For most TV shows, a list of the top 50 episodes would include a sizable percentage of the total run. However, the beloved anime series (based on Eiichiro Oda's manga of the same name) has soared well past the 1,000 episode mark, so a top 50 list represents just a fraction of the total episodes. All of the episodes included in this feature are legitimately great, and some are so good that they feel more like miniature movies.
"One Piece" hasn't been ongoing for over two decades simply because it's an institution in the way that shows like arguably have been. It has been allowed to go on for as long as it has because it has managed to stay consistently great for almost its entire runtime, with any dips in quality being minor and never lasting for long before things bounce back. The following 50 "One Piece" episodes represent the absolute best of the best of this juggernaut of an anime. Spoilers ahead.
Episode 719 of "One Piece" sees the culmination of several major conflicts. There's the various solo battles among the Colosseum fighters and Doflamingo crew, not to mention the climax of the fight between and Pica. There are often many plot plates spinning at once during "One Piece," so it's always satisfying to see several threads get tied up within a single entry.
What hurts this episode a bit is the way things are padded out ever so slightly in the first half. It's not that every episode needs to be wall-to-wall action, but in this particular case, there was a lot to get to and these fights had earned the space to span an entire episode. Still, Zoro is always a treat to watch in battle, and to see him wipe the floor with a hulking beast like Pica definitely puts this episode among the best.
There's a reason that "One Piece" protagonist is so devastated when Portgas D. Ace dies. Ace's passing is such a huge event in the story that it unfolds over the course of two episodes, allowing the audience to fully grasp the loss. There are a bunch of great Ace episodes, but Episode 481 really demonstrates how great the two brothers were together and how much fun they were to watch before Ace's unfortunate demise.
This episode also shows that, for a time, Ace was more powerful than Luffy and that Luffy still had a lot of work to do to catch up to his brother's strength. Beyond that, it also gives Edward Newgate — aka Whitebeard — a chance to shine, even though things are definitely building toward his demise at this point. He'd meet his end four episodes later, but, for now, he's alive and well and is still one of the coolest characters in the series during this period.
The Nine Red Scabbards (led by KozukicMomonosuke and made up of Kozuki Family retainers) have a traitor in their midst in Episode 977, in which they attempt to launch a raid on Onigashima. The turncoat is revealed to be Kanjuro in a major (and very satisfying) twist, one of the best in recent memory. The "One Piece" anime is still airing episodes that are part of the Wano Country Arc, and Episode 977 happens right in the middle of that, setting various things into motion that are still playing out to this day.
This memorable episode also gives us a few of the entertaining flashbacks that "One Piece" is known for, including another glimpse into the backstory of Kanjuro that coincides with the show revealing his true nature. This episode will likely be reappraised once the anime series is finally completed and could be worthy of an even higher ranking among the greats when viewing the series as a finished whole. For now, it's comfortably in the top 50.
Episode 94 is a great entry, but even if it wasn't anything special, it still would have gone down in "One Piece" history simply for the fact that it contains the debut of — and the reveal that he is Luffy's brother. That certainly plays a big part in why it's such a great episode, serving as a fantastic introduction to a fan-favorite character. The restaurant meeting between Ace, Luffy, and Smoker is often brought up by "One Piece" fans when discussing some of their favorite moments from the anime.
"One Piece" deftly bounces between comedy and seriousness, but Episode 94 leans heavily to the comedic side and shows just how hilarious this anime is capable of being. Not unlike how the action in "One Piece" is some of the best in , so is the comedy in "One Piece," which is undoubtedly one of the funniest shows of its kind. There's a lot of that on display in Episode 94, in which the crew encounter a conman who claims to be in possession of a magical golden apple — it turns out it's just painted gold.
"One Piece" is capable of being as silly as anime gets, but it can also get incredibly heavy at times, and Episode 706 is a prime example of that. The episode takes us to the past of Donquixote Doflamingo (one of the more flamboyant characters in "One Piece") via a flashback, showing us how he took his father's life in an incredibly violent and brutal manner. We also see Doflamingo kill his brother in similarly brutal fashion, two gut-punch moments in a single episode.
Much of this episode is about fleshing out Doflamingo's backstory, and it's an origin that proves a lot darker than fans might have expected from the character. It's a perfect example of the fact that you can never assume that any "One Piece" character is what they seem. Eiichiro Oda has always made sure that his characters have complex histories that predate the "current" events of the story.
One of the benefits of having an anime series that is that it allows enough space for every character to get the spotlight now and again, sometimes for an entire episode. In the case of Episode 833, the fish-man Jinbe is the focus. He attempts to redeem himself after taking some less-than-noble actions — though, in fairness, those actions weren't fully his call.
