One Piece, spanning 1071 chapters as of the writing of this article, has fans all over the globe and has even made it into other forms of media as well. Luffy and his crew set out on adventures to achieve their dream while making memories. Fans of One Piece often debate which arc is the best, so in today’s article, we ranked 22 of One Piece arcs and explained why we think they are the best.
We made sure to include info such as the setting, the characters and the key plot points it helped introduce to the story, so be warned as there are spoilers! We hope you enjoy the article!
- 1/22 Marineford
- 2/22 Enies Lobby
- 3/22 Sabaody Archipelago
- 4/22 Dressrosa
- 5/22 Wano Country
- 6/22 Impel Down
- 7/22 Water 7
- 8/22 Fishman Island
- 9/22 Wholecake Island
- 10/22 Amazon Lily
- 11/22 Punk Hazard
- 12/22 Arabasta
- 13/22 East Blue
- 14/22 Merry
- 15/22 Grand Line
- 16/22 Drum Island
- 17/22 Zou
- 18/22 Skypiea
- 19/22 Bell
- 20/22 CP9
- 21/22 Foxy Pirates
- 22/22 Thriller Bark
Marineford is the pinnacle when it comes to One Piece arcs. Not only did we see one of the best arcs in anime history, but we also saw major events that would ripple throughout the world of One Piece. This arc had 4 arcs worth of buildup to it, and the key players in the arc were terrific!
The Battle of Marineford is an epic and pivotal arc in the series, where Whitebeard, one of the Four Emperors and one of the most powerful pirates in the world, leads an assault on Marineford in an attempt to rescue his subordinate, Portgas D. Ace, from execution.
This battle is essential to the One Piece storyline because it is one of the series’ largest and most intense battles, featuring many main characters. It has a significant impact on the world of One Piece and the characters within it. Additionally, it was where the main protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy’s brother, Portgas D. Ace, was executed, leading to Luffy’s motivation for the following arcs.
Aside from Whitebeard (The Strongest Pirate) and the rest of the familiar characters we see, we got introduced formally to the extra characters of both the Whitebeard pirates and the Marines. Seeing the 4 Marine Admirals display their power was a treat, and seeing the Blackbeard crew pull up for their greedy agenda. In this fight, we got to see why others revere the Whitebeard pirates; on top of that, we got introduced to the concept of the new world and its various head pirates. Also, R.I.P Whitebeard and Ace, THE ONE PIECE IS REAL!!!!
2/22 Enies Lobby
Enies Lobby as a location was an exciting yet pivotal place for the One Piece storyline. It is a government-controlled island and the main base of operations for the World Government’s secret organization, CP9. The island is also known as the “Judicial Island” and serves as a court, prison, and execution ground for those who oppose the World Government. The island is surrounded by a sea of fire, making it difficult to access or escape.
The Enies Lobby arc is an important part of the One Piece storyline, as it is where the Straw Hat Pirates, led by their captain, Monkey D. Luffy, launch a daring raid to rescue their crew member, Nico Robin, who is being held captive by CP9. During this arc, we are introduced to the Ohara incident, a huge part of Nico Robin’s character. Scholars from around the world gathered on this island in hopes of sharing their knowledge with one another and deciphering the secrets of the world. The World Government caught this and ordered a buster call on the island.
This arc really cemented the Straw Hats’ place with the World Government and made them public enemies in their eyes.
3/22 Sabaody Archipelago
The Sabaody Archipelago is a group of 11 small islands located near the Red Line, and it serves as the main gateway to the world beyond the Grand Line. Sabaody Archipelago is also known as the Human Auctioning House, where the World Government sells slaves and other humans to the highest bidder.
The Sabaody Archipelago arc is the final arc of the first half of the series, and it is a pivotal moment in the One Piece storyline. It is where the Straw Hat Pirates reunite after two years of training and separation. They also meet other influential pirate crews, such as the Eleven Supernovas, the eleven strongest rookie pirate crews in the world at the time. This arc is significant because it serves as a buildup to the major war that is to come, the Marineford war.
In this arc, Luffy uses Haki for the first time, Rayleigh (A crew member of Gol D. Rogers crew) is introduced, and the importance of the Voice of All Things is presented as well.
