Arc Review: One Piece Romance Dawn

Arc Rating: ★★★★☆

So if you don’t already know I have covered a few manga on here before, but in doing so I have found that I’m not happy with them.

I find it’s not enough to cover an entire manga series, which can be hundreds of chapters long, in roughly the same length as a regular book review. That’s why I’ve decided to cover them arc by arc.

This might not be a perfect equivalent, but I think this will better represent the manga as a whole, and allow me to go a little further in depth when looking at the entire picture.

I decided I would cover One Piece first because it’s currently my favourite on-going manga series, and never ceases to amaze me arc by arc.

Since we are taking a look at One Piece, where else can we start than with the Romance Dawn Arc.

This arc makes up chapters 1-7 of the manga, and will always be the most important arc of the entire series.

There are three main events in this arc.


The first is we find out about Gol. D. Roger and how he inspired a generation of people to become pirates and chase their dreams–which in turn became Shanks inspiring Luffy to become King of the Pirates. This is where Luffy gets his Devil Fruit Powers, and where Shanks gives him the iconic Straw Hat that Roger had given him.

The second important moment in this arc is Koby from Alvida, and the third and final event in this arc is Zoro joining with Luffy and defeating Ax Hand Morgan.

Now each of these events seem pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, except the Shanks incident.

We all know Shanks gave up an arm to save Luffy from the Sea King, which seems like a big deal at the time, but as the story progresses we realize that it was a way bigger deal than we had thought!

In terms of where we are now in the story, Shanks has become one of the strongest men in the entire world, even after losing his arm to a creature he could have beaten in one punch, but as he tells Whitebeard “I bet it on the next generation.”

Again, we don’t find any of this out till much later in the story, but what we do know is that this moment, when Shanks loses an arm, and when he gives Luffy the iconic Straw Hat, are hands down the two most important moments in the show. These are what inspired Luffy to become the next King of the Pirates.

Shanks tells Luffy all about his stories and adventures he has gone on, which is the greatest thing in the world to a child like Luffy, but it is losing the arm that really inspires him, because witnessing this happen tells Luffy that Shanks protects the ones he cares about and Luffy grows up to do the same.


PLUS Shanks gives Luffy the ultimate quest for returning the Straw Hat. 

The next little bit of this arc focuses on Luffy saving Koby. In my opinion this hasn’t done much for the overall story, and at the time it was pretty much the same. Koby does become Luffy’s first real friend once he takes off to sea, but he was set up right away to be a sort of counter to Luffy, because his dream was to become a Marine Admiral, which is sort of the opposite of what Luffy wanted.

Now Alvida hasn’t had much to do with the story since she was defeated, so she’s basically unimportant in the grand scheme of things.


Even Koby has become somewhat pointless. As the story develops I thought Koby might become a rival to Luffy, pushing him to become stronger but still being friends at the end of the day, but Koby is more or less useless. We learn that Gol. D. Roger had a marine rival–Garp, so I thought that this might be Koby’s job in the story, but that doesn’t seem to be the case since he is so weak. If anything I’d give this job to Smoker at the moment, and I really doubt Koby will change much as the story wraps up.

He has his moment on Marineford, but Luffy takes him down in just a punch.

I’m not really sure what the point of Koby is. I mean he isn’t a threat to Luffy, he isn’t even that important in the Marines, he hasn’t done much other than help stop the Whitebeard War, but I still don’t like him.

Don’t get me wrong he’s strong in his own right, but I don’t think he’s strong enough yet to give Luffy any sort of threat, and at this rate I don’t think it would make much sense for him to be anywhere near as strong as he needs to be to defeat Luffy, but I think there is a reason he’s here…we just don’t know what it is yet.

Finally the Axe Hand Morgan section of the arc. This is another pretty unimportant part of the story in the grand scheme of things, other than the fact that we get introduced to the first, and coolest, Straw Hat crew member Zoro.

Luffy saves him from prison and the two of them work together to beat Morgan and saving the town he was ruling over.

Again, Morgan is pretty small key villain, and even his son Helmeppo, who becomes good friends with Koby as they join the marines together, is pretty useless since we’ve met him.


There are two key moments in this part of the arc though. The first is when the Marines thank Luffy and Zoro, who are considered criminals, for helping defeat Morgan. This is very important because this is where we get the idea that the Marines, who are essentially the bad guys, have their own sense of what justice is.

They could have tried to arrest Luffy and Zoro after they defeated Morgan, but realized that it was only because of them that they were able to stop Morgan in the first place. This sense of justice doesn’t mean much at the time, but it becomes more and more important as the story goes on.

The second important event is the moment when Luffy and Zoro team up to fight Morgan. This is when we really find out that they are good people, despite being what readers normally consider the bad guys in society–pirates.

This is the first real moment of being a ‘bad guy’ because of society looking down on pirates but being a ‘good person’ because Luffy, and by extension Zoro always do the good thing despite being labelled as a bad guy.

So that’s it for my review of the Romance Dawn arc. What did you think? I liked writing this arc review much more than the manga review as a whole, so I’ll likely continue with it in the future, but I’d love some feedback in the comments section.

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