There were a lot of signs leading up to this episode that suggested Jinbe was going to soon meet his end, yet he surprised everyone when he not only survived but completely turned his character arc around. This episode sets up several elements that would go on to be major pieces of the Cake Island Arc, and this was one of the last self-contained story episodes before another big overarching story that took place across a few dozen episodes began, the type of thing that "One Piece" fans absolutely eat up.
Not unlike and other anime of this ilk, much of "One Piece" centers on its main heroes slowly growing in power over the course of the series. Pretty much every shonen features huge milestone moments that fans go nuts over, with characters periodically achieving new levels and/or forms. This happened in "One Piece" Episode 1028 when Luffy debuted his Advanced Conqueror Haki in an intense battle with Kaido. It represented Luffy reaching yet another tier of power, and it meant that — for the first time — Luffy and Kaido were finally equally matched, setting the stage for an epic final showdown between the two.
It isn't only Luffy who gets to shine in this episode, however. Fans also get to see Nami kick things up a notch in battle. The bad guys also have a strong showing here, with Big Mom in vengeance mode after a defeat in the previous episode. She creates a new Homie named Hera who would cause problems for the heroes going forward. It's one of the most memorable recent episodes of the long running show.
Episode 489 of "One Piece" saw the Marineford Arc draw to a close. In turn, Shanks was able to come to the fore and really demonstrate his power. In fact, he more or less ended an entire war, and did so while barely actually laying a hand on anyone. A lot of "One Piece" fans felt like this arc — and its associated war — had dragged on a bit too long, but that only made the catharsis of its climax that much more satisfying.
Needless to say, there was a lot of finality to this episode, including seeing both Ace and Whitebeard finally getting the closure and send-off they deserved after having perished several episodes prior. No matter what anyone thought of this arc as a whole, there's no denying that it went out with a bang and culminated in an incredible episode all around. Shanks is one of the most iconic "One Piece" players, and he shines here.
To say that "One Piece" can be something of a slow burn would be an understatement. It's not surprising that the majority of the episodes in this feature come several hundred episodes into the anime's run. Episode 24 is the earliest one to be included here, making it arguably the series' first truly great episode. Much of that has to do with it being the episode where Roronoa Zoro truly comes into his own as a character.
After suffering a devastating loss to Dracule "Hawk Eyes" Mihawk, Zoro is changed as a character and vows to never be defeated again. This sets into motion his arc as a true fan-favorite character, and one that would go on to be a major player throughout most of the series. The episode also features fun Nami hijinks, with her stealing the Going Merry but Luffy having her back as he so often does in the episodes to come.
Here is another example of "One Piece" following in the tradition of anime like in that it features Luffy reaching a new power level and debuting a new transformation. With Episode 726, that meant the premiere of Gear 4 — more specifically, the first form of Gear 4, which is the Boundman form. It's one of Luffy's sillier forms (at least in terms of how it's represented visually), but it's powerful and cool-looking nonetheless.
Unlike "Dragon Ball," where the heroes tend to only look increasingly more "cool" as they get more powerful, "One Piece" is never afraid to have characters look ridiculous as they power up, and that's one of the things that makes the series so unique. Luffy reaching Gear 4 was a major moment in the Dressrosa Arc, which was just about to hit the home stretch by this point in the anime's run.
Episode 914 was a big deal in a lot of ways, mainly because it marked the much-hyped first battle between Luffy and Kaido. Impressively, despite the fact that the battle had been built up for so long and had fans chomping at the bit to see it finally happen on screen, it's hard to imagine that a single "One Piece" fan was the least bit disappointed by how the pair's big first fight went down.
Luffy still had a long way to go at this point in terms of power and wasn't actually ready to take Kaido down, but he still held his own and it whet the appetites of fans who knew that this was only going to be the first of many scuffles between the two. Viewers knew that, eventually, Luffy was going to get to a point where he could not only match Kaido, but actually overtake him. And thus, one of the great rivalries of modern anime finally kicked off in earnest.
Though we were only a few episodes away from the debut of Gear 4 at this point, Episode 273 saw the premiere of Gear 2, when Luffy used it to fight — and ultimately defeat — Blueno. It also appeared that Luffy was about to show off a previously unseen move here for the first time, but it ended up being just a preview of something he'd be debuting a little later. This episode is way more than just a tease for the future, however.
