One Piece is officially the world’s biggest manga. With over 365 million volumes sold worldwide, a massively popular anime to back it up, numerous multimedia projects including an upcoming Western live-action TV series in the works, One Piece isn’t just popular. It’s a global phenomenon.
So let’s take it down a peg. A series doesn’t run for as long as One Piece without the occasional mishap. Here are what we think are some of the series’ most infamous moments!
5. Kyros Stays to Fight Diamante
This one might sound weird at first, but hear us out. The entire theme of Dressrosa was that people could rise above their violent tendencies. Kyros is set up as the foil to Doflamingo. Someone who once had a violent past and managed to find meaning in his life as King Riku’s guard.
Yet… Kyros, knowing that Rebecca refuses to run away without him, stays to fight Diamante to avenge his dead wife. This wouldn’t necessarily be so bad, as, after all, someone needs to take Diamante down. However, with both Robin and Cavendish arriving at the scene, there was really no reason for Kyros to stick around and endanger his only child. Cavendish was unconscious at the time, but let’s face it: that’s only because the author wanted Kyros to square off against Diamante. You could argue maybe these two fighting is meant to be symbolic of the nature of the two champions and the methodology of their respective arenas, but Kyros giving into his desire for revenge and endangering Rebecca hurts the message.
4. Enel Survives Wiper’s Impact Dial
There’s a very delicate balance to strike when building up a villain. You need to create situations to show how they outclass our heroes so that they’re intimidating, which happens to be one of One Piece’s greatest strengths.
So when Enel somehow manages to survive his own attack sent back to him at 10x the strength because he was able to restart his heart, you have to think that maybe author Eiichiro Oda was overdoing it a bit. Wiper very clearly defeated Enel, yet because the series demanded that Luffy end the fight, an excuse was written so Enel could survive. Worse yet, for the rest of the fight, Enel is relatively unscathed. It showcases an occasional issue One Piece has with overbuilding its villains so that Luffy’s victories don’t always feel earned.
There’s nothing bad about Birdcage in concept. It sets up the threat of Doflamingo as an inescapable monster along with some real consequences if Luffy fails to defeat him. The issue is the pacing, which just drags. It even pulls the “Stretch 10 minutes over the course of a dozen episodes” card to prolong the tension that made the ending to the Frieza fight in Dragon Ball so infamous. It’s not quite as bad in the manga, but people certainly noticed how long it was taking when reading it weekly. It’s the ultimate example of how One Piece is better-experienced arc-to-arc than it is reading or watching as it comes out.
2. Sanji’s Nosebleed Nearly Kills Him on Fishman Island
Sanji’s post-time skip schtick of having fatal nosebleeds because he had been separated from women from 2 years wasn’t just irritating, but distracting. He was already turning into a one-note gag character before the time skip, and this was just solidifying it.
However, at the very least, when he was having those nosebleeds, they never amounted to anything of consequence. You could divorce them from the “reality” of the plot. However, when Sanji nearly dies because he couldn’t handle looking at Shirahoshi, it actually leads into why Fishmen won’t share their blood with humans. This is actually a key theme for the entire arc, and yet it was set up in the most obnoxious manner possible.
1. Pell Survives Crocodile’s Bomb
While One Piece is written for children first and foremost, sometimes the author’s desire to protect children undercuts the emotional impact of the drama. Case in point: Vivi finds herself consistently outmatched by Crocodile. Just when Vivi thinks she’s finally scored a win by finding and stopping a bomb designed to blow up Alabasta, she discovers it’s a time bomb and that its fuse was just a ruse. Pell swoops in and makes the ultimate sacrifice, using his Devil Fruit powers to fly away with the bomb so it fails to destroy the city. It rings true to Luffy’s earlier words to Vivi that she was being naive if she thought she could stop Crocodile without sacrifices.
Yet, at the very end of the arc, we inexplicably see Pell approaching town having somehow survived an explosion straight to the face. Pell’s survival made it impossible for anyone to take death in One Piece seriously, even to the point where Ace had Akainu’s entire fist through him and people refused to believe he’d stay dead.
We hope people realize we write this list out of love for the franchise. It’s inspired so much wonder and joy in the world that its difficult to not be passionate about it. Think of this more like a lover teasing their significant other rather than a hateful diatribe about why One Piece sucks.
Did we miss something, though? Do you actually like the moments we wrote about? Got your own frustrations with the series you need to vent? Please let us know in the comments below!