The Best One Piece Moments Of All Time
The Straw Hat Pirates’ sprawling adventure across the Grand Line has been a staple of anime ever since the late 90s, and with more than 900 episodes, it’s fair to say that One Piece has had more than a few unforgettable moments. Narrowing down this list to just 10 of the best moments from One Piece was an extraordinarily difficult task, and some tough cuts had to be made, but regardless, here are our picks for the top 10 One Piece moments, as of episode 923 of the anime.
Note of course that by the very nature of this feature, there are going to be major spoilers for One Piece. We are holding nothing back here, but we will inform you before each entry what episode the spoiler covers so you can skip the ones you haven’t come across yet.
And with that said, let’s kick this off with:
10. Luffy and Katakuri Clash of Haki (Episode 868)
The long epic battle between Luffy and Katakuri began to reach its climactic end as the few onlooking Big Mom Pirates berated both of them, an enemy and ally. With newfound respect for each other, they both unleashed their Conqueror’s Haki simultaneously creating this vibrant and impactful energy that knocked out the annoying pirates and destroyed the surrounding environment. This particularly epic moment beautifully portrayed the intensity and will power they both had without saying a word. After much fighting, they both saw themselves as equals and still had enough strength to use their Haki to continue their fight uninterrupted. Although Luffy has had a good chunk of Haki clashes by this point, this Haki clash between Luffy and Katakuri stands above the rest.
9. An Escape… And a Sacrifice (Episode 451)
The friendship that developed between Luffy and Bon Clay over the course of the Impel Down arc is arguably one of the strongest bonds that Luffy’s ever formed with anyone outside of his crew or his family. Bon Clay just has this unique chemistry with Luffy because they’re almost kindred spirits with how wacky their personalities are. This was why it was so poignant when Bon Clay revealed his plan to help the Straw Hats escape Impel Down, which involved him fooling everyone by impersonating the Warden Magellan and telling the control room to open the gates to the prison. It was the second time that Bon Clay made a sacrifice for Luffy, and while it was also the last time, at least this time he was able to hear Luffy’s heartfelt appreciation for his friend.
8. What Happened to Zeff’s Leg (Episode 26)
Sanji has one of the saddest backstories in all of One Piece. He just can’t catch a break. Young Sanji couldn’t care less about pirates, especially Zeff who was stranded on a deserted island with him. Nonetheless, the subtlety of Zeff’s actions made for a heartwarming moment when Sanji finds out that Zeff sacrificed his leg for him. The fact that Sanji thought Zeff was this horrible pirate the entire time only to find out that he’s one of the most selfless people he’s ever met is definitely one of One Piece’s most memorable moments.
7. “One Piece Exists!” - Whitebeard’s Speech (Episode 485)
With the battle of Marinford underway, the war pauses as everyone focuses on Whitebeard’s final moments. In this emotionally charged scene, a dying Whitebeard reveals to the world in his last breath that “One Piece Does Exist.” At that moment, we realize in disbelief that Whitebeard has died standing up. One pirate age was ending, and a new one is being born.
6. Zoro Takes Luffy’s Pain (Episode 377)
This moment is what solidified Zoro as badass of the Straw Hat crew. With Luffy exhausted from his battle with Pirate Warlord Moria and the Straw Hats being taken out by Warlord Kuma, Zoro is left standing. Zoro, realizing he can’t win against Kuma he offers his life up in exchange for Luffy’s in which Kuma agrees but only if Zoro can take on Luffy’s injuries as his own. This emotional moment we realize the strong bond that Zoro, the pirate hunter, has forged with his crewmates and that he is willing to give up his life to spare theirs.
5. Usopp vs Luffy (Episode 236)
There’s too much that goes into the fight between Luffy and Usopp to nail it down to one “moment,” so we’re going to cheat a little here and just encapsulate the whole thing into one. Everything involving the conflict between Luffy and Usopp at Water 7 is just so emotionally intense. Usopp knows he has no chance to win against Luffy, but he tries his best anyway because despite how much he respects Luffy as a captain, despite how much he loves all of his fellow crew, he simply cannot go through with parting with the Going Merry. There’s a lot of emotionally charged fights in One Piece, but Usopp vs Luffy hits the hardest by far.
4. Ace’s Death (Episode 483)
The sound of crying fills the air as Akainu’s magma fist plunges through the back of Ace taking his life in front of Luffy. In Ace’s last heartfelt words, he thanks everyone for loving him as he dies on the battlefield. We feel the weight behind Ace’s death as we are stuck watching Luffy in shock, realizing just as he did that his life has forever changed.
3. “I Want to Live!” - Robin’s Cry For Help (Episode 274)
This moment is the pay off that we had been waiting what felt like a hundred episodes for. Ever since she left the Straw Hats without saying a word out of fear of losing her friends like she lost her family on Ohara, we along with Luffy and crew as well, had been waiting for Robin to do something, anything, to show some sort of resistance to the ruthless and Weasley Spandam. That moment finally comes in episode 274, where, upon gazing at her captain and crewmates on the other side of Enies Lobby, and seeing that they’re willing to go to war even with the World Government if it means having her in their lives, Robin finally responds to Luffy in one clear voice. And that’s all that Luffy needed.
2. Farewell to the Going Merry (Episode 312)
Those who aren’t One Piece fans may find it weird to be emotionally attached to an inanimate ship, but anyone who’s seen the “funeral” of the Going Merry, likely knows what it’s like to shed tears over a dying boat. The way the focus shifts from crew member to crew member as they each relive their own introduction to the Merry while somber music plays in the background is just so beautifully done. And then they hit with you the emotional gut punch of the disembodied voice of the Merry saying “I’m sorry, I wish I could have taken you farther.” And then they hit you with Luffy, who had been holding his sh*t together up to this point, utterly breaking down, apologizing for every small thing he did to the ship. It all adds up to one of the most heartwrenching moments in all of One Piece.
1. “Luffy… Help Me” (Episode 37)
The scene with Luffy and Nami during the Arlong Park arc had one of the most defining moments for the Straw Hat crew and for many fans of the series. At this point, we’ve known Nami as a scheming confident woman who can take care of herself but her dire situation with the Arlong Pirates brings her to tears as her family and friends prepare to fight to the death. Seeing Nami drop to the ground in despair screaming in anger as she attempts to cut up her despised Arlong tattoo is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in anime. It’s at this moment that we see a different side of Luffy that’s calm and serious. With the last ounce of Nami’s stubbornness whittling away, she finally says to Luffy “help me”. This iconic moment followed by Luffy’s gesture of giving his treasured straw hat to Nami with a resounding “Of course I will!” is why Luffy and this wonderful series is beloved.
This list was written by Mitchell Saltzman, Mike Mamon, and Yusuf McCoy, the three biggest One Piece fans at IGN. Thanks for checking it out, and let us know in the comments which moments would make your top moments in One Piece list!