The main draw here is Luffy's big battle with Blueno, an undeniably awesome moment. But there are other things that make Episode 273 notable as well. For instance, it features appearances by the Franky Family as well as Baskerville the Three-Headed Judge. The latter had only just recently debuted, marking the introduction of one of the most unusual "One Piece" character(s). Like a lot of great "One Piece" episodes, 273 is a great mix of various plot threads coming to their epic conclusions along with some new ones that are just getting underway, balanced with expert precision.
It goes without saying that "One Piece" requires a in order to fully absorb the story. This isn't the kind of show you can just randomly catch an episode of and hope to be on board within 23 minutes. That being said, some episodes are better entry points than others, and some are even self contained stories. Episode 199 is one of those rare "One Piece" episodes that tells a story isolated enough that anyone can watch it and enjoy it even if they've never seen a frame of the series up to that point.
In fact, the episode comes in the middle of the G-8 Arc, which is possible to enjoy on its own. However, Episode 199 in particular stands out and is one of the best episodes of its type in the entire series. It's essentially an escape story where Luffy and Sanji have to spring Usopp and Zoro out of a brig, and it's extremely fun and entertaining throughout. If you want some light "One Piece" relief but don't have hours to spare, this is always a good choice.
Episode 1033 is another entry that features a duel in the ongoing battle between Luffy and Kaido. It's a pulse-pounding one with some really breathtaking animation and an extremely impressive sense of scope. It ends on a big cliffhanger after Luffy takes a beating from the imposing villain. That's not the only fight that we see here, however, as there is also a tense battle between Nami and Ulti.
This installment is also another great example of the hilarious dynamic between Zoro and Sanji, who are always a delight when they are verbally sparring with one another. All in all, Episode 1033 would've been a standout entry for any anime, but the fact that it comes over 1,000 episodes into "One Piece" makes it all the more impressive, proof that this show can still be at the very top of its game decades into its existence.
As previously mentioned, Ace dying is a moment for "One Piece," to the point that the impact of this could've never been contained to just a single episode. And while he doesn't actually take his final breath until the next episode, Episode 482 sets up that it's going to happen very soon, prepping fans for the loss. What makes Ace's impending demise so much more powerful is that he sacrifices himself to save Luffy, and that's the core of this episode.
When Sakazuki (who goes by the admiral alias Akainu) confirms that either Luffy or Ace will have to die, we pretty much know it isn't going to be Luffy, the main protagonist of the entire series. Anime rarely . Once it becomes clear that this is no bluff and one of them is going to die, we immediately know it's going to be Ace, and we brace for the emotional impact.
While "One Piece" has more than its fair share of silly moments, the anime has never shied away from brutality. A particularly striking example of the latter occurs in Episode 311, in which Nico Robin — long considered something of an underrated and underutilized character in proportion to how much of a fan favorite she is — gets hold of Spandam and finally takes revenge on him by . And, to make sure there is no mistaking what has occurred, we even get a cutaway to an X-ray of Spandam's skeleton and see the spine shattering as it happens.
This isn't the only thing that makes Episode 311 so great, as several other characters — including — all have some standout hero moments as well. The episodes where more than one or two characters are the focal point are always special, and this one really stands out in that regard.
One thing that hasn't yet been addressed in this feature is that the "One Piece" anime will sometimes have an original song within an episode, and many of the songs are really great. As it's a show about pirates, the songs typically have that sea shanty sing-along feel, and from Episode 380 is one of the best. In keeping with the overall vibe of the show, the song sounds upbeat and happy on a surface level, but it has a much sadder subtext when one knows the context.
As for the episode itself, it's the second-to-last entry in the Thriller Bark Arc. As is to be expected when a non-filler "One Piece" arc wraps up, the episode has a lot of triumphs and tragedies. On the tragedy side, the Rumbar Pirates — the singers of the aforementioned song — drop one-by-one here. But there are also a lot of funny moments regarding the smartly-dressed skeleton Brook, one of the most unusual characters in all of "One Piece," and that's saying something.
Sometimes "One Piece" literally pulls no punches and has entire episodes that are basically one big battle (or, in the case of "The Supernovas Strike Back! The Mission to Tear Apart the Emperors," a series of smaller battles). Dropping in October 2022, it's a newer episode of the long running anime, but Episode 1026 is already a "One Piece" classic. Both of its two halves are taken up entirely by gorgeously animated fights that you won't forget in a hurry.
The first half details one of several clashes between Orochi and the Nine Red Scabbards, battling over their respective takes on Oden's legacy. But the main event of the episode kicks in halfway through, and that's the massive fight that is initially between Luffy and Kaido but soon expands to include Big Mom, Law, Zoro, and more. It's an adrenaline-fueled battle guaranteed to satisfy any shonen fan.
