One Piece Arc Analysis by dailyfiber from Apforums Foosha to Syrup Spoiler The first thing the reader is shown is the execution of Gold Roger. It is something every One Piece fan is familiar with, and I feel it does a great job of setting both the adventurous tone and state of the world that One Piece is in. One Piece’s world is in its great age of piracy, and the pirates are after Roger’s fabled treasure. The story begins properly in Foosha Village. We can obviously see the influence Shanks’ crew have on Luffy, and we see that he’s determined and ambitious, but at the same time a little naive about the realities of being a pirate. Meanwhile the Red Hair Pirates are constantly seen with smiles on their faces, partying and having a great time, so we grow to like them pretty much immediately. Shanks is a good natured guy, himself. After all, he’s on good terms with pretty much everybody, like Makino, and even mayor Woop Slap says he’s a good guy. He’s able to laugh off his confrontation with Higuma, showing that he’s not petty, and cleans up the mess himself, which makes us like him and by extension his crew even more. I want to mention something I noticed here. While Higuma’s being an ass, we’re shown two different panels of Luffy eating the Gomu Gomu no Mi. This may seem minor, but it blows my mind every single time I see it. At no point in the future while reading the story will we be we left wondering where Luffy got his powers from, or what exactly those powers entail. We’ve already seen it, all while doing the business of the plot in the bar. The stuff we see in Foosha Village is usually relegated to future flashbacks in most stories, but I’m glad One Piece begins with all of this. It gives the early chapters a better pacing to them, as a lot of questions we might have had about Luffy as a character, his motivations, or what he can do are put to rest. Ultimately Shanks will end up saving Luffy after Luffy confronts Higuma about the earlier scene in the bar. Shanks speech about how he’ll laugh off little things, but won’t stand for anyone hurting his friends is great, and it emphasizes one of the core themes of One Piece as a whole which is friendship. It’s also great to see Lucky Roo and Benn Beckman beat up the bandits. They are Pirates, after all, and we need to see them getting serious, especially after they were insulted before. At the end of the day Foosha Village serves to complete all the major things a story needs in its setup, but it does it in a very memorable manner. One thing I’ve loved about One Piece is how some of the most iconic moments of the entire series come from the very first Chapter. We won’t get the significance of Shanks’ haki yet, but him getting his arm bitten off and passing on the hat to a tearful Luffy are great and memorable story moments, ingrained in the hearts of every One Piece fan. The first chapter basically helps us understand Luffy more as a character, and establishes Shanks as both mentor to look up to, but also a goal to surpass for him. It also sets the tone for the story to come. Themes of friendship, adventure, and ambition. Now that Luffy’s grown up, he ends up getting sucked into a whirlpool ultimately to meet Coby. It just shows how naive and carefree he is, even in dangerous situations. Coby’s role in this part of the story is basically exposition. He gives more information about what becoming the Pirate King means, and that One Piece is Roger’s lost treasure. Coby also talks about how astronomically low Luffy’s chances are, and how every Pirate is pretty much after the treasure. One of East Blue’s aspects is basically build up for the Grand Line and how tough it’s going to be, and what challenges await there. So we need to hear Coby say this stuff because it gives the goal of becoming Pirate King some grounding. The Grand Line is given an ominous air as it's referred to as the “Pirates’ Graveyard”. Early East Blue is light and simple from a storytelling perspective. We’re still learning about these characters so we need confrontations and storylines that aren’t too intense. Still, I feel that the strength of East Blue really falls upon the fact that Luffy as a character is easily digestible. We get a good idea of his character and what his goals are, and more importantly why. Because we don’t have to focus on these things, the story is free to set up its world and the other characters Luffy will eventually meet. This is sort of minor but I love how Luffy beats Alvida only after Coby tells her off, he didn’t lift a finger