Minna-san, welcome to my TOP 15 MOST AWE-INSPIRING SCENES IN ONE PIECE! This is a pretty difficult list to compile since there are a LOT of awe-inspiring scenes in ONE PIECE. The idea of creating this list was inspired to me by fellow blogger and ONE PIECE enthusiast M-Kay from M-Kay and Zariyo Reviews during one of our conversations. Excited with this idea, I invited M-Kay to collaborate with me. So in addition to my top 15 list today, M-Kay is providing the commentary. Let’s start, shall we?
15. The Mugiwara Pirates Reunites At Sabaody
This is a welcome relief, especially right after the heart-breaking tragedies of Ace’s death during the Marineford War and Sabo’s “death” during the flashback of the 3 sworn brothers’ childhood. I just have to include this in my list because it’s such an important stage in the Mugiwara Pirates’ journey, as they continue to chase after their goals. I love that each of them powered-up, improving on their strengths, and even fixing some of their weaknesses. I also want to thank Oda-sensei for deciding to improve their appearances. I especially like Zoro’s more samurai-like look, and that eye scar. . .just fabulous! I can do without Nami & Robin’s bigger boobs, but I love their longer hair. Overall, this part of the series is one of the best moves by Oda-sensei.
M-Kay: This was also near the bottom of my list, but no less important! I agree 100% that this is an important scene in the whole anime. I also loved the style changes! Props to Oda-sensei!
14. Luffy Smiles At His “Execution”
There is a theme in the series where Luffy is constantly mirrored with Gol D. Roger, the Kaizoku Ou whose death launched the Era of Pirates. It’s a legend that Gol D. Roger smiled as he was executed. Similarly, Luffy grinned widely as his head was about to be chopped off by Buggy the Clown at the same place Gold D. Roger was executed. Of course, Luffy didn’t die. He’s the main protagonist, after all. But I think that this is one of the earlier, if not the first indication, that Luffy is indeed Gol D. Roger’s successor as the Kaizoku Ou.
M-Kay: This was on my list as well, number 12 I believe. It’s an important connection between Gol D. Roger and Luffy, being the “D’s” of the world (no naughty pun intended XD). It was also an amazing first impression of the new pirate to hundreds of people.
13. Luffy Beats Up Bellamy The Hyena
When Bellamy was first introduced, I wanted to beat him up myself. Of course, most villains in ONE PIECE are incredibly hateable, but I hated Bellamy because of his ignorant belief in the futility of chasing one’s dream. Dreams are important to have a purposeful life, you dunderhead! This is why I could barely contain my glee when Luffy finally decided to smash this dunderhead’s face bloody. But the most inspiring is when Luffy points his bloody finger above, and declares that his crew is going up to the sky. For me, that finger pointing to the sky is the series’ answer to the question of whether to chase your dreams or not. It’s like Oda-sensei saying, “Go ahead and chase your dreams.”
M-Kay: This scene made me jump with joy and punch the air myself. Though it’s not on my top 15 list, it would definitely be on my top 20! Bellamy made me so angry, even more so than Nami was. I was surprised he came back in the latest arc; truthfully, I thought he was a minor character, only a boost for that arc. I was wrong. He comes in as a more important role waaaay later in this amazing series.
12. Luffy Punches Don Krieg’s Impenetrable Kenzan Mantle
This scene looks cool. Fearless protagonists are awesome, but man, I just cringe whenever I watch this scene. I mean, who’s stupid enough to punch those sharp spikes directly with your bare fists? Luffy, apparently. He’s idiotic and incredible at the same time.
M-Kay: This was number 2 on my list! I will never forget this scene for as long as I live. The determination and guts it took to punch a spiked cloak bare-fisted! I was with the chefs, shaking my hand and wincing! It just comes to show Luffy’s determination when it comes to his nakama (aka friends).
11. Zoro’s Loss to Mihawk
Aw, Zoro. So manly. You truly have the swordsman’s pride. I just can’t help but be awed at this scene, no matter how many times I watch it. His iconic line is so cool.
Zoro: Senaka no kizu wa kenshi no haji da. (A wound on the back is a swordsman’s shame.)
