Recap: One Piece Fishman Island Arc

Short Summary

After a two year delay, the Straw Hats resume their journey and make it to Fishman Island. Trouble brews once on the island as an admirer of Arlong's, Hordy Jones, sets his plan into motion to seize the kingdom from the royal family while also trying to take revenge on Luffy.

Main Summary

Fishman Island Arc has the following tropes
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: All of Hody's crew are pretty much like this. In fact when asked, Hody admits he's just doing all of this because he just really hates humans, despite humans having done nothing to him.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: We learned Luffy gained an immunity to poison (thanks to surviving Magellan's attack in the Impel Down Arc) after Hyouzou nicks him with his poisoned sword.
  • Badass Boast: See There Can Only Be One.
    • Zoro gives one on par with Mihawk, to Hyouzou:
    Zoro: And I allowed you to escape my reach...Now bring me the strongest swordsman of Fishman Island!! You want to kill me...You couldn't kill my boredom!
  • Bad Boss: The New Fishman Pirates, who will attack their fellow pirates just for the sake of their hateful cause. Made even more clear when Hordy would use one of his own men as a Human Shield, as that was Arlong's only Pet the Dog moment showing that he is worse.
    • Big Mom. Who will eat her own subordinates for literally no reason.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Hody Jones and Vander Decken.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: Hody Jones. While Decken desired to marry Shirahoshi to control her power to control Sea Kings, which would have made him a legitimate threat, Hody was only planning to lead a small army of 100,000 fishmen against the World Government, and it gradually became clear he wasn't even a threat to the post-timeskip Straw Hats, let alone the rest of the New World or the World Government. This is justified as he has never been to the surface, and never realized how weak he was compared to much of the world, unlike Arlong, a member of a group of fishmen who actually has been to the surface.
    • Speaking of Arlong, despite viewing Arlong as a thing of the past, it is clear that Arlong was much more of a threat. Hody, while manipulative, relied on sheer power and a risky overdose of energy royal candy that ages oneself to his prime to command authority and had little idea how to command a large crew through charisma, let alone how to adapt to the situation when it goes wrong. Arlong, on the other hand, while immensely strong, enough to warrant an imprisonment in Impel Down, had much more cunning as he managed to keep Nami, an intelligent woman in her own right, under his thumb for over a decade as well as how to win over the favor of certain government officials via money.
      • Though that is only in comparison to pre-Time Skip Luffy. While Arlong is strong, he isn't nearly as a threat physically to Luffy than Hordy is.
    • To be honest, you could argue this for both Decken and Jones. They only became a threat when their partnership went south and Decken went nuts and tried to destroy Fishman Island via a Colony Drop. Though that still makes Decken a far more serious threat than Jones.
  • Brick Joke: Way back in the Alabasta Arc, there was a point in the manga where Mr. 3 was seen floating on water, despite the fact that he should be sinking due to being a Devil Fruit user. Oda jokingly stated in an SBS that he was actually being kept afloat by a piece of unbelievably floaty wood right underneath him. In this arc, the Straw Hats use pieces of that very same wood to float back up to the surface.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Megalo. Constantly forced to carry other characters in his mouth, including the gigantic Shirahoshi.
  • Call Back:
    • All the way from the Arlong Arc. The No. 1 strongest swordsman that Hatchan was talking about? It's Hyouzou.
    • Another one doubles as a Brick Joke: at the very end of the arc, the Straw Hats use pieces of an unbelievably floaty type of wood called Kuuigosu to float up to the surface. That very same wood was the thing that kept an unconscious Mr. 3 afloat in one scene in the Alabasta Arc.
  • Colony Drop: Vander Decken uses his powers to throw an ark at Shirahoshi and in trying to lead it away from the island, Shirahoshi (with some help from Hordy) unwittingly sends it falling toward Fishman Island.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Straw Hats vs. The New Fishman Pirates. The most the latter do is really inconvenience the Straw Hats — they score no major blows on the crew. And once the crew break out their new abilities, the fight's over in a matter of seconds.
    • Let's put it this way: Luffy took out half of them out with one blast of Haki. That's 50,000 fishmen. It just got progressively worse for the poor saps after that.
    • Vander Decken gets one twice in the arc, one from Luffy and another from Hody. Caribou likewise gets a twofold stomping from the Monster Trio and later Sir Pekoms.
    • This was pretty much the arc in general. Everyone except the Straw Hats and Jinbe (who would've joined the crew if not for unfinished business) was pretty much fodder, including the Big Bad. Zoro, The Lancer, defeated Hody with one slash...UNDERWATER.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Several Fishmen want revenge on humans for discriminating and treating them like second-rate citizens and many go out of their way to breed hate in future generations, such as Arlong and Hody Jones. Queen Otohime wants peaceful reconciliation rather than continued retaliation against humans, and she particularly focuses on teaching the children of Fishmen Island.
