Brendan Schroer

Reviews 242
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Last Active 12-23-22 6:13 pm
Joined 04-27-15

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My One Piece Adventure

Hey everyone! So recently, I finally decided to go down the rabbithole of starting One Piece and plowing through its utterly daunting number of episodes. With that in mind, I thought it would be cool to document my experience with every arc; thus, I'll be going through every arc in chronological order and doing a mini-review of them as I go. I'll be updating this list with each arc I finish; I'm currently on the Alabasta arc, so the list will be ending with the East Blue Saga for now. Also, I haven't gone through the manga yet; this will strictly be for the anime. Finally, it should go without saying that there will be a ton of spoilers in this list.
A Trick of the Tail

ROMANCE DAWN: I thought this was a solid start. Alvida's a decent first villain, albeit kinda goofy at times; then again, this show has a great way of mixing goofiness and peril together. This is also where we get our first major flashback, which details Luffy's history with Shanks. A lot of touching moments there, especially when Shanks loses his arm to save Luffy. Additionally, this arc sees the introduction of three other key characters: Zoro, Nami, and Koby. They're all introduced quite well, especially Nami as her crafty and underhanded nature is already apparent. I'll conclude this arc by saying that Axehand Morgan is a badass villain and probably the first real threat in the series, despite the fact that his son is an incredibly pampered brat; that contrast led to a lot of good jokes and interesting exchanges between the two. Overall, this was a really nice start to the series. 3.5/5
2Frank Ocean
channel ORANGE

ORANGE TOWN: A very slight step down, but not without its great moments. Most of my favorite stuff here has to do with the dog Chouchou, who loyally guards his deceased owner’s pet shop day and night. He’s a cute dog, but incredibly fierce and passionate when it comes to guarding his treasure. And this leads to the main theme of this arc: treasure. To paraphrase the excellent GrandLineReview channel on Youtube, this arc revolves around everyone’s varying definitions of what “treasure” is, whether physical or metaphysical. To Nami and our new villain Captain Buggy, the definition is a lot more literal and greed-based, whereas to Luffy and Chouchou it’s a lot more special than simple materialism. Thankfully, Luffy and Chouchou’s definition of treasure wins at the end of this arc.
3Frank Ocean
channel ORANGE

So why is this arc worse than Romance Dawn? Because Buggy wasn’t introduced that well here. Honestly, he’s just obnoxious and - despite having a pretty cool devil fruit (being able to separate his body parts) - not all that threatening. Thankfully he gets better in future arcs. 3.3/5

SYRUP VILLAGE: Easily the worst arc I’ve seen so far. Usopp wasn’t remotely likable in the way he was first introduced, and the arc as a whole just drags like hell. Seriously, it didn’t have to be 10 goddamn episodes long, especially for what is essentially a variation on the “boy who cried wolf” story. Also, for supposedly being the “second smartest man in the East Blue,” the villain Captain Kuro made some pretty stupid choices. I’m pretty sure he could have found another way to get Kaya’s fortune instead of waiting for three long years as a butler just to eventually kill her. I get that he was trying to shed his past, but I still think there were other approaches that could have worked.

Still, I do have some positive points as well. Jango is a pretty fun villain with the power of hypnosis, and Kuro’s willingness to kill his entire crew shows just how dedicated he is to getting the fortune he wants - however evil his methods are. Still, I’m not looking forward to watching this arc again if I rewatch the series. 2.5/5
MM.. Food

BARATIE: This was a MASSIVE step up. The arc is named after the floating restaurant visited by our crew, and it’s a wild place. All the cooks are incredibly hot-headed, straight-up inciting violence at times if they feel like it. And amidst these colorful personalities is the next Straw Hat member: Sanji. He’s a smooth badass - when he’s not constantly falling head-over-heels for women he likes, that is - and he only incorporates kicks into his fighting style so he can use his hands strictly for cooking. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to a few not-so-friendly faces: Admiral Don Krieg, Gin, and Dracule Mihawk. Needless to say, the battles with all three of these characters are absolutely fantastic. Zoro’s fight with Mihawk proves just how far he still needs to go to become the greatest swordsman in the world, and Luffy’s fight with Don Krieg proves that all the ammunition and cheap tricks in the world can’t match one person’s determination and willpower.
MM.. Food