Luffy and Kaido have many battles over the course of "One Piece," and it's rarely not a big event when it happens. In some ways, each one serves as something of a check-in point so we can see where Luffy's power level is currently at, as he becomes a slightly better match for the world's "Strongest Creature" each and every time they clash. By Episode 915, Luffy's power has grown significantly compared to when they first locked horns, to the point that he's able to give Kaido a good fight while remaining in his human form.
Our protagonist still can't actually defeat Kaido yet, especially with Kaido back at the top of his game after having previously struggled with various personal demons and distractions. While this episode (and the episodes before and after it) are more about setting the stage for a much bigger fight between the two, it's still an exciting installment and one of the series' best.
Another rare early episode — well, "early" for a show with over 1,000 episodes — that can easily be counted among the best of "One Piece" is Episode 86. In it, we learn much about the backstory of Tony Tony Chopper, the doctor of the Straw Hat crew. Like many "One Piece" origin stories, Chopper's is incredibly moving and at times quite tragic, and this episode is often pointed to as an example of the anime's ability to make the eyes sweat.
The fate of Dr. Hiriluk is also revealed here, and we are shown further evidence of just how terrible the dastardly Wapol was during his time as king of the Drum Kingdom. The title of the episode might make you think that this is one of the more lighthearted episodes of "One Piece." In reality, nothing could be further from the truth — if anything, it's one of the most emotionally devastating entries.
Given that the title of Episode 871 mentions a climax, it came as no surprise to viewers that this entry contained a lot of wrapping up of threads, as well as the Straw Hats saying farewell to several characters. It's not the last time we will see Pudding or Katakuri, but it's the last time they cross paths with the Straw Hats, so there is still a sense of finality to several relationships in this episode — particularly the one between Pudding and Sanji.
This episode heavily features the Charlotte Family, who serve as an example of just how dense the "One Piece" universe can be. There are over 80 Charlotte children, and several of them become direct rivals to various members of the Straw Hats over the years. Here we see both Luffy and Sanji finally get away from their respective Charlotte counterparts, only to have Luffy's — Brulee, the 19th child of the Charlotte Family — turn around and help them in the end.
Edward Newgate (aka Whitebeard) makes his first appearance in Episode 151, and his rivalry with Marshall D. Teach (aka Blackbeard) begins in earnest. Beyond Whitebeard, this episode features an especially high number of new faces, and it's always exciting when a whole bunch of new characters show up. We get to see how they are going to fit into the story and which characters they are going to team up with — and, more importantly, who they are going to fight.
Blackbeard and Whitebeard meeting and striking up their rivalry is a major draw of this particular episode. Both would go on to be well-received characters, with their clashes — and the clashes of their respective crews — always exciting to watch. But it also must be pointed out that Luffy clobbering Bellamy remains a fan favorite moment from this entry, and this alone definitely moved the episode up a few notches on this list.
Some of the most noteworthy fights in the history of "One Piece" aren't necessarily good against evil or clashes between rivals on opposing sides. Sometimes, circumstances force two friends to come to blows, and that's what happens in Episode 236 when Luffy battles with Usopp over the fate of the Going Merry. It's an exciting showdown, even if it's a little sad seeing two comrades come to blows.
It's a matter of opinion whether Usopp was justified in standing up for himself here or if this was a fight that should've never gone as far as it did. It's unfortunate for everyone involved, even if it ultimately does make for a powerful episode, one of the best of the series. One thing it does well is demonstrate Usopp's power — he's able to hold his own in a fight against Luffy at a time when Luffy has grown fairly powerful. Despite the implications, it's an iconic moment from a spectacular episode.
Nami's place within the Straw Hat crew has been questionable at times, especially very early on when she was still being established as a character. But, in Episode 43, it becomes pretty clear that she's a vital cog in the machine — Luffy realizes just how important Nami is when she's no longer around.
Luffy is fighting with the fish-man Arlong when Arlong declares that Nami belongs with him, which Luffy initially rejects almost entirely on principle. Once it becomes clear that Nami's life with Arlong is filled with torture and abuse, the anger that Luffy feels makes him realize he truly does want Nami back — and he's willing to pummel Arlong to ensure that happens. Nami thanking him for rescuing her and welcoming her back to his crew is one of the most touching moments of the earlier stretch of the series, if not the series as a whole.
It's by pure coincidence that we follow up an entry about Luffy finally embracing Nami with an episode where Nami beats him up. But, again, Nami has always been a bit of a wild card, and her and Luffy's relationship is rarely simple or without some strife. That's much of what makes them such a fun duo to watch, and why Nami is such a great "One Piece" character.