    • In fact, Arlong let his growing hatred and prejudice of humans, as well as Fisher Tiger's death, convince him that all humans are trash. His actions would encourage Hody Jones, who would then attack any merpeople associating with humans. He even stated that humans did nothing personally against him. It was because he was born and raised in the slums of Fishman Island, which was dominated by hate and racism against humans.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The situation gets so bad that the fishmen actually start praying for Luffy to fulfill Madam Shirley's prophecy and destroy Fishman Island.
  • Distressed Dude: King Neptune and the three princes were almost executed by Hody Jones, but were rescued in time.
  • Drunken Master: Hyouzou.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. Jinbe was willing to accept any punishment for indirectly allowing Arlong to terrorize Nami's village. However, Nami told him it was Arlong that she wouldn't forgive and she bears no ill will towards him or any other fishmen.
  • Engineered Heroics: A rare well-intentioned example: Jinbe points out that Luffy and the (mostly human) Straw Hats fighting Hody and his crew can give out an impression of bastard humans beating a fishman (even if he's a terrorist). Jinbe then tells Luffy that if he wants to beat Hody, he has to be a hero of Fishman Island in the process. Jinbe then makes a plan to do it, and ends up succeeding.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In the flashback, Arlong was shown to be appalled by Jinbe's brutality against humans. Ironically, as seen in the Arlong Arc, Arlong would lose those standards while Jinbe softened and became the Straw Hats' ally.
    • Surprisingly, Akainu was shown to have standards. He had clashed with Aokiji over who would become the next Fleet Admiral with the latter heavily opposing the former's ideals and promotion. Their conflict eventually led to a fight to the death. But when Akainu won, he decided to spare Aokiji. It was lampshaded that not even Akainu could face his previous ally without some sympathy.
  • Fantastic Racism/Humans Are the Real Monsters: The running theme of the arc as it explores the persecution of fish and merpeople, and the negativity it brings to their kind and those trying to change things.
  • Foreshadowing: The crew learning Big Mom took over protection of the island in exchange for candy and Sharley having the vision of Luffy destroying the island and yet it not coming true at the end of the arc. Though Sharley expects it will someday.
  • Good Parents: Queen Otohime is seen being very close to her four children. Even when exhausted from work or when depressed that her people no longer supported her, it didn't stop her from putting on a smile for her children and spending time with them.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Queen Otohime smiled as her oldest son promised they will take care of Shirahoshi and they will collect the signatures she worked so hard to get so that her dream of co-existing peacefully with humans can be fulfilled.
    • Also, Fisher Tiger, when reassured after freeing the slaves of Mariejois and the legends of his adventures, he will be remembered as a hero.
  • Happily Married: King Neptune and Queen Otohime.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Those Energy Steroids Hordy and his crew rely on so much? It turns out if one takes too many, they rapidly age the user.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: King Neptune and Queen Otohime.
  • If I Can't Have You: Shirahoshi has to stay indoors because of constant assassination attempts from Vander Decken when she won't answer his marriage proposal. And when she finally turns him down, things get even worse.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Poor Hatchan was shot with multiple arrows and a dagger by Decken. Fortunately, he gets better.
  • Irrational Hatred: Hody Jones and his crew harbored hatred for humans due to Fantastic Racism, but never experienced any of it personally. Their hatred stemmed from the negative environment they grew up in and have no personal grudge against mankind. It's been described as a "grudge without substance".
    • Fisher Tiger also had an irrational hate towards humans, but his hate was more justified since he had firsthand experience of being a slave. He knew intellectually good humans exist but could never fully get over his hate. This resulted in his death when he refused a human blood transfusion that could have saved his life.
  • Manly Tears: Jinbe cries when Nami forgives him.
  • Morality Chain: Fisher Tiger was this to some members of the Sun Pirates, particularly Arlong.
  • Morality Pet: Koala was able to convince Fisher Tiger that there may be hope for positive relations between fishmen and humans.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Hyouzou, the blue-ringed octopus Fishman swordsman. Up to Eleven when he gets drunk. And on steroids.
  • Noble Demon: Fisher Tiger hated humans but when he freed slaves in Mariejois, he freed both humans and fishmen alike. Also, he refused to kill any humans that came after him since he realized it would only continue the cycle of hate between humans and fishmen.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: That is the main issue with the New Fishman Pirates — they have no idea how weak they are compared to the rest of the world. Hody's such a Small Name, Big Ego that he thinks a small army of pill-popping underlings can take on the entire World Government. Vice-admirals could easily decimate such a force in record time, and an admiral would outright annihilate them.