before. Luffy will definitely fight for people he likes who show some courage for their goals, but may not necessarily have the ability to see them carried out. We see a similar thing happen with Usopp later on, but it shows us more about Luffy and how he supports people he cares about. Once we get into Shells Town it’s mentioned that Luffy should get himself a navigator. The fact that Luffy’s crew is undermanned is a recurring aspect of East Blue, and one that the story will tackle by the time they head out for the Grand Line. We came here so Luffy could recruit Zoro, and Zoro comes across as a pretty sinister guy at first. After all, we already know he’s a pirate hunter from Alvida and Coby, who both referred to him as demonic. The scene with Zoro, Helmeppo, and the rice balls is great. It lets us know that Helmeppo is a jackass for crushing a poor little girl’s rice balls into the dirt, and that Zoro’s ultimately a good guy for eating them even in that state, just to make the girl happy. It’s at this point that Luffy starts to like Zoro, and it’s the same for the reader. Zoro’s flashback with Kuina gives his character and motivations some more depth. He made a promise with her that one of them would become the best swordsman, but because she died he lost his rival, the girl he wanted to surpass. Zoro’s use of three swords makes him very unique, and I don’t think I know of any character in any other story who uses three swords. I find his use of swords makes for a great contrast with Luffy's punches. Having said that, I would expect the first crewmember to contrast with Luffy greatly, but surprisingly Zoro is fairly similar to Luffy character wise. They’re determined, have similar values, interests in fighting, and even their dreams are similar. They’re somewhat simple minded, but have pure hearts. Helmeppo and his dad were jackasses, but it’s nice to be shown Marines who are ultimately good guys. Morality in One Piece is certainly not black and white. Coby following through with his dream of becoming a Marine is a fairly minor thing story wise as we just met this guy, but it’s the first instance of a very important recurring aspect of the story. I’ve talked about this in another thread but I might as well point this out here. One of my favorite aspects of One Piece is how the Straw Hats are somewhat atypical as characters. Most protagonists in stories go through conflict, meet people, then are changed and developed by that conflict and those people. With the Straw Hats, it always seems to be reversed. It's the people they meet, because of the situations they get into, that end up being the ones who change. Coby here is a great example. As of the story right now, Coby becoming a Marine is not a major deal, but it’s the fact that he was able to get the courage through Luffy to both tell off Alvida and become a Marine that’s important. This trend happens frequently throughout One Piece, and it’s immensely satisfying to see it every time. It’s also the primary way Luffy gets people onto his crew in the first place. Next up is the Buggy Arc, and it’s the first real conflict the Straw Hats get into. Some Buggy Pirates talk about Nami, and we are shown both her cunning because she tricked them, and her skills at predicting the weather. There’s a nice recurring theme during the arc of treasure and what that word truly means to an individual, which ties into what it means to be a pirate. Luffy tells Nami his hat is his treasure, which just helps her and the reader understand a bit more what Luffy’s character is about. He’s not after gold, so he’s after something more meaningful--adventure. Buggy on the other hand is greedy, petty, destroys villages, and even uses his own crewmembers as shields, which all contrasts Luffy. The first three pirates he fights, Buggy, Kuro, and Don Krieg, serve to basically characterize Luffy by comparing him against what he isn’t. After Ritchie burns the pet store, he offers to give Luffy gold and apologies if he’ll leave him unharmed. Luffy says that apologies won’t bring back Chouchou’s treasure, and angrily tells him he’ll kick his ass. This is notable as it’s the first time in the story we’ve seen adult Luffy get angry, and considering what he’s angry over, it just serves to flesh him out as a character even more. Nami begins to understand Luffy a bit more, too, seeing that he’s different from the pirates she had met before. I don’t find Nami too terribly interesting at this stage of the story, but it’s hard to fault her, since a lot of her character is