Mihawk: Migoto. (Well said.)
So cool! Oda-sensei’s sense of dialogue is really incredible. Writers should take inspiration from him. I can’t even hate Mihawk, even if he almost killed Zoro. He’s an admirable swordsman, and one of the most respectable characters in the series.
M-Kay: I was thinking of putting this on my list, but decided not to. It is an amazing scene, and I applaud Oda-sensei like I always do. This scene shows Zoro’s character as well as Mihawk’s. Truthfully, the scene didn’t stick to me as amazing until a couple arcs later, which is why I didn’t make it on my list.
10. Shanks Sacrifices His Arm To Save Luffy
This scene didn’t have much impact on me when I first watched the anime series. Perhaps it was because I was still a child back then, and didn’t care much about dramatic scenes. However, when I watched the TV Special “Episode of Luffy: Hand Island no Bouken”, I actually cried because it made a deeper exploration of the relationship between the child Luffy and Shanks. This is where I truly thought that Shanks is indeed a great man, and deserves his title as one of the Yonkou. I mean, would you sacrifice your arm for a child that’s not even blood-related to you? Incredible.
M-Kay: I regret not putting this on my list! I have to agree with Arria that this scene didn’t seem as important to me when I was just a child; but later on, I found out that it was a major deal (especially in the pirate world).
9. Zeff Gives All Food to Child Sanji
This scene gives me goosebumps. Wow, just wow. In the anime, Zeff cuts his trapped leg to save Sanji. In the manga, however, he eats, yes, EATS his own leg because he gave all the food to the child Sanji. This scene is more incredible, more disturbing, and more touching than #10, where Shanks sacrifices his arm to save Luffy. I mean, hunger is one of humans’ strongest urges, right? To be able to give up edible food and sacrifice your own leg for a child you barely even know. This just goes beyond the concept of generosity. It’s virtually martyrdom.
M-Kay: I was actually shocked when I read what happened in the manga. I have read the manga, but skipped a few volumes as a kid, forgetting about it up until now. This brought a whole new depth to Sanji’s past and background. His story even made me not waste any food when I saw how they ended up!
8. Luffy Carries Nami & Sanji Up To Doctorine’s Castle Tower
“Nakama” is perhaps the strongest theme in ONE PIECE. As I mentioned in my previous post “Arria’s Top 10 Most Gut-Wrenching Scenes in ONE PIECE”, hell hath no fury like the Mugiwara Pirates separated by force. Even if that force is a deadly illness or a raging winter storm, like when Luffy climbs that tower for a doctor. It doesn’t matter. The Mugiwara Pirates, especially Luffy, will do anything for their nakama. Bloody and frostbitten, Luffy perserveres and climbs the tower just to bring sick Nami and injured Sanji to where the doctor is, even if it means risking his own life.
M-Kay: This was number 1 on my list. This scene I can watch over and over again, no matter what version! The breath-taking scene of Luffy, barely any clothes, fingernails torn, frostbite limbs, ripped hands and feet, carrying his precious friends up a massive 90 degree cliff! I haven’t seen anything like that in any movie or anime!
7. Luffy To Ace: I’m Your Little Brother!
Oh, man. I just can’t stop tearing up whenever I remember the Marineford War. ACE!!! ・゜・(ノД`)
Ace, touched and worried about his little brother for involving himself with the war, tries to discourage Luffy for trying to save him. He tells Luffy that he has his own nakama and his own adventures, and that his affairs are none of Luffy’s business. Luffy, however, runs towards him instead and shouts at the top of his voice: “Ore wa otouto da!” (I’m your little brother!).
Ugh. The tears. I just can’t stop them. ƈ ͡ (ुŏ̥̥̥̥ ‸ ŏ̥̥̥̥) ु This single line explains everything. Once again, it demonstrates Oda Eiichiro-sensei’s excellent dialogue sense.
M-Kay: This scene made me tear up a little, as well as squeal. This statement Luffy makes brings more than just a brotherly moment, it announces to the whole world who Luffy is related to (which is a bit weird, considering Garp, Dragon, and Luffy all have Monkey as their last name. Not to mention the “D” in the middle -__-), causing complete chaos and different views on the boy.
