As I’ve just finished watching the Impel Down arc, I thought it would be cool to give out some “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.
Check out some of my earlier posts as well, including Ranking the Straw Hats Pre-Time Skip and my review of the Impel Down Arc.
Using the same system as last time I handed out arc awards, the awards that I’ll be handing out are as follows:
- MVP: Carried the storyline and participated in the best fights, excluding Luffy’s. Bonus points for comedic relief.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shaqtin’ a Fool: Some poor idiot will be awarded this for making the most significant blunders in the arc.
Remember that these superlatives are all in good fun and are in no way a serious, detailed ranking or review of the arc! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below.
MVP: The MVP of the arc will unequivocally go to Mr. 2, aka Bon Kurei (or Bon Clay). Immediately upon being released, Bon Kurei rushes to Luffy’s help (unlike Buggy and Mr. 3). He then proceeds to pretty much carry Luffy for the rest of the arc – and in some cases, literally physically carrying him to find help. Luffy received help from the likes of Buggy, Mr. 3, Crocodile, Jimbei and Ivankov, but he would be dead if it weren’t for Bon Kurei. His final act of the arc – sacrificing himself to ensure everyone else’s escape using his devil fruit ability, cements his nomination for MVP.
Most Evil: This award goes to Shiryu. It would be easy to simply give this award to any of the antagonists, with Magellan a close runner-up. But it’s too simple to just give the award who was the most in Luffy’s way. Magellan, at the end of the day, isn’t made of pure evil. He stood for what he believed in – justice and fulfilling his duty – and (from his point of view,) fought against criminals trying to break out of prison. He has a good relationship with his employees and right-hand man Hannyabal, and is shown to have good, light-hearted moments, given his terrifying ability. So though Luffy never even encountered him, Shiryu is actually the most evil person in this arc. As the former head jailer, he was clearly more evil and sadistic than Magellan was, and when he was free, immediately switched sides to join Blackbeard. He even killed his own (former) colleagues and showed no interest other than in killing people and exercising his own power. Compared to Magellan and Hannyabal, Shiryu is clearly evil-hearted and sadistic. The winner for Most Evil goes to him.
Most Improved: This is a difficult one. Since these are a lot of characters who are either new or those who were jailed for a long time, it’s difficult to gauge how much Mr. 3 or Crocodile improved, for example, because they’ve been stuck in jail. However, one person did have noticeable improvement – Buggy. We’ve seen Buggy only once, in the Orange Town Arc, where he was readily defeated by Luffy. In fact, the only time he posed areal threat to Luffy was when he was just beginning on his journey. Afterwards, we’ve seen Luffy get stronger and stronger, while we’ve just seen Buggy a few times on misadventures looking for his body, or partying around. It seems unlikely for someone who acts Usopp-esque in cowardice and refuses to train to be “Most Improved” – but I believe he is. First, he improved upon the old Buggy ball, using one to dispatch an “awakened” Zoan-type – the only other people to provide a one-hit KO to them were Jimbei, Crocodile, and Luffy. He also amassed an incredibly large following after freeing prisoners in the 1st and 2nd levels, and was revealed to be associated with Shanks, and was an apprentice of Gol D. Roger’s. This thrust him into the limelight in the Government’s eyes, although the other powerful members of the group knew he was still weak (Ivankov, for example, mentioned how each crew has an odd one out). Nonetheless, this arc showed us Buggy’s true power in charisma, luck, and being at least powerful enough to “hang” with the other big names.
Fight of the Night: Not many one-on-one battles occurred, and fewer were even shown. We missed out on the details of Ivankov and Magellan’s fight, so the only real one we saw in full was Luffy vs. Magellan and Luffy vs. Hannyabal (which was really just a beatdown on Hannyabal). Though I really enjoyed Luffy vs. Magellan and I thought it was a great way to show Luffy wasn’t unbeatable, I think that a better fight was Luffy and Mr. 3 vs. Magellan, right at the end of the arc. Mr. 3 played a very background role in the story, so much so that I was wondering why he was even included. His role was finally revealed at the end, with Candle Wall being the only ability that could stop Magellan’s poison. Even Crocodile had to comment he wasn’t completely useless. His surprise moment allowed Luffy to invent ways to finally land blows on Magellan, and the two managed to have a decent fight before Magellan became a demon.
Shaqtin’ a Fool: As much as I like him, the person who made the most and worst blunders was Hannyabal. Way too obsessed with taking Magellan’s job, he managed to completely mismanage Impel Down while Magellan was transporting Ace, and allowed three instances of riots happen at once. Of course, he happened to take over during an incredibly difficult break-out, but he easily collapsed under pressure and wasn’t able to shut things down on his own.
Those are my picks for the Impel Down Awards? Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to let me know if I snubbed anyone! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more One Piece content, including rankings, reviews, and theories!