Finally, Sanji’s backstory with Baratie’s owner Zeff is absolutely beautiful. The lengths that Zeff would go to save Sanji’s life - even going as far as to cut his own leg off - gave him my utmost respect. In conclusion, a great arc. 4/5
8Great White
Once Bitten....

ARLONG PARK: This is the arc that got me addicted to this series. It spans 15 episodes, and rarely does any of the content feel like filler. Arlong himself is one of the finest villains I’ve encountered in any show; he’s not only powerful - being the leader of a race called “fishmen” - but he’s also a nasty supremacist who constantly puts down humans due to fishmen’s physical superiority. But at the end of the day, this arc really belongs to Nami. Unbeknownst to the Straw Hats or the audience, she’s been working as a cartographer for Arlong for eight years to raise enough money to buy back her village. That is, until Arlong goes back on their deal and uses his Navy connections to sabotage Nami’s efforts.
9Great White
Once Bitten....

This arc also has one of my all-time favorite scenes from any show… and if you’ve watched this arc before, I’m pretty sure you know what I’m gonna say. The scene in which Nami repeatedly stabs her Arlong tattoo, looks back at Luffy and just says “help me” is unbelievably powerful; I see it as the exact moment that Nami became a Straw Hat member herself. Add to that the tragic backstory of her adoptive mother Bell-mere, Zoro’s awesome swordfights with the octopus-man Hachi, and Usopp’s shocking win against Chew (in which he beats him to death!), and you’ve got an arc for the ages. 4.6/5
10Sworn Enemy
The Beginning Of The End

LOGUETOWN: For only being six episodes long, a TON of ground is covered here. Loguetown is the place in which the original king of the pirates, Gol D. Roger, was both born and eventually executed. So there’s a lot of significance for Luffy here, and he even gets a chance to stand on the very platform where Roger was killed! As for the other characters, there are some pretty interesting subplots going on. Sanji wins a cooking contest and is rewarded with a giant fish that he can cook for the crew; meanwhile, Zoro meets a Navy master chief named Tashigi who bears a striking resemblance to his childhood friend Kuina. The latter subplot is definitely the most interesting one, as we also get our first look at the different sword classes and the concept of “cursed” swords.
11Sworn Enemy
The Beginning Of The End

We also get the return of some familiar faces: Alvida and Buggy, who have teamed up in the previous filler arc to claim Luffy’s bounty of 30 million berries. In fact, they almost KILL him in this arc until the mysterious “Dragon” miraculously saves him. Finally, this arc is also the introduction of Captain Smoker, an imposing figure whose devil fruit allows him to turn his body into smoke. He and Mihawk effectively serve as good insights into just how terrifying the Grand Line really is. As the conclusion to the East Blue saga, this is a damn good arc. 3.8/5

REVERSE MOUNTAIN: Leave it to One Piece to be unpredictable; I didn’t expect the introduction to the Grand Line to be a huge whale of all things! Then again, that’s in step with the overarching message of the Grand Line: that anything can happen, no matter how strange. After two pretty serious and crucial arcs, it was nice to have a little levity with a short two-episode punch. But even then, this came with its own tragic backstory. The whale, named Laboon, is completely scarred from ramming into Reverse Mountain thinking he’ll somehow run into his old crew that abandoned him. It’s a sad little story, and one that Luffy resolves nicely by saying he’ll come back to Laboon to challenge him someday. Meanwhile, the aforementioned levity mostly happens INSIDE the whale (as the crew got swallowed up at the beginning of the arc), where the Straw Hats meet a funny man named Crocus. He serves as the caretaker of Laboon, as well as the greatest source of comedy in the entire arc.