Dressrosa is located in the New World and is the second island Straw Hat Pirates visited in the Dressrosa arc. Dressrosa is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful architecture, and annual colosseum tournament called “Corrida Colosseum,” where gladiators fight for the Mera Mera no Mi, a powerful devil fruit that once belonged to Ace.
The Dressrosa arc is an important part of the One Piece storyline, as it is where the Straw Hat Pirates and their allies go to stop Doflamingo, a Shichibukai and former Warlord, from his tyrannical rule over Dressrosa. This arc also features a complex political intrigue, a wide range of characters and their backstories, and the revelation of some main characters’ true identities.
This arc introduced many key characters and concepts. The first is Sabo being alive after being presumed dead, Trafalgar Law’s identity is fully revealed as having the Will of D, Luffy’s amazing fourth gear form is revealed, and Kaidou is brought into the story. Fans revere this arc as one of the best due to the themes it explores and the world-building it portrays.
5/22 Wano Country
Wano Country is located in the New World and is known for its unique culture, which Feudal Japan heavily influences. The people of Wano live in harmony with nature and follow strict codes of honour, similar to the samurai.
This arc follows the Straw Hat Pirates as they enter Wano and try to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the shogun and the Beast Pirates, who are led by the emperor of the sea, Kaido. We are also introduced to Kozuki Oden, a Gol D. Roger and Whitebeards crew member. One of the best alliances formed during this arc between Big Mom and Kaidou, and boy, did they give the Straw Hats a run for their money. This arc has quite a lot of plot advancement points as well.
The legendary Rocks D. Xebec is introduced, Yamato is introduced to the story, and we see flashbacks of her and Ace; former Warlord Jinbe joins the Straw Hats crew, Sanji not only reunites with the crew but also gets a huge powerup, Zoro attains Haoshoku Haki, and Luffy unlocks his Fifth Gear, which oh boy, is powerful as ever! Finally, We get flashbacks of Gol D. Rogers’s life and the connection between One Piece and Joyboy.
6/22 Impel Down
Impel Down’s the World Government’s maximum-security prison for the world’s most dangerous criminals. It is located on an island in the middle of the Calm Belt and is known for its harsh conditions and high level of security. The prison is divided into several levels, each with a different level of protection, and the prisoners are held in cells designed to be inescapable.
This arc was vital because after separating the Straw Hat crew in Sabaody, Luffy and his newfound allies launched a raid to rescue Portgas D. Ace. This arc sparked the showdown between the Marines and the Whitebeard Pirates.
Some interesting characters that were introduced are Jinbe and Ivankov. One of my favourite parts of this arc is the team-up with Buggy and Luffy’s realization when he saw Crocodile. Also, Blackbeard, one of the most mysterious figures in One Piece, showcases his Yami Yami no Mi powers.
7/22 Water 7
When I read Water 7 for the first time, I was blown away by how a country’s whole economy depends on shipbuilding. This Place is home to the Galley-La company and houses the best shipbuilders in the world.
After a heavy storm, the Straw Hat crew had to stop here to repair their ship. Coincidentally, it was the best place they could have ended up at. This arc is significant because it explores the theme of friendship, trust and betrayal. The Straw Hats are betrayed by one of their crew members, Usopp, which significantly impacts the series’ world-building and the characters involved. The scene that really pushed this arc into infamy is where Sniper King (Usopp) burns the World Government’s flag and, thus, declares war on the World Government.
It also marked a turning point in the series, where the Straw Hats gain a new crew member, Franky, and it sets the stage for the Enies Lobby arc. Due to Luffy and Usopp’s fight, Usopp picks up the unique identity of “Sniper King” and is still stuck by the crew’s side throughout the arc. This arc is really well-received among fans for its excellent writing and character introductions.
8/22 Fishman Island
Fishman Island says a lot about our society, not that we are fish people, but that discrimination is a never-ending cycle of hatred. It is located in the New World and is the home of the Fishmen and Mermaids. The island is also known for its rich marine life and is considered a valuable resource for the World Government. It is also the location of the Ryugu Palace, which serves as the residence of Fishman Island’s ruler, Fishman Island’s king, Neptune.
