I thought I’d do something different and give out cast awards to who I thought were standouts in the arc. The superlatives will be awarded to those who aren’t Luffy – it would be unfair since, as the main character, he would probably win all of them.

By the way – I know a lot of One Piece fans and enthusiasts will probably think I’m late to the party, but don’t worry, I hope that some of my picks will be unconventional to the status quo.

If you’re like me and you’re getting started/part way through the show, or if you’re thinking of watching it, check out some of my other posts, including my review of the Thriller Bark arc and my ranking of the Straw Hats pre-time skip.

The awards that I’ll be handing out are as follows:

  1. MVP: Carried the storyline and participated in the best fights, excluding Luffy’s. Bonus points for comedic relief or performing a crazy, heroic, or incredibly important act/acts.
  2. Most Evil: Awarded to the “best” villian in the arc. Not only participated in the most entertaining fight sequences, but is particularly cruel and evil in some way.
  3. Most Improved: Was a character significantly worse beforehand? They could have improved through a variety of methods, including becoming significantly stronger, carrying more of the storyline and being more involved, or experiencing some sort of personal breakthrough.
  4. Fight of the Night: Two combatants will be awarded for what I believe the best fight was. Exceptions could be made for team battles, in which more than two combatants will be named.
  5. Shaqtin’ a Fool: Some poor idiot will be awarded this for making the most significant blunders in the arc.
Zoro vs Ryuma | Skateboard design, Roronoa zoro, Zoro
Zoro vs. Ryuma

MVP: The MVP Award goes to none other than Roranoa Zoro. Not only did he have an epic fight sequence with Ryuma, freeing Brook’s shadow and winning himself the Shusui, he also had one of the most important and defining moments of the One Piece series – sacrificing himself for his Captain, Luffy. Now, I think 99% of people would fully expect Zoro to survive, because common knowledge and spoilers tells us so, but in the heat of the moment, I was almost devastated by the thought of his travels ending early. Zoro’s loyalty and dedication to Luffy is, I believe, much stronger and deeper than most others in the crew, and it shines here. The MVP can go to no one else but Zoro.

Dr. Hogback | Anime-Planet
Dr. Hogback

Most Evil: It would be very easy to say Moira was the most evil person here. The simple act of stealing someone’s shadow and placing it into containers, just to let the original people live a life in the shadows, is horrible in and of itself. However, I think that since he’s a pirate, and pirates are lawless rogues anyway, such cruelty can be… expected? I think that the most evil person in this arc is actually Dr. Hogback. His actions directly lead to powering up Moria’s abilities with zombie-like creations. But most importantly, he completely disregarded morality in conducting his experiments. As shown during his ethical arguments with Chopper, and his actions in reviving Cindry, he completely disregards emotion, ethics, and morals in creating his vessels for Moira. As such, I believe Dr. Hogback actually wins the title of Most Evil.

Perona's Terror!! The U in Uso is the U in Usopp - One Piece S05E36 | TVmaze
Usopp’s “10 Ton” Hammer

Most Improved: This goes to Usopp. Having been sidelined in Water 7 and Enies Lobby (his role as Sogeking was more comedic than anything else, with having non 1v1 fights), his abilities shone when he went against Perona. With a mixture of wit, skill, and comedic genius, Usopp managed to defeat one of Moira’s officers, single-handedly.

Piece Out! When a Devil Fruit is More Than a Devil Fruit (Part Two) - The One  Piece Podcast
Oars Ball.

Fight of the Night: Straw Hats vs Oars. This was one of the best fights so far in the series. Perhaps this is controversial, as I’ve seen many people disappointed in the arc, but this fight itself was glorious, to say the least. Each Straw Hat pulled their own weight; I especially liked when Robin almost made it seem like they won with her special devil fruit powers…before Moria slipped away. Undoubtedly, this job showed Straw Hat’s exceptional teamwork, strength, and creativity in fighting Oars.

Shaqtin’ a Fool: Absalom was unable to find any love, and lost his battles to both Sanji and Nami. I think all characters were being both a little comical and tough this arc, so it was hard to find someone that really, royally messed up. But Absalom’s obsession to get married, instead of carrying out his duties in helping Moira, probably contributed to his downfall. If he wasn’t so distracted, he could have lead the zombies and zombie generals in a more cohesive way.

So, those are my picks for the Thriller Bark arc! Impel Down review and awards are coming up soon. Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. A WordPress account is not needed, just an email to receive notifications!