Connect with us

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked from Cabin Boy to Pirate King

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Entertainment

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked from Cabin Boy to Pirate King

Today, we’ve got all the best One Piece arcs ranked from worst to best.

One Piece is undeniably among the most prolific manga and anime series of all time. Host to a plethora of iconic moments and arcs, it is a standard of what Shonen anime could be, always striving to provide even bigger thrills in the next cour. Over the course of its story though, some arcs have definitely proven better than others. To that end, we’re here to break down the best One Piece arcs, ranked from passable to phenomenal.

30. Orange Town

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Let’s be clear that the Orange Town arc of One Piece isn’t a bad arc by any means. In terms of One Piece arcs though, it feels the most like it still doesn’t have its identity nailed down.

Granted, there are elements of the series proper that shine through. Buggy the Clown makes his flamboyant debut, alongside his colorful cast of crewmates that exemplify One Piece’s cartoonish charm. Luffy getting revenge for Chouchou is touching, and the battles give a glimpse of the fun and excitement that can come from the series’ conflicts.

Past that though, everything else feels too cookie-cutter compared to the rest of the series. The main cast doesn’t have enough time to be fleshed out further or interact with one another, and the setting of Orange Island itself is largely bland and forgettable.

It’s basically a proof of concept, and goes to show how much better the series would become compared to where it started.

29. Romance Dawn

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

In comparison, the Romance Dawn arc of One Piece suffers from many of the same problems but is slightly better at establishing its characters and wider plot.

Largely thanks to Luffy’s introduction and his origin story, the arc feels driven by a specific goal. It wants to establish the protagonist of the story, how Shanks helped shape his dreams and aspirations, and what kind of King of the Pirates Luffy aims to be. His interactions with Coby and Zoro are also a great preview of how the character dynamics would eventually be, and how their backstories would play pivotal roles in their stories.

Unfortunately, its settings are still a bit flat and the character development lacks that full One Piece flavor of the following arcs. Toss in the fact that the few battles are lackluster, and the arc feels like it’s still feeling out how the rest of the story will go.

28. Syrup Village

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

One Piece’s Syrup village arc marks an important turning point for the series, though not in the ways one would expect.

While its villain feels the most developed out of any up to that point, the crewmate introduced is its bright point. Usopp gets the best backstory and introduction out of the current main cast, receiving a clear motivation and drive for his pirate dreams. Likewise, the setting finally feels like a proper location that fits into the larger world, with characters that at least start to be as memorable as the key characters.

In terms of flaws, it mainly feels drawn out in areas so that it can extend the central conflict. Likewise, the setting still feels a little lackluster, though it does show signs of improvement compared to the arcs ranked below it on this list.

27. Reverse Mountain

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Laboon is unquestionably the best whale boy, but the Reverse Mountain arc is too short to leave the impact that it could have.

Granted, it does have plenty of emotional heart. On top of getting to see the crew together and entering the gateway to the Grandline, some of their core dynamics begin to form and their personalities bounce off of each other naturally. The fights are also decent, and The setting is far more imaginative and creative compared to past locations.

Compared to other arcs, though, it’s barely there long enough to tell its story. This keeps it from standing anywhere near the more monumental arcs in the series, but still helps it climb above some of the less developed cours on this list.

26. Whiskey Peak

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Whiskey Peak may not be the most memorable of the One Piece arcs, but it certainly has some of the best action and fight scenes.

A stepping stone for several more important arcs, this small town in the Grand Line is definitely remembered more for Zoro taking center stage. It sees him carve his way through waves of other bounty hunters, battling it out with a confused Luffy, and testing one of the blades that would end up becoming a trademark weapon of his throughout the series proper. There’s also the twists and reveals it hosts, which are integral to the impact of the arcs that would follow and Vivi’s character development.

Past that though, it can feel superficial due to its lack of real relevance as a location. The short-lived and artificial conflict between Luffy and Zoro is also less exciting than it could have been, leaving Whiskey Peak lower on our ranking than it otherwise could have been.

25. Long Ring Long Land

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

To be clear, Long Ring Long Land has a lot going for it creativity-wise among the One Piece arcs.