setup. She mentions that she’s trying to save up money to buy a certain village, but right now she comes across as greedily as Buggy does. She also hates Pirates. It’s all great setup that will pay dividends later on, as Nami’s character wouldn’t benefit nearly as much as it does later on if we didn’t touch upon these things here and now. At the very least we are shown that Nami does have a conscience. Her hate for most Pirates is justified, and she doesn’t mind leaving money for the villagers to fix up their village. To a certain extent I feel her immediate role in the story mirrors Coby a little. A normal person placed in the company of two superhumans, but who are generally inept at everything, even feeding themselves. Nami serves to give the reader a normal person’s perspective, she can provide exposition, and the crew will depend on her navigating skills and general expertise. Case in point, later on, she chastises Luffy and Zoro for not being prepared enough to head out for sea or the Grand Line. Luffy’s fight with Buggy is interesting, and I like that Luffy fights a Devil Fruit user so early into the story. All the combat up until now has been fairly straightforward, but Luffy’s fight with Buggy shows how crazy these fights can become. In fact they will only get crazier from here on out. It also sets up the world, there are people out there who have Devil Fruit abilities just like Luffy. Luffy also gets angry at Buggy for mentioning Shanks, saying that Shanks is a great pirate and Buggy shouldn’t put himself on the same level. Luffy obviously looks up to Shanks, but it just reinforces themes of what it means to be a Pirate, and gives us a bit more insight into Luffy based on who he considers to be a good pirate or not. The next destination is Syrup Village, where Usopp is introduced. He’s a liar and a coward, unlike the characters we’ve met so far, but he means well. Although the story is filled with comedy, Usopp is a primarily comedic character, and plays well off of the other Straw Hats. At Kaya’s mansion, Kuro insults Usopp’s pride and pirates in general, which causes the reader to dislike him pretty much instantly. Usopp though is deeply proud to be the son of a pirate, the pirate Yasopp. Yasopp was actually shown back in the first chapter, he had a bandanna with his name on it. We like the Red Hair Pirates, so when Usopp reveals who his father is and learns who he’s joined up with, we want Usopp to join Luffy, too. After Kuro is ousted as a pirate, Usopp tries to warn Kaya and the village but they don’t listen. It’s notable that Usopp’s desire is just to protect the village. It shows a lot about his character, he doesn’t care if people think he’s a liar, or about his reputation, he just wants the people he cares about to be safe. Although Usopp is so afraid his knees shake, he won’t back down from this which proves his courage. That’s why Luffy and Zoro will risk their lives to fight alongside him. While Usopp and Nami are battling the first wave of Kuro pirates, we see a little bit of Usopp’s arsenal. Like Zoro’s swords, Usopp’s slingshot and pachinko fit his character perfectly. He just wouldn’t be the same character if he used a gun. Usopp always had an inventive side to his character which shines with his different stars and attacks. Unlike Luffy and Zoro, he’s not physically strong, but he is tactically oriented and beats his opponents in clever ways. It all makes him pretty unique as a character. Kuro’s attitude and treatment of his crew contrasts Luffy and Usopp, which fleshes out their characters more. Luffy says Kuro can’t call himself a pirate because he’s not willing to put his life on the line for his goals. He states his dreams are far greater than Kuro’s plans, and that Kuro doesn’t know what a true pirate is supposed to be. This is really what their fight is about, not the stuff involving the village. Luffy’s ambition and conviction to become the Pirate King versus Kuro’s cowardly intentions to quit being a pirate and live a comfortable life. The point is brought home when Luffy says that Kuro, with all his men, is still inferior to Usopp because of the way he thinks. Even though Usopp is a coward on the outside and lacks physical prowess or confidence, he’s fundamentally brave and courageous at heart. It’s this quality and his willingness to put his life on the line for the sake of the people he cares about, despite being afraid, that Luffy fights in place of Usopp. Luffy angrily stated earlier that he would beat anyone who dared to laugh at