Beyond that, Episode 316 focuses on an intense verbal (and then physical) battle between Shanks and Whitebeard over the rift between Ace and Blackbeard. It boils over into a crazy fight between two very powerful characters, and it's extremely satisfying to watch. This is one of those episodes of "One Piece" in which an action-heavy first half gives way to a more cathartic, comedic second half, which has become one of the anime's trademarks.
Episode 974 is where Kozuki Oden's place as a legend within the universe of "One Piece" is truly cemented. He goes toe to toe with Kaido in a battle that involves boiling water and lots of flames, a visually striking confrontation that thrilled fans of the show. This episode marks an extremely pivotal moment in the Wano Country Arc, beyond just the apparent defeat of Oden.
The Wano Country Arc was the final arc in "One Piece" at one time. While that has since been walked back a bit, the fact that it was going to be at one point means that a lot of really huge things happen. The stakes are sky high, and everything has a weight of finality to it. Only a series like "One Piece" would have an episode this powerful and have the confidence to keep going for literally dozens more episodes.
It's been mentioned several times already, but Ace's death is such a huge moment in "One Piece" that it had to start in one episode (482) and finish in another (483). Both of those episodes are on this list, and deservedly so. But that's not where the impact ends — it's in Episode 484 that the weight of what happened to Ace finally hits Luffy and causes him to have a serious breakdown.
That's not all that goes down in this memorable episode. It's not even the only death that gets the spotlight, as Episode 484 also sees the set up of the demise of Whitebeard. It's part of a stretch of episodes that sees significant loss and leads to a lot of shifts and changes in the "One Piece" universe. Anyone who was watching the show for the silliness and the laughs at this point was definitely not finding humor during these storylines — things get dark, but these episodes are among the best "One Piece" has to offer.
Every "One Piece" fan will have their own specific episode where they believe the anime "clicked" or came into its own, elevating itself from good to great. For many, this is Episode 37, which saw some of the first truly heartbreaking scenes in the series and served as a small taste of the emotional depths this show would go to in years to come.
It is in this episode that Nami really develops as a character. We are shown how complex she is and that she is surprisingly sad under her mischievous surface. The moment where she begins to literally stab her own tattoo — in other words, herself — out of a sense of emotional desperation is very hard to watch. It's one of the first moments where "One Piece" announced itself as much more than a funny show about pirates with silly names looking for adventure on the high seas.
It might seem like a cop out that there are so many two and three-episode stints on this list taking up multiple spots, but such is the greatness of "One Piece" at its best that it would be doing these episodes a disservice to lump them together into single entries. While we'll be getting to Episode 957 shortly, as it is definitely the superior episode, follow-up entry "A Legendary Battle! Garp and Roger" is no slouch either and deserves more than just being latched onto its predecessor. It's largely about the navy coming to terms with the worrying new alliance between Kaido and Big Mom.
This episode is fairly heavy on exposition and does a lot of recapping, but there is plenty to celebrate about it on its own. In particular, this is an episode where the animators seemed especially ambitious and really took things to the next level with multiple gorgeous set pieces and really inventive visual flourishes. Like any anime series that goes on for years and years, some episodes of "One Piece" feel a little more rushed and less polished than others, but Episode 958 is a testament to what these types of shows can sometimes achieve.
"One Piece" is, at its foundation, a show about pirate crews, so it stands to reason that it often showcases huge battles that feature hundreds — if not thousands — of participants. Such an event occurs in Episode 972 when an army of Kaido's forces go to war with Oden's small band of samurai. It's one of those world-rocking events that "One Piece" is wise to not do too often, but when it does, it always counts and it's always jaw-dropping.
Following on from the mention of the visuals in the previous entry, this is another episode that sees "One Piece" firing on all cylinders in the animation department. At this point, the anime had more than established itself and had earned the right to higher budgets and bigger production teams, and it really shines through in a lot of the episodes from the last few years. Episode 972 looks almost as good as a theatrical anime film at times, and that's really saying something given that it's ultimately just another episode in a long-running TV series.
Luffy, Zoro, Law, Kid, and Killer are members of a group referred to as the Worst Generation, a band of notorious pirates who all have huge bounties. The name comes from their enemies at the World Government, though in truth they're one of the best groups in all of "One Piece." This is evident during Episode 1017, when all five of the aforementioned members come together and give their all against Kaido and Big Mom. What follows is one of the most gorgeously-animated battles in all of "One Piece" history.
