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Super Rookies Era
East Blue Saga
- The surprise visit of Dracule Mihawk, a much, much more powerful foe that gave readers an idea of how strong people are in this story. Also counts as a Growing the Beard moment.
- The moment Nami spies a wanted poster of Arlong, suddenly starts acting really troubled, and suddenly takes off with the Going Merry unannounced provides a Foreshadowing to the Arlong Park Arc.
- Luffy's first and second consecutive defeats by Crocodile. The only Straw Hat at that point in the story to be severely beaten was Zoro (by Mihawk), so naturally the main character being handed two defeats in a row out of nowhere (and by being impaled by an enormous hook hand and then dried out into a skin-sack, no less) was pretty surprising for the audience and the crew (This also marks the first in a long series of epic battles where Luffy pushes himself to the extreme for his friends; a trait that eventually nearly costs him his life hundreds of chapters later).
Water 7/Enies Lobby Saga
Davy Back Fight Arc
- The Straw Hats getting curb-stomped by Aokiji at Long Ring Long Land, even as they all teamed up against him, showed that there were characters vastly stronger than any of the main characters. This incident provoked Luffy into finding new ways to get stronger, now that he was aware of people like Aokiji.
- The lovable and helpful square-nosed carpenter, the hilarious and badass ventriloquist, the sexy secretary, and the kindly bar owner? Yeah, they're the villains, and part of the World Government's assasination/intelligence organization: Cipher Pol No. 9.
- And that's relatively tame compared to the other plot points: the Going Merry is revealed to be damaged beyond repair, Robin leaves the crew for then unknown reasons and supposedly betrays the crew, and Usopp, due to both his own fears of being too weak and Luffy's decision to get another ship, not only leaves the crew as well but also challenges Luffy for the ownership of the Going Merry. Holy shit. Long before Marineford, Water 7 was also a Wham Arc.
Thriller Bark Saga
Thriller Bark Arc
- Bartholomew Kuma arrives on the ship to aid Moria, dropping news that Blackbeard has been promoted to Shichibukai, as reward for CAPTURING ACE.
- The Call-Back to the Vivre Card Ace gave to the Straw Hats.
- The narrator notes that something is overseeing the Thriller Bark island, and implied to be the reason for the ships' disappearance in the Florian Triangle. And whatever they are, they don't seem to be good in the slightest.
Paramount War Saga
Sabaody Archipelago Arc
- The explosive end of the arc that led to the events of chapter 513. Quite possibly the greatest Wham in the entire series simply due to how it was delivered; After teleporting Zoro away in the last chapter, Kuma goes on to single-handedly deliver the entire crew their first true defeat (as a team) by teleporting every single last crewmate to several different locations across the globe. And mind you, this was literally right before they were about set sail for the New World. With NO hint by Oda AT ALL that any such thing was about to happen, this left the entire fanbase stunned as the next 88 chapters were focused solely on Luffy's adventures. Jaws were dropped, tears were shed.
- The anime extended the scene, added in a reverse Nakamania montage set to a violin solo version of Binks' Sake, and to increase the impact for the Anime only crowd followed the scene with an alternate universe filler arc so that you didn't find out what happened to everybody for another few weeks!
- Not to mention a display of Bartholomew Kuma's sheer power, first seen near the end of the Thriller Bark arc—his bounty is lower than Gekko Moriah's, whom Luffy had recently defeated, and Luffy had grown much stronger since fighting Aokiji, but Kuma curb-stomps all of the Straw Hats just as easily as Aokiji did before. This time, however, all of the crewmates saw each other vanishing into thin air, and the chapter ended with the declaration of the Straw Hat Pirates' eradication. It was painfully obvious the series was taking a different and darker direction at that very point.
- It should be noted, however, that in both cases where Kuma showed up to face them, the Straw Hats were completely exhausted, the first time from having barely defeated Moria, and the second time from having been faced with two extremely powerful robots, an admiral, and a Badass Normal, all of which were One-Man Armies. Kuma is powerful, sure, but it was never a fair fight.