Usopp. At his heart Usopp is more of a pirate than Kuro will ever be. The last straw for Luffy is when Kuro starts to attack his own crew. Furiously, Luffy demands to know what Kuro thinks his crewmembers are. Very few times in the story so far have we seen Luffy become enraged. Almost every time, it involves questionable actions or mentality of enemy pirates, and it helps the reader to better understand the kind of man Luffy is. In this case, we’re led to believe Luffy would never see his beloved crew as pawns the same way Kuro does. Before knocking him out, Luffy lets Kuro, and the reader, know he will never become a pirate like him. While Luffy knocks Kuro out, Usopp takes down Jango with a gunpowder star. In the end, with the help of the Straw Hats, he was able to save Kaya and the other villagers like he wanted. The Straw Hats are given a new ship by Merry, and Usopp joins them as a new crewmate. We’re then shown Usopp’s backstory, which gives us the origin of his lies. When his dying mother dismisses his lies as dreams, he retorts that he’s the son of a pirate, so of course he has dreams. Out of sadness, he continued to lie after his mother’s death, hoping that someday his father’s ship would come to pick up his son. It just shows the reader that Usopp was always a dreamer. After spending his years dreaming about grand adventures, Usopp can now go and live out his dreams and those adventures like he’s always wanted to. Having the Going Merry plus Usopp finally makes the Straw Hats feel like a real crew. Fittingly, and notably, it’s at this point that their Jolly Roger is created. Baratie Spoiler Next up is the Baratie arc. I absolutely love this arc, mostly because of all the little things it accomplishes in the background. It starts off with the Straw Hats discussing how they need a cook on their ship (also the first time Luffy says he needs a musician). This is the first time, not counting Nami, that the Straw Hats have recruited someone based on immediate necessity. After all, twice now Luffy and Zoro have been in sticky situations where they weren’t able to feed themselves, or didn’t have the proper supplies to. Tying into all of this is the introduction of Johnny and Yosaku, two characters from Zoro’s past. This is minor, but I like how Nami diagnoses Yosaku’s condition as scurvy, and then cures him with lime juice. Since One Piece takes place in a fantasy setting, it’s hard to gauge how technologically and culturally sophisticated the world is. Nami referencing scurvy as a problem of the past gives the reader some insight into this issue. It also reinforces the point that they really need someone on the ship who can track their nutrition for a long voyage. Johnny then leads the Straw Hats to Baratie. This restaurant on the sea is the first exotic, unique location the Straw Hats go to. So far, they’ve only been to villages. Sanji’s scene with Fullbody just shows us how powerful Sanji is, as well as his reverence towards food and his cordial attitude with women. Although Gin gets kicked out from the Baratie for not having money, he’s given food by Sanji and says it’s the best he’s ever had. Similar to Zoro’s scene with the rice balls, this scene makes Luffy and the reader start to like Sanji, and Luffy decides he will join as his cook. Gin leaves only to come back later with his boss. Don Krieg is considered the most powerful pirate in East Blue, yet his ship is in complete shambles. East Blue has all been set up for the Grand Line, but the Baratie arc proves its dangerous reputation. Krieg laughs at the idea of Luffy becoming Pirate King with only a handful of men, when he himself was decimated although he had a fleet of ships and hundreds of men. Furthermore, his entire fleet was destroyed by a single man, Hawk Eyes. Up until Baratie, we had only been told the Grand Line was powerful and dangerous, so now we see the effect it can have for ourselves. Fittingly, Luffy and Zoro both state their willingness to die for the sake of their dreams, showing their conviction. All of this is interrupted by Mihawk’s entrance, splitting what’s left of Don Krieg’s enormous ship in half. We’re told that Mihawk is the world’s strongest swordsman, and immediately there are several interesting characteristics about him. By this point, we’ve seen plenty of unique Pirate ships, but Mihawk rides alone on a small raft, without even a crew or unique flag. He’s also got a unique sword, and only tracked down the Krieg Pirates to kill time, implying that the rest of the Grand Line can’t cure his