With over 20 years of multiple sagas, One Piece fans have made their opinions known between their favourite and least favourite arcs.
Some One Piece arcs go on forever, while others get right to the point. The greatest story arcs often have character development, intense fight scenes, and expansive world-building. Whether Luffy is trying to save one person or an entire kingdom, the stakes are always high.
Meanwhile, more than a few arcs have major pacing issues. There are certainly great moments within them, but it takes forever to get there. More often than not, the One Piece community is divided between two camps. Some enjoy the arcs, while some find it rather dull.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
One Piece arcs that are beloved in the fanbase
Alabasta was the first genuinely great arc in One Piece. It heavily expanded on history and lore with the introduction of Ancient Weapons. The story also featured some of the most popular characters, such as the heroic Vivi or the villainous Crocodile.
The Straw Hats uncover a major conspiracy in the kingdom of Alabasta. Together with Vivi and her royal family, they stand united against the Baroque Works organization. Luffy had a challenging time against Crocodile and even lost multiple times before winning.
Several entertaining battles took place here, such as Zoro versus Mr. 1 and Sanji versus Bon Kurei. Even the lesser fights were fun to watch, like Chopper and Usopp versus Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas.
3) Wano Country
Wano Country is still ongoing in the One Piece manga. To become the Pirate King, Luffy must bring down Kaido and save the entire population from enslavement. There are too many great moments to list with this arc.
There is the epic final battle between Luffy and Kaido, with the country's fate in their hands. Fans were also treated to significant story developments, such as Zoro unlocking his Conqueror's Haki and Sanji putting on his Raid Suit.
Last but not least, the Oden flashback was unforgettable. Roger and Whitebeard had their epic clash, the Pirate King went to Laugh Tale, and Oden sacrificed himself to save his retainers.
Luffy only had a single mission in mind. He wanted to save his brother Ace from his impending execution at Marineford.
The size and scale of this arc have yet to be matched in One Piece. All the biggest names took part in this devastating war, along with exciting matchups. Just take a look at the list of names below:
- Whitebeard and his entire crew
- The entire Marine force (including Admirals and a Fleet Admiral)
- All the Seven Warlords of the Sea
- Blackbeard and Level 6 escapees from Impel Down
- Shanks and the Red Hair Pirates
The shocking deaths of Ace and Whitebeard are still felt throughout the world. It was a completely unexpected turn of events. Marineford also cemented the criminal legacy of Akainu and Blackbeard, respectively.
It was indeed the end of an era for One Piece fans. From this point forward, the story was about to get dangerous.
1) Enies Lobby
Some may argue the series peaked with this arc. The emotional climax of this arc has yet to be rivalled.
The Straw Hats needed to rescue Nico Robin from the CP9 organization. However, by doing so, they had to take a stand against the World Government, something that very few would dare.
Through sheer willpower, the Straw Hats completely defy the odds against them. Not only did Luffy defeat Rob Lucci, but they also burnt down a government flag and survived a Buster Call. Enies Lobby truly embodies the free spirit of One Piece.
One Piece arcs that somewhat dragged on
4) Long Ring Long Land
This recreational arc mainly focuses on the Straw Hats playing games with the Foxy Pirates. It's mostly played for laughs, with not much drama until the very end. That's when Aokiji shows up to attack the Straw Hats.
Many fans consider this arc a waste of time since Foxy barely poses any threat. It's prevalent for One Piece fans to skip this arc entirely. Nonetheless, the Foxy pirates served their purpose as a lighthearted breather.
3) Punk Hazard
Luffy and his crew arrive on a dangerous island, where they have to deal with a mad scientist and his experiments.
This arc mainly serves to set up for the next one, Dressrosa. A lot of time is spent with the characters running from something, whether a slime monster or a gas chamber.
For many One Piece fans, this is where anime episodes start to slow down considerably. The anime started to cover single chapters with single episodes, which resulted in pacing issues.
2) Fishman Island
Fishman Island takes place after the One Piece timeskip. Eiichiro Oda uses this arc to showcase how much the Straw Hats have grown. They needed to pass through the island to get into the New World. Unfortunately, there is a massive problem with the arc.
It lacks tension because most of the enemies are too weak. The likes of Hody Jones and his New Fishman Pirates barely posed any threat. Some fans couldn't get invested in them as they did with previous villains.
Long before Wano Country, there was the Dressrosa saga. The Straw Hats needed to get rid of Doflamingo and bring down his SMILE production.
With over a hundred chapters, it's among the longest arcs in One Piece history. For many readers, it simply went on for way too long. Oda introduced several characters, such as the coliseum fighters and Donquixote Pirates.
However, the story suffered from pacing issues since there were too many characters to keep track of. At the very least, Doflamingo and Law were shining examples of excellent character writing.