Each member shows off an impressive ability during the battle, including Law's Gamma Knife, Kid's Punk Rotten, Killer's Kamaa Sonic, and Zoro's One-Sword Style Hiryu: Kaen. It's when Luffy unleashes Gomu Gomu no Kong Gatling to knock out Kaido that things really go to the next level, and ending at that moment is one of the most astounding episode climaxes in the show's entire run.
It's always going to be a big moment in an anime series when an ongoing battle between two characters finally reaches its conclusion and one of those characters falls. Such a moment occurs in Episode 309 of "One Piece," when Luffy delivers the final blow against Lucci and concludes a key aspect of one of the show's biggest arcs: The Water 7 Arc. He sends his foe flying through a wall with his attack, which leaves the villainous Marines in a state of shock — and fans in a state of euphoria.
What makes this all the more impactful is that Luffy is arguably outmatched against Lucci and really has to dig deep in order to defeat him, being pushed well beyond his power limits. What helps nudge Luffy to the extremes he needs is Nico Robin assuring him that she believes in him, and it's another example of Luffy being elevated by the fierce loyalty of one of his friends.
While Pudding might have said her goodbyes to the core group of main characters a few episodes back, it's in Episode 877 that she bids her final farewell to the "One Piece" universe. It's one of the most devastating episodes in the entire series, following Pudding as she reminisces about her time with Sanji. That would have been sad enough, but then comes the gut punch moment where she removes those memories — and all memories of her — from Sanji's mind, meaning it is now her and her alone that remembers their time together.
It's almost like except someone else is removing memories from your mind without you knowing. They still retain those memories and have to live with them, along with the sadness that said memories have ceased to exist for the other person. The fact that she has an extra eye to cry from just makes the whole thing that much harder to watch.
Luffy's powers come from finite resources that need to be rested and recharged at times. This meant that he had to take a break from his ongoing battle with Doflamingo after his use of Gear 4 drained him of all his Haki. Episode 733 sees Luffy refreshed and ready to go, and it is here where we witness the long-awaited moment of Luffy finally defeating Doflamingo.
Any episode where Luffy topples one of his adversaries is always going to be special by default. But this one packs an extra punch because it also meant freeing the kingdom of Dressrosa from Doflamingo's grasp, setting up the final stretch of the show's Dressrosa Arc, which was also the end of the overarching Dressrosa Saga. In the end, the Straw Hat Grand Fleet is born and Luffy is in control of a fleet the size of which had yet to be seen in the series.
Episode 965 is primarily a flashback episode, something that "One Piece" is famous for. Flashback episodes are often considered filler in the world of anime, but that's not the case here. With so many characters bouncing around, it's vital to go back in time every now and again to get the full picture, and this episode is the gold standard for how to do a flashback episode right.
Detailing the history of battles between Whitebeard and Gol D. Roger, this entry not only fills in some necessary backstory for both of these characters, but it also showcases some of the most intense one-on-one battles in the history of the "One Piece" anime. There doesn't always need to be hundreds of people involved or huge beams of magic being fired off in order to portray an adrenaline-fueled battle, and this episode of "One Piece" is a really great example of that.
As the Wano Country Arc marched on, more and more epic battles took place, and Episode 995 saw a particularly major one play out. In "Raid! Inheriting Oden's Will," the Nine Red Scabbards make their way toward Kaido for a showdown of massive proportions. But this episode is great for more reasons than just that. It also serves as the climax of the character arc of Kozuki Momonosuke, as well as showing an important Oden flashback that further cements his importance to this stretch of the "One Piece" story.
Another highlight of Episode 995 is getting to see the criminally underrated character Yamato get a chance to show her stuff, something that doesn't happen nearly enough. The plot is gripping, and the animation really rises to the occasion here, with vivid colors and imaginative attacks on display throughout. This entry fully deserves its impressive 9.5 rating on .
Episode 957 blew "One Piece" fans away with its gripping story and crisp animation. Following up from the Reverie mini-arc, "Big News! An Incident That Will Affect the Seven Warlords" sees the collapse of the Warlord system and the Marines setting about finding the remaining Warlords. Now that the Seven Warlords of the Sea (a group made up of powerful and highly influential pirates) are no longer under the umbrella of the World Government, it's open season for the Marines, who set about hunting them down one by one.
This is all down to Nefertari Cobra and Riku Doldo III, whose combined efforts bring about huge change. Many see this as being good news — the Warlords are a divisive group, but they helped bring balance to the "One Piece" world. Elsewhere, Kaido and Big Mom form an alliance, which is extremely bad news for anyone they deem an enemy.
