As they keep an eye out for any island, the Going Merry is accosted by the Wapol Pirates, run by a stout man named Wapol who's Munch Munch Fruit (Baku Baku no Mi) power allows him to eat anything. Wapol demands the Eternal Pose to a place called Drum Island, and when the Straw Hats can't comply, he starts eating the ship itself. The attackers are quickly repeled when Luffy sends Wapol flying, but Vivi seems to recognize Wapol from somewhere...
The ship soon finds land- the very Drum Island that Wapol was looking for. A winter island with giant cylinder-shaped mountains, they run into trouble arriving from the locals, who naturally aren't ready for pirates. When Vivi gives Luffy a lesson in humility, the de-facto leader, Dalton, allows the Straw Hats to land. After taking them to a village, he drops some backstory- Drum Island has no doctors, save one. That one doctor is an old woman named Kureha, who lives at the top of Drum Mountain and only comes down whenever she wants to. How she gets from the top of the mountain and back is a mystery, but there are rumors that she has a strange creature at her service. With Nami's condition critical, Luffy decides to take his navigator to the doctor herself, with Sanji along for protection.
As the trio leave, Dalton decides to lay down more backstory; Drum used to have plenty of doctors, but that all changed when the island was attacked by a crew called the Blackbeard Pirates. Though only five in number, the king Wapol was so scared of their immense power that instead of fighting, he took his army, his cabinet, all of the doctors, and fled the island. Wapol!? Vivi is outraged that a king would adandon his own people, but Dalton admits that his leaving was for the better. Dalton then notices that Vivi seems familiar herself, but then a village tells them that Kureha was spotted in another village some distance away. Ussop and Vivi race off hoping to catch the doctor, but Dalton learns something worse- Wapol has returned!
Up near the mountain's foot, Luffy and Sanji run into trouble with the Lapahns, rabbits that happen to have the size and temperament of bears! With the sick Nami on his back, Luffy can't fight without worsening her condition, forcing the pair into retreating. Down below, Dalton confronts Wapol and rants on Wapol's cruel policies; Wapol chased off or killed every doctor that wasn't under his direct employ, so if someone got sick, they had to go to Wapol and beg for his aid. Dalton uses his Ox-Ox Fruit: Bison Model powers on Wapol's men, but Chess, one of Wapol's Co-Dragons, turns his bow on the villagers, forcing Dalton to take the bullet. Just as things look bad, the Lapahns start a huge avalanche, burying almost everyone in the snow!
Everyone manages to survive, but Sanji is severely injured and Luffy is forced to carry him as well, but not before pulling a buried Lapahn out first. Down below, Wapol learns that Luffy is heading towards his castle on Drum Mountain, takes his Dragons Chess and Kuromarimo, and rides after the pirate. Rather than risk both Nami and Sanji, Luffy retreats, and is saved when the Lapahns come to face Wapol. He soon scales Drum Mountain, an all-vertical climb, and, frost-bitten with nearly broken fingers, manages to reach the top where they found by a giant creature.
When Nami comes to, she finds herself in a castle and eventually greeted by said creature, though only small now, who calls himself Chopper. It's then his mentor, a elderly woman named Kureha, shows up and explains that Nami had contracted a virus from a mosquito on Little Garden and was lucky that they got her to them in time before the illness had progressed. As they talk, Luffy and Sanji finally awake and end up freaking out Chopper (Luffy for wanting him to be in his crew and Sanji trying to cook him) causing a chase around the castle. While that goes on Kureha goes into Chopper's backstory to Nami.
In the past, Wapol had imposed a law that forced all doctors to work under him with the people of the island having to beg him if they wanted any treatment. Only two weren't under his control, Kureha and a man named Hiriluk. However Hiriluk's treatments were unorthodox and did more harm then help. One day while coming from the village, he had ran into a creature who was bleeding profusely. He tried to help it but the creature kept batting him away. It was only when Hiriluk stripped naked in front of it to show that he meant no harm that he gained the creature's trust.
Hirilk took the creature in and discovered his shape-shifting powers and ability to speak. Dubbing him Tony Tony Chopper (due to claiming his antlers could "chop down trees"), the two form a friendship and bond through their escapades to help the village. After a year however, Hiriluk suddenly kicked out Chopper without warning much to the reindeer's confusion. It was soon revealed that Hiriluk had a terminal disease and was slowly dying. His kicking out Chopper was just to prevent him from seeing him slowly die. Upon learning this Chopper scanned the medical books in the hopes for any cure he could find. He stumbled upon a mushroom with a skull and crossbones on it and, from what Hiriluk had told him, was the symbol of a pirate pride. Hoping it could cure his friend, Chopper set out to find the mushroom, encountering tough weather as well as his old herd who had kicked him out when he had eaten the Human Human Fruit (and even then had shunned him because he had a blue nose when he was a regular reindeer). Eventually he found the mushroom at cost of being battered and having one of his horns broken.
Hiruluk was more then grateful for it and took the medicine Chopper had made from the plant. Not long after, the experiment Hiruluk was working on finally worked as intended and news suddenly came about that the doctors of the kingdom were sick, thus Hiruluk had set out to aid them. However in reality the medicine Chopper had given Hiruluk was poison with Chopper