As I’m watching through the Fishman Island Arc – admittedly taking a while due to long work days – I thought I’d go backwards in time and start reviewing some of the previous Arcs in the show. The thing to keep in mind is this – I’m looking backwards in time, so my review will be tainted based on what I know in the future, forgetting some things, etc. My first post tackles a big one – Enies Lobby.

One Piece - Walk To Enies Lobby English Dub - YouTube
Straw Hats Take On Enies Lobby

To me, Enies Lobby signals the first time Luffy and his crew is shown as a major threat against the World Government. This is for two main reasons: 1. The presence of Nico Robin, and 2. Their invasion and destruction of Enies Lobby. The arc also is a major point of development for the crew – each began showing new skills in battle. Luffy, for example, showcased his newfound Gears 2 and 3, which proved to be important in defeating CP9. Sogeking unveiled his new Kabuto weapon, and Nami began incorporating mirages in her attacks. Zoro continued expanding his slashing skillset, and Sanji began using the Diable Jambe technique. And most importantly, Chopper exposed himself as a massive monster.

Never Watched One Piece — 290-93: "Uncontrollable! Chopper's Forbidden...
Chopper’s Monster Point

I think the most important aspect of this arc from a storytelling perspective is Oda’s ability to intertwine so many different plotlines into one arc. I don’t think this has been replicated in the next arcs (Impel Down, Marineford, or Fishman Island) and it hasn’t been done so cleverly before either. Oda tied together the stories of Franky, Nico Robin, and Usopp leaving the crew all into one massive arc. He cleverly intertwined Franky’s backstory with Pluton, interconnecting his story to Nico Robin’s almost as if by fate. And Usopp as Sogeking in the background served as clever comedic relief, but also ended up becoming a major heart-melting aspect of the story as they are reunited before departing Water 7.

Some other highlights:

  • Great callback to the Giants and Elbaf, which helped increase Sogeking’s role in the arc.
  • Nice look into how a devil fruit user consumes and learns to use their new techniques real-time, as we watch two devil fruit users eat and then use their techniques.
  • The Straw Hat’s difficulty in freeing Robin and escaping the island is only a testament to their eventual break-up and two year training period.
  • A great addition to have a water train, which reminded me of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. It definitely added to the adventure/fantasy aspect of the show.
  • An incredibly sad end to the Going Merry, and I wish that Oda continued with the “ship’s spirit” and Klabautermann with the Thousand Sunny.

Not only was Enies Arc one of the most important and massive arcs, it showcased Oda’s storytelling ability very well, and it was one of my favorites (as well as being universally liked). What do you guys think? I’ll post soon with my picks for the Arc Awards.