One Piece (Fishman Island)

One Piece (Fishman Island)

One Piece anime series logo
One Piece

Overview

The Fishman Island saga of the One Piece anime covers just two story arcs: Return to Sabaody and Fishman Island. This saga is also 57 episodes long, meaning it’s actually one of the shorter parts of the series so far. That said, because it only covers two arcs it feels extremely long.

Between the previous saga and this one there was a two-year time skip. During this time, each of the nine current Straw Hats were training somewhere around the world after being separated by Kuma. And honestly, their reunion on the Sabaody Archipelago was probably the best part of this entire Saga.

For the most part, the previous saga focused on Luffy. He went to Amazon Lily, Impel Down, and even Marineford. We did get to see what the other Straw Hats were up to during that time, but only briefly. So, to see them all reunited again was a pretty enjoyable experience.

So what’s new about the straw hats now that their two-year training is complete?

Luffy can effectively use haki, Nami is better at controlling the weather, Zoro is just stronger in general, Sanji can fly due to kicking the air, Usopp got buff and has plant-based ammo, Robin can use her devil fruit power even more, Chopper can use more different forms, Franky is completely upgraded, and Brook can use magical music and turn into a ghost.

After their reunion on Sabaody, the Straw Hats then set off for their next destination: Fishman Island deep below the ocean. Down here they’re reunited with some old friends such as Hachi, Camie, Pappagu, and Jimbei.

However, the Fishman Island isn’t the paradise it seems to be on the surface. There’s a dark underside to the island which is led by fishmen who wish to rise up and kill all humans due to the way they’ve been treated in the past. Basically this whole arc is about racism and slavery between humans and fishmen

New Characters

Aside from the antagonists, who I’ll get to in a bit, the major new characters for this saga are the members of the fishman royal family: King Neptune, Princess Shirahoshi, the three princes whose names I don’t remember, and Megalo the shark (Shirahoshi’s pet). There’s also the Queen, Otohime, but she only appears in flashbacks.

King Neptune is the giant fishman who rules the island. His wife, Otohime, once fought for there to be good relations between the fishmen and humans, but paid the ultimate price. Now, although Neptune believes his late wife was right, he’s not sure the fishmen are ready to accept humans as their allies.

The most important of Neptune’s four children is Shirahoshi, who is a giant mermaid. Unlike her brothers who are all able to come and go from the palace as they please, Shirahoshi is locked away in a tower for her own safety. In there, she only has her pet shark Megalo for company (until Luffy breaks her out).

Shirahoshi, Megalo, and Jimbei from the Fishman Island Saga of the anime series One Piece
Shirahoshi, Megalo, and Jimbei

So why is Shirahoshi locked up in a tower for her own protection? The reason is the secondary antagonist of this arc, a pirate named Vander Decken IX. Vander Decken I believe is the first fishman we’ve met in the series who has a devil fruit power.

Normally fishmen prefer not to eat devil fruits because they rob them of their ability to swim, but it seems that this wasn’t an issue to Vander Decken. His power allows him to target anything he touches, and then throw things at it from any range. Specifically, he touched Shirahoshi and now throws weapons at her everyday because she refused to marry him.

However, Vander Decken is just a secondary antagonist. The true antagonist of the arc is a fishman by the name of Hordy Jones who grew up in the fishman district (which are the slums of the island). When he was a child his hero was Arlong of the Fishman Pirates.

Now that Arlong has been defeated (or killed? I don’t remember), Hordy Jones has founded the New Fishman Pirates. Their goal is to turn the tables on the humans and either enslave or kill all of them.

Thoughts

So what are my thoughts on this saga? Overall I thought it was decent, although the Return to Sabaody arc was by far the best part simply because it was the first time we got to see the new and improved Straw Hats. Unfortunately, most of the saga was made up of the Fishman Island arc.

I wouldn’t say that this arc was the worst arc of the series, I do still believe the East Blue saga was worse overall, but it was definitely down there. And, yes, I get the importance of the East Blue saga. I just don’t think it was all that engaging for the most part.

There are two real reasons why I don’t think the Fishman Island arc was all that good. The first is the length. It’s by no means the longest arc of the series, but it was definitely longer than it needed to be. There was a lot of fluff within the arc. It wasn’t filler, but it was padding.

The second, and main, reason I didn’t think this arc was that good was the antagonist, Hordy Jones. Hordy is essentially a bootleg version of Arlong from the East Blue saga. Technically he’s stronger than Arlong I suppose, but he has a lot less depth as a character than Arlong does.

Arlong didn’t have all that much death at the time of his arc, but throughout the Fishman Island arc he’s given a lot more depth via flashbacks. For example, we learn that the reason he hated humans was because his hero, Fisher Tiger, was betrayed and killed by humans.

On the other hand, Hordy admits late in the arc that there’s actually no reason for his hatred towards humans. He simply hates them because they exist. That has to be one of the most boring backstories for an antagonist ever. He’s evil just because he is.

Another problem I had with Hordy is that he never actually felt like a threat. Sure, he’s powerful compared to most people, but he’s a nobody compared to the new and improved Straw Hats. Maybe he would have been a viable enemy before the time skip, but not after.

So the combination of an antagonist with little to no depth who doesn’t feel like a real threat and an arc that feels a bit too long is why I didn’t think Fishman Island was all that good. If the arc was shorter it would have been better, or if Hordy was a good antagonist it would have been better.

Conclusion

Overall I rated the Fishman Island saga as a 6/10, which marks the first time my rating of a One Piece saga has dropped below the previous saga. I almost want to give it a 5, but it was still fairly enjoyable for the most part, especially because we got to see the Straw Hats back in action.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content or potential schedule changes, like the one which led to this post being uploaded on a Wednesday.

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