While it feels the most like filler out of any of the series’ canon material, it’s also one of the most fun. It plays around with its setting to decent effect, and the main cast of characters are able to bounce off of each other’s personalities while competing in Silver Fox Foxy’s Davy Back Games. Luffy’s fight with Foxy is also a ton of fun to watch, with the usual back and forth combat replaced with devious tricks and working around fiendish traps.

Overall though, it feels almost irrelevant to the wider story. None of the characters achieve any growth or development, and the emotional stakes are minimal. As such, it won’t rank among the best One Piece arcs for many people, ourselves included.

24. Logue Town

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

While the argument could be made for the Logue Town arc to rank lower among the best One Piece arcs, it’s worth noting that it’s one of the better setup arcs in the series.

Primarily focused on fleshing out characters and preparing future storylines, this arc has a ton of great character moments and shocking reveals. Characters like Smoker and Tashigi are also introduced in a way that makes them feel relevant to the larger plot, and their dynamics with Luffy and Zoro are interesting enough to make the idea of seeing them again exciting.

This is to say nothing of the great comparisons drawn between Luffy and Roger, and the attention given to the lasting impact piracy has had on the shaping of the larger world.

With that said, this is a setup arc, and it shows in the limited scope of Logue Town as an arc proper. There’s no real villain or dillema to overcome aside from escaping the Navy at the end, and it’s most memorable for moments that hint at larger arcs. To that end, it falls lower on our rankings, but is still a marked improvement over some of the arcs that preceded it.

23. Jaya

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Among the setup arcs, Jaya feels the most split between telling its own story and providing context for future events.

Granted, it does both of these jobs admirably. Its introduction of Blackbeard, and the smaller conflict between Luffy and Bellamy, set the stage for later events and conflicts perfectly while also providing payoff to the smaller stories they tell. It also provides just enough time for the main characters to have some solid interactions with one another and the minor characters introduced on Jaya.

Overall, this arc is overshadowed by the arcs it sets the satage for, and it slips to the lower portion of our rankings as a result.

22. Drum Island

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Drum Island may not be the best out of the One Piece arcs, but it still has plenty of strengths going for it.

Host to one of the better settings in the early series, this arc’s locale of a snowy nation without doctors is the perfect set dressing for Chopper’s origin story. The Strawhat Pirates’ doctor also gets plenty of opportunities to shine here, whether it’s in his first interactions with the rest of the crew or with the island’s residents during the flashbacks to his past.

The fights are also decent enough, but they definitely lack any real tension due to Wapol’s shallow characterization, the arc’s placement in the series and the better antagonists being alluded to for later arcs. All the same, it’s a decent enough background arc and fits nicely within the lower middle rankings.

21. Little Garden

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Little Garden inhabits an interesting niche among the One Piece arcs, and balances out its lesser points with its strengths nicely.

To its credit, the story it tells is an interesting one. The concept of two giants duking it out for centuries on an uninhabited island, and being oblivious to their lasting infamy or the threats that close in on them as a result, are perfect set dressing for the Strawhats’ own dilemmas. Likewise, the way it feeds into the following arcs feels natural, and its villain Mr. 3 provides some unique challenges for Luffy and the crew to overcome.

Like other setup arcs though, its brief runtime and limited scope keep it from rising very high in a ranking of the best One Piece arcs and leaves it as a fun introduction to what the Grand Line will offer.

20. Baratie

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

One of the stronger arcs found in the East Blue saga, the Baratie is a short and sweet cour that sets up future events nicely.

Introducing Sanji with both a current antagonist and a commendable backstory, the arc is largely driven by conflict and the securing of the Strawhats’ fifth crew member. Zoro gets some time to be fleshed out further too, taking on the best swordsman in the world via Mihawk and gaining a more tangible goal to pursue throughout the story.

The setting is also the most creative out of any shown in the earliest portion of the series. Where others blend together due to all taking place in small towns, the Baratie’s seafaring restaurant is a novel and captivating locale that speaks to Eichiro Oda’s creative streak.

Unfortunately, its villain is one note and forgettable, and while Sanji’s backstory and goodbye carries plenty of emotional stakes, the arc doesn’t hold a candle to similar moments in the series (Sanji’s true backstory from the Big Mom arc included). As such, it falls a bit lower on this list than it might have a few years ago.

19. Impel Down

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation

Impel Down can be a blast to watch, but only after it stops fuddling around looking for ways to stretch itself out.

