Anime! Who's watching what?
@demonpirate I originally did read the manga, though I did so in a less... legal way, which I never liked but short of buying each volume physically I couldn't find out how else to read it. I made it up until about halfway through Skypiea before I just got burned out. I didn't care for the arc, and it was long, so I just grew tired of it.
Flash forward to a couple years later and I was missing it, and the anime was available on streaming so I just decided to hop in from the beginning. I wouldn't say it's a better experience, but I also wouldn't call it lesser than the manga. The anime has pacing issues for sure, but all of the voice actors are incredible (sub) and the music is great so I think it's a fair trade-off. Plus I'm so far behind that the fear of being behind the manga isn't there for me.
And just like that the Thriller Bark arc of One Piece is over, and in only 18 days, a far cry from how long it took me to finish Enies Lobby. It was fun! Not the best One Piece has ever been, but it's still a solid arc. For most of it I would have put it in a solid B-tier as far as arcs go, but the ending is so phenomenal that it elevates it up to A-tier easily. Like, the last 7 or so episodes of this 45 episode arc bring so much intensity and emotion that they completely make up for how little there was up until this point. Here are some spoiler-filled thoughts:
I think Moria is a fun villain. There's something sinister to him that was missing from Lucci. That's not to imply that I think he's a better villain than Lucci, because I think he does have some weaknesses that hold him back a bit. For one, though this was the whole point of him, the fact that he let everybody else do all of the work for him made the final fight (with Oars) a little anti-climactic. Aside from the brief instance in which Moria was all shadowed up, the final fight was basically with a goofy henchman. A strong goofy henchman, but a goofy henchman nonetheless, and I think it lacked the climactic feel of other final fights because of this. I will say though that the moment when Oars was defeated, with all of the Straw Hats working together to make it happen, was really cool. I think Moria ultimately suffers when Kuma is introduced as well, because Kuma is so rad and so much of a better villain that his presence just serves to make Moria look bad. And again I know that's kind of the point, but when a 45 episode arc is about stopping this dude, I need just a little bit more from him. He was fun, he served his purpose, but he's not the best villain One Piece has had.
I also think the structure of the arc was a little weird. It kind of felt like it was at a climactic pace for most of it, with major villains getting beat before the arc was halfway through. It's just hard to keep this momentum going for so long, and while Enies Lobby was able to do so seamlessly, Thriller Bark felt a little tired by the time it ended.
Those last episodes though, my god they were excellent. From the defeat of Oars onward the arc was a solid 10. The defeat of Moria felt satisfying, and the fight (?) with Kuma was incredible. Such a great way to set up a villain for later. Zoro also has his best moment so far with him "taking Luffy's pain." It's not only a cool moment for him, but it also gets to the heart of his relationship with Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats. It's an oddly heartwarming moment, and so suspenseful that had I not known he lived I may have feared for him. Just an excellent moment, one of those ones you don't forget. Then we get the full story of Brooks and Laboon, which is so heartbreaking it brought me to tears. I thought Robin's backstory was sad, but the last song of the Rumbar Pirates rocked me nearly as bad as the death of the Merry did. It's remarkable to me how much heart and soul this show has.
Well another arc down and a billion to go. Can't wait to see where the show goes next!
DemonPirate last edited by DemonPirate
@capnbobamous I legitimately cannot listen to Binks' Sake without choking up.
Congrats on finishing Thriller Bark! What are your thoughts on Brook so far?
I cannot wait for your write-up when you conclude the next arc :)
What are your thoughts on Brook so far?
I love him! One Piece does such a great job of endearing you to new crew-mates before they actually become crew-mates. I feel like I know him so well and he's already interacted with the Straw Hats so much that now he feels like a natural inclusion. He's funny and has a lot of heart (except he doesn't have a heart), but there's also a quiet sadness to him. I can't wait to see the perspective he brings. Seems perhaps a bit odd to have another swordsman, but we've already seen he's not as strong as Zoro and he has the added ability to use his light body to his advantage, so I'm sure his style is gonna feel a lot different.
Seems perhaps a bit odd to have another swordsman
I guess his technical role is the "musician" of the crew lol
@Capnbobamous May I ask how your One Piece journey is going? :)
@demonpirate I'm still not very far at all after Thrillerbark. I tend to take breaks after major arcs just because I don't want to get burned out, and get back in when the desire is strong again. I don't imagine the break will be too long though, definitely not as long as my last one was.