  • Only in It for the Money: Hyouzou doesn't really care for Hody's plan to incite a rebellion in Fishman Island, and only joined him because he was less stingy than Arlong.
  • Rapid Aging: Hordy and his gang end up turning into old men, due to repeated usage of the steroids they had stolen. Since Hordy took so many he becomes so decrepited that just pulling at the bars broke his arms.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The royalty of Ryuugu kingdom are quite active. King Neptune isn't afraid to protect his people when the need arises. Queen Otohime stopped a thief by slapping him and was very active in promoting peace between humans and fishmen while making time to be a caring mother of four, a school teacher, and a rescue worker. The three princes are all Warrior Princes and are the strongest in the Neptune Army.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Jinbe gave blood to Luffy despite the laws of Fishmen Island forbidding him. He justifies his actions by simply stating that he's a pirate.
    • Considering Luffy just saved their home island, no one was complaining.
    • It was less about the laws and more about stigma. Fishmen had long associated tyranny and cruelty with humans and the act of sharing blood with humans was unspeakable, especially after they had falsely heard that humans refused to give blood to a dying Fisher Tiger. And despite having the opportunity, several fishmen didn't speak up about also having Luffy's blood type. Jinbe donating blood to Luffy was him telling his people that they didn't need to fear and hate humans anymore.
  • Shaming the Mob: Queen Otothime does this with one sentence to prevent the mob from killing a World Noble.
    Queen Otohime: The children are watching.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Koala went from looking like this to this during her time with the Sun Pirates.
  • Stepford Smiler: Because Koala was a slave, she was scared of being killed so she continually kept a smile on her face to keep her master(s) from doing so.
  • Take Me Instead: When Luffy learns that Big Mom will destroy the island if she doesn't get her sweets, he challenges her to attack him instead. She accepts, sparing Fishman Island.
  • Team Pet: Surume the Kraken becomes one to the Straw Hats.
  • Tears of Joy: Koala cries when Fisher Tiger changed her slave mark to a sun mark and assured her that no one would hurt her and it was all right to cry (especially after going through the World Nobles' abuse).
  • There Can Only Be One: After Hody starts talking about becoming King of the Pirates, Luffy takes out half of his gang effortlessly with a burst of Haki.
    Luffy: I don't care what kind of "King" you wanna be, or where you decide to be it... but there only needs to be one...King of the Pirates! Go on, bring a million people!! I'll take you all on!
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Fisher Tiger was the "tiger" to Queen Otohime's "dragon" when it came to their views on fishmen/merfolk-human relations. Fisher Tiger also actively opposed the Celestial Dragons.
  • Tomato Surprise: Shirahoshi is the weapon Poseidon.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Neptune is no looker, but Princess Shirahoshi is very lovely and huge.
  • We Will Meet Again: A heroic version is done when Jinbe reassures Luffy they will meet again and he will join his crew.
  • Wham Episode: The end of the arc drops a whole bombshell in rapid succession. In addition to the Tomato Surprise above, we learn that Akainu is the new Fleet Admiral after he and Aokiji fought over the title and he won, which resulted in Aokiji leaving the Marines. Furthermore, Blackbeard is now one of the Four Emperors, and stealing powers from other Devil Fruit users and giving them to his subordinates. And, of course, Luffy challenging Big Mom over Fishman Island territory.
    • Let's not forget Luffy inviting Jinbe to join the Straw Hats. True Jinbe turned him down for the time being, he makes it clear that he'll return to join in the future.
  • The Worf Effect: Hody Jones. The guy wants to go against the World Government and the Marines with a gigantic army and a pill-popping army. He's worse than Arlong, and seems like a legit threat. Then Zoro beat him. With one slash. Underwater. Meaning that Sanji could've beaten him if wanted to, and he's the third strongest member of the crew. It became evident that he only exists to show how much more powerful the crew is, when Luffy, who was underwater, can't swim, stuck in a bubble that limited his movement, and was attempting to prevent a Colony Drop on Fishman Island, still kicked ass while he (Hody) was in One-Winged Angel form.
    • Earlier, King Neptune and his Royal Army got this by the Straw Hats (accidentally) when they were suspected of kidnapping Shirahoshi, and later when the Three Princes of Ryuugu Kingdom: Mamboshi, Ryuboshi and Fukaboshi get trounced by the New Fishman Island officers after the latter use more Energy Steroids.
    • Caribou, one of the high-ranking rookie pirates introduced in the last arc, gets his ass literally kicked out of the Ryuugu Palace by Luffy when he tried to kidnap Shirahoshi, then beaten up by Sir Pekoms right after.