One Piece: Skypiea Arc | Summary & Review
Join the Straw Hat Pirates in the Skypiea Arc of One Piece, facing formidable foes and unraveling mystical mysteries in this treacherous journey!
July 06, 2023
By: Jose D. Pernalete
The Straw Hat Pirates embark on an exhilarating journey in the Skypiea Arc of One Piece, where they find themselves in the mystical realm above the clouds. This article delves into the thrilling events that unfold as they navigate through the treacherous Skypiea and face formidable foes, including the self-proclaimed god, Enel.
This arc is a bit controversial when it comes to its popularity among the fans of the show. Some regard it as skippable and boring, while some have always defended the arc as a key part of development and an important part of the story of the Straw Hats.
One of the reasons many fans argue that this is a “bad” arc is that it is a bit slow and is the longest thus far in the series. Most of the introduced characters carry little to no weight outside of Skypea too, which is a bit strange for this series. Still, there’s a certain mysticism in the entire arc, not to mention that it seems to be getting more relevant as the show progresses by introducing things that become important later on.
Skypiea Arc Summary
Arrival at Skypiea
After a daring ride on the Knock Up Stream, the Straw Hats arrive in Skypiea, a land shrouded in clouds. The Going Merry Go found itself floating in a sea of clouds that behaves the same way as the ocean.
However, their peaceful entry is disrupted by an enigmatic masked man attacking them. Just when it seems all hope is lost, the valiant knight Gan Fall comes to their rescue, explaining the challenges of the thin air.
The crew was also gifted a whistle to summon the knight in times of need.
Arrival at Angel Island
The crew's journey takes them to Angel Island, where they encounter Conis and her father, Pagaya. While Nami explores the sky ocean with Pagaya's Waver, she inadvertently stumbles upon Upper Yard, a forbidden land controlled by Enel and his priests. Excited by the prospect of adventure, Luffy insists on heading to Upper Yard, not just to rescue Nami, but also to satiate his thirst for exploration.
On Angel Island's beach, the crew confronts the White Berets, the lowest level of law enforcement in Skypiea, led by Chief McKinley. Mistaken as criminals, the Straw Hat Pirates are demanded an exorbitant entrance fee. Tensions rise, and Nami's outburst leads to an intense clash with the White Berets.
Luffy's intervention elevates their status as Class 2 criminals, attracting the attention of Enel's priests.
As the crew prepares to depart with Nami, Chopper, Robin, and Zoro remaining on the ship, they are unexpectedly captured by a colossal "Super-Express Speed Shrimp." Led by Conis, Luffy, Sanji, and Usopp embark on a mission to rescue their captured friends. However, Conis's true intentions are revealed as she admits to betraying them under Enel's orders. With Enel's destructive power looming overhead, Gan Fall saves Conis from imminent danger, vowing to protect her.
Undeterred by Enel's display of power, Luffy, Sanji, and Usopp venture deeper into Upper Yard. The forbidden territory puts their strength and resolve to the test through various deadly ordeals orchestrated by Enel and his priests. The crew's resourcefulness and determination enable them to overcome each trial, inching closer to a climactic showdown with Enel.
Ordeals and Explorations
Separated into two groups, the Straw Hat Pirates embark on their individual quests. Luffy, Usopp, and Sanji choose the Ordeal of Balls, traversing the perilous Milky Road. Within the forest, they face the enigmatic priest Satori, who possesses the unique ability to read their minds. After an intense battle, they overcome his challenges, unveiling their resourcefulness and teamwork.
Meanwhile, Nami, Zoro, Robin, and Chopper find themselves on a Sacrificial Altar surrounded by treacherous shark-infested clouds. Determined to explore Upper Yard, each member of the group sets out on their own path, leaving Chopper to guard the ship.
They discover astonishing truths, as Zoro's group realizes that Upper Yard is the long-lost City of Gold from the tale of Liar Noland.
Shura's Attack and Unexpected Help
As the crew faces new challenges, the priest Shura launches an attack on Chopper and the Going Merry. Chopper's distress signals prompt the intervention of Gan Fall, a former ruler of Skypiea. A fierce battle ensues, showcasing Shura's destructive powers and Gan Fall's valiant defense.
However, when Shura activates the "Ordeal of String," the situation becomes dire. The unexpected appearance of a flock of giant South Birds saves Chopper, Gan Fall, and Pierre from a devastating fate.