It's been a long time coming, but about a week ago I decided my One Piece sabbatical was over and I then powered through the Sabaody Archipelago Arc. I knew this was a short one so I figured I would wait to make an update until after I watch the subsequent arc, but fuck it Sabaody Archipelago was incredible and I want to talk about it.
Gonna get this out of the way: Holy fuck, that ending. Legitimately one of the most tragic moments in the show. Obviously the Straw Hats are going to be okay, but seeing them all fall one-by-one, while Luffy is forced to watch helplessly is pretty heartbreaking. Luffy's genuine anguish is immensely powerful, and then the little montage they do afterward which shows every Straw Hat joining the crew just drives the point home even more. Did not expect this at all, super shocking and well done.
Love, love, love everything they do with the new pirates. It is such a fun concept, to introduce these other rookies who started at around the same time as Luffy and followed different paths. The idea that Kid, Law, Drake, etc. are the protagonists of their own story is really cool, and not something you often see in a Shonen anime I think. It kind of takes the focus away from Luffy, which is great but Dragon Ball could never. Kid and Law are obvious stand outs here, and knowing that Law is such a beloved character I was very excited to finally see him in action. Can't wait to see more of them.
The villains were excellent too. One thing that One Piece has always done remarkably well is power scaling. We know from the get-go that the Straw Hats are not even close to the level of Kizaru or Kuma, and so the arc ending with them trying desperately to escape is very interesting. Kizaru is sick as hell too. He's just so nonchalant about everything, never threatened in the slightest by the pirates. Eager to see more of him as well, and given the state of the One Piece world right now, I don't think I'll have to wait very long.
The main thing I'm left with after this arc is just how large the world of One Piece is. So much is going on behind the scenes that the Straw Hats aren't even privy to. Ace is set to be executed and the Whitebeard Pirates and the Warlords are about to go to war. This is happening with or without Luffy, and that's so crazy compared to other big anime like this. The world of One Piece does not require the input of the protagonist, it genuinely feels like they're part of something much larger, and that's super exciting.
Alright that's it. I'm gonna go right into the next arc, and I don't really know what to expect other than it's another short one, so I'll probably wait to make another update until I finish the arc after it. Viva la One Piece.
@capnbobamous Yeeees, duuuuude. Sabaody's ending hits so hard it hurts to watch. The arc is easily among my favorites. It builds so much of the world and puts a lot of things in scope.
It's also just visually looks insane. I want to live there (minus the slavery and corruption :)).
Any new characters or Straw Hats you're growing attached to?
The next few arcs are pretty batshit. I'm really hoping nothing was spoiled on you with anything that's about to happen.
P.S. the opening is a bop.
@demonpirate Yeah I'm really into the new pirates. I've only gotten to know them a brief time but I'm definitely eager to see more. I also think it's really cool that they've all heard of Luffy. Really puts his exploits into perspective. Other than that, Brook has certainly gotten to shine this arc. He hasn't really done anything meaningful but it's great to see him be a Straw Hat, to finally see how their dynamic shapes up. Kuma is also so damn cool. I was worried seeing him so soon after Thriller Bark because I didn't want him to become oversaturated, but naw that dude rules.
For an arc that kind of feels like setup for something far greater, it has some of the best moments in the series. Easily stands on its own as one of the best arcs so far.
Other than that, Brook has certainly gotten to shine this arc. He hasn't really done anything meaningful but it's great to see him be a Straw Hat, to finally see how their dynamic shapes up.
Agreed. This is definitely an awkward time for Brook since he just joined a few moments ago and now something so cathartic is happening to the Straw Hats themselves that it feels hard to care about him like the rest of the crew. But moments like these solidify him as a true Straw Hat.
Seeing him carry Zoro's swords since he knows how important they are to a swordsman, especially Zoro, is cool.
Or being really quick to give away his "life" for them.
If you're in the mood to see some reviews/analyses I'd recommend Merphy Napier. She's a booktuber that makes videos on novels and such but she started One Piece when some commenter kept writing to her on almost every video lol. She just recently caught up last month but her review style and dissection of events is extremely different than most manga/anime reviewers since she's coming from a literary background and it's really enlightening. She has a video for each arc and it's a good way to get a refresher if you find yourself forgetting some past events.
Anyways, have fun!