So I just finished with the second arc of One Piece — Alabasta. It’s the first arc for the straw hats after they enter the Grand Line. It was quite the ride. They gained two new crew members, took down an advanced crime syndicate, saved a princess and a country, all while taking down one of the seven war lords of the sea.
There were many battles in this arc but the ones against Baroque Works were definitely my favorite. Each member of the team developed and got stronger as they continued to fight. In the end though all of their opponents were stronger than them. They overcame their lack of strength by using their brains instead of their brawn. This was really a nice change of pace. The most impressive victories have to go to Nami, Zoro, and Luffy. Nami defeated a top tier member of Baroque Works by herself, even though she doesn’t have any devil fruit powers and isn’t freakishly strong like some of her teammates. It was impressive. It was nice to see her be useful in a fight instead of staying on the sidelines (like a substantial number of other female characters anime). Zoro’s battle was even more impressive though, he gained a new incredible skill as a swordsman and I can’t wait to see what he does with it next.
Finally, there was Luffy’s battle with Crocodile. Luffy finally came up against an opponent who he couldn’t beat. At this point we are used to Luffy displaying his passion for what he believes in and using that to drive him to overcome his obstacles. This time, that wasn’t enough and he actually had to use his head to win. I loved how this showed Luffy’s ability to think when he has to in order to get the job done.
Overall the stories in this arc of One Piece were cool and exciting. We got to meet Luffy’s brother Ace and hear a little about his captain, which I know has to lead to a future arc and definitely piqued my interest. Even the filler episodes seem to further develop the characters. I don’t regret watching any of the episodes but I’ll probably skip episodes 131-135 when I go back to re-watch the series. I’m looking forward to what happens on the Straw Hats next adventure and how the teams newest member will mesh with the others.