One Piece Diaries #21 – Skypiea Arc #1
by Anna Lindwasser
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: 153 – 163 – Skypiea Arc
The ‘Skypiea’ arc is another long one, so I’ll be dividing my reviews into chunks of approximately ten episodes.
It started out interesting, but right now I am just not feeling it. I’ve actually been told that Skypiea is totally skippable since most of it isn’t relevant to the overall story. I’m not doing that, but part of me is wishing I had.
The arc begins with the Straw Hats finally entering the Sky Island they spend the Jaya arc trying to get to. They learn a little bit about their new environment – for example, everything runs on dials and there are different kinds of clouds that can be repurposed in various forms. They also meet Conis and Pagaya, who let them hang out for a little while until they get on the bad side of the nation’s religious authority. After that, they have no choice but to betray them if they want to survive.
I felt like we didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the new world before moving into a series of poorly-paced fights. After Conis tricks Nami, Robin, Zoro, and Chopper are tricked into heading to the Upper Yard, which is where the god Enel lives, Sanji, Luffy and Usopp go after them. To do that, they’ll have to deal with their choice of “ordeals.” They choose the “ball ordeal” which leads them to Satori, one of Enel’s priests.
At no point was this fight even remotely intriguing to me. Satori’s moves weren’t interesting, and he didn’t seem to have any motive or purpose aside from being god’s servant. Luffy and Sanji didn’t do anything I cared about either. Apparently, a lot of people dropped the series around this point. I’m going to push through, but I get it. Right now, I am not exactly enthusiastic about the show. I want to know more about Skypiea itself – it seems like a unique society run by what sounds like a cult leader, and I care about that way more than about Satori’s weird bubbles or the Straw Hat’s seemingly endless journey to the Upper Yard.
Hopefully, things will improve from here. I’m not totally writing off the arc yet – I haven’t even met the main villain. I don’t want to end this review on a downer note, so I’ll point out one thing I did like – the creatures! Su is cute as heck, and I can’t think of a more noble steed than Pierre.