One Piece Arlong Park Arc: Summary & Review
Join Luffy and his crew in the Arlong Park arc of One Piece! Experience epic adventures, liberation, and the power of friendship as they confront the tyrannical fishman. This arc introduces new characters and explores themes of freedom and justice, leaving a lasting impact. Get ready for an exhilarating journey!
May 25, 2023
By: Jose D. Pernalete
Welcome, fellow adventurers, to the exhilarating world of One Piece! In this review, we delve into the fourth arc, "Arlong Park," a gripping tale that leaves an indelible mark on both the story and our hearts. Prepare to embark on a journey filled with action, emotion, and the unyielding spirit of friendship that defines the Straw Hat Pirates.
The Arlong Park adventure marks an exciting turning point in One Piece's epic tale! Finally, after witnessing young Nami's plight under the tyrannical fishman Arlong, brave Captain Luffy and his crew march into battle to liberate her hometown.
This story propels One Piece's epic narrative forward with new crew members, villains, and themes of liberation that will only grow in scope and significance. But most of all, it reminds us why we fell in love with this joyful tale of freedom, friendship and the thrill of the open sea in the first place.
Following Nami's Trail
The Arlong Park arc begins immediately after the conclusion of the Baratie Arc. Luffy, Sanji, and Yosaku set sail for Arlong Park on a small boat. To pass the time, Yosaku tells them about the Seven Warlords of the Sea and how that relates to Arlong Park, their destination.
When Sanji doubts that Nami is heading there, Yosaku explains that he and Johnny suspected a connection between Nami and Arlong based on her interest in Arlong's wanted poster. Nami's behavior became suspicious when they mentioned Arlong had become more active recently.
Nami arrives at Arlong Park onboard the Going Merry. A boy confronts her, wanting to fight Arlong for killing his father. Nami slaps him and gives him money to leave. Arlong and his fishman crew are then introduced. It is revealed that Nami is part of Arlong's crew.
Zoro, Usopp, and Johnny also arrive at the island. Johnny and Usopp abandon ship, leaving Zoro to get captured by Arlong's fishmen. They find the remains of the Gosa Village with upturned houses. A fishman starts chasing them. Johnny escapes while Usopp gets attacked by the same boy from earlier, who mistakes him for a fishman. A woman stops the boy and then knocks out Usopp, saying it's a bad idea to fight the fishmen.
Luffy, Sanji, and Yosaku continue sailing and encounter a giant sea cow attracted to their food. Luffy punches it at first, angering Sanji, but Sanji subdues it with a kick. They strap the boat to the sea cow to tow them to the island faster.
Usopp awakens in the woman's house. She introduces herself as Nojiko, Nami's foster sister and the island is Nami's hometown. Usopp panics after realizing what happened to Zoro. Zoro arrives at Arlong Park and learns of Nami's allegiance to Arlong. After banter where Arlong proudly claims Nami would betray her own family for riches, disturbing her, Zoro throws himself in the water to test Nami. She saves Zoro but beats him up to reassure Arlong's crew she is still one of them.
The Tragic Story of Nami and Her Fight for Freedom
Nami's tragic past began with the brutal invasion of her village, Cocoyasi, by the fishman pirate Arlong and his crew. Before their arrival, Nami lived a simple but happy life with her adoptive mother Bell-mère and sister Nojiko.
Arlong's tyranny started when he demanded each villager pay an outrageous "protection money" simply for the right to live. Bell-mère, unable to pay the full 300,000 beri for herself and her two daughters, sacrificed herself so Nami and Nojiko could live.
Arlong brutally killed Bell-mère in front of the girls, marking the start of their suffering. He forced Nami to join his crew and use her cartography talents to map the islands for him. In exchange, Arlong agreed to "free" the village once Nami earned 100 million beri.
For years, Nami endured Arlong's abuse while secretly stealing from him to work towards buying back her village. Despite Nami's efforts, life remained bleak for the villagers. They struggled under Arlong's oppressive rule and harsh monthly "taxes".
When the Straw Hat crew arrives, Nami warns them away claiming she joined Arlong only for his treasure. But as tensions rise, the truth comes out. The Marines raid Nami's house, seizing her life's work. Arlong cruelly informs her she'll have to start over from zero. Enraged, the villagers plan a doomed attack on Arlong Park.
Out of despair and impotence, Nami breaks down into tears, and tearfully she stabs her own arm on the Arlong Pirates tattoo. Seeing no other option, Nami finally asks Luffy for help. He places his straw hat upon her head, symbolizing his trust, and agrees to fight Arlong. This is one of the most moving and strongest ways Luffy has to tell her that he trusts her, by giving her his treasure, and that she’s his nakama, and he’ll do anything for her.
Now, with Luffy, Zoro, Usopp and Sanji by her side, Nami has the strength to confront her tormentor.