This arc’s importance stems from the cast and their time skip, which helped them showcase just how strong they got in those 2 years. The main focus of this arc is to go and stop the plans of the Human Supremacist group, the Eleven Supernovas, who Hody Jones leads, to take over Fishman Island and discriminate against Fishmen.
This arc introduced the concept of Joyboy and is the earliest fans heard about this legendary figure. Princess Shirahoshi is introduced and later finds out she is the current Poseidon. Finally, Jinbe is well received by the Straw Hat Crew and is offered to join them, but due to his affiliations with the Big Mom pirates, he refuses, which helps set up a fan favourite moment of the One Piece fandom.
9/22 Wholecake Island
Wholecake Island brought about plenty of content for the One Piece fandom. Sanji’s backstory is fully explored, giving us an insight into his past before the Baratie arc. We find out his connection with Germa 66 and how he is being used as a pawn to foster relations with Big Mom. In my humble opinion, this is where we find one of the purest ships in the series, Sanji X Pudding.
This arc is significant because it marks the introduction of one of the Four Emperors, Big Mom, and her mighty crew, as well as the Vinsmoke Family. This powerful and influential group is connected to the World Government. It also explores themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal. Also, some of the crew members gain power-ups.
Luffy gains 2 sub-formes of his Fourth Gear, Snakeman and Tankman; also, we see Sanji’s full strength on display. Jinbe cuts ties with the big mom pirates and leaves the crew to be on his own for a while, and the crew gets Big Mom’s poneglyph marking another step closer to the One Piece Treasure.
10/22 Amazon Lily
After the vents of the Sabaody Archipelago and Kuma send the Straw Hat pirates to different places, Luffy ends up at Amazon Lily, an island where only women live. I remember reading this, and when I found out where Sanji landed, I had to pour one out for the homie; he did not have good RNG.
This arc is significant because it introduces the character of Boa Hancock, one of the most powerful female characters in the series, and it explores her backstory and her relationship with her crew. It also explores the theme of gender roles, as the island is inhabited only by women, and it shows the different ways that the Kuja tribe views and deals with men.
Additionally, the arc is known for its comedic moments and the interactions between the Straw Hat Pirates and the Kuja tribe. It also marked a turning point in the series, where the Straw Hats gain a new ally, Boa Hancock, and it sets the stage for the following arcs. Also, this sparked the Impel Down operation, as it was thanks to Hancock that Luffy could infiltrate. I’ve never been so jealous of a fictional character in my entire life.
11/22 Punk Hazard
Punk hazard looks like a bad trip, probably for a good reason. It is an island located in the New World that was split into two parts by an unknown event, one half of the island is a frozen wasteland, and the other half is a burning wasteland. The island is also known as a former laboratory of the Shichibukai, Caesar Clown, who conducted illegal experiments on living creatures.
The punk hazard arc was quite tense as their crew member Tony Tony Chopper who Caeser and the heart pirates kidnaped. This arc introduces characters such as Caesar Clown, Monet and Vergo, who are critical players in the arc and significantly impact the series’ world-building and the characters involved. We also got a sneak preview of Doflamingo’s power and held over the islands.
Some key points of this arc would be Law and Buggy becoming warlords (yes, I know, “Buggy?!?” Oda was in his bag making this decision, he was cooking okay!) and the introduction of Kin’emon and Momonosuke, residents of the Wano island who play more significant roles later on in the story. Oda has a knack for foreshadowing, whether by bringing characters who won’t be adequately explored until arcs later or simply creating matchups that blow the minds of fans. Finally, the Straw Hats gain a temporary ally, Trafalgar Law.
Located on the desert island on the grand line, Arabasta is known for its vast deserts, oases, and ancient ruins. The kingdom is ruled by a royal family led by King Nefertari Cobra, and it is known for its mighty army and advanced technology. This arc’s importance comes from helping to ground the MC into reality and building up the world of Straw Hats.
Luffy usually rushes into things head-on without thinking, but he had met his match for once, which proved difficult for him. When he and Crocodile first fought, he was getting walloped pretty hard, even left in quicksand to die. This led him to use water to attack Crocodile and showcased Luffy thinking outside of the box when it comes to fighting.