- First of all, Ace being revealed as the son of the late Pirate King, Gold Roger.
- It really is a big one, considering that there was no indication that Gold Roger had a lover, let alone a child, due to Portgas D. Rouge extending her pregnancy with Ace for twenty months straight so the Marines or anyone will never know.
- Chapter 573. Admiral Akainu punches a hole through Ace's chest with a magma fist. The name of Chapter 574? "Portgas D. Ace Is Dead".
- Right after Ace dies, Whitebeard orders his men to take Luffy and escape while he makes his last stand against the Marines. After Akainu blows off half of Whitebeard's face, Blackbeard suddenly shows up with his crew and the most dangerous prisoners from Impel Down. After a brief one-sided fight in Whitebeard's favor, the rest of Blackbeard's crew retaliates with a joint attack, finally killing the old man. After which, Blackbeard does... something while hidden away from anyone else's view, he comes back and reveals that he's now taken Whitebeard's earthquake powers on top of his own darkness-based powers, something that's supposed to be impossible, and proclaims that the new era now belongs to HIM. One Piece might go from being a Crapsaccharine World to just a Crapsack World. Marineford is THE Wham ARC!
- Whitebeard's dying speech drops some major bombs regarding the Myth Arc. He confirms that One Piece is out there to the world and that finding it will cause a massive upheaval in the world. He also reflects on how the "wills" of Ace and Roger have been passed down for centuries and specifically excludes Teach from that group. In essence, he took the three main mysteries of the series (what One Piece is, what's the Will of D, and the Void history) and strongly implied they are all interlocked.
- Chapter 579 achieves a Crowning Moment of Awesome as the pathetic wimp Coby finally snaps under the pressure and shouts at the top of his lungs that all the fighting between the pirates and marines was pointless. This effectively causes ALL OF MARINEFORD to stop fighting to listen in. Coby shouts how continuing this fight no longer means anything. All the pirates and marines who have lost their lives in the senseless fighting would only look like complete idiots in the long run. The Marines had accomplished their goal of killing Ace, but now they insist on fighting off pirates who don't want to fight back, and just extending the battle beyond what it needs to be. He doesn't care if he gets punished by the Marines for his outburst, but he does it anyway. Unfortunately. the Marines insist on fighting further... Then Shanks shows up to put an end to this war.
New World Era
Fishman Island Saga
Fishman Island Arc
- Shirahoshi is the Ancient Weapon, Poseidon, as evidenced by her (unwitting) summoning of several Sea Kings.
- Aokiji and Akainu fought for 10 days over who would become the new fleet admiral, with Akainu being the victor. Worse, it's later made clear who really wanted the position- Akainu maimed Aokiji to the point he's now Covered in Scars and down a leg, replaced with a Devil Fruit power-generated prosthesis made of ice.
- Blackbeard has become one of the Four Emperors and is looking to hunt down powerful Devil Fruit users to take their abilities.
- And finally, Luffy has challenged Big Mom over ownership of Fishman Island, succeeding the deceased Whitebeard who previously held the territory.
Punk Hazard Arc
- Trafalgar Law is a Warlord.
- Said warlord is hell-bent on summoning the wrath of one of the Four Emperors - namely, Kaido, the most savage of them all, the new owner of the title "Strongest Man Alive" following Whitebeard's death, and ruthless to the point he even scares Doflamingo.
- Remember when Doflamingo claimed that he was only a Warlord for kicks and that he could quit any time he feels like it? Turns out the reason he's not scared of the consequences of this (facing the admirals) is because he's actually a former World Noble, and despite having had lost most of his privileges, he can still overrule the Marines if he wants to, which is how he pulled it off.
- Chapter 730: The Straw Hats already have their hands full with Doflamingo kidnapping Law after injuring him in the last chapter, but the Thousand Sunny group encounters one more problem: one of Big Mom's ships coming to get Caesar.
