One Piece Overview:
One Piece is the longest-running anime of all time. It might seem like a huge endeavor to catch up with its extremely long storyline, that’s why we’ve compiled this easy list of the 20 best arcs in one piece history. Note that this list includes filler and canon material based on critical and fan reception.
20. Fishman Island Arc
This arc spans episodes 523-574 for a total of 51 episodes.
The main plot consists of our Straw Hat Pirates making their way to Fish-Man Island. The New Fish-Man Pirates are preparing to take over the Ryugu Kingdom and establish the Fish-Men as the ultimate race.
The fisherman island arc remains one of the most polarizing arcs within the one-piece community because, unlike most arcs, the fisherman island arc takes a more serious approach to tackle themes of racism and racial discrimination.
Because of its reputation for being less than fun, we couldn’t justify it placing higher on the list. Don’t get us wrong though it’s worth the watch.
19. Zou Arc
This arc spans episodes 751 to 779 for a total of 28 episodes
Also referred to as the Zunesha Arc,
Zou, an island that has been riding on the back of a massive elephant, is under attack by Jack of the Beasts Pirates. In this arc, The “straw hats” who end up in Zou after defeating Doflamingo, find themselves in the middle of the conflict.
As the “straw hats” deal with the crisis, they find mysteries that might lead them to their ultimate aim the “One Piece” itself.
We included the Zou arc on this list for its action-oriented storytelling and its greater story implications.
18. Jaya Arc
The arc spans episodes 144 to 152 for a total of 9 episodes.
Our brave Straw Hat Pirates sail to Jaya’s to discover whether there is an island in the sky. Luffy encounters the overconfident and ruthless Bellamy while visiting the pirate-populated harbor town of Mock Town.
The twelfth arc of one piece is well worth it for even if it might lack the epic-ness of other arcs it is an important one as it establishes fan favorite and plot-relevant characters like whitebeards and Blackbeard
The real reason to watch it for us though is for one of the most satisfying moments of One Piece history when Luffy beats Bellamy.
17. Amazon Lily Arc
This arc takes place between episodes 408-421. Spanning 14 episodes
During this arc, Luffy crash-lands on the Calm Belt island of Amazon Lily. The female-only Kuja tribe lives on this island and is hostile to any men it encounters. This is a problem for our very man Luffy, yet he manages to endure his stay.
This arc lands on a lot of people’s lists for the best One Piece arcs and although we can’t agree to it is the best, The Amazon Lily Arc is quite important to the larger storyline of One Piece hence why we included this arc.
16. Levely Arc
This arc takes place between episodes 903-908, spanning 6 episodes.
In this arc, Royalty from all around the world arrives for the Levely after the Straw Hat Pirates’ acts against the Big Mom Pirates are made public. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Army is planning its next move.
What could’ve been just a throwaway connection arc is made worth being on this list for the fact it can stand on its own without the large epic arcs sandwiching it. Although considered so by some Weebs, the levely isn’t filler and has its interesting storyline.
15. Drum Island Arc
The Drum Island Arc starts with episode 78 and ends with episode 91. Spanning only 14 episodes!
Drum Island Arc’s story revolves around the Straw Hat Pirates, who sail to Drum Island to find a doctor. The team meets Tony Chopper, a strange talking reindeer who assists them in defeating the country’s former tyrannical king Wapol.
The simple storyline compliments the lighthearted and humorous tone of this arc but still takes time to expand the world of one piece and the crew of the “straw hats”
14. Romance Dawn Arc
the one that started it all!
Spanning the first 4 episodes the very first arc of one piece managed to grip an audience from the word go. Despite this arc having only four episodes, the arc manages to do a well enough job of setting up the world and the larger storylines. This is where we first met Luffy and Zoro who became instantly appealing characters for fans.
Oh! And the history of Luffy and Shanks is brief but perfectly serves its purpose to create intrigue and investment.
There’s a reason the series is still going and we have this arc to thank
13. Skypiea Arc
The Skypiea Arc takes place between episodes 153-195. A total of 43 episodes
The “straw hats” arrive on Sky Island Skypiea and discover its links to Jaya and Mont Blanc Noland’s story of a buried city of riches.
As the group sets sail in pursuit of wealth, they become embroiled in a three-way conflict between the local Skypieans, the angry Shandians, and the merciless “god” of the region, Enel.
This arc is quite different from all the other One Piece arcs in setting and style, making it quite the refresh the series needed at the time.
