Everyone has their own favorite One Piece moment. “I Want to Live”. “I Have My Crew”. “Nothing Happened”. “A Man’s Dream Never Dies”. Just mention these quotes and you’ll probably get a long diatribe from a One Piece fan on how a particular scene affected their lives personally. There are plenty more individual iconic scenes that could be discussed for hours on end too.
So with such a huge story, there are plenty of other great moments in One Piece that get overlooked. There’s so much that goes into One Piece that it’s impossible to catch everything that makes it great. Therefore, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some great bits of One Piece that generally go forgotten and ignored at large.
5. Captain Kuro’s Backstory
So much of what makes One Piece, well, One Piece are its larger-than-life villains. Yet Kuro’s backstory is so much more interesting than your average megalomaniac tyrant. He’s a man who was once a feared pirate, only to grow bored of the lifestyle and wants to live a peaceful life. Instead of just laying low, he creates a new identity for himself and endangers the entire population of Syrup Village just so he can inherent Kaya’s wealth while also remaining beloved by the town. His kind of low-key dreams and attitude run so counter to the bombastic world of One Piece that it makes him rather unique and interesting in his own right.
4. Luffy Allows Himself to Get Beat Up By Bellamy
This scene tends to get so overshadowed by the following monologue by Blackbeard that the actual moment that led to it gets overlooked. But it’s a powerful moment in its own right, as it’s a wonderful example of Luffy being a more introspective hero than he’s given credit for. Here, we see a rare cooler head on his shoulders, refusing to engage with the obnoxious badgering of Bellamy. Luffy endures Bellamy’s assault because he just isn’t worth the effort. This scene sets up what is possibly the most satisfying case of comeuppance in the entire series, where Luffy decides to fight him because he steals Cricket’s treasure. It wouldn’t be possible without Bellamy getting totally full of himself and thinking he put Luffy in his place first.
3. Jinbei's Foreshadowing
One Piece is known for its ability to drop small tangentially-related details that end up blowing up into bigger stories on their own, but Jinbei's first mention is something special. He gets mentioned as a Shichibukai when the Strawhats go up against Arlong, nearly 400 episodes/chapters before he shows up! Not only that, but due to his relationship with Arlong, you naturally assume that he’ll end up a villain, only to end up joining the crew! The simple name drop carries a lot of weight, as it immediately makes us prejudiced about what Jimbei is going to be like. This so perfectly ties into the eventual themes of Fishman Island by preemptively creating a prejudice in us.
2. Blackbeard and Luffy Meet at Impel Down
There’s nothing that particularly stands out about this meeting in regards to the overall narrative. Blackbeard and Luffy run into each other, talk for a bit, trade blows when Luffy realizes who he is, and then stop when Jimbei interferes. There isn’t really anything that this builds up to beyond the fact that Blackbeard has a plan.
What makes this work is how it pushes the parallel between Luffy and Blackbeard into the forefront of the story. Blackbeard’s story mirrors that of Luffy’s. Both are idealistic dreamers who yearn for freedom. They also manage to scrape by impossible situations through not just their strength, but their charisma that brings valuable allies to their side. Here, we see both of their stories hit a crossroads: as Luffy is rising out of Impel Down to save his brother, Blackbeard descends even further down to build his own crew. It’s a great subtle piece of writing that highlights the strengths of One Piece’s more understated moments.
1. Hodi Jones States His Motivation
Fishman Island gets a lot of flack from the fanbase for being too low-scale coming off the grandeur of the Paramount War. Hodi Jones, in particular, is perhaps one of the least-liked villains in the entire series for lacking anything that made the past major villains of One Piece so great. He’s missing the personal connection of Arlong, the drive of Crocodile, the grand-standing of Enel, and the sheer menace of Rob Lucci.
Yet… in modern times, Hodi Jones serves as a fascinating look at what happens when prejudice is left unchecked. He’s the product of his society, having absolutely no reason whatsoever to hate humans outside of taking in all the subtle ways Fishmen show their racism towards humans. Maybe the climax of his fight isn’t quite as satisfying as some of One Piece’s classic showdowns, but he’s an interesting character study that has gone largely ignored.
These may not even be the greatest scenes in One Piece, but they do so much to build up the story of the series that they need to be discussed as well. After all, a story is more than its big moments. The build-up needs to be just as strong as the payoff.
Did we miss your favorite? There a scene you’re just dying to talk about that no one else is? Please, share it in the comments below!