- Chapter 731: The Dressrosa whams before were big, but none of them top the next one: Sabo, Luffy's other "brother", is alive.
- Chapter 763: Trafalgar D. Water Law
- Chapter 764: After over a decade of knowing next to nothing about the enigmatic D., we finally get some information. While it seems that the truth and finer details have been lost to history, D. is rumored to be the antithesis to God, or put more plainly, the mortal enemies of the Celestial Dragons.
- Chapter 783: "Gear...Fourth!"
- Chapter 785: Doflamingo then promptly reveals the concept of "Awakened Devil Fruit Powers" via turning the buildings and ground around him into string. That is all.
- Chapter 793: Two big whams in this - Former admiral Aokiji/Kuzan, one of the most benevolent members of the Marines, was hinted in the last arc to be allied to an underworld figure. And now not only is that confirmed, but we know who it is: Blackbeard. Also, Kid's alliance is quite relieved that Law & Luffy are targeting Kaido, leaving them with no clear obstacles in pursuing their own target among the Yonko: Red-Haired Shanks.
- Chapter 795: Ladies and Gentlemen... Kaido.
- Many fans of One Piece love guessing who will be the next character to join the crew. Well, Chapter 799 does reveal that 5600 people are willing to join the Straw Hats. The hype surrounding the buildup of each crew and their leaders was palpable.
- Chapter 800: Luffy turns them down under the reasoning that he doesn't care about how great he is. Realizing that means they're free to do whatever the hell they want, ALL 5600 JOIN. Thus the birth of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet. The ability to predict what happens next in One Piece has just been torn asunder.
- Chapter 812: Sanji's last name "Vinsmoke" is finally revealed, and he's engaged to one of Big Mom's daughters, with their earlier-mentioned party being his wedding.
- Chapter 816: After all the devastation Jack brought to Mokomo Dukedom in search for a Samurai whom the Minks know nothing about... it's revealed that the Minks were harboring Raizou, and they were and are ready to die to the last Mink rather than rat out their friend.
- Chapter 818 is just a cluster bomb of whams regarding the Myth Arc:
- The red Poneglyph on Zou is called a Road Poneglyph, so named because the contents of it are a map, which reveals the location of Raftel. It's not the only Road Poneglyph, however; it's one of a set of four, and you need all of them to make any use of the information. So, where are the other three? One is lost, and the other two are in the possessions of Kaido and Big Mom.
- The Kozuki clan that Momonosuke belongs to are descendants of the stonemasons that CARVED the Poneglyphs. Momonosuke is now the last of them due to his family's massacre.
- Momonosuke can't read Poneglyphs because his father never got the chance to pass on the knowledge, due to being executed by the Shogun of Wano and Kaido. Why did they do that? Because they wanted information he had on Raftel, since he SAILED WITH GOL D. ROGER!
- And Oda goes all of one chapter before making another whammy with Chapter 820. Let's see...
- Dogstorm and Cat Viper sailed with Oden and Roger, and all three of them also sailed with Whitebeard.
- Halfway into the timeskip, the remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates fought against the Blackbeard Pirates, lost horribly, and the captains vanished. We find that out because Cat Viper and Dogstorm are looking for Marco to join their alliance.
- Finally, just as Jack begins attacking Zunisha, Luffy hears a voice he can't identify.
- Chapter 821 is much less whammy, but still enough for this: Momonosuke can hear the Voice of All Things, Zunisha is fully sentient and destroyed Jack's fleet with one swipe of his trunk, and Apoo is Kaido's subordinate.
- Chapter 823: The final page - Baltigo has been destroyed.
- Though it was hinted at, chapter 835 finally confirmed that Lola is one of Big Mom's daughters, and that she had an older, identical twin sister, Chiffon, whom Sanji met aboard the Firetank Pirates' ship.
- Chapter 840: All five Vinsmoke children were artificially enhanced using gene manipulation technology discovered by Vegapunk and Judge years ago, and perfected by the later in the years that follow his escape from the World Government.