The mysteries of Skypiea begin to unravel, revealing a complex history of conflict between the native Shandia tribe and the Skypieans. Aisa, a young girl with the ability to use Mantra (eventually known as Observation Haki), informs the Straw Hats about the defeats of Satori and Gan Fall. Wyper, the leader of the Shandia warriors, seizes the opportunity to launch an offensive against the priests, aiming to reclaim their ancestral home.
The battles intensify as both the Shandia and the Straw Hats enter Upper Yard, setting the stage for a survival game.
A Mysterious Ally and a Cunning Plan
Amidst the chaos, the crew stumbles upon a surprising development. Usopp witnesses a mysterious figure repairing the Going Merry under the cover of night. In the morning, they discover that the damage inflicted by Shura has vanished, and the ship's original form has been restored.
Curiosity piqued, the crew focuses on their mission: Luffy, Zoro, Chopper, and Robin venture into the city while Nami, Usopp, and Sanji, accompanied by Gan Fall, make their way out of Upper Yard.
A Perilous Encounter
Luffy's group, en route to the fabled gold city, is confronted by a colossal python that separates them in the chaos. Robin remains on the right path, while the rest of the crew faces a treacherous journey ahead.
On the Going Merry, Gan Fall reveals the country's history, shedding light on the origins of the Shandians and the deep-rooted animosity between their people. He introduces the concept of "dials," which are powerful artifacts that can be wielded as weapons. Demonstrating the Impact Dial, Gan Fall showcases its ability to absorb and reflect impact attacks.
Trials and Triumphs
As the Straw Hat Pirates navigate Skypiea's treacherous landscape, they encounter various adversaries and engage in fierce battles. The Shandia warriors, locked in a struggle with Enel's forces, face the Ordeal of String imposed by Shura. However, the skilled warrior Wyper manages to evade the ordeal and defeats Shura using a rare and dangerous Reject Dial. Meanwhile, Enel releases his formidable 50 Divine Soldiers, led by the fearsome Yama, to eliminate the remaining participants in the Survival Game.
Each member of the Straw Hat crew faces their own adversaries in this life-or-death game. Zoro clashes with the Shandia warrior Braham and emerges victorious with his new signature technique, the 36 Pound Cannon. Luffy's encounter with Wyper proves to be an evenly matched battle until a giant python swallows him whole, halting their clash.
One of the most interesting encounters is Chopper’s, who usually isn’t a combatant type. When Chopper faces Priest Gedatsu, he gets to prove to himself he’s brave and strong enough, overpowering him and causing him to fall into the Blue Sea.
Robin crosses paths with Yama at ancient ruins and emerges triumphant. Meanwhile, Enel's devastating lightning strikes render Sanji and Usopp unconscious. Satori's brothers, Hotori and Kotori, seek revenge but are ultimately defeated by Nami and Gan Fall.
Revelations and Escalating Tensions
Amidst the chaos, Aisa, a young Shandia girl with the ability to foresee events using mantra, embarks on a perilous journey to Upper Yard. However, her ship malfunctions, and she is rescued by Conis and Pagaya. Gan Fall, having explored God's Shrine and finding it in ruins, shares the grim news with the group.
Robin, exploring the remnants of the golden city Shandora, uncovers the existence of a Poneglyph—an ancient artifact holding crucial information. She learns that the golden bell, said to house the Poneglyph, has mysteriously vanished.
Chopper, while scaling a gigantic beanstalk in search of the gold city, finds himself in the clutches of Priest Ohm, who inflicts severe injuries upon him. Nami, accompanied by Aisa, is pursued by the relentless python after Luffy's antics provoke it. Narrowly escaping, they become stranded deeper within the perilous jungle.
Meanwhile, Zoro unwittingly acquires a South Bird follower, mistaking him for a source of food, only to be dropped by the bird during a life-and-death struggle with the python.
The Final Showdown
The survival game intensifies as the remaining participants converge on the domain of Priest Ohm. Zoro engages in a fierce battle with Ohm, emerging victorious after a grueling confrontation. Nami and Aisa, along with a group of soldiers, arrive in the area, and a clash with Wyper ensues. However, Gan Fall and Pierre arrive just in time to save them from the skirmish, sacrificing themselves to the python's voracious appetite.
Faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves reunited within the confines of the giant python's stomach. In the ruins of the gold city Shandora, Robin comes face to face with Enel, who reveals his motives for wanting to destroy Skypiea. Enel proclaims that the existence of people in the sky is unnatural, and his goal is to take them to the "Fairy Vearth," a boundless realm where he believes God should reside.