boredom. I absolutely love Mihawk’s duel with Zoro. Although Zoro goes all out, Mihawk is able to fend him off easily with a small dagger, which gives us a clear indication of the difference between Zoro and someone who’s at the top. Mihawk, however, is impressed with Zoro’s conviction and his spirit as a swordsman, and defeats him but spares his life. At this point we haven't seen Zoro lose before, and not nearly that badly. Zoro cries out to Luffy, the only time in the series he’s ever cried, that he will become stronger. This is also the very first time he acknowledges Luffy as the Pirate King. Zoro internalizes his defeat by Mihawk, and gains resolve because of it. He's given a reality check by fighting the strongest in the world. Notably, it's after this defeat that we get shots of Zoro training and lifting weights. Zoro’s dream up until now has been very abstract. He wants to be the best swordsman, but by itself that goal doesn’t actually mean anything. Losing Kuina, his rival, meant Zoro lost the person he wanted to surpass. Mihawk’s presence in the story as the best swordsman gives Zoro’s dream some much needed tangibility. Once Zoro beats Mihawk, he will have achieved his dream, the same way Luffy will be Pirate King once he finds One Piece. Usopp takes the wounded Zoro in pursuit of Nami, who absconded with the Going Merry. This is obviously all setup for the next arc, and wisely allows the rest of this arc to focus on Luffy and Sanji. Sanji’s fight with Pearl shows us his proficiency with kicks, which is unique and a good contrast with the rest of the Straw Hats. I especially like that he uses kicks because, as a cook, he doesn’t want to jeopardize his hands. It also shows how much he looks to Zeff. For the most part, the Straw Hats’ fighting styles compliment their respective personalities perfectly. Sanji’s backstory is great, and it gives context to his tense relationship with Zeff we’ve seen all throughout the arc. It also establishes All Blue as a legend all cooks dream about. It’s notable that kid Sanji initially reprimands the other cooks for eating other people’s leftovers, reasoning that they have enough food and they will replenish their supplies shortly. It’s great setup for the lesson he will learn soon enough. Sanji’s ordeal on the rock is unimaginable, and it’s heartbreaking to see him waste away after months without food. Ironically, Zeff points out the absurdity of his having insane amounts of treasure, but not being able to get any food to eat. The point is driven home when we see that Zeff has eaten his own leg to survive. It all gives us insight into why Sanji treats food and being a chef the way he does, and why he’ll never refuse to feed someone who is hungry. There’s also a nice parallel between Zeff losing a leg and saving Sanji, and Shanks losing an arm to save Luffy. Don Krieg, like Buggy and Kuro before him, fleshes out Luffy more as a character. Krieg is a cheater, he’s conceited, and his men follow him out of fear more than anything. He also has far more men and ships than Luffy will ever have, as well as having a multitude of weapons in his arsenal. While this does serve to contrast Luffy, it’s less about personality, and more to do with conviction. Even with all of his weapons and the loyalty of many men, Krieg’s great ambitions will never be able to beat Luffy’s conviction. Conviction has been a theme all throughout this arc, and it is the answer to a question Sanji has asked multiple times throughout the arc. By arc’s end, he understands why Luffy and Zoro can charge straight toward their dreams, despite opposition or the chance of death. I love the scene with Sanji and the soup. Sanji’s refusal to join Luffy has never been about proving his worth as a chef, despite what he’s been saying. In his heart Sanji really wants to go to the Grand Line, but he feels he can’t due to his debt with Zeff. Zeff on the other hand wants Sanji to go and live out his dreams. The whole thing comes home when Sanji tearfully thanks Zeff for his sacrifices, and Zeff and the rest of the cooks tearfully give him their goodbyes. It just goes to show how Sanji and Zeff truly care for eachother. One of One Piece’s themes is inherited will, and the dreams of people. Although they had the same dream before they met each other, Sanji has definitely inherited Zeff’s will to actually go out and find All Blue. Note ; this is NOT my work , all credits goes to dailyfiber from Apforums . I am simply posting this here so more people can be aware of his awesome analysis.