The whole Arabasta incident was a stain on the World Government’s image. and this did not sit well with them. They tried to contact Captain Smoker to do something about it, but in his good conscience, he refused to act and ended the call; this showed the respect Smoker had begun to develop for the Straw Hat crews.
Some key plot introductions include the introduction of Portgas D. Ace, Poneglyphs, Vivre cards and the Ancient Weapons. Nico Robin also joined the Straw Hats.
13/22 East Blue
The East Blue Saga portrays the beginning of Luffy’s adventures, meeting exciting characters who later become his cremates. East Blue covers a huge part of the One Piece storyline, so I’ll speedrun who was introduced and then go into the big events that occurred.
In East Blue, Luffy recruited Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji; this marked the first half of the modern-day Straw Hat crews being together. After defeating notorious East Blue pirates such as Don Krieg, Buggy the Clown, and Arlong, Luffy finally got his bounty measuring up to a whopping 30 million berries! Not bad for a young pirate.
Finally, Loguetown brought us back to the execution site of Gol D. Roger and the introduction of Monkey D. Dragon. Loguetown was key not only for its historical value but for its explanation of Logia-type devil fruits.
Merry was an arc that helped flesh out family trees and characters fans were desperate to know about. It also took place after the events of Enies Lobby. As the name implies, the Going Merry had her final dock this arc and was retired from the Straw Hat crew. But fear not because Franky, the best shipwright in the world, constructed a new ship for them named the Thousand Sunny.
One of the biggest plot twists Merry presented us with was finding out that Monkey D. Dragon (the leader of the revolutionary army who directly opposes the World Government), was none other than Luffy’s father! Garp let it slip and threw the whole block of people into shock. We also See Ace meet face to face with Blackbeard; the battle ends with Ace getting captured, leading to the events of Marineford.
15/22 Grand Line
This arc marks the beginning of the fabled Grand Line talked about among pirates near and far. The Straw Hat crew end up on my adventures and meet new people as they cross this feared part of the sea.
Being the foreshadowed Grand Line, the fans got to experience many great tales during this arc. Princess Vivi is allied with the Straw Hat crew to return to her kingdom of Arabasta and free her people from the corrupt reign of Crocodile. We also get to experience the Little Garden small arc; it featured 2 giants who were fighting for 100 years straight, and due to this, we get more insight into the lore of the giants.
This arc really hits home for One Piece fans due to its incredible buildup to the Arabasta arc, and introduction of characters such as Laboon, a whale soo adorable that he wants to reunite with his old friends.
16/22 Drum Island
Drum Island is located atop a winter island where it is cold as it gets, on top of it being home to 1 of the most outstanding doctors, Tony Tony Chopper. I won’t lie; I cried like a baby watching Chopper’s backstory; it was soo sad, yet inspiring. Drum Island was key for forming the Straw Hats crew and more information on devil fruits.
This arc is significant because it explores the theme of healing and medicine, as the Straw Hats help the island’s people learn about their culture. Additionally, the arc is known for its comedic moments and the interactions between the Straw Hat Pirates and the island’s people.
It also introduced Zoan devil fruits and how they operate compared to regular fruits. We also glimpse what the “Will of D” is. This arc solidified itself with the One Piece fan’s emotions; however, it ranks pretty low in fights and the whatnot, so we placed it here at 17th.
The arc of Zou was interesting, to say the least; many fans accredit it to being very lore heavy. The Straw Hat crew stopped at the sight of a huge elephant carrying an island on its back; dumbfounded as to why it happened, the fans were treated to the backstory of Joyboy and his connection to the ancient animal. Sanji also splits from the Straw Hat crew to deal with his familial affairs on Wholecake Island.
Some of the arc’s key points are the introduction of Joyboy (the fabled pirate before Gol D. Roger), Sanji teaming up with Capone Bege (A new world pirate we last saw in Marineford), the introduction of Raftel (the final island that only Joyboy and Gol D. Roger went to), and the formation of the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai Alliance.
Re-watching this arc really answered a lot of questions fans had about the One Piece treasure and Joyboy, this arc, in particular, is the spawn of many theories in the fandom. Information on Kaido is dropped throughout the arc and helps buildup for Wano.