The Climactic Battle
As the confrontation escalates, Zoro, fueled by determination, confronts Enel. Wyper manages to disable Enel's powers temporarily using Seastone, a substance that weakens Devil Fruit users. With an overpowering blow from his Reject Dial, Wyper seemingly eliminates Enel. However, Enel, exploiting his Devil Fruit ability to revive himself, emerges unscathed and defeats the remaining fighters.
In a final bid for survival, Nami, with no other options, decides to accompany Enel, concealing her intention to escape at the opportune moment. Enel unveils his grand escape plan—the Ark Maxim, a flying ship powered by his lightning abilities and utilizing the gold from the city as a conductor.
Desperate Measures: Escaping Enel's Wrath
Meanwhile, Luffy's group manages to escape from the giant python and comes across Enel's victims. The barely conscious Robin explains the gravity of the situation, and Aisa, with her extraordinary Mantra ability, offers to guide Luffy to Enel.
Amidst chaos and panic, Conis, labeled a heretic for questioning Enel's divinity, strives to convince everyone to leave the island. Initially met with resistance, Conis' words gain credence when she loudly declares her lack of faith in Enel's godhood, prompting everyone to flee to escape God's Judgment.
The realization that Conis was right dawns upon them, as Enel's imminent plan involves the total destruction of the entire land. With the evacuation in disarray, the White Berets step in to restore order, allowing Conis to hurriedly return to Upper Yard and lead the Straw Hats to safety.
The Rubber Man's Advantage: Luffy's Surprising Resistance
Luffy finally confronts Enel, only to discover that his formidable lightning attacks have no effect on the rubber-bodied pirate. Luffy's unique Devil Fruit ability, the Gomu Gomu no Mi, grants him immunity to electrical attacks, leaving Enel dumbfounded.
Furthermore, Luffy's rubber body allows him to bypass Enel's Logia ability and physically harm him. The battle between the two escalates, with Enel resorting to different modes of attack, including heating up his staff, teleporting, and utilizing his Mantra ability to predict Luffy's moves. Despite Enel's attempts to overpower him, Luffy manages to hold his ground and gain the upper hand.
Deathpiea: The Cataclysmic Threat
During the intense battle, Enel activates the Ark Maxim, a massive floating ship armed with destructive capabilities. Using this powerful weapon, Enel initiates a process known as "Deathpiea." By creating massive thunderclouds, Enel amplifies his own electrical power to unprecedented levels, threatening the very existence of Skypiea and its inhabitants.
The stakes have never been higher as the Straw Hats grapple with the imminent destruction of the land they have grown to cherish.
Sacred Sacrifices: Nami, Sanji, and Usopp's Heroic Efforts
As Nami steps up to face Enel, Sanji and Usopp awaken from their incapacitated state. Determined to aid their comrades, Sanji takes charge, vowing to rescue Nami from Enel's clutches. Utilizing their unique skills and ingenuity, Nami, Sanji, and Usopp combine their efforts to outmaneuver Enel's attacks.
Nami employs the thunder balls of her Clima-Tact to deflect Enel's weaker assaults, while Sanji and Usopp work together to navigate the treacherous environment and reach Nami's location. However, their heroic actions come at a great personal cost, as Sanji selflessly puts himself in harm's way to protect Nami and allow their escape.
The stakes are raised even higher as the Ark Maxim's destructive capabilities are revealed, and the Straw Hats must race against time to prevent its devastating power from decimating Skypiea.
The Bell's Toll: Luffy's Unwavering Resolve
Amidst the chaos and impending doom, Luffy recovers from his previous setbacks and, accompanied by Aisa and Pierre, races toward the colossal beanstalk at the heart of Skypiea. Luffy leaves Aisa and Pierre with Robin, who had carried everyone back to the surface, and ascends the towering plant with the gold ball still attached to his arm.
As Wyper, Zoro, and Gan Fall regain consciousness, Nami implores everyone to retreat to the Going Merry, using her waver to reach Luffy and convince him to abandon his dangerous mission. However, Luffy remains resolute, driven by the desire to ring the golden bell and reveal the existence of the fabled city of gold to Mont Blanc Cricket and the world.
The Ultimate Showdown: Raigo and the Straw Hats' Triumph
Enel reaches the pinnacle of his power and unleashes his ultimate technique, Raigo, obliterating Angel Island and creating a gaping hole in the skies above. As he prepares to strike Skypiea with an even more devastating Raigo, Nami realizes that the lives of her friends and allies are at stake. Acting swiftly, she instructs the others to sever the beanstalk, aiming to topple it toward Enel.
