Hello dear readers, today we continue our adventure with the Straw Hat Pirates in the last arc before the time-skip: the Sabaody Archipelago arc.
Reality Kicks In
There is one main reason that this arc stands highly in my overall rankings. It’s the fact that the Straw Hats don’t have it easy like they do in every other arc.
In every other arc up until now, I would argue that it was clear the Straw Hats would make it out with no problem. Yes, they might struggle with their fights and have a hard time winning, but at the end of the day there really isn’t an issue.
Enies Lobby is the one different arc from the rest, but I would say that it seemed like there was too much despair that it was obvious the Straw Hats would survive.
Sabaody shows the crew the reality they face in the New World. It is a whole new ballgame, and it won’t be easy for them on the road ahead.
There is so much desperation and fear present in the arc, but it shows the reader the reality of the world, and that the crew just isn’t ready for it yet.
Exploring the World
For this arc, we are stuck on one “island” the Sabaody Archipelago, but we learn more about the outside world than almost all of the other arcs combined.
This is the arc where we learn of a lot of other characters that are involved in the One Piece world, both pirate and Marine.
With the brief stories we get from the new characters in the past, we learn how big the world really is, and how narrow the story of the Straw Hat’s really is.
There is a lot of story happening in the background of the One Piece world that we don’t learn about. There is something happening behind the scenes that I am certain will one day impact the main events, but we only catch glimpses of it here and there, and usually only big moments. We don’t get the little things that could change the course of the story completely.
Impact on the story
Sabaody has the most impact on the story of all the arcs so far. Not only does it give a form of a “finale” to every arc that we have seen so far, but also tears our worldview apart and sets the story on a different path.
If we put it in sports terms, it is like the Straw Hats, were playing in an amateur league against other rookies. Then when they get to Sabaody, they are thrown into the Professional league with almost no training and little idea of what to expect.
The storytelling is well done, and it sets up a two-year time skip in the story, which is common among Shonen manga.
The doors are thrown wide open for new adventures, and the story of the Straw Hats gets more exciting after Sabaody.
I would rank the Sabaody Archipelago arc in my top three One Piece arcs, Enies Lobby being the first and an arc that hasn’t been reviewed yet, but is the current manga arc as the second.
It sets up a great story and is a great ending for others, but the best reason is because it shows us the 75 per cent of the One Piece world that we don’t get to see from the Straw Hat’s perspective.