- Chapter 850: Pudding is evil and has been playing everyone, including the Straw Hats, for fools. This is accompanied by a Wham Shot of Pudding's creepy, three-eyed face as she laughs at her own cruelty.
- Chapter 852: A rather tearjerking wham that concerns Sanji, who along his brothers were not only artificially enhanced, they had their ability to feel and understand positive emotions such as love and compassion surgically removed by Judge in utero, against the wishes of their kindhearted mother, Sora. Sora sacrificed herself to save her sons by consuming a drug that completely undid Lineage Factor experiments, but only managed to save Sanji. Judge's experiments were also the reason why Sanji's brothers acted like utterly cruel assholes towards everyone around them all their lives.
- Chapter 863: Pudding's two-faced behavior was the result of physical and psychological childhood bullying for being three-eyed, which caused the still young girl to snap and become a broken, deceitful, and murderous psychopath who believes that all she would ever be is a "monster".
- Chapter 865: After over 17 years of being hyped up, we finally see one of the most anticipated locations in One Piece—Elbaf, land of the giants!
- Chapter 867: Three major whams, two of which concern Carmel.
- First, She was the previous owner of Big Mom's Soul-Soul Fruit.
- Second, her motherly personality? All an act. In reality, she's actually an Underworld broker, who sells her orphans to the government!
- And third, the possibly that Big Mom inheriting the Soul-Soul Fruit by eating Carmel by accident along with the kids in present of her 6th birthday! Likely confirming another way to inherit a DF is to EAT the user of that DF.
- Chapter 868: With everything going according to plan, it looks like Big Mom's assassination is in the bag. However, Big Mom's scream is so powerful, it manages to destroy Caeser's KX Launchers. Not only that, but it also destroyed Luffy and his allies' only means of escape. To top it all off, Katakuri had used his Devil Fruit powers to create earplugs for his fellow family members, allowing them to gang up on the allies. What does this mean? Not only did the entire assassination plan of Big Mom fail, but the entire alliance are surrounded by Mama's crew, and have NOWHERE TO RUN!
- Chapter 883: Charlotte Katakuri has proven to be THE strongest opponent Luffy has faced, with a bounty surpassing Jack's and an Awakened Devil Fruit. After he believes to have defeated Luffy, Katakuri heads to his shrine to enjoy his delayed snack time. Having none of this, Luffy destroys Katakuri's shrine... and we see the Sweet 3 General without his scarf, revealing a mouth full of FANGS as he lays down (debunking Brúlee's praise of him earlier), gluttonously pigging out on some donuts. Basically, this is a wham episode solely because of Katakuri's true nature outside of battle.
- Chapter 900. The Straw Hats look ready to depart from Big Mom's territory with the unexpected arrival of the Sun Pirates carving a path for their escape and the Germa fleet seeking revenge against Big Mom's children. However, things begin to fall apart once Oven uses his ability to boil the sea and defeat the Sun Pirates, followed by the Germa 66 children getting Gatling gunned by candy-jacketed bullets designed specifically against them, and Judge looking overwhelmed by two silhouetted combatants of Big Mom. And for the coup de grace? The Thousand Sunny, with Luffy, Sanji, Nami, Chopper, Brook, Carrot & Jimbei on board without room to escape, appearing to get blown up by cannon fire from Big Mom's singing ship, last mentioned in story since Chapter 807. With the chapter's final panel showing the Straw Hat's Jolly Roger flag floating in the sea in tatters. Hoo Boy.
- Chapter 903: For Luffy's role in the assasination attempt on Big Mom, defeating two of her Sweet Commanders: Charlotte Cracker and Katakuri (who have bounties of 860 million and 1.057 billion Berries respectively), allying with Germa 66, the Sun Pirates, and the Fire Tank Pirates, destroying Big Mom's castle, making out of her territory alive, and as the head of the Straw Hats Grand Fleet, Luffy was given a 1.5 BILLION Berry bounty and was labeled as an unofficial Fifth Emperor.