I won’t lie; this arc was skipped in my watch-through of the anime; not to say that it’s terrible; it’s just dull. Skypiea is an island located in the sky, above the clouds. The knock-up stream can only access it, and it is home to the Shandians, a tribe of winged people who worship the sky and have a unique culture and technology. The island is also the location of the Golden Bell, a sacred artifact that serves as a gateway to the Upper Yard, the true Skypiea.
This arc’s importance comes from its connection to Gol D. Roger and the introduction of Gods. Enel, Who ate the Goro Goro no Mi, has the ability to wield lightning. This proved a big challenge for Luffy because it countered his rubber-based attacks. Also, Gol D. Roger and his crew had gone to Skypiea before, which is evident by the inscription he had Oden leave on a wall beside the poneglyph. This helped Luffy and his crew understand that the key to finding One Piece had something to do with the poneglyphs.
Bell introduced the “God” Enel, he created a survival game for the Straw Hats to endure and whoever won would get to live. When things did not go his way he took matters into his own hands, but Luffy and his crews were there to stop him. After fighting for soo long and using every tactic he could think of, Luffy wins and rings the golden bell.
Some important points of this arc include: the legend of Noland the liar being true in sense that he did go to Skypiea and see Shandoria in all its gleaming beauty. The Straw Hats found the city of gold beneath the ruins of the Upper Yard. The Straw Hat pirates had to incorporate the Skypiean technology they had learned about to help them defeat Enel and his cronies, marking it as another episode of growth for the crew.
Honestly, this arc brought many memes to life, the most popular being the Enel reaction face, which is used by the One Piece fandom due to its hilarious art style and story (Thanks Oda).
Oh boy, CP9 is just that itch that won’t go away. CP9 operates under the World Government as their own personal police. They had a run-in with the Straw Hats when they arrived at Galley-la. This arc had a lot of plot-advancing points in it.
First, we have introduced Zoan-type devil fruits; they allow the user to become the animal associated with the fruit and gain their strength/ abilities. Couples with their 6 techniques made CP9 stronger than ever. Franky (previously known as Cutty Flam) joins the fray aiding the Straw Hat pirates; being a cyborg, he can stay on par with devil fruit users. Finally, we see another buster call, and boy did it raze the area to the ground; thanks to Granny Kokoro, the Straw Hats were able to escape.
21/22 Foxy Pirates
In an interview with One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, he claimed that “the Foxy silver Fox fight was a mistake, and if I could go back in time and change it, I would leave it out entirely. While this arc threw One Piece fans for a loop, it did not help that it was ill-timed.
This arc’s main points were introducing Vice-Admiral Aokiji and his relation to Nico Robin. Although this arc does rank low on the list, the introduction of Aokiji was significant because, at the time, we had not known much about Nico Robin or the Ohara incident. The Ohara incident was one of the earliest examples of a buster call that we see. Be it the wrong place or time, Aokiji’s introduction is crucial and probably the only important thing to happen in this arc.
22/22 Thriller Bark
Ranking dead last on our list is Thriller Bark…boy this arc, I yell ya. During their adventure on the seas, the Straw Hat pirates end up in the Florian Triangle; they open up a floating barrel on the sea, releasing a flare that alerted a ghost ship. This ghost ship carried none other than future Straw Hat member Brook. After this encounter, they are forced onto thriller bark, where they face off against hordes of the undead, Gecko Maria (Warlord), and Oars (one humongous demon).
Thriller Barks’ only importance is that Brook joins the crew, and Zoro gains one of the 21 great-grade swords named Shusui. In my opinion, this arc is not all that great and is an easy skip like Skypiea; if you’re a fan of Zoro or insane foreshadowing, this arc is meant for you. Otherwise, it’s pretty slow and dull.
Thriller Bark does have some good comedy in it with characters such as Usopp and Perona, so they can make the watch-through of this arc more likeable.
One Piece is quite an extensive series, and the arcs are plentiful in quantity. While some arcs evoke great storytelling and entertainment, others lack in some areas and are often forgotten. Many of these arcs carry themes that readers can relate to or witness in our day-to-day lives. So it is essential to watch arcs for the fights alone and for the significant storytelling/character development.
We hope you found an arc that piques your interest and helps you form an opinion.
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