When it comes to storytelling, Eiichiro Oda’s popular Shonen series One Piece is nothing short of a masterpiece. For over 22 years, the series has grown into one of the greatest stories of all time. After so many years of adventures, comedy, and awesome fight scenes, it is hard to say just which story arc from the series is the best.
For many fans, some of its best moments occur around the start of the series. On the other hand, some fans claim it is not until later arcs that the series really took off. In this article, we'll take a look at and rank the top 10 One Piece story arcs.
10 Skypiea Arc
The Skypiea arc is one of the more underrated arcs in the series. It has all the elements necessary for a great adventure, as well as the most unique environment in the One Piece world. It also reveals some vital information regarding the mysterious Poneglyphs. Towards the end of the arc, Robin finds one that not only reveals the identity of the Ancient Weapon Poseidon but also features a message from Gol D. Roger.
In it, the former Pirate King hints that the truth of the Void Century lies at Raftel, the final island of the Grand Line and the rumored location of the legendary treasure One Piece. Talk about building the hype.
9 Thriller Bark Arc
Thriller Bark is yet another underrated story arc in the series. Initially, it starts off with a hilarious atmosphere full of classic One Piece gags. The situation quickly escalates as the Straw Hats unite to defeat the Warlord Gecko Moria and his giant zombie Oars.
This arc is also popular for introducing the Straw Hats musician Brook, and for Roronoa Zoro's standoff against Bartholomew Kuma. In one of his greatest moments in the series, he prevents Kuma from killing Luffy by agreeing to take on all the pain he suffered in his fight with Moria. An act that nearly destroys him in the process.
8 Arlong Park Arc
Most fans agree that the Arlong Park arc marks the moment when One Piece started to take off properly. It was in this arc where Oda started to expand the One Piece world by introducing the concept of Fishmen and the Seven Warlords. It is also here that fans learn the truth about Nami's backstory, which was the most tragic and emotional one at the time.
Furthermore, it also features some of the highest stakes in the series at the time. With Nami's freedom and the lives of everyone in her hometown hanging in the balance, Luffy’s fight against the Fishman Arlong is packed with plenty of emotional intensity.
7 Alabasta Arc
With anticipation building since the Whiskey Peak arc, fans were eager to witness the conclusion of the Alabasta Saga. For the sake of their friend Princess Vivi Nefertari, the Straw Hats put everything on the line to save her country from the Warlord Crocodile.
As the first person to ever beat Luffy in a fight, Crocodile quickly became one of the series top villains and was responsible for making him push past his limits to become stronger. Following his defeat, the Alabasta arc also serves as the starting line where Luffy's infamous reputation begins to evolve as the World Government finally takes notice of him and his crew.
6 Sabaody Archipelago Arc
This is an emotionally gripping arc that explores the darker themes of the series such as racism and slavery. It also introduces the Celestial Dragons, descendants of the founders of the World Government who wield absolute political power. After one of them shoots one of Luffy's friends and tries to enslave another, the Straw Hat pirate retaliates by punching him in the face.
While this was undoubtedly a satisfying moment for many fans, it also resulted in the Straw Hats being targeted by Marine Admiral Kizaru. Not only did they experience the feeling of bitter defeat, but they also witnessed just how overwhelming the government's military power can be.
5 Impel Down Arc
This arc begins with Luffy infiltrating the infamous Impel Down prison to save his brother Portgas D. Ace from execution. At first, his attempt ends in failure following his defeat against warden Magellan. However, thanks to the interference of the revolutionary Emporio Ivankov and former enemy Mr. 2 Bon Clay, he survives and continues his mission to save Ace.
Throughout the entire arc, Luffy demonstrates the full extent of his overwhelming ambition and charisma as he recruits new allies like Ivankov, former Warlord Jimbei, and even former enemies like Buggy the Clown and Crocodile. In the end, Luffy and his allies successfully escape Impel Down while also dealing a fatal blow to the World Government.
4 Dressrosa Arc
The Dressrosa arc serves as the first major challenge for Luffy and his crew since their arrival to the New World. It also reveals the history behind one of the strongest and most evil villains in One Piece, Donquixote Doflamingo. With his crew divided, Luffy allies himself with a group of pirates and warriors that suffered under Doflamingo’s brutal regime.
This arc also features the return of Luffy’s adoptive brother Sabo, as well as the introduction of his long-anticipated Gear Fourth transformation. By the arc's conclusion, Luffy and his allies have established the Straw Hat Grand Fleet. A group that is foreshadowed to shake the very foundations of the world.
3 Whole Cake Island Arc
While it starts off slow, the Whole Cake Island arc quickly builds in momentum as Luffy and his allies finally clash against the power of a Yonko. It also reveals that Sanji is the prince of the Germa Kingdom, as well as his tragic and abusive upbringing.
Unlike previous arcs, this one is not about whether the Straw Hats will win, but whether they will survive the wrath of the Yonko Big Mom. As a result, fans can't help but feel concern for the Straw Hats and whether they will all make it out alive. The excitement and anticipation build even further as Luffy faces off against Big Mom’s strongest son, Charlotte Katakuri, one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced.
2 Marineford Arc
The Marineford Arc serves as the conclusion to the first half of the series. It introduces some of the biggest names in the One Piece universe as they collide in one massive clash. It also marks a major turning point for Luffy, who realizes just how outclassed he and his friends are against the New World's elite.
In the end, many fans were left grieving over the deaths of Ace and the Yonko Whitebeard. In his final moments, Whitebeard leaves fans in awe as he stands proud and confirms the existence of One Piece. Not only does Marineford mark the end of an era, but it also immortalizes Whitebeard as one of the greatest characters in anime and manga.
1 Enies Lobby Arc
Out of all the One Piece story arcs, most fans agree that the Enies Lobby arc is by far the best. It features several memorable moments such as Nico Robin's tragic backstory, Franky destroying the blueprints for the Ancient Weapon Pluton, and even introduces Luffy's Gear Second and Third transformations.
In a major turning point in the series, Luffy and the Straw Hats demonstrate their resolve to save and protect Robin by burning down the World Government's flag. In doing so, they not only restore Robin's will to live, they declare war on the entire world. From regular pirates to international criminals, it does not get any more epic than Enies Lobby.