One Piece is an anime series that teaches its fans all they need to know about being a strong, swashbuckling pirate. That involves mighty crews, tales of adventure, magical Devil Fruits, samurais, and giant robots. However, before anyone can just go sailing along the Grand Line, they need a means of traveling on its harsh waters. Perhaps the biggest prerequisite of becoming a pirate in the One Piece world is having a ship to travel on.
And like everything else in the One Piece world, pirate ships are just another opportunity to showcase vibrant designs as well as the culture and personality of the crew within them. The series has been host to an incredible variety of these ocean-going vessels; and in celebration of that, let's run down the top 10 best pirate ship designs to ever sail One Piece's blue seas.
10 Kuja Pirates, Perfume Yuda
Starting off this list is a ship that immediately communicates the culture and aesthetic personality of its crew. The Kuja are a race of Amazonian women residing on a tropical island whose architecture resembles that of ancient China. A predominant technology on the island is the use of snakes as weapons and tools, such as bows for the Kuja artillery. It's a deep and realized culture within the One Piece world and somehow all of that information can be addressed on the Perfume Yuda, as its red, traditional wooden paneling and two giant snakes guiding it at the helm are more than just visual texture.
9 Saruyama Alliance, Victory Hunter
A less talked about gem within the One Piece mythos, the Saruyama Alliance was an incredibly intriguing thread that went by quickly within the story. While the crew dedicated to finding the lost city of gold is home to a couple of ships, what wins it out on this list is "Salvage King" Masira's Victory Hunter. It's sad that the story never goes into more depth about the alliance, because the Victory Hunter is an incredible looking ship that just peaks with curiosity. Its figurehead is a giant monkey that plays deafening cymbals, the sides are giant bananas, and the interior seems to be filled with tropical trees if not an entire jungle. It's definitely a ship worth its own collector's set.
8 Barto Club, Going Luffy Senpai
Moving onto visual eccentricity of a different breed, the Bartolomeo's Going Luffy Senpai is a visual delight on so many levels. At one end, it showcases a silly and hilarious obsession of One Piece's in-world fanboy. At another, it's a touching homage to the Straw Hat's history and their long lost home, the Going Merry. Besides the housing in the middle resembling the Going Merry's figurehead, the frame of the ship itself closely matches the architecture of the original ship. One can also spot tangerine trees planted in the back and Chopper's antlers decorating the sides. It's a sight that sparks enjoyment on so many levels, getting any fan to love One Piece a little more like the Barto Club.
7 The Baratie
While the Going Luffy Senpai is just an homage, the Baratie is an entire story. It's a sea traveling restaurant that acts as home and employment for ex-pirate "Red Foot" Zeff and his band of criminal chefs. Just seeing a floating building is enough to catch any seafarer's eye, but the Baratie is more than just visual flavor. Its functionality for escapes as well as transformations into decks and other ships shows enough fantastical flexibility to give Transformers a run for their money.
6 Whitebeard Pirates, Moby Dick
To house the overwhelming force of the Whitebeard Pirates, the Whitebeard Pirates would also need an incredible ship to communicate their size and intensity, and the Moby Dick does just that. Named after the destructive and illustrious namesake for one of Herman Melville's best novels, the Moby Dick itself resembles a giant blue whale, immediately intimidating its foes with its size and challenging anyone to try and capture its residents.
Like a lot of things during the Paramount War arc, the Moby Dick had to bid a sad farewell, as its crew stared in regret and melancholy at its final moments, showing a deep history to go with its design.
5 Heart Pirates, Polar Tang
Barely making it on the list as just a ship, the Heart Pirates' Polar Tang gets major points for its visual opposition to the status quo, being literally a yellow submarine (good to know your taste in music, Oda). However, to its credit, there are some nods to a traditional ship, as a wooden deck decorates the top and the jolly roger of the crew is sported on the side. However, beyond just its immediate difference to any other ship, the Polar Tang does offer certain advantages that regular pirate ships can't, such as evasion via diving into deep waters, something that comes in handy quite a few times, as well as a functional operating room to facilitate its surgeon captain.
4 Firetank Pirates, Nostra Castello
The Nostra Castello is, at one level, a ship with an interesting design, showcasing a few of the aesthetic traits of the Firetank Pirates, such as its figurehead alluding to its captain's Capone "Gang" Bege's Devil Fruit power and status as a rook in the Big Mom ranks. However, it is its functionality that really showcases the power and intimidation of Bege and his crew, and the Nostra Castello is an amphibious ship that drives on land with treads that really compliment the two cannons on the figurehead, making the vessel both a pirate ship and a pirate tank.
3 Big Mom Pirates, Queen Mama Chanter
It's no wonder that the flagship for all the insanity of the Whole Cake Island Arc showcases that same kind of oversaturated flavor as everything about the ship's designs speaks excess and... well, just speaks. The Queen Mama Chanter is a large ship whose size absolutely dwarfs the Straw Hats' own ship and is decorated (and probably made of) various sweets, such as ice cream, waffle cones, chocolate, and even Pocky.
There are also splashes of a lot of bright colors along the frame and its flags. However, best of all, the Queen Mama Chanter is a singing, talking ship that alludes its presence to its foes with a song. While this might be silly in some cases, it is a death cry within the One Piece world, signaling that Big Mom is coming.
2 Straw Hat Pirates, Thousand Sunny
There's a lot of love in the One Piece world for the Straw Hats' original ship, the Going Merry. Its history and callback to a simpler time for the crew are enough to bring a tear to any fan's eye. And while its design wasn't all that flashy to make it on this list, its successor more than makes up for it, as it acts as host to the Straw Hats' new adventures as well as a litany of interesting design choices. Its exterior bears an adorable lion figurehead, a grassy lawn, and even a garden. The interior has rooms for the boys and girls, a fully furnished kitchen and an aquarium that shows and catches fish, and special work rooms for Nami, Zoro, and Chopper. Beyond design, like any good ship, is functionality, as the Thousand Sunny also sports laser cannons, rocket and propeller power methods of escape, various ships housed inside, and a pool setting.
1 1.Thriller Bark Pirates, Thriller Bark
Topping this list is a ship that literally eats other ships. Acting as a refuge for Gecko Moriah and his Thriller Bark Pirates, Thriller Bark gets every point on this list's criteria for just being a moving island, home to a castle, graveyard, and a monstrous exterior frame to capture other ships. It's the only ship that the Straw Hats' have ever gotten lost in, as there are various levels within the castle alone that house evil experiments, Victorian garishness, and the histories of its zombie warriors. It immediately communicates the gothic styles of its crew and has an air of intrigue and intimidation to really sell it as a landmark in the world's mysterious Florian Triangle. In other words, Thriller Bark thrills on so many levels.