Episode 968 sees yet more Oden flashbacks, and the audience is shown the pivotal moment where Roger (whose health is starting to fail him) and his pirate crew reaches the fabled one piece. He officially earns the title of Pirate King. This is obviously a very important part of "One Piece" lore, and it was very exciting to finally get to see it first hand, over 900 episodes into the run of the anime series.
A less-confident series would have probably ended on such an episode, or at least had such a moment come very near the end of the run. But "One Piece" is nothing if not ambitious, and the show has never been afraid to subvert expectations — and succeed wildly in doing so. In fact, this doesn't end up being anywhere to happening at the end.
Bartholomew Kuma is one of the more difficult adversaries that the Straw Hat pirates have had to face, and this is proven in Episode 377 when he defeats them along with some others who had come along to help. He's almost able to capture Luffy, who is weakened from the tough battle. That alone would have made this a memorable episode, but it's what Zoro ends up doing that really hammers its greatness home.
Zoro tries desperately to get Kuma not to take Luffy away, which leads Kuma to make Zoro a cruel offer: He'll let Luffy go, but in exchange, Zoro will have to agree to have all of Luffy's physical pain transferred to him. He agrees, and it's a moment that is heartbreaking but also a reminder of Zoro's loyalty to his friends, reaffirming why he is the fan-favorite character of so many "One Piece" viewers.
It wouldn't have been seen as a risky bet even from the earliest episode of "One Piece" to gamble on the fact that Luffy would one day become the Pirate King. But that doesn't mean anyone knew when or how it would happen, or that they'd be any less thrilled when it finally did. In Episode 1015, Luffy is very close to finally achieving that, taking both Kaido and Big Mom on head-on.
Beyond this major move, the episode is also important in that we see a touching flashback involving Yamato and Ace, as well as looking back at Oden having predicted the eventual rise of a certain pirate to the highest honor of the field. Still, getting to see Luffy land a direct punch against Kaido alone would have made this episode noteworthy, and it was indeed one of those moments that "One Piece" fans after the episode first aired.
After alluding to it multiple times throughout this feature, we finally come to the episode where Ace officially loses his life in "One Piece." It might have seemed like a spoiler to say as much in the title, but he had already received his fatal blow in the previous episode — it was just decided that his passing needed to wait until the next one so that it could have the time it deserved.
Few moments before or since have carried the tragic weight of the death of Ace, not only for the fans but for Luffy himself. He is forever changed after this moment — it's safe to say that a piece of him definitely dies along with Ace. It might have been necessary in order for Luffy to move forward as a character and to have his resolve strengthened to the required degree for what was to come, but it didn't make this moment any less difficult to watch. And it was handled expertly by the anime, without question.
Any "One Piece" episode that introduces a character (or a group of characters) who will end up playing a big role going forward is always going to be significant. Episode 982 does just that, debuting the Tobi Roppo, a group of pirates that includes characters like Black Maria, Uti, Sasaki, and X Drake. They advance on Onigashima, interrupting the Straw Hats as they celebrate the fact that Jinbe has joined the crew.
This group would serve as the other half of some stellar fight scenes with the Straw Hats pirates, in yet more examples of animation comparable to the quality of . The episode includes another memorable tune, this time by way of a concert performance from Queen the Plague that has the feel (and production value) of a self-contained music video. There is so much being poured into each episode at this point, and "Kaido's Trump Card – The Tobi Roppo Appear" has a grand feel to it throughout.
As it often goes with anime, it takes the hero losing to upgrade his power, learn a new technique, or debut a new form to make his comeback and win the day. In Episode 870, this played out when Luffy lost a fight against Charlotte Katakuri, which caused him to bust out the Gear 4 variant known as Snakeman for the first time. As always, seeing Luffy demonstrate a new form was exciting, in particular this one, as it is still one of his most powerful as well as impressive-looking.
Luffy triumphing over Charlotte Katakuri was also significant in that he was one of his most powerful opponents up that point, and overtaking him meant that Luffy had once again ascended to another tier and was measurably more powerful than he had ever been before. This episode brought together something of a dream team of animators for that battle and Luffy's transformation, and it shows in every frame.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned much so far in this feature is how "One Piece" is home to a lot of really great, moving speeches. One of the best in the entire run of the anime comes in Episode 126, when Vivi Nefertari delivers an impassioned plea to bring an end to the war in Arabasta. It's one of the most powerful moments in the series that doesn't involve the death of a character.
