1000 episodes…just think about that for a moment. This ongoing anime series has reached over 1000 episodes in its runtime and with the events of the newest Wano arc-shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. The fact that One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda can create fresh and enjoyable ideas for Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Nico Robin, Franky, Brooke, Jimbei, and Law is incredible and there is no surprise that One Piece is cherished as one of the most beloved anime series of all anime. While it is almost impossible to narrow down a list of the Top 10 greatest One Piece arcs (as all of them have something enjoyable to offer), here are the 10 arcs that stand out more from the others:
Note: Wano will not be included as, at the time of writing this article, is incomplete. At the moment, however, it is definitely a Top 3!
#10 G8: That’s right, we’re starting this list with a filler arc. Let this show how likable the characters and plot of One Piece truly are. The arc takes place as the Going Merry (the crew’s ship prior to Thriller Bark arc) is floating from the sky and lands into a Marine Base where the crew is captured and deprived of their ship which is held hostage at Dock 88. This arc shows great bonds between the characters, especially Nico Robin, and the action never disappoints. With the incredible dialogue, visuals, and events, the G8 arc may very well be the only filler arc that matters in One Piece and, canon or not is certainly worth your time!
#9 Skypiea: A battle with the God of One Piece himself sounds promising as it is and we can see Oda took full advantage of that concept. Occurring just before the G8 arc, Luffy and the gang take to the clouds to complete their journey across the Grand Line only to find turmoil amongst a hidden society in the clouds. Sailing into the clouds was a unique concept at the time and the fight against the villain Enel along with his army members is just as epic as it sounds. Hearing Luffy ring the golden bell at the end never fails to create satisfaction and chills down our spines and the entire arc completed the Sky Island Saga to a T.
#8 Dressrosa: This is one arc that many fans are split about. Being the longest arc before Wano (double the length of Alabasta), some fans found this arc too dragged out and an overall slog to sit through. However, many consider all 200+ episodes of this arc very enjoyable and worth every second of it, ourselves included. Doflamingo is easily the most sinister and enjoyable villain in One Piece and, from his backstory (won’t spoil) viewers know he means business. The fight against Luffy, especially in fourth gear mode, and Doflamingo, remains to be one of the most hype and tense battles in anime history, let alone in One Piece. Even after Doflamingo is captured, he still believes he will prevail and return in the future (we hope so!). A lengthy arc, but a very important and enjoyable one.
#7 Alabasta: And now for the second-longest arc at the time, Alabasta presented Luffy with his first real struggle with one of the Seven Warlords of the sea: Crocodile. In fact, this arc marks the first time Luffy lost a battle. What’s even more enjoyable is that each Straw Hat member had their own Baroque Works member to fight, all of which were very memorable. This arc is very fast-paced and the scenes at the desert and clock tower are indelible. Not to mention it’s very satisfying to see Princess Vivi return to her homeland safely and the crew signing off to Vivi as they depart still brings a tear to our eyes. While the East Blue Saga introduced us to Oda’s world, Alabasta (both the arc and saga) was the true sign that One Piece would be unlike any other along with another arc that we will discuss later.
#6 Water 7: This arc is the prime example of when “it hits the fan”. The Going Merry is breaking apart and the crew is forced to stop at Water 7 City to repair the boat. However, the crew begins to fight about further steps and Usopp leaves the crew…and then Robin goes missing…and then there’s a giant tsunami approaching the city. This arc throws so much at the viewer, we are constantly wondering what will occur next. Even Luffy begins to lose hope with the culminating events. While these struggles will be fully exploited next arc, this arc brings all the pieces together. An amazing warm-up arc before Enies Lobby.
#5 Arlong Park: Ah, East Blue. The days when Smoker and Captain Buggy were considered the most powerful villains. The days when Usopp shot eggs as a weapon. The days when One Piece was innocent…that is until we were introduced to Arlong Park. Nami’s village has been taken over by the Fishman known as Arlong who could fight fluently both on land and in water, almost drowning Luffy in the process. The highlight, of course, is Nami’s backstory along with her mother’s sacrifice at the hands of Arlong. The crew’s walk to fight the Fishman is also memorable and epic too. While Alabasta propelled One Piece to the exciting anime we know of today, Arlong Park was our first sign of a successful series ahead. If you’re looking for an early arc to introduce you to One Piece, definitely start here; you won’t regret it.
#4 Marineford: Many people consider Marineford to be one of the greatest arcs of all time and it’s not hard to see why. Luffy’s struggle to fight both Whitebeard and the Marines in order to save his brother Ace is pure adrenaline. This arc is one gargantuan battle, even fighting some of Luffy’s own relatives, and the concluding scene remains to be one of One Piece’s most touching moments. A very epic and engaging experience and deserves to be considered one of the best ever anime arcs (but there are still 3 that surpass this).
#3 Whole Cake Island: The best post-time skip arc in One Piece. The crew arrives at an island full of desserts where the villain, Big Mamma, has taken Sanji for an arranged marriage with the Charlotte Family and Vinsmoke family. The scene of the crew crashing the wedding is iconic as well as Big Mamma chasing the crew for her wedding cake. The Seducing Woods is also bone-chilling and shows off Oda’s true creativity, setting the premise for Wano in the process. Very innovative and action-packed. That being said, this is one arc you shouldn’t watch on an empty stomach (we’re craving cake just writing this).
#2 Sabady Archipelago: The first arc of the epic Summit War Saga. The crew has reached the highway point of the Grand Line where they learn of a society where Fishman are holing the poorer citizens for ransom and sold at auction- an excellent symbol of racism. This arc introduces many memorable scenes such as the Eleven Supernovas, Luffy Punching a Celestial Dragon, and, of course, the crew falling to the hands of Bartholomeus Kuma. Luffy being completely defeated and separated from his crew is heartbreaking, but necessary for him to accomplish his goals. While many people consider Marineford to be the superior arc, Sabady Archipelago lays the groundwork and struggles in an exciting and memorable method. An anime highlight.
Considering Luffy has fought for over 20 years, it is incredible how many obstacles have stood in his way and the different methods Luffy overcomes these obstacles. However, here is the number 1 arc, not only in One Piece but one of the best in anime. What else could it be but:
#1 ENIES LOBBY: Yeah, we really tried not to be entirely predictable but it’s inevitable. Enie’s Lobby is just a flawless arc all around. This was the arc that made Luffy a prime enemy of the world government and the struggles provides multiple memorable moments from this series: Robin’s backstory, Franky destroying the plans for Pluton, Luffy’s first, second, and third gears, Chopper’s monster point, and, of course, “I want to Liiiiiiiiivvvvveeee!”. Luffy declaring war on the world government is both epic and heartwarming, showing care for his reputation along with his crewmates. Even Oda himself admitted in an interview that he will “probably never have a greater arc than this”. Now that’s saying a lot. Overall, Enie’s Lobby defines everything that makes One Piece great and lays a foundation for its later arcs along with clever foreshadowing. A straight-up masterpiece.
Again, it is very difficult to only choose ten of the greatest arcs from One Piece as every arc offers something unique, creative, emotional, exciting, or all of the above. Happy belated celebration to 1000 episodes of this amazing anime and here’s to more incredible arcs to come. And don’t be intimidated by the length of this show because trust us, you will not regret one minute of watching One Piece.