During the course of its two-decade-plus history, One Piece has definitely delighted in its comedy and light-hearted tone in both its manga series and anime adaptation, but it has also thrown in plenty of moments that can be classified as very horrifying. On the voyage that follows Monkey D. Luffy as he forges his Straw Hat Pirates and seeks to become the pirate king, a lot of heroes and villains perish. Fans of the Grand Line are now giving their thoughts on the Shonen series’ darkest moments.
The Battle For Wano Arc had its share of horrific episodes, as Kaido and his pirates ruled over the citizens of this isolated kingdom with an iron grip. With the evil Shogun Orochi doing everything he could to assassinate Kozuki Oden and keep Wano Kingdom in dread, Luffy and crew faced a long road to liberating the nation’s populace. When Luffy unleashed his cartoonish Gear Fifth on the fearsome Kaido, One Piece has always been able to blend humor and terror when appropriate.
Mind you, Wano Kuni is only one arc among One Piece’s many arcs, and it’s already pretty dark. This article tackles some of the key plot points in the series that give emphasis on actual and real-world issues that are covered up by fun, comedic, and light-hearted scenes for the enjoyment of the general public.
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The Darkness Encapsulated in the One Piece World
The controversy began on the One Piece Subreddit, with many fans of the Shonen franchise offering their favorite spine-chilling, blood-curdling moments from the series to date. Many fans took part in sharing their own opinions regarding the chilling plots of One Piece.
1. Kill The Child of the Devil
Does anyone else remember why Ace was carried by Rouge for a year or so? A little back story is when Gol D. Roger, the Pirate King was executed. Roger was the first one to acquire One Piece. He and his crew were also the first ones to uncover all of the mysteries of the world–even the History which occurred before the Void Century. Because of this, Roger was dubbed the “Devil” and anyone who was associated with him, especially if it was a blood relative would have to be killed. After his execution, rumors went around about Roger’s alleged lover who was carrying his child. Though this did not have any substantial evidence, the marines sent out forces to execute and kill every pregnant woman in the Islands where Roger had set sail upon. This went on for almost a year after the death and execution of Roger. They did this in order to prevent the birth of a possible heir who would carry his will–The Will of D.
Portgas D. Rouge was the lover of Roger, and she was from South Blue. When rumors of the killings of pregnant women reached her, she was determined to give birth to their love child because she believed that this child is not at fault for what had happened to his father, nor should he be held responsible for it. She wanted Ace to live. So she carried him for more than a year (20 months, if I’m not mistaken) just so the Marines wouldn’t grow suspicious of her and her child, and that it would have been too long for them to even consider that this child was actually Gol D. Roger’s son. She was successful, but that took a toll on her because right after delivering Ace, she died.
Read More: The Death of Portgas D. Ace in One Piece Explained
2. The Bridge to Nowhere
Slavery is one of the many major themes in One Piece. Starting from the Celestial Dragons, even down to the people in Wano, it’s been emphasized again and again in the many years of this series. However, one of the eeriest examples of slavery was featured for a few episodes in the series, but it definitely left the biggest impact.
Right before the time-skip, when Luffy and the crew were separated at Sabaody, everybody else landed on an Island that would help them grow into a better person. Robin, however, didn’t end up straight away with the Revolutionary Army, instead, she landed in an Island Prison. This Island Prison was peculiar in many ways. First, because it was an Island full of slaves, second, because these slaves were building a bridge day in and day out—a bridge that leads nowhere.
Upon interviewing some of the inhabitants of the Island, Nico Robin came to realize that the people on this island had been here for generations. They were sons and daughters of criminals who were exiled to this island to build a bridge that would supposedly lead them to freedom, but no matter how long it has been, the bridge never seemed to get to another island, or even just another city… it was just… nowhere.
Generations have passed, and those who have committed the crimes have died, but they were still building the bridge, with little to no food rations every day, and no other source of income and happiness except what was provided to them. Their shirts are tattered, they’re chained and locked in, and the government doesn’t even bat them an eyelash.
Read More: Will Nico Robin Betray Luffy in One Piece?
3. The Buster Call (a.k.a The Genocide Button)
Imagine our world having a central government that just whips up a device, presses a button, and then suddenly a whole country will be wiped away. That pretty much summarizes the government’s notorious Buster Call.
The one and only example of the Buster Call so far in the animated series is Ohara, Robin’s Hometown. The people of Ohara are all well-known because they are the most knowledgeable people, and they know many of the secrets that are supposed to be confidential information. Robin’s mother was one of the few residents of Ohara who set out to sail the world in search of the truth about the Void Century. Because the people of Ohara are trained to read the Poneglyph, their very existence became a threat to the World Government, and when the group of Archaeologist came too close to the truth, the World Government pushed a button to order a Buster Call, and the whole Island was annihilated in an instant. All except one survived and carried on the legacy of the place she once called home.
This article barely even touches the surface of the real darkness trapped in the One Piece world, mainly because a lot of its twisted plot is still a mystery to most, but it’s already pretty eerie in a sense. Anime isn’t something that should be taken seriously. Especially since most of the time, it’s just a media that is consumed for leisure.
Read More: What Do We Know About the Void Century So Far?
Why Watch One Piece?
One Piece has always been a light-hearted show filled with lots of comedic and because of this many say One Piece is shallow and not worth the watch–that it’s simply just a Pirate Crew looking for the world’s hidden treasure, however, much of the adventures of the straw hats are deeply rooted in the connections they make along the way, and how these connections lead to either a discovery or a mystery, and with every discovery comes to a tragic backstory that would help piece together another flaw in the system.
Eiichiro Oda is known as the G.O.A.T for a reason, and if you have not watched the series or read the manga, the series might really seem like just another one of those shonen shows where the main lead beats up every foe that comes their way, but it’s not.
One Piece is similar to the real world in many ways, but its most notable similarity is that the whole story and its comedic scenes are a facade—a cover-up of the realities of the world that we so desperately try to hide.
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