Despite Zoro's valiant efforts, the beanstalk remains standing, prompting Wyper to unleash the full power of his Reject Dial, finally toppling the colossal plant. With Nami and Luffy propelled upward, they soar through the falling vegetation, hurtling towards Enel.
Amidst Prayers and Shadows: The Bell Rings
As the inhabitants of Skypiea and Shandia join in prayer, seeking divine intervention, Luffy harnesses the gold ball's conductive properties, drawing the colossal electrical force of Raigo into himself. In a stunning display of resilience and determination, Luffy shatters Raigo, overpowering Enel's relentless assault. The clash culminates as Luffy hurls Enel into the golden bell, generating a resounding ring that reverberates far and wide.
The sound reaches the island of Jaya below, where Mont Blanc Cricket and the Saruyama Alliance bear witness to the momentous event. Cricket's tears flow freely as he realizes that the legendary city of gold truly existed and rejoices in Luffy's survival.
Inspired by the Straw Hat Pirates' triumph, Cricket and his allies set their sights on new dreams and aspirations. Meanwhile, for the people of Skypiea, the resounding bell signals the end of the age-old conflict between the Skypieans and Shandia, paving the way for unity and lasting peace.
A New Dawn: Unity and Peace
The ring of the bell holds different meanings for different people. For the people of Skypiea, it symbolizes the end of the long-standing war between the Skypieans and Shandia, ushering in a new era of unity and harmony.
The Straw Hat Pirates' valiant efforts and their unyielding pursuit of justice and adventure inspire hope in the hearts of allies and onlookers alike. Skypiea's destruction becomes a testament to the power of courage, friendship, and the indomitable spirit that defines the Straw Hat Pirates.
Aftermath: Rebuilding and Unity
With Enel and his ark plummeting into the sea clouds below and the skies clearing, the aftermath of the epic battle unfolds on Upper Yard. Amidst the remnants of destruction, a sense of relief and renewed hope fills the air. The Shandia warriors, who had fought valiantly against the Skypieans, begin to recover from their injuries.
Pagaya, presumed to be lost, miraculously emerges alive, bringing solace to those who held out hope for his survival. The individuals who were coerced into constructing the Ark Maxim are joyfully reunited with their families, their ordeal finally at an end.
As night falls, Wyper, one of the key Shandia figures, regains consciousness to find himself under the care of Conis, Gan Fall, and his tribe's chief. Wyper, still fueled by his desire to reclaim Upper Yard, pleads with his chief to resume the fight against the Sky People.
However, the chief reveals that the horrors of war have been transcended, and peace now prevails in the hearts of all. Overwhelmed with emotion, Wyper rushes outside, only to be greeted by a sight that brings tears to his eyes—everyone, both Skypieans and Shandia, celebrating together in harmony, their differences set aside.
Celebrating Victory and Uniting the Lands
The dawn of a new day reveals the fate of the fallen bell—the colossal structure has become ensnared in the sprawling Giant Jack. Determined to demonstrate their unity and collective triumph, the Shandia and the Sky People join forces to hoist the bell from its entanglement. The collaborative effort serves as a powerful symbol of reconciliation and a testament to the newfound alliance between the two once-warring factions.
Amidst the jubilation, a remarkable discovery is made. Upon inspecting the base of the belfry, the enigmatic archaeologist Nico Robin uncovers a Poneglyph—an ancient stone tablet that holds invaluable secrets. With her unrivaled deciphering skills, Robin decodes the inscriptions etched into the ancient artifact, revealing information about the elusive ancient weapon known as Poseidon.
This revelation brings a significant shift in the Shandia's perception. They learn that their arduous quest to protect the bell is no longer necessary, freeing them from the shackles of conflict and bloodshed. However, Robin's astonishment grows as she unearths another message, one left behind by the legendary Gol D. Roger himself. The message hints at the existence of the Rio Poneglyph, a vital key to uncovering the mysteries of the fabled Laugh Tale.
In an expression of gratitude to the Straw Hat Pirates for their instrumental role in the victory over Enel, the Skypieans offer a portion of the belfry's pillars to Robin, a gesture that she humbly accepts. It serves as a lasting reminder of the bonds forged during their arduous journey and the unity that transcended the skies.
Misunderstandings and Farewell
As the Straw Hat Pirates prepare to depart, bidding farewell to the fantastical realm of Skypiea, a comical misunderstanding ensues. Usopp, always resourceful and quick-witted, manages to barter rubber bands—proclaiming them as the same material that defeated Enel—for precious dials from the Skypieans. Seizing the opportunity amidst the slumbering python, the rest of the crew seizes bags filled with glittering gold, an unexpected bounty from their otherworldly adventure.
