One Piece (Zou)

One Piece (Zou)

One Piece anime series logo
One Piece

Zou Arc Overview

It’s only been a few days since my Dressrosa arc review, but I’m back with another One Piece review, this time of the Zou arc. Zou covers episodes 751 – 779, making it a very short arc at only 29 episodes.

I typically prefer the shorter arcs in One Piece because they tell the story they set out to tell without dragging on for too long. That’s precisely why I’m a fan of Thriller Bark. But, I do think Zou might be a bit too short.

Thriller Bark was 45 episodes long, and I think that’s the previous shortest arc. Zou being only two-thirds as long means it really doesn’t have much time to tell a story. And, to be honest, Zou doesn’t really tell a story.

Zou is basically just the arc that sets up both the Whole Cake Island and Wano arcs. In that regard, it’s very similar to how Punk Hazard was more or less just there to set up Dressrosa. But, even Punk Hazard had its own, fairly self-contained, storyline.

I just think it’s a shame that there wasn’t a dedicated Zou adventure because I think it’s one of the coolest places the Straw Hats have been to. The country of Zou is literally found on the back of a giant elephant named Zunesha that roams the world’s oceans.

Unfortunately, all we actually get from the arc is the introduction of the Mink tribe and the Beast Pirates. Sure, things happen in Zou and we do get to see a few locations within the country. But it’s nowhere near enough when you consider how unique of a place this is.

Dressrosa is a way less interesting location and yet got four times as many episodes dedicated to it.

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Zunesha & Zou

Before I get into discussing Zunesha, which is really what makes Zou such a cool place, let’s look at Zou itself. It’s the home of the Mink tribe, which automatically makes it an interesting country to explore.

I like when the Straw Hats find their way to the homelands of various races they’ve previously encountered out in the world. For example, Fishman have been in the series ever since East Blue, so it was fun to explore Fishman Island something like 400 episodes later.

The same applies to Zou. Minks have been around in the series for a long time, though I’m not sure when the first one was introduced. And now we finally get to see where Minks come from and learn a bit more about their history, culture, etc.

The country of Zou on the back of Zunesha from the anime series One Piece
The country of Zou on the back of Zunesha

So, as I mentioned, Zunesha is really what makes Zou what it is. The weather patterns in Zou are directly caused by Zunesha, the ground is literally Zunesha’s skin, and Zunesha is the reason Zou is such an isolated and relatively safe place.

But, Zunesha itself is a bit of a mystery. We know it’s sentient, it’s the largest creature we’ve seen, there are apparently more of them out there, and it’s been wandering the seas since the Void Century as some kind of punishment.

Due to all of that, I think Zunesha is connected to an ancient weapon in some way. Just as Poseidon is Shirahoshi’s ability to control Sea Kings, I like to think Pluton is going to be Momo’s ability to control Zunesha.

I know that in Water 7 it was basically confirmed Pluton is an actual ship. But I still have my doubts about that. Because of the nature of Poseidon, I feel like Pluton and Uranus are going to be “living weapons” as well.

Zunesha is basically a living warship if you think about it — it even needed Momo’s command to attack.

The Beast Pirates

I believe Zou was the first time we got to meet any of the Beast Pirates. Kaidou was mentioned for the first time back in Punk Hazard, I believe. But we hadn’t actually seen any members of his crew until now.

So, our first introduction to the Beast Pirates comes in the form of Jack, one of the top members of the crew. He has the Woolly Mammoth Ancient Zoan Devil Fruit, which I think is awesome. I like that fruit a lot.

It’s also neat that a Mammoth is the antagonist of Zou considering it takes place on the back of a giant elephant, Zunesha. Oh, and I guess I should mention that zou (象) literally means elephant in Japanese.

Inuarashi vs. Jack from the anime series One Piece (Zou)
Inuarashi vs. Jack

The introduction of the Beast Pirates also made me think back to the introduction of the Big Mom Pirates in Fishman Island (which happened to involve Pekoms, a Mink also featured in this arc). Their introductions were pretty different.

The Big Mom Pirates basically just threatened Luffy after he declared war on them and then left. By contrast, Jack decimates the capital city of Zou, and then somehow survives having his ship smashed to pieces by Zunesha despite being at the bottom of the ocean.

It didn’t look like Jack could move, so the being in the water definitely paralyzed his body like any other Devil Fruit user. But aside from that, he was completely fine. If that’s what the Beast Pirates are like, they’re definitely beyond what the Straw Hats can handle right now.

Without Zunesha’s help, that could have been the end of Luffy’s journey when Jack attacked.


Despite the fact I think Zou was a bit too short to have a good story arc, I still think it’s a 7/10, making it one of my favorite arcs so far. I just really like the idea of Zou being on the back of Zunesha, the minks are pretty interesting, and Jack was a cool antagonist.

I’m still watching Whole Cake Island, so it will probably be a while before another One Piece arc review gets posted. But, eventually, I’ll catch up with the anime.

If you enjoyed this review, 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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My review of Whole Cake Island is available now.

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