Although you might find it a little slow-paced, it is worth the viewing if only for Enel.
This arc features the legendary Enel’s face against Luffy that you may have seen across different memes and just this moment as well as everything else is why this arc finds itself on our list.
12. Impel Down Arc
This arc spans episodes 422-425 and 430-452, a total of 27 episodes excluding all the filler.
One of the greatest in the Summit War Saga, in this arc Luffy abandons his search for his crew in favor of rescuing his brother Ace from the underwater prison Impel Down.
One of the more packed arcs in terms of character development this arc includes some of the best individual moments of the series: When Magellan’s poison left Luffy inches from death and Bon Clay’s sacrifice of sticking behind, allowing Luffy to escape
One of the highlights of this arc and what nabbed it a spot on this list was Magellan, the vice warden of Impel Down. His presence immediately reintroduced a feeling of terror into the mix.
This arc spans episodes313 to 325 for a total of 13 episodes.
In Thousand Sunny Arc (AKA Post-Enies Lobby Arc), the “straw hats” are visited by Marines during their time at Water 7 after successfully fleeing from Enies Lobby. Ace ultimately catches up to and confronts Blackbeard on Banaro Island
The 17th arc was an emotional rollercoaster, with the melancholy moments of The Going Merry’s funeral; it also manages an amazing job setting up the Marineford Arc.
Not to mention it’s then that the shocking discovery of Luffy’s ancestry is revealed with Dragon, the Supreme Commander of the Revolutionary Army, is uncovered to be Luffy’s father.
Even though it’s only number 11 on this list it’s one of the most iconic one-piece arcs
10. Sabaody Archipelago Arc
This One Piece arc takes place from episodes 385 to 405 for a total of 21 episodes.
The plot of this arc revolves around Luffy and his crew clashing with a vicious slave trade ring that sells to the World’s Nobles. While there, the Eleven Supernovas, eleven deadly rookie pirates eager to access the New World via the archipelago, arrive. In terms of the larger story progression, it also introduced the Celestial Dragons, descendants of the World Government’s founders with complete political authority.
Sabaody Arc is quite well-known for its unique and gritty storyline. It also beautifully conveyed social messages regarding racism and slavery. A blend of social messaging and moral dilemma grips the audience from start to finish and lands this arc right in the middle of our list
The arc takes place between episodes 92-130, adding up to 39 episodes
In this arc, the “straw hats” arrive in Arabasta and begin their sprint through the desert to Alubarna before a violent fight breaks out between the kingdom’s royal guards and the rebels. Mr. 0 and the surviving Baroque Works officer agents, the genuine perpetrators of the warfare, stand in the way of achieving their objective.
This arc is quite notable since it features the first incident where Luffy loses a battle. He fights the notorious warlord Crocodile and loses, marking it as his first defeat in the series.
Because this is one of the longest arcs in One Piece’s history the writers took their time and so many underdeveloped characters also get their chance to shine.
The arc takes place between episodes 337 to 381, a total of 45 episodes.
In this arc, the “straw hats” arrive at Thriller Bark, a ghostly island/ship in the Florian Triangle. Here, their shadows are taken by Warlord of the Sea Gecko Moria, and they must race to get them back before the sun rises. Thriller Bark also sees the “straw hats” dealing with various Warlords of The Sea, most notably Gecko Maria, increasing the danger the main protagonists face and allowing the fans to witness an interesting showdown.
This arc also sees the introduction of Brook, a skeleton who becomes the Straw Hat Pirates’ musician
The 18th arc in the One Piece anime brought a lot of comedy and horror elements to the show, which was a fresh change for the fans. Being engaging, fun and quite the thrill is why Thriller-bark is number 8 on the list.
This arc is the longest we’ve discussed so far, starting in episode 783 and lasting till episode 877, coming in at a total of 95 episodes.
Luffy and his friends set out to save Straw Hat member Sanji from an arranged marriage. They are immediately drawn into a conspiracy to dethrone Big Mom, a very deadly pirate and one of the Four Emperors of the New World.
This arc puts the spotlight on Sanji. The creators explored his dark and abusive childhood so the tone veers a lot more serious and melancholy which was a welcome addition to the genre-defying anime.
Notably, his misunderstanding with Luffy was unique to see.
In the end, it was the swirl of emotion and action that put the “straw hats” on everyone’s radar and this arc at number 7.
Arlong-Park-ArcThis arc takes place between episodes 31 to 44, making it 14 episodes long.