Also in this classic episode, we see Luffy take down Crocodile, who had been the main antagonist during this stretch of the series. It's one of the earlier examples of Luffy taking down a literal big bad before he had a huge wealth of powers and transformations at his disposal. This episode is the kind that leaves viewers emotionally satisfied by the end in a way that "One Piece" excels at when it's firing on all heart-tugging cylinders.
There are so many episodes in this series that are noteworthy in no small part due to Luffy punching someone, and the punch he throws in Episode 126 is one of the most memorable. While it would end up causing major problems, it was still well worth it to see Luffy slug Saint Charloss, a World Noble.
The episode also sees Luffy crash an auction where people are being sold as slaves — including Straw Hat crew pal Camie, a mermaid. In typical Luffy fashion, rather than devise a subtle rescue plan, he literally crashes into the place with his Flying Fish and stirs up trouble, which is a joy to watch. In addition, several soon-to-be-key characters make significant early appearances here, including Law and Kid. It's a touching and satisfying story in which the good guys triumph and the bad guys get what's coming to them.
What is a pirate crew without their ship? Like many pirate stories, the Straw Hat Pirates' ship is as much of a character as any of its crew, and their first regular ship was the Going Merry. The Going Merry was at the heart of many adventures in the first few hundred episodes of "One Piece," but it was bound to reach the end of the line eventually — and it did so in Episode 312.
The final send off for the Going Merry was a tearjerker for sure, which only sounds hard to believe for someone who has never watched "One Piece" or just doesn't understand the importance of a ship to a crew. Of course, things were especially sad in this case because the Going Merry wasn't a ship, but was actually alive — it had a face as well as a voice. It was literally the death of a character rather than just a vessel, and that made it all the more heartbreaking to watch it burn.
The aftermath of Ace's death was still being felt in Episode 485, and it continued looming large over not only Luffy, but over much of the "One Piece" universe for some time. However, this anime isn't always interested in letting its fans catch their breath from the last devastating event before it comes in with another crushing blow — and in this case, that means the death of another fan-favorite character while the last one is still being mourned.
In this episode, the rivalry between Blackbeard and Whitebeard finally comes to an end when Blackbeard finishes off his former crewmate. That being said, his death isn't entirely in vain in terms of plot progression, with Whitebeard's final words confirming that something previously believed to be a mere legend is actually real. It's a moment that would send the series hurtling forward in a significant way, and it makes for a brilliant episode.
Some of the most heartbreaking episodes of "One Piece" don't involve the death of any characters. In fact, one of the saddest episodes in the anime's long history — Episode 808 — actually resolves around another example of inner turmoil among the members of the Straw Hat crew. This time, it's between Luffy and Sanji.
In this case, it's hard to see how things could have played out any differently than how they did, with Luffy and Sanji coming to blows and Sanji really putting a serious hurting on Luffy. And that's what makes it so sad, knowing that this hard-to-watch fight between two close friends was perhaps unavoidable, each truly believing that they are doing the right thing. "One Piece" often doesn't care to be subtle with its episode titles, and this one really delivered on what its title promised and then some.
A lot of "One Piece" fans feel that Nico Robin has always been something of an underappreciated and undervalued character, especially considering that a large fandom exists around her. Sure, of that fandom is due to her physical traits, but there is a lot more to Robin than that. It's far from the only reason that people want to see her do more and are always excited when she gets to. For what it's worth, she at least gets to be the central character in what is universally considered one of the best "One Piece" episodes of all time — the iconic Episode 278.
After being sentenced to death, there is an assumption that Robin is going to just humbly accept her fate since that would be somewhat in line with her character. Instead, she delivers another one of the series' most impassioned and heartrending speeches, which includes the now-famous cry of "I want to live!" At this moment, Robin cements her place as one of the best "One Piece" characters, even if she doesn't get as much screen time as she deserves.
It's always tempting when doing a list like this to have some surprising or shocking entry at number one. However, that would be doing a disserve to what is almost unanimously agreed upon as the best episode in "One Piece" history. In fact, Episode 405 is often discussed as being among the best episodes of . Seeing Luffy totally distraught will get you in the feels every single time, "One Piece" fan or not.
At this point in the series, the Straw Hat Pirates are one of the strongest groups in the "One Piece" universe. However, this is the point where they are taken down a peg, forced to face their limitations and to rebuild after being broken and humbled by Bartholomew Kuma. Despite already being 400+ episodes in, this episode was definitely something of a new beginning for not only the Straw Hat crew, but for "One Piece" in general. It almost feels like an entirely new show after this point, but in a good way. Like "One Piece," the episode "Disappearing Crew – The Final Day of the Straw Hat Crew" never gets old.