However, when Robin appears with a procession of individuals carrying the belfry's pillar, the Straw Hat Pirates mistakenly believe they are under attack, convinced that the pillar is a colossal cannon aimed at them. Fueled by their trademark impulsiveness, the crew flees, believing their lives to be in imminent danger. Little do they know, Robin merely intended to present them with the pillar as a token of gratitude, causing her to chase after her bewildered comrades.
Finally reunited aboard the beloved ship, the Going Merry, and guided by the Skypieans Conis and Pagaya, the Straw Hat Pirates reach the precipice known as "Cloud End." Here, they bid a fond farewell to the skies and prepare to descend back to the vast expanse of the Blue Sea. As Gan Fall reassumes his role as the esteemed "God" of Skypiea, the crew, aided by an octopus balloon that slows their descent, embarks on their next chapter of adventure.
In the anime adaptation, their descent leads them to the Marine base of G-8, while in the manga, they make landfall in the open sea. This visit to the marine base of G-8 is perhaps one of the funniest filler arcs in One Piece!
Unveiling Ancient Secrets: Poneglyphs, Ancient Weapons, and the Grand Line
Skypiea unveils a realm steeped in ancient history and hidden knowledge. Through the deciphering skills of the archaeologist Nico Robin, the true significance of the Poneglyphs—a series of stone tablets scattered throughout the world—is revealed. These ancient artifacts hold the key to uncovering the truth behind the lost history and the mysteries of the Grand Line.
The Skypiea arc provides tantalizing glimpses into the enigmatic void century, the ancient weapons, and the legendary island of Laugh Tale. As Robin deciphers the inscriptions on the Poneglyphs, the crew gains crucial insights into the secrets that lie ahead, propelling them further on their journey to discover the fabled One Piece and the ultimate truth that awaits at the end of the Grand Line.
Skypiea Arc Review & Analysis
Imaginative Setting and Visuals
The Skypiea arc in One Piece presents a mixed bag of adventure and storytelling. While it offers moments of wonder and excitement, it also suffers from pacing issues that may test the patience of some viewers.
One of the highlights of this arc is undoubtedly its imaginative setting. Eiichiro Oda's boundless creativity shines through as he introduces us to the ethereal realm of Skypiea, a world nestled amidst the clouds. The vibrant landscapes and unique cultural elements add a touch of magic to the narrative, immersing viewers in a visually captivating experience.
However, despite its fascinating backdrop, the Skypiea arc struggles to maintain a consistent narrative flow. The pacing occasionally feels sluggish, with certain episodes or chapters dragging on longer than necessary. This can dampen the sense of urgency and hinder the overall enjoyment of the story.
While the exploration of themes such as faith, cultural identity, and power adds depth to the arc, the execution could have been more concise and tightly woven into the plot. Or bear more consequence to the series as a whole.
The action sequences in Skypiea provide moments of adrenaline-pumping excitement, showcasing the Straw Hat Pirates' resilience and growth. Yet, the battles against the main antagonist, Enel, can feel repetitive and drawn out at times, with some encounters lacking the ingenuity and strategic depth seen in other arcs of the series. Still, Luffy’s battle style proves to be just as original and iconic here as it is
Visual Splendor and Artistic Detail
Visually, the arc maintains Oda's distinctive art style, which lends itself well to the fantastical elements of Skypiea. The intricate character designs and attention to detail in the environments continue to impress. However, the arc could have benefited from more varied and dynamic visuals during the action sequences to enhance the impact and intensity of the battles.
Despite its flaws, the Skypiea arc still manages to deliver moments of emotional resonance and character development. The unwavering will of characters like Sanji and the bonds forged between the Straw Hat Pirates and the Skypieans add depth and heart to the story. These moments of connection and growth give viewers a reason to invest in the narrative and the outcome of the conflict.
The Skypiea arc in One Piece offers an imaginative world, thought-provoking themes, and character moments that will resonate with fans. However, its pacing issues and occasional lack of innovation in the action sequences hold it back from reaching its full potential.
With its visually captivating settings and moments of emotional resonance, the Skypiea arc receives a respectable score of 7 out of 10. It may not be the strongest arc in the series, but it still offers enough entertainment value for fans to enjoy.
Final Score: 7/10
How Long is Skypiea?
The Skypiea arc in One Piece spans 7 volumes in the manga (Volumes 26-32) and consists of 66 chapters (Chapter 237-302). In the anime adaptation of One Piece, it is depicted over 43 episodes (Episode 153-195).