but the idea that an object can eat a Devil Fruit and turn into a living creature is absolutely fascinating
Luffy’s fight with Crocodile stood out too – he rarely uses strategy of any kind, so it was a nice change of pace to see him use water to try and put a damper on Crocodile’s sand-based powers.
Moving on from the fights, it was a relief to see Vivi finally get through to Koza about Crocodile’s plan. As much as I appreciated the realism of her earlier failure, I really wanted that reconciliation. It was less important to me that she gets her message across to the people of the nation – someone is going to save them, even if it isn’t her – but I wanted her childhood friend to learn the truth. The fact that he got shot immediately after was devastating – I literally gasped when it happened.
In these episodes, we got to hear a little bit more about Crocodile’s goals. He’s trying to get his hands on an ancient weapon called Pluton. Acquiring power for the sake of acquiring power isn’t an especially interesting motive for me, so I doubt he’ll become one of my favorite villains. Still, it was interesting to get a glimpse of his overarching motive.
More than him, I’m interested in Nico Robin. Apparently, she’s got a criminal history dating back to her early childhood – but it seems like her heart’s not really in this whole Baroque Works thing. I’ve heard a few spoilers about her backstory, but I don’t know how many of them connect with what I’ve learned so far in the Arabasta arc. I’m looking forward to finding out.
Check back in two weeks for my thoughts on the conclusion of the arc!