One Piece Arc Review: Impel Down

I have reviewed every Arc in the One Piece story up until this point. If you are interested in reading them, here are the few most recent:

Impel Down is one of the last arcs before the two-year time skip occurs in the manga, and is the 21st story arc in the series.

Luffy puts finding his crew on hold in favor of rescuing his brother Ace from the underwater prison Impel Down. With some assistance from Boa Hancock, he manages to infiltrate the facility. However, fulfilling his objective and escaping the hellish prison might be easier said than done.

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Unlikely Allies

Luffy’s goal in this arc is to rescue his brother Ace from prison before he can be executed.

With the help of Boa Hancock, he breaks into the prison that houses the worst of the worst: Impel Down.

Through his fights and trials through each of the several floors, a lot of characters we knew as enemies become his allies and help him in his quest.

This is a nice addition to the story. Up until Sabaody, every Arc included the entirety of the Straw Hat Crew fighting against the bad guys. Now that they’ve been separated, Luffy finds new allies in some old enemies and complete strangers that help him.

Its a rag-tag team, but each one was chosen because I think they will have long-term effects on the story. Some of their contributions are more obvious, some are a bit more obscure, and we haven’t learned of their effects yet, but I think they will have a big impact on the end-game.


Long-Term Effects on the Story

Other than re-introducing some old enemies and introducing new characters into the fold, there are quite a few potential long-term effects on the story.

There is the introduction of a future crew member, a new Shichibukai introduction, and a character whose fate hasn’t had much of an impact on the story yet, but their ties to certain characters is definitely going to be coming into fruition at some point.

Other than character impacts, there isn’t much that has been affected. There is an instance where Luffy’s life force is drained, but we don’t really have any explanation if that has any long-lasting effects or if it was a more immediate issue.


Roller Coaster Ride of Excitement

A lot of this arc goes up and down in excitement. One chapter will be exciting because some big fight happens, some new enemy is introduced, or a new threat appears. The next chapter will be boring and will be a drawn out conversation or some attempt at humor that doesn’t quite land well.

That would be my biggest complaint about this arc. It’s too often up and down with the excitement levels. I don’t expect an arc to be constantly surpassing itself in how exciting it is to read, but the boring parts of an arc shouldn’t be as drawn out as they seemed in this arc.

Other than that, I really enjoy the high moments. The threats feel real and like it is truly a life and death battle. The stakes get higher and higher, and there’s little Luffy and friends can do to answer those challenges.


Final Thoughts

Overall, the Impel Down Arc is a lot of fun to read and it opens the door to a lot of potential story lines in the future.

Though it can be a bit dull at times, it is fun to read, and the arc didn’t feel like it was dragging on when you read it week by week.

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