Host to some of the most fun and outlandish characters in the series, this navy stronghold is the perfect setting for the arc’s hyperactive prison break antics. There are fights galore, a race to the lower levels in search of the captured Ace, and Luffy taking on an insurmountable enemy with a colorful cast of allies.

The return of villains like Buggy, Mr. 3, Bon Clay and Crocodile is also a welcome surprise, breathing some spontaneity into the already bonkers series of events. Their personalities mesh perfectly with both Luffy and the new additions like Ivankov, leading to some great comedy and heartfelt declarations alike.

However, it also can’t be ignored that this arc is far more drawn out than it probably should have been. Going down to the bottom of the prison, only to try and go right back up to escape, doesn’t serve the pacing of the arc well. Likewise, the setting loses its appeal when so much of it is spent in identical passageways, draining the fun and creativity out of the floors proper that were introduced during the descent.

It’s still a fun arc, but doesn’t stack up nearly as well when held against the better-paced stories in the series.

18. Amazon Lily

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Amazon Lily is without question a necessary break from the serious nature of Sabaody.

Following the separation of the Strawhats, Luffy’s struggle to properly survive on this island is surprisingly engaging and lends itself well to what would be established in following arcs. The characters are also excellent additions to the larger world, with Boa Hancock remaining the strongest of those who take the stage during this time.

However, it does suffer from some awkward pacing and an unclear direction for the story at its start. Likewise, it falls somewhere in-between being a setup arc and an arc proper, never truly landing on either side or perfecting its balancing act.

Regardless, it helps alleviate the trauma caused by the preceding arc, and prepares viewers for one of the more exceptional arcs that would take place shortly after.

17. Revelry

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

We wouldn’t blame anyone for ranking this arc lower on their own lists, but for us, the Revelry arc is nearly the best setup arc in the series.

Finally shining some light on some of the bigger storylines that continued to be shrouded in mystery, this arc also offers new mysteries for fans to ponder. The man with the long crown who goes to a long-hidden Straw Hat sits at the top of said mysteries, and how he’ll play into the final arc remains a hotly contested debate.

There’s also the interactions between characters that have been impacted by past events, whether those included the Strawhats or other major characters. Seeing the wider reverberations of the events in the story, and how they’ve impacted major players on the world stage, is an exciting series of events that is huge for anyone who has experienced every moment of the story up to this arc.

It’s only downsides are the lack of action and the briefness of the arc, but both are fairly forgivable and keep this arc from falling too low in our one piece arc rankings.

16. Fishman Island

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

The first arc proper of the New World half of the story, Fishman Island isn’t quite the triumphant return that it could have been.

While its villains serve a thematic purpose, they don’t really do much else aside from serve as test dummies for the Strawhats to use their new techniques on. Likewise, the storyline revolving around Sanji’s perversion-related blood loss is an obtuse and cringey way to introduce a key story element.

And yet, it’s also hard not to point out how well the series does in other regards. Its setting is one of the most imaginative, fully fleshing out the idea of a civilization under the sea and how it would function. The main characters have some great back-and-forths between themselves and other characters, and major themes of racism, slavery and putting aside prejudices are all tackled fairly well.

It’s an arc with a ton of heart, and even if it isn’t perfect, it still stands as one of the better One Piece arcs.

15. Punk Hazard

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Out of every One Piece arc, Punk Hazard might be the most evenly balanced in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.

On one hand, it has a fantastic premise set on a phenomenally creative island. The site of illegal scientific experiments and a clash between admirals, it has some of the craziest scenery and enemies in the series. The way the Strawhats get caught up in this craziness feels natural, and the conflicts between them and the turncoating Vergo is engaging enough to feel like a step up from Fishman Island.

The inclusion of Trafalgar Law, Tashigi and Smoker in the arc is also a welcome surprise, finally giving them some much needed depth after after all of their respective abscences. Law in particular is a strong point, nabbing the spotlight and establishing him as a key character in arcs to come.

On the other hand, the arc is excessively long when it realistically is only meant to set up Dressrosa. Caesar Clown is also a lackluster villain, and his final fight with Luffy feels anticlimactic at best.

As such, it easily falls dead center among every One Piece arc, ranked not among the lower arcs but also below the better arcs.

14. Zou

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Compared to other setup arcs in our ranking of every One Piece arc, Zou is a shining example of how to do such a cour properly.