6. Shirohige Dies Standing Up
Another theme in the series is “otoko no naka no otoko” (lit. “the man within men”; rough contextual translation: “the manliest among all men”). Like Zoro who adheres to the swordsman’s code that a wound on the back is a shame, Shirohige upholds his pride as one of the Yonkou until the very end. He refuses to fall, even in his death. He dies standing up. What a man! It is also revealed that throughout his long life of countless battles, his back has never been marred by a single wound, even when the rest of his body is covered by old & new fatal wounds. Like Gol D. Roger, he dies to become a legend.
M-Kay: This was a picture I didn’t want but needed to see. The pirate almost everyone loved, Whitebeard or Shirohige. The legendary pirate known as “pops” by his crew and close friends. He is and was a honorable man. Sadly, this wasn’t on my list, because even if it’s awe-inspiring, it weighs more on the sad and chilling scenes for me.
5. Coby Stands Up Against Akainu To Stop The War
Coby has come a long way. From being the weakling and crybaby at the start of the series, he’s evolved to become one of the most moral officers in the Marines. His action against Akainu during the Marineford War is deemed as the event that ended the tragic war. This is also the time when his Kenbunshoku Haki awakened, and I predict that because of this, Oda-sensei will provide him with a great role later in the series. I’m looking forward to it.
M-Kay: I remember this scene well, although it wasn’t on my list, it is worthy of top 15 awe-inspiring moments. One thing that Oda-sensei does well is character development. Coby is one of the characters that have grown the most in that amount of time. Starting out as a whiney scaredy-cat, he became a high ranking marine with the guts to match it.
4. Luffy Tells Sogeking to Burn the World Government Flag
Man, this is one of the coolest scenes in ONE PIECE ever! Luffy is so cool when he tells Sogeking to burn the flag. Then Sogeking (who is actually Ussop) shoots it into burning smithereens, officially giving the Mugiwara Pirates a place in history as the pirate crew who declared war against the World Government. And everything is because they just want to retrieve a single nakama, Robin. Can it get any cooler than that?
M-Kay: I agree 100% that this needs to be near the top of everyone’s list! The moment that flag blew up in flames, CP-9 and the government knew that they meant business! Showing Robin that they would take on the whole world to protect her, gave her the reassurance to trust them.
3. Zoro Sacrifices Himself To Kuma For His Captain Luffy
Oh, Zoro, Zoro. You really are a perfect example of “otoko no naka no otoko” (the manliest amongst the men). This is 10 times cooler than #11 where he loses against Mihawk with pride. In this scene, he’s not just a prideful swordsman but a martyr. Ouka Shichibukai Bartholomew Kuma is ordered by the World Government to eliminate the Mugiwara Pirates, specifically Luffy, but Zoro stands up against him, and demands that Kuma take his life instead. Zoro shouts, “Luffy wa Kaizoku Ou ni naru otoko da!” (Luffy is the man who’s going to be the Pirate King!). So cool!
If you watch ONE PIECE, then you know what happens. Kuma uses his Nikyu-Nikyu powers to gather all of Luffy’s pain & injuries into a paw-shaped orb, with the intention that Zoro experience this painful hell. It’s so difficult to watch. His determination to die in place of Luffy is so strong that he hits Sanji unconscious, who also offered to die instead of Luffy. Luffy is one fortunate captain to have such loyal nakama. The coolest part is when everything’s over and Sanji discovers Zoro still standing in a pool of blood. When Sanji asks him what happened, Zoro answers: “Nanimo nakatta” (Nothing happened). So cool!
M-Kay: Truthfully, I wasn’t a big fan of the Thriller Bark Arc, but this moment made me like it way more! I can’t really explain it any better than I did in my list, but this shows that Zoro’s feelings has grown just as much as his strength.
