5 One Piece arcs fans universally loved (& 5 more that were controversial)
Author Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is home to some of the most iconic and universally liked story arcs in the anime and manga industry.
From the intricate planning to the worldbuilding, Oda’s writing of the One Piece story is nothing short of legendary.
While some of One Piece’s arcs are bonafide masterpieces, there are those which aren’t quite as universally loved. Some dip a toe into the controversial pool, while others take a dive into the deep end and are hated by much of the fanbase.
Here are five One Piece arcs that fans of the series universally loved and five more that were somewhat more controversial.
Note: This article solely reflects the opinions of the writer
Enies Lobby, 4 other One Piece arcs that are absolute gems
1) Arlong Park
For many One Piece fans, the beautifully penned Arlong Park arc is where they began falling in love with the series. A majority of those who don’t feel the same way still admit that it is one of the best arcs in the series.
The emotions and tension in the arc are palpable, with multiple layers to each conflict present, especially those of man versus money.
There’s little doubt that this arc is loved by a vast majority of, if not all, the series’ fans.
Alabasta is the first major long-term arc in the series. It gives fans a look at what the future of One Piece holds in terms of arc setup.
It is a fresh arc in so many ways, from its setting and plot to its length, overarching story and conflicts. The introduction of the Shichibukai system and the tyrannical Crocodile's rule over Alabasta further heightens the writing.
The fights are also impressive, with each round of Luffy versus Crocodile being engaging and tantalizing. Other fights in the arc are also highlights, but this three-round bout is what stands out for many fans.
Alabasta is one of the most popular and highly-rated arcs in the series for fans and critics alike.
3) Enies Lobby
Emotionally, the arc is very similar to Arlong Park, with the true enemy being the World Government instead of some traitorous Marines.
Arlong Park’s Nami is essentially Robin here but in a much grander, sadder and more destructive way. Her character development is undoubtedly the single biggest highlight of the arc, with her going from universally hated to universally loved by the end.
What is impressive is Oda’s ability to elevate her character to such heights while also introducing and fully developing an additional character simultaneously in Franky.
While the quality of the plot and writing is what stands out for fans, the fights are also high-caliber. Luffy versus Lucci is one of the most memorable fights in the entire series, and each Straw Hat gets their time to shine.
Overall, Enies Lobby is one of the most complete and universally loved arcs of the series.
4) Water 7
The other half of the overarching Water 7 saga, which Enies Lobby is found in, is the preceding Water 7 arc. The two unite to form one of the most engaging sections of the One Piece story.
Water 7 sees the crew begin to fracture with Usopp’s departure after discovering the Going Merry’s tragic and inevitable fate.
Shortly thereafter, it’s discovered that Robin not only left the crew but also attempted to murder the local mayor of Water 7. It’s an emotional and engaging section of the story, which piques readers’ interests in Franky, Robin, and CP9 before all three are heavily developed in the coming arc.
5) Whole Cake Island
The Whole Cake Island arc is one of the most beloved arcs in One Piece among fans. The arc serves as a sort of sequel to Sanji’s introduction in the Baratie arc.
Fans learn of his royal heritage (part of Germa Kingdom’s Vinsmoke family) in addition to his departure from the crew to marry Big Mom’s daughter.
Luffy, expectedly, isn’t satisfied with this reasoning and chases after Sanji to get him back. However, he finds his chef more combative than he expected.
The arc shows Sanji’s sad backstory as a child while also introducing his cruel family and giving fans an inside look at the Big Mom Pirates.
The writing is exceptional, introducing and developing some of the most praised characters in the series. The fights throughout the arc are also excellent, with Luffy versus Katakuri being regarded as one of the best in the series.
There’s little doubt that the latest completed New World arc is one of One Piece’s most beloved.
Dressrosa, 4 other One Piece arcs that are heavily debated by fans
1) Long Ring Long Land
Kicking off this portion of the list is what is likely One Piece’s most hated arc according to fans: Long Ring Long Land.
A majority of the arc sees the Straw Hats participating in a Davy Back game, where crew members are treated like winning prizes. While an interesting concept, it sadly ends without any lasting consequences.
The main villain of the arc is incredibly annoying, as is the setting and structure of the arc’s main conflict. It’s one of the most difficult arcs to get through in the series, to the point where many fans have questioned its canonicity.
There’s little doubt that it is one of the most controversial arcs in the series.
2) Fish-Man Island
Serving as the first arc of One Piece’s New World saga, Fish-Man Island is less hated than the previous entry but still controversial.
Some fans enjoy it for its easy introduction to the post-time-skip Straw Hats and their new abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Others dislike it for the exact same reasons, citing it as a second East Blue saga.
Considering fans either like it or dislike it for the same reasons, there’s little doubt it’s one of the series' most controversial and heavily debated arcs.
One Piece’s Dressrosa arc was, at the time of its introduction, one of the most ambitious and biggest plot points in manga history.
Its incredible length of 102 chapters spanned over two years of weekly release, translating into 118 episodes over a similar timeframe for the weekly anime. It set the tone for the two arcs that would follow: Whole Cake Island and Wano.
While some fans appreciated and enjoyed the long, slow-burning storytelling, others disliked the pace. As expected, there are exciting sections of the arc that nearly every fan enjoys, but the overall product is very divisive.
Its legacy is undoubtedly being one of One Piece’s most controversial story segments.
One Piece’s current arc has spanned 141 chapters as of this writing, with the 142nd one releasing this weekend. The Wano arc has been going on for nearly four years and will likely pass that milestone.
Like with Dressrosa, fans both love and hate Wano for how grand and multifaceted the story is. The slow yet necessary pacing is once again a point of contention, with many more fight matchups criticized than its controversial predecessor.
Much more can be said about the arc once it’s completed, but it still ranks as one of One Piece’s most controversial arcs.
5) Punk Hazard
The Punk Hazard arc is undoubtedly one of One Piece’s most controversial arcs for a few reasons. The first of those is undoubtedly Law and Luffy’s pirate alliance, which kickstarted the Yonko saga and laid out the roadmap of Dressrosa and Doflamingo into Wano and Kaido.
Another major point of debate and critique is the antagonist, Caesar Clown. His role as an antagonist here is somewhat reduced to a comedic role, negating the well-established deplorability and callousness of his character.
One Piece’s Punk Hazard has many more flaws, but these stand out as two key reasons why the arc is one of the series' most controversial.
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