One Piece Diaries #45: Thriller Bark Arc #3

by Anna Lindwasser

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: 358 – 365 – Thriller Bark Arc

Right now I’m at that awkward halfway point in the arc where I’m not sure when I should talk about any particular plot point because everything is in flux. Also, because so many episodes revolve around 1/8 of a fight, the pacing feels super draggy and it’s hard to get invested. So, I’m looking forward to the final stretches of the arc when hopefully I’ll find things a bit more engaging.

But even though I’m not feeling super motivated to watch One Piece at the moment, I did enjoy some of what I saw.

My favorite part was probably Usopp’s battle with Perona. I find Perona delightful – her Lolita outfits, her weird round eyes and her creepy powers are perfect for the arc’s aesthetic. Is it weird that I keep imagining her with a Galarian Zigzagoon? Somebody draw that! Anyway, I really liked watching the two of them try to trick each other throughout the fight – and the fact that they didn’t completely hate each other. Usopp might have pretended he was going to hit Perona with a 10-ton mallet, but once she freaked out and lost consciousness he didn’t do anything to actually hurt her, even though he could have. Also, while Perona certainly did her level best to defeat Usopp, she also expressed real concern about his unhealthy negative mindset.

…I might have just talked myself into shipping them. Is this a common One Piece ship? I’m guessing not. Moving on.

Another part I liked was when Chopper confronted Dr. Hogback. While nobody was happy about what he was doing, Chopper really drove home how repulsive it is to dig up peoples’ bodies and use them as puppets, powering them with someone else’s soul. Cindry’s backstory also emphasized how evil Dr. Hogback really is. The man dug up the corpse of the woman he stalked and paraded it around trying to force it to fall in love with him. The moment when her old personality peaked through was beautiful, but it was also thought-provoking. What actually contains the self – the body, the soul, or the brain? I like that we’re playing with complex ideas here. Also, Chopper’s rage was totally understandable.

Meanwhile, there was another rage moment that was just plain stupid. Sanji revealed that he was mad at Absalom because he had the Clear-Clear Fruit, something Sanji wanted for himself so that he could turn invisible and spy on women while their bathing. I probably don’t have to explain why I hate this. Not only is it sexist, it’s also really not what he should be focusing on while trying to rescue Nami.

Whatever. It’s not like this is new. Instead of launching into yet another rant about this, let’s turn to Zoro’s fight with Ryuma. Zoro’s fights are never my favorite – I don’t know enough about sword-fighting to appreciate the intricacies, and straight action isn’t something I find super engaging. But this was still a pretty cool moment. Ryuma completely dispensed with Brook’s shadow’s influence and faced Zoro as himself – a warrior of historical renown, impressed by the next generation. He took him seriously and had a moment that closed out his existence in a beautiful way. I really felt it when Zoro said he wished he’d been able to meet Ryuma in real life.

While Ryuma and Cindry both got to reconnect with the personalities living in their bodies, the opposite is happening for Oars. He’s no longer influenced by Luffy’s shadow and has become Gecko Moria’s loyal servant. I really hope we get to learn something about who Oars was, before he was resurrected.

That’s all for now. I’ll most likely be writing the next review from Mexico, which is where I’m going for a vacation in a week. So if I end up reviewing fewer episodes than usual, it will be because I was too busy sightseeing and hanging out with my grandma. But I’ll be back with more Thriller Bark opinions soon.


For more of my work, check me out at Ranker, at Medium, on Twitter @annalindwasser and @sinistealatte, and on my website If you like my writing and want to help pay for my Crunchyroll subscription, you can donate to my Ko-Fi.

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