One Piece: Where is Dressrosa?

One Piece: Where is Dressrosa?

Introduction to Dressrosa

Dressrosa is an island nation located in the New World portion of the Grand Line. As you may have suspected, that’s not what I mean when I ask the question, “Where is Dressrosa?” Of course it’s located in the New World. We all know that. But where would Dressrosa be if it was in our world?

Pointing to the influence of other nations within the One Piece world is sometimes easy and sometimes a bit harder. Dressrosa is one of those countries that seems simple to pin down on the surface but is actually more complex than you may at first realize.

Other Island Influences

Before getting to Dressrosa itself, let’s take a look at some other notable islands in One Piece and what their influences are. Starting at the beginning of the Grand Line, we have Little Garden, which isn’t based on any one location, but rather a time period. Little Garden is based on the Cretaceous Period.

Then, we have nations based on specific countries, such as Alabasta referencing Egypt and Wano (though I’m not there yet in the anime) referencing Japan. However, Alabasta and Wano both combine historical and mythological aspects of their respective real-world counterparts.

There are also “legendary” islands such as Skypiea and Fishman Island which represent Heaven and Atlantis respectively. Zou falls into this category as well because it’s a reference to the elephants that carry the world in Hindu myth.

The nation of Zou on the giant elephant's back from the anime series One Piece
The nation of Zou on the giant elephant’s back

And obviously, there are the generic themed islands throughout the Grand Line. These include Whole Cake Island (and its surrounding islands) which is based on food, and to an extent even Drum Island. Drum Island is the generic winter island because it was the first one we saw in the series, but it also has a couple of Christmas/holiday-themed elements to it.

Thriller Bark isn’t an island, but that island-sized ship is obviously a reference to the horror genre. And the location in which Thriller Bark can be found, the Florian Triangle, is a reference to the real-world Bermuda Triangle.

Basically, every location in One Piece, specifically in the Grand Line, has a set theme or location its influenced by. So what influenced Dressrosa?

Dressrosa’s Mediterranean Influences

Dressrosa is a weird case because it’s influenced by a real-world location, but not by a single country. It’s influenced by a number of countries along the European coast of the Mediterranean sea. Some of the most prominent country influences are Spain, Italy (specifically Rome), and Greece.

When most people think of Dressrosa, they probably think of one of these influences, not all three. And which one you immediately think of likely has to do with whatever part of the arc is most memorable to you.

Spain is the most prominent influence on Dressrosa. Most of the towns and their names are based on real-world places in Spain. The Donquixote Family is named after the Spanish novel Don Quixote. And even other characters native to Dressrosa have Spanish influence, such as Viola and her flamenco dancing.

Sabo in the Corrida Colosseum from the anime series One Piece
Sabo in the Corrida Colosseum

Rome, Italy is the second most prominent influence. As I’m sure you realized, the Corrida Colosseum is based on the Colosseum located in Rome. Even the gladiators who fight in the Colosseum and the rules surrounding it are taken straight from historical Rome. And something featured in the background with ties to Rome is the system of aqueducts.

Finally, there are some minor references to ancient Greece which come in the form of character names and their roles within the arc. Most notably, we have Kyros, the hero of Dressrosa who was once its most famous gladiator. There’s also another gladiator simply named Spartan after the Spartans of ancient Greece.

Dressrosa Discussion

Dressrosa is basically Spain if you drop the Roman Colosseum in the middle and also steal some heroes from Greece and throw them in there too. What’s interesting is that while simply basing the country on Spain would have been enough, Dressrosa became the embodiment of the Mediterranean region as a whole.

I don’t really mind that Rome and Spain were combined for this island, but I’m a bit conflicted about including Greece in there as well. There wasn’t all that much Greek-based content, but it was enough to tell me that there’s not ever going to be another island later on that’s based on Greece, which is a shame.

There’s definitely room for an archipelago that functions like Greece within the world of One Piece. Sure, we have Sabaody and the islands under Big Mom that sort fill the archipelago role, but they’re still cohesive nations. An archipelago with a bunch of small, competing kingdoms on it would be unique within this world. It could even have been used to foreshadow something about the kingdoms of the World Government.

The statue of Kyros in the Corrida Colosseum from the anime series One Piece
The statue of Kyros in the Corrida Colosseum

But going back to my stance on the combination of Spain and Rome, I think that was ultimately for the best. Basing a country solely on Rome would have been a bit too plain. Ancient Rome is one of the most referenced places in the world, so that wouldn’t have been a very unique setting.

Spain isn’t a very common setting at all, by comparison. And by basing the country on Spain, it was a good excuse to include the unique architecture and romantic flair that makes Dressrosa stand apart from anywhere else in the Grand Line. Though, I have to admit that the Colosseum was needed to add a bit more excitement.

Sure, Spain has bullfighting that takes place in Colosseum-like arenas — and this is referenced in the Fighting Fish. But by including an actual Colosseum rather than just a Fighting Fish arena, it meant that a proper tournament arc could be included to spice things up.

Conclusion

What do you think of when you think of Dressrosa? Despite Spain being the largest influence on the country, I’d imagine that about half of viewers think of Rome first solely due to the Colosseum. And if Kyros is your favorite character of the arc, you may even think of Greece before the others.

If you enjoyed this discussion of Dressrosa, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

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