The coming clash at Arlong Park will decide not just Nami's fate, but cement the Straw Hat crew as a formidable force in the rising pirate age. Though the road ahead seems impossible, Nami has finally found hope within the most unlikely of places - her new friends, the members of the Straw Hat crew. They will fight to break her shackles and set her free.
The Fight for Freedom
With Nami asking for help, the Straw Hat Pirates marched toward Arlong Park to defeat the tyrannical fishman Arlong and free Cocoyasi Village. Johnny and Yosaku stopped the villagers at the gate, telling them to wait for Luffy and the crew.
When the Straw Hats arrived, Luffy punches Arlong for making Nami cry. Luffy threw Arlong's subordinate Momoo around like a pinwheel, defeating the remaining fishmen except for Arlong and his last three subordinates - Hachi, Chew and Kuroobi. Arlong uprooted the ground around Luffy's feet and threw him into the ocean, challenging the Straw Hats to save Luffy if they wanted to defeat the fishmen.
Zoro battled Hachi and won with help from Johnny and Yosaku, despite having a wound and a fever. Sanji fought Kuroobi but was nearly defeated until he saved Nojiko and Genzo, which motivated him to defeat Kuroobi on land. Meanwhile, Usopp battled Chew and eventually defeated him by setting him on fire with alcohol and bashing his head with a hammer.
Nojiko and Genzo revived Luffy and freed him from the ground, allowing him to finally fight Arlong one-on-one. They traded brutal blows around the park until Arlong forced Luffy into a room at the top of the tower where Nami had once slaved away making maps. When Arlong claimed he could use Nami in a way Luffy couldn't, Luffy began destroying the room that had caused Nami so much grief, thanking her as he did so. Arlong attacked Luffy one last time but Luffy took the attack and smashed Arlong through the tower, finally defeating him.
The Straw Hat Pirates freed Cocoyasi Village and broke the tyranny of the Arlong Pirates, giving Nami the freedom she had been working toward for so long.
The Pursuit of Freedom
This is one of the most important themes present in this arc, as it is pretty much what drove Luffy into his adventure at sea. Freedom is a core theme in One Piece, and in this arc it is strongly present in Cocoyasi Island and Nami’s struggle.
Even though the first time we meet Nami we might think she’s selfish and opportunistic, the truth is that she’s been stealing and doing all kinds of crimes in order to get the money she needs to save her town. She’s carrying a heavy burden after the death of her mom and all her loved ones.
Sure, Nami does love money and treasure, but she’s not even been getting them for herself, she wants them to save everyone in her Island, she wants them to get freedom. Nami is in a constant search for freedom, just as Luffy. And in the end, this pursuit of freedom and a brighter future is partly what brings all the Strawhats together. The freedom they desire is what will ultimately give them the opportunity to live their dreams.
Furthermore, the defeat of Arlong and the liberation of Cocoyasi Village symbolize the triumph of justice and the dismantling of oppressive systems. This victory resonates beyond the arc itself, inspiring hope and determination in the hearts of both the characters and the readers.
Final Review: 8.2/10
The Arlong Park arc sets an important precedent for the One Piece story going forward. It introduces many elements that will become vital parts of the world's fabric, from new characters and races to foreshadowing of future events. But most significantly, it brings Nami into the Straw Hat Pirates' fold officially as their navigator.
The arc introduces major themes that carry through later arcs, like fishman prejudice and the tyranny of the Fishman pirates. Luffy's defeat of Arlong, a major threat up to that point, demonstrates his growing strength and rise in prominence as a pirate captain.
When Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats defeat Arlong to help free Nami's village, she finally joins Luffy's crew in gratitude. This cement's Nami's place within the Straw Hats and shows that Luffy is willing to help those in need, establishing an element of heroism to the crew's actions.
Nami's backstory reveals key insights into the struggles and oppression that give rise to people like Arlong. Though ultimately defeated, his cruelty highlights that injustice anywhere remains a threat to justice everywhere. Luffy's willingness to help those in need, regardless of past transgressions, shows the liberating power of compassion.
With Nami's unique skills and dedication to freeing her village, she brings invaluable navigational and tactical prowess to the Straw Hats as they embark on the treacherous journey to the Grand Line and beyond.
In short, by allowing Nami to join the crew, developing her backstory and character, introducing themes of fishman oppression, showcasing Luffy's growth, and establishing the Straw Hats as heroes willing to help the downtrodden, the Arlong Park arc lays the groundwork for the rest of One Piece's sprawling story in a pivotal and defining way.
The Arlong Park arc establishes the dynamic of the Straw Hat Pirates coming to the aid of those in need to overcome oppression and injustice. Even beyond its significant plot developments, it encapsulates many of the moral themes at the core of One Piece's story of freedom, friendship and the indomitable human spirit.