Here, we’re also introduced to Miss Wednesday and Mr. 9, who are tasked with killing the whale for the Baroque Works organization. Little did we know at the time that Miss Wednesday would end up being Vivi, one of the most crucial characters to this entire next saga; “Miss Wednesday” is just her disguise, as she’s acting as a double agent at this point in the story. In any case, Reverse Mountain was a solid, if brief, introduction to the Grand Line. It was funny, touching, and just the right kind of prelude to the craziness we’d come across in this saga. 3.6/5
Stranger's Almanac

WHISKEY PEAK: The first island we enter on the Grand Line, and it makes for a damn good arc. This is where we get our first taste of just how extensive the Baroque Works organization really is, with hundreds of their subordinates - The Millions - tricking the Straw Hat crew with their hospitality. But they’re no match for Zoro, who absolutely decimates them effortlessly; this entire arc is a fantastic showcase for just how much he’s grown as a swordsman since his fight with Mihawk in Baratie. Unfortunately, Luffy doesn’t realize that the people Zoro’s fighting are actually their enemies because of how much hospitality they initially gave, so the two clash in possibly the series’ first crew in-fight. It does get resolved, of course, but it’s crazy to think about how eager they were to come to blows with each other.
Stranger's Almanac

Meanwhile, more of the Baroque Works hierarchy is revealed as we come across more high-ranking agents, including the duo of Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine whom we’ll see much more of in the next arc. Whiskey Peak is also the arc in which Miss Wednesday’s real identity as Vivi is revealed, as well as the fact that she’s trying to save her home country of Alabasta. This immediately heightens the tension of the story and gives a clear direction of where the Straw Hats need to go next, as well as expanding the world further than we’d seen before. All in all, Whiskey Peak is an excellent arc that really sets the stage for just how much of a challenge the conflict against the Baroque Works would actually be. 3.8/5
16Haley Heynderickx
I Need to Start a Garden

LITTLE GARDEN: I’m a bit split on this one, honestly. On one hand, it’s cool to see the Straw Hats go to a prehistoric location like this; I don’t think there are any other locations like it in the series to date. Also, the giants Dorry and Brogy are absolutely fantastic. Basically, they’ve been having a 100-year fight with each other, and the big volcano on the island signals when the fight begins and ends each day… and this all stemmed from a fishing contest of all things! Not only that, but by the time we meet the giants, they’ve forgotten why they even started fighting in the first place; for them, it’s all about honor and the thrill of the fight.
17Haley Heynderickx
I Need to Start a Garden

On the other hand unfortunately, two of the main villains of this arc annoy the SHIT out of me. Mr. 3 and Miss Valentine (the latter of whom we saw in the previous arc) are horrendously obnoxious as they constantly laugh incessantly after everything they do… and it’s probably not nearly as bad in the manga, but in the anime it’s unbearable. On the bright side, the other two villains aren’t as bad. Miss Golden Week uses a really cool painting ability that causes her opponents to feel emotions associated with the color she picks, which actually cripples Luffy a lot during the fight with Mr. 3. Meanwhile, Mr. 5 - whom we also saw in the previous arc - uses his devil fruit to create explosions at will; he can even pick his nose and flick an explosive booger at the opponent, which leads to a lot of creative action scenes. Also, while I don’t like Mr. 3, his wax devil fruit is used in pretty creative ways as well.
18Haley Heynderickx
I Need to Start a Garden

Another negative of this arc, however, is the absolute lack of Sanji until the very end when he disguises his voice as Mr. 3 to call Mr. 0 - also known as Crocodile. It’s a cool scene, but I would have liked to see more of Sanji throughout the rest of the arc. Overall, I still enjoy Little Garden but it’s probably my least favorite arc since Syrup Village because of the annoying villains. 3/5
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