Providing a ton of great characters for the Strawhats to converse with, this arc is all about preparing its characters and the readers for what’s ahead. It gives them some new allies to work with, a central antagonist to aim for in the coming arcs, and some backstory to motivate them in their drive to engage in some untraditional piracy.

The idea of an animal-person island located atop an ancient sentient elephant is also so bonkers and imaginative that it’s impossible not to have fun with it. This is all the more true when said elephant immediately obliterates a minor enemy that could have been taken out the usual way, expediting the story so that the arc doesn’t overstay its welcome.

If it weren’t for this arc’s short length and the quality of the arcs above it, this portion of the story would have easily ranked even higher on our rankings.

13. Return to Sabaody

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

To be clear, the Return to Sabaody arc only works as well as it does because of the payoff it provides thanks to other arcs.

After what was years of the Strawhats being separated – both in the story and during the original release of the manga and anime – they’re finally reunited in the same place where they were torn apart. Not only that, but they all receive powerups that make their future endeavors in the New World plausible and more exciting. This is all topped off with redesigns for each character, which stand alongside their original designs almost flawlessly.

It really only falls in our One Piece arc rankings due to its short length, and due to the fact that it really doesn’t stand on its own as well as some other arcs on this list.

12. Thriller Bark

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

It’s always tough to follow up what many would call a perfect pair of arcs, but Thriller Bark does an admirable job all things considered.

Running with its idea of an artificially created horror island, the arc is an homage to everything great about the genre. There are zombies, vampires, ghosts and other monsters galore, as well as jokes to go along with the spooks and scares. The fights are also a solid mix of action and creativity, with Usopp’s in particular standing out as one of the most clever in the series.

It maintains this appeal throughout the arc too, and only really loses steam with its final fight between Luffy and Moria. Luffy’s Nightmare power-up, while cool, feels like a Deus Ex Machina that doesn’t fall in line with the theme of him using his own power-ups to better take on the threats of the Grand Line’s latter section.

Past that though, it’s a solid arc with plenty to love, and the “Nothing Happened” moment alone makes it one of the better One Piece Arcs, ranked or no.

11. Post-War Flashback

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

While it’s fair to point out that this arc would have hit so much harder before the events of the paramount war, it’s also hard not to see it as one of the better One Piece arcs around.

Finally fleshing out the details of Luffy and Ace’s brotherly relationship, this arc gives context for why they wanted to be pirates and what drove them to pursue their dreams despite everything stacked against them. It also introduces their other brother Sabo, and shows the impact his life and supposed death had on their growth and development.

The decision Luffy makes after looking back on this is phenomenal too, giving the series its driver for its two year time skip in addition to a heartfelt sendoff for Ace.

It stands among the best even when considering every One Piece arc together, and is a high point for the series past and present.

10. Skypiea

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Skypiea gets a bit of a bad rap among One Piece fans, but it’s hard not to see the arc for its many strengths.

The follow-up to the phenomenal Alabasta arc, Skypiea opts to go in a different direction compared to what came before it. Instead of non-stop drama and grounded conflicts, it vies for creative clashes between unexpected characters and a slew of creative additions to the world’s lore. Its villain Eneru is also one which is used to great effect, towering over his followers like a lightning-imbued menace until he meets his natural enemy in the rubberized Luffy.

It’s story is also something to be commended. Weaving together a tale from the past with the one playing out in the present narrative, it masterfully creates a tragic epic with heartbreak and payoff galore. This also introduces a new element into the wider series where great stories could be told outside of the Strawhats and their interactions. While it’s still a little rough in this arc, this goes to prove the quality of the world Oda has put together.

It really only falls this low in our rankings because what lands above it is so good. It truly is one of the best One Piece arcs, and is a sign of how good the series to come would be.

9. Whole Cake Island

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Whole Cake Island is both an amazing culmination of past storylines and a mess of chaotic moments, but it’s mostly better for all of it.

Making good on the conflict between the Strawhats and Big Mom Pirates that had been teased for years, this arc is filled with fights galore and a race to escape certain doom. Luffy and his crew are able to put all their new abilities on full display, and the way they’re used keeps readers or viewers guessing as to what will happen next.

This is also weaved perfectly together with other storylines, such as Sanji’s true origins and how the Wano samurai will tie into the larger conflict that is brewing between the Strawhats and the Four Emperors. Most every story gets its time to develop and expand, while the focus on Luffy fighting back against his most immediate Pirate King rival is never lost.