2. Luffy & Jimbei’s Blood Transfusion
One of the dark issues explored in the series is discrimination. I’ve encountered negative opinions about ONE PIECE many times on the web before. Most of them comment on how shallow the series is. With ONE PIECE as my most favourite anime show, of course, I strongly disagree with these comments. I argue that ONE PIECE may seem shallow because of the simplistic personalities of most of the main characters, especially Luffy, and the flamboyant battle scenes. If you look deeper, however, you will begin to see the dark themes. Issues such as power dynamics and in this case, discrimination, permeate throughout the series.
Luffy & Jimbei’s blood transfusion is one of the most beautiful, touching, and inspiring scenes in ONE PIECE. The violent discrimination between the humans and the mermen/fishmen is a direct reflection to the discrimination that we are currently experiencing in the real world. You think that discrimination is dead? I live in multicultural Canada, but believe me when I say this: Discrimination is alive. Luffy & Jimbei’s blood transfusion represents the ideal that we are all one, we are all the same, regardless of where we came from. Beautiful, isn’t it?
M-Kay: This was a very important event in the whole anime. The action that will be written in history, a fish-man and a human sharing blood. Two species that hated each other now have their blood mixed by choice. It is really hard to explain how important this was in the whole show.
AND FOR MY NUMBER 1 IN THE LIST. . .DRUM ROLLS PLEASE!
1. Luffy Punches a Tenryuubito
Oh, man. This is my most favourite kick-ass scene in ONE PIECE. Don’t you agree? I think that this scene is the heart of Oda-sensei’s position on the series’ theme of discrimination and power. The people with authority (the Tenryuubito, the World Government, and the Marines) don’t necessarily have the best intentions. Heck, the majority of the characters with authority in the series are assholes. Luffy punching the tenryuubito (he deserves it, the damned bastard) is my answer to those critics who keep on saying that ONE PIECE is a shallow and childish anime. With such dark themes like discrimination, authority, and rebellion, can you still continue spouting your nonsense? Look deeper.
I’m not going to go into details as to what happened in this scene. Watch it yourself. It’s freaking awesome. However, I want to discuss the significance of this scene, not only to the series, but also as a commentary to our “real” world issues. The tenryuubito represents the highest authorities in the world; the richest and the most influential. They think that they’re untouchable and that the world revolves around them. Well, they haven’t met the likes of Luffy yet. He doesn’t care who you are, if you hurt one of his friends, consider yourself screwed. His action against the tenryuubito represents rebellion against authority and the resistance against the abuse of power. Even if you consider yourself an “average” citizen, you still have the power to change your society. But I’m not suggesting you punch all corrupt politicians in the face. I’m saying (in connection with this series) that it’s up to you whether you submit quietly under those people with authority, even if they’re assholes who abuse their power, or to take your stand and be the shift for change.
My point is that this scene proves that ONE PIECE is a serious anime, if you just take the time to notice the recurring themes and analyze them. Luffy punching the
asshole tenryuubito looks cool, but beneath this flashiness is an undertone of serious issues that reflect our “real” human society.
M-Kay: YESSSSS! This gave me goosebumps! It’s one of the best parts about that sad and heartbreaking day on Sabaody. I wanted to punch the asshole myself and stomp on his stupid bubble container. I cannot express my anger and hatred towards the tenryuubito and their attitude. Just their actions and look would make anyones blood boil. So of course this was on my list and I agree 100000%!!!!
Another thing I agree on is the seriousness of the anime, like Arria stated. People take One Piece for “random” and “useless” but each and every episode arc, event, has a deep part into plot. This is not something randomly thought up.
So these are my Top 15 Most Awe-Inspiring Scenes in ONE PIECE. I want to thank M-Kay for providing the commentary for each scene. Since we collaborated together, she also has her own list titled “TOP 15 MOST AWE-INSPIRING MOMENTS IN ONE PIECE COLLAB WITH ARRIA (FUJINSEI)”. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend visiting and following her blog.
M-Kay and Zariyo Reviews Blog (English)
ONE PIECE Official Website (Japanese)
Weekly Shounen Jump’s ONE PIECE Manga Official Web Portal (Japanese)
ONE PIECE on Toei Animation (Japanese)
ONE PIECE on Funimation (English)
ONE PIECE on Viz Media (English)
ONE PIECE on Madman Entertainment (English)
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