In this arc, Roronoa Zoro, Usopp, and later Luffy and Sanji pursue Nami when she steals the “Going Merry” and ends up at Cocoyasi Village, her birthplace which is controlled by the tyrant Fish-Man Arlong. Here is where Nami’s history and real intentions are revealed.
Taking a break from long One Piece Arcs, this arc is short but packs as much as any of the longer ones with its high stakes (the freedom and life of Nami and her townsfolk) and With Luffy carrying all this emotional weight during his battle with the Fishman Arlong. The entire arc is emotionally powerful.
It was here that the team began to extend the One Piece universe during this arc by introducing the notion of Fishmen and the Seven Warlords, Really kicking off the lore of one piece.
Arlong Park Arc may be one of the earlier One Piece Arcs (and helped the show gain an audience), but it still holds up among the greatest arcs in the series, landing it at number 6 on our list.
This arc consists of episodes 629 to 746. A whopping 118 episodes
The Dressrosa Arc is the final arc in the greater Dressrosa Saga, following the Straw Hat Pirates and Trafalgar Law forming an alliance and capturing Caesar Clown. They proceed to Dressrosa with Kin’emon in the second step of their plan to depose the Warlord of the Sea, Donquixote Doflamingo.
The real reason to watch this arc is Donquixote Doflamingo, one if not the best antagonist in One Piece. He is a perfectly written villain with a great combination of frightening insanity and unstoppable strength, enhanced by his tortured yet sympathetic backstory.
As for larger story implications, Dressrosa Arc also showed off Luffy’s ultimate Gear 4 transformation.
All these elements make it worthy of being number 5 on our list of best One Piece Arcs.
Starting from episode 654 to 699, a total of 46 episodes
When the Straw Hat Pirates eventually arrive in the New World, they immediately receive a distress call from a group of people on the island of Punk Hazard, claiming a samurai is assaulting them. Vice Admiral Smoker is hard on Luffy’s heels as he heads out to the blazing island.
This arc demonstrated the results of Doctor Vegapunk’s research, expanding on how One Piece’s power systems work.
The impact of this arc on the overall One Piece mythos makes it a mandatory viewing for any fan and lands it at number 4 on the best One Piece arcs list.
Enies Lobby Arc takes place between episodes 264-278, 284-290, 293-302, and 304-312. Adding all these makes it a total of 41 episodes.
The segmented arc follows the “straw hats”, Sogeking, the Franky Family, and the Galley-La Company’s skilled craftsmen as they arrive at Enie’s Lobby aboard Rocketman to save Nico Robin and Franky. The World Government’s soldiers, notably its lethal assassin unit, CP9, stand in their way.
Enies Lobby is widely regarded as one of the finest arcs of One Piece. It transforms the typical “straw hats” journey into a full-fledged assault on one of the World Government’s strongholds.
It’s here that we’re introduced to Luffy’s Gear Second and Third transformations.
Due to all the emotions portrayed throughout this arc as well as the complex interconnected story, this arc stands firm at number 3 on our list.
This arc takes place between episodes 457 and 489. A total of 33 episodes
The runner-up on our list of best One Piece Arcs, In this arc, Luffy and the other Impel Down fugitives follow Luffy’s brother to Marineford, the base of Marine Headquarters, after failing to reach Ace before he was transferred there.
It’s also in this arc that we explore the character of Whitebeard, which makes this arc all the more special and interesting.
Overall, the well-crafted action sequences and brilliant storytelling is what made this arc our runner-up of the best One Piece arcs but which arc could beat it?
Was there any doubt?
The Wano Country Arc is set to be the longest One Piece arc and is still ongoing. It started back on episode 890 and is still airing. The creator has revealed that this arc will go on for some years.
This arc is divided into multiple acts. In this arc, The Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai Alliance assembles in Wano Country to prepare for combat against the Beasts Pirates. The Alliance attacks Onigashima to take down the allied forces of Kaidou and Big Mom, as alliances change on all sides of the siege.
So far, this arc has revealed Kozuki Oden’s background and his connections to Wano Country, Whitebeard, and Gol D. Roger. It focuses more on expanding the lore of One Piece and ties all the dots together.
Wano Country Arc will eventually lead towards the last saga of this legendary anime, and fans including us, are eagerly waiting to see where this arc heads but for the time being nothing will budge Wano country from number 1 on our list of the best One Piece anime arcs of all time.