One Piece's 6 most heart-wrenching flashbacks
Author Eiichiro Oda’s magnum opus One Piece is praised by critics and fans alike for a myriad of reasons. Aspects such as world-building, long-term storytelling, foreshadowing, and most other literary elements often net the series its praise.
However, amongst fans, the one thing One Piece has always managed to do incredibly well was the series’ flashbacks, especially in an emotional sense. While all of the series’ flashbacks are impressive, those with heavy emotional circumstances tend to stand out.
Here are One Piece’s six most heart-wrenching flashbacks.
One Piece’s six incredibly emotional heart-wrenching flashbacks
1) Noland and Kalgara’s flashback
Despite being one of One Piece’s earliest flashbacks, the journey Montblanc Noland and Kalgara are seen going on together is one of the best in the series. It encapsulates many of the series’ core ideals, which are expanded upon in later arcs and lays the groundwork for later world-building and lore introduction.
It’s one of the most highly regarded flashbacks in the series by fans and critics alike, seemingly infallible by even the most critical of fans. The only complaint most seem to have about this particular flashback is that they wished it was even longer.
2) Law’s flashback
Law’s flashback detailing his search for a cure with Corazon, also known as Donquixote Rosinante, is an incredibly heart-wrenching One Piece flashback. It shows a boy slowly learning to love the world again, while his guardian for this adventure is trying to prevent another version of his brother from being born into the world.
The multi-episode flashback culminates in Corazon’s heart-wrenching death, as Law is left to wander alone on an island being attacked. The sequence can make even the most stoic viewers sob in its wake and is universally praised as one of One Piece’s best.
3) Robin’s flashback
For a variety of reasons, Robin's flashback is often called one of the best in One Piece. It details not only her life on the run but the origins of such a lifestyle during the destruction of Ohara. The flashback serves to build her up as a character while also providing context to the lore of the series and the World Government’s depravity and callousness.
It’s incredibly emotional from start to finish and is done at a perfect time during the often praised Enies Lobby arc. Capping this off with a declaration of Robin’s desire to live, finally accepting that it’s okay for her to have a place in the world, makes for an expertly done backstory, which only elevates the star character.
4) Franky’s flashback
The first flashback to be shown during One Piece’s Water 7 saga, Franky’s origins as Cutty Flam are incredibly saddening to bear witness to. Fans see a boy who merely wants to find his place in the world and believes his building battleships and other craft-based devices are a way for him to belong.
However, this plan tragically backfires thanks to some unfortunate, ill-willed interference on behalf of the World Government. As a result, Franky is left emotionally battered, feeling responsible for the death of his role model, which turns to a physical battering as he sacrifices himself in an attempt to get his father figure back.
5) Ace, Sabo, and Luffy’s flashback
Ace, Sabo, and Luffy's childhood flashback is heart-wrenching for several reasons, the chief of those being Ace’s recent death and Luffy’s mentally breaking over it. Seeing these two, the debuting third brother Sabo, interact with one another as children are incredibly emotional for fans, given its timing.
Their saga details their coming to love and cherish one another, sharing their vast dreams, which One Piece eventually sees them all begin journeys towards. Combined with earlier flashbacks to Ace’s childhood of not feeling like he deserves to be alive, it’s an emotional and upsetting experience for fans who’ve just witnessed his death.
6) Chopper’s flashback
Finally, Chopper’s flashback is undoubtedly one of One Piece’s saddest. It details his being ostracized by two separate groups for similar reasons, unable to find a home with either population. After eventually seeing Dr. Hiriluk, it seems as though he’s found a home for himself alongside the kind-hearted quack.
However, things don’t end as fairy-tale-like as fans may have hoped, with Hiriluk tragically sacrificing himself to prevent succumbing to his disease. The finality of the flashback’s conclusion upsets even the most stoic fans, allowing such an early flashback to still reign as one of the most heart-wrenching.
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