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: 131 – 135 – Post-Arabasta Arc
Now that the Arabasta arc is over, it’s time for some filler. This arc featured a series of standalone episodes that focused on individual characters. Nothing really happened to advance the plot or significantly develop the characters, so if you’re looking to get through the series at a faster pace, you can probably skip these. But they’re entertaining enough, so if you’re not in a rush, watching them won’t hurt. They’re all totally disconnected from one another, so I’ll address them all individually.
Ep. 131 saw the crew gathering fruit on an island. This was a pretext to give Chopper and Robin some bonding time, and to do a flashback about Chopper’s first time making his rumble balls. My main gripe about this episode is that I wanted to actually see Chopper and Robin interact. The flashback wasn’t all that interesting. It didn’t reveal anything new about Chopper that we didn’t already know from the Drum Island arc, so it felt like a waste of time.
Ep. 132 involved a salesman who accidentally ends up on the Going Merry and ends up leaving some high-quality paper that Nami can use for map-making. The rest of the crew accidentally destroys her work, and she gets angry. This episode did a good job of emphasizing Nami’s passion for navigation, but it wasn’t especially memorable or interesting.
To be fair, I did watch this one in about three separate chunks while I was visiting my family – maybe I didn’t give it the attention it deserved.
I really enjoyed Ep. 133. It was about Sanji going out of his way to help a kid who was an apprentice chef to the Marines. He sees himself in this kid, and wants to help him succeed, so he does it through subtle hints. First of all, I really admired Sanji’s teaching ability. I’ve worked in education, and it can be really challenging to figure out how much information is enough to help them succeed without spoon-feeding them the answer. It was also really nice to see Sanji focused on his passion for cooking, rather than on his less-compelling pervert side.
Ep. 134 was about Usopp’s meeting with an elderly man and his granddaughter. The two come from a family that’s been creating fireworks for decades. A year ago, the little girl’s parents passed away trying to set off a gigantic firework, and now she wants to carry on their legacy by doing the same. Usopp convinces her to prioritize her own survival so that she can carry her parent’s dream in the future. Meanwhile, her more experienced grandfather lights an enormous firework that stuns everyone. It was a beautiful episode and probably my favorite in the bunch.
Ep. 135 was about Zoro’s mercenary days. This was probably the least interesting episode to me. I guess it was nice to find out how he got involved with Yosaku and Johnny, and I liked the detail about Zoro constantly breaking his swords until he mastered his style, but overall it just didn’t do it for me. The episodes that are about fighting and being manly for the sake of it are just not my vibe, and I don’t really care about Johnny or Yosaku. I did think it was funny that the bandit was named Dick, because I’m a child.
Next up is the ‘Goat Island’ arc, which is more filler. Hopefully it’ll still be a good time despite that.