With all that said, it’s beyond difficult to keep track of everything going on in this arc, and as a result it takes a substantial amount of time to explore everything that happens in it. As a result, this cour falls below some of the others at the top of our ranking; not because the arc is bad, but because it’s so dense and difficult to keep track of everything that happens.

8. Dressrosa

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

While things can certainly get messy and convoluted in the Dressrosa arc, the core plot and conflict is hard not to call one of the best One Piece arcs around.

Providing payoff to the preceding New World Saga’s arcs, Dressrosa finally pits Luffy and his crew against the infinitely malicious Warlord Donquixote Doflamingo. This is done alongside Trafalgar Law, who receives backstory and flashbacks on par with that of the main crew members before he gives Doflamingo a run for his money in their own battle.

The setting is also something to be aspired to by other arcs, with a pseudo-Spanish culture tinged with fantasy via elves and animated puppets. These fantasy elements end up playing a vital role in the story too, with a massive payoff provided once every different storyline clicks into place.

As mentioned above though, it can be hectic in how much it tries to tell through a single arc. The focus is constantly jumping between storylines, and things only really come together after this method is abandoned so that things can center in on Luffy and Doflamingo’s clash.

It’s still a terrific arc, and makes its way to the higher portion of our rankings as a result.

7. Marineford/Paramount War

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation

Marineford remains the most action-packed arc in One Piece to this day, and arguably uses its conflict the most effectively even among the best One Piece arcs.

Positioning itself as the payoff for Luffy’s many arcs spent pursuing Ace, this clash of Navy and Pirates is a perfect use of the “race against time” storyline. Luffy, alongside his Impel Down escapee friends and the Whitebeard Pirates, clash with some of the biggest names in the series to save the imprisoned Ace. Every moment is in service of this fact, and most every moment is filled with some sort of battle between characters.

Setting-wise, the arc’s somewhat limited location is brought to life by the sheer chaos that it houses. The grounds quake, lava and beams of light litter the area, and ships are tossed around with reckless abandon as the skirmishes between superhumans progress through each chapter or episode.

Toss in the story of finding family and friends among the seas, and the arc is nearly perfect. Or at least, it would be if not for the frantic introduction of new characters. While the Whitebeard crewmembers and Navy Admiral Akainu remain fan favorites, there’s also a ridiculous number of other people introduced specifically for use in this arc only to never be seen again after a few episodes.

This clutters the arc somewhat, but still only brings it down a little in the grand scheme of things. This cour is still a fantastic example of what One Piece can achieve, and how effective its drama can be in tugging at fans’ heartstrings.

6. Water 7

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Water 7 is the setup arc of setup arcs, establishing the groundwork for its following cours perfectly while also proving itself one of the best One Piece arcs handily.

Dropping the Strawhats in a lively town centered around shipbuilding, the arc’s focus on learning to let go of the Going Merry and prepare for the challenges ahead rings true flawlessly. It balances this drama with plenty of action and comedy though, introducing Franky while also letting Luffy, Usopp and the other crew members put their relationships on full display.

The town itself is unforgettable too. Filled to bursting with oddball and memorable characters, it gives the sense of being a location that could only exist in One Piece, and is all the stronger for this fact.

Even taking into account that there’s not much of a payoff to its conflict the arc is still phenomenal and nails all of the elements a truly great One Piece arc needs. This puts it just below the best arcs in the series, and well above the rest of the arcs on our list.

5. Enies Lobby

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

Even after all these years, there’s a reason why Enies Lobby is held as one of the best One Piece arcs ever.

Offering some substantial character development for Robin, the arc is nearly the best backstory arc in the series. It perfectly weaves her origins together with the brewing conflict between the Strawhats and the World Government-backed CP9, all while providing payoff to the stories established in Water 7. Its fights are also some of the best since Alabasta, giving each of the Strawhats some time to shine while also pitting them against enemies with some unique and interesting Devil Fruit powers.

Admittedly though, its setting could have been more fleshed out. Aside from its massive gates and stranger characters found throughout its gauntlet of threats, the island blends together with other locations in terms of aesthetic and appearance.

Past this though, the arc is one of the strongest in the series, and earns its place among the best One Piece arcs handily.

4. Arlong Park

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

This is THE arc fans point to when they talk about the point where One Piece put itself on the map.

Finally finding its groove in every aspect following the growing pains seen throughout the East Blue saga, this section of the story fires on all cylinders. There are devastating uplifting character moments galore, amazing exchanges between the main cast, and fights that exemplified how battles would play out in the rest of the series moving forward. The setting is also one of the best out of the early cours, nailing a clear identity even if it’s not as outwardly interesting as locales like the Baratie restaurant.

Then there’s the reveal of Nami’s backstory. After hinting at her origins throughout the preceding arcs, the series provides a perfect payoff with a full explanation of who she is and why she acts the way she does. It’s as phenomenal as it is heartbreaking, and culminates in a moment between her and Luffy that is still regarded as one of the best in the series and anime at large.

Its only real flaw is that it tries to shoehorn in a bit too much drama near the end, especially when it takes Luffy out of the final fight entirely to drag out the conflict and raise the tension.

Aside from that, this is the arc that showed people what One Piece could and would become, and easily earns a high place among our rankings.

3. Wano

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation via Crunchyroll

The most recent of the One Piece arcs at the time of this list’s creation, Wano is easily one of the series’ most painstakingly-crafted cours.

This arc has arguably the most fleshed-out setting in the series, with a culture and aesthetic that is clearly defined. Its history is rich and interesting, and the way the main cast is pulled into it so effortlessly makes it feel all the more alive.

Likewise, most every character is able to show off the character development they’ve undergone throughout the series, from Luffy and his crew to more minor players like Momonosuke, Kin’emon and the rest of the Kozuki Clan samurai. They also have plenty of opportunities to overcome crushing loss and heartache, with Oda pulling at readers’ heartstrings to maximum effect.

That’s to say nothing of the implications the arc has for the wider story, and thebig moments and twists that irreversibly impact how the series will play out going into its final arc.

The only reason it doesn’t reach the top of the list is the frantic and busy nature of its final fight. While it is a blast to watch or read, it can be exhausting to try and keep track of everything happening and many of the villains introduced for the Strawhat crew to fight are entirely forgettable.

All the same, it’s an exemplary arc and easily ranks near the top of our list.

2. Sabaody Archipelago

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation

This arc is one of the most devastating out of any of the One Piece arcs, and it’s all the better for it.

While it starts off simply enough, the larger story elements and build-up to its final fight are enough to push it well past many of the stories found throughout the rest of the series. The many new characters introduced feel necessary to the wider plot, with Silvers Rayleigh being one of the strongest and most necessary. Its fights are also tinged with an element of foreboding, and this comes to a head when the arc ends on a heartbreaking note.

There are also the key moments that this arc provides to the series to consider, which continue to be held as some of its best and most satisfying.

Overall, it ranks so highly because it marks the end of an era of One Piece that many thought wouldn’t come until much later. This opened the door for bigger developments later on though, and plants this arc firmly near the top of our ranking of the best One Piece arcs.

1. Alabasta

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked

The Best One Piece Arcs, Ranked
Image Credit: Toei Animation

This arc is pure, unbridled One Piece, and still reigns as an encapsulation of what makes the series legendary.

Telling a sweeping tale of revenge, friendship and overcoming the odds, there’s no shortage of great moments in this arc. Every aspect feels meticulous and intentional, and plays into a larger story that has been perfectly set up by the arcs that preceded it. The main cast has plenty of opportunities to bounce off of one another, and each crew member gets their chance to be in the spotlight thanks to the fights near the arc’s end.

The setting is also one which is perfectly fleshed out. Full of both grounded locales and creative elements that breathe imagination into its dusty deserts, the kingdom of Alabasta feels like a place that has existed long before the Strawhats’ adventures and will continue to live on even after it’s appropriately sandy oppressor is dealt with.

Speaking of which: Crocodile remains one of the better antagonists in the series, and his confrontations with Luffy reflect this perfectly. Luffy’s initial separation from the rest of the crew following their first fight feels necessary, and their final confrontation offers some much-needed creativity and weight compared to other final fights in the series.

There’s too much to even touch on properly in this list, so all we can really say is to go watch this arc. It is a perfect snapshot of why this series is put on the top shelf of anime content, and anyone should be able to find something to like about it.

Related Posts
Comments
Continue Reading
To Top