One Piece Diaries #13 – Arabasta #1

One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at close to 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for those who haven’t been watching from the start to jump on board. One Piece Diaries tracks one writer’s experience with this daunting rite of passage. With hype for the highs and critique for the lows, this column will help you decide whether to take your own One Piece journey – or let you relive the one you’re already on. It will update biweekly every other Thursday.

Episodes Watched: 92 – 101 – Arabasta 

I can’t believe I’ve watched over 100 episodes of this series and I’m nowhere close to finishing. Hitting triple digits feels like an accomplishment, but it’s also sort of disheartening. I have to do this ten more times?? Is it even possible to catch up, or will there be 200 more episodes by the time I get to the Wano Country arc?

As overwhelming as it is, though, I’m still having a pretty good time. With that in mind, let’s get into my first impressions of Arabasta. For this part I’ll be talking about the first 1/4 of the arc, ending with Ace’s departure. There’s already so much going on that I can’t address all of it, so I’ll stick to the highlights.

First off, let’s talk about Ace, Luffy’s brother. I’ve been hearing about Ace for years, but I’ve never seen him in action. I can’t say I was enamored with him from the jump. I like his design – his face looks different from most of the other characters, and I love the freckles. Nothing about his personality really stood out to me, but I know this is only the beginning. I want to know more about his relationship with Luffy, and I want to know more about the Blackbeard and Whitebeard plot threads that he hinted at.

Another thing that’s really cool is the desert environment. It’s a total departure from the towns and islands of past arcs, and I’m here for it. My favorite thing about it so far is probably the dance powder. Dance powder is actually based on silver iodide, a real substance that increases the size of rainclouds when burned. It’s awesome that Oda is taking elements from the natural world and applying them to his fantasy world. The conflict that poses – that using dance powder causes rain in the area where it’s used but causes droughts in others – brings up fascinating ethical problems.

That brings me to the last thing I wanted to talk about – Vivi. Vivi is a princess who wants desperately to protect her people from harm and provide them with whatever they need. But because the problems are so complex, people slip through the cracks. I know Rasa is a filler character, but I thought her conflict with Vivi did a great job of exemplifying this. Vivi and her father promised to help Rasa’s hometown of Melias with its various woes, but her village’s problem slipped through the cracks. From Vivi’s perspective, Melias is one town among many. Vivi wants to help, but there’s only so much she can do. She might be royalty, but she’s also human. But for Rasa, it’s her entire life. Her leadership failed her, and she’s furious.

So, what is Vivi truly responsible for? What do leaders owe their people? I’m hoping that the arc will continue addressing their theme. If Vivi’s friendship with a boy who grew up to be the leader of the rebel army is any indication, I think it will. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story develops – and I’ll be back to talk about it more in two weeks!

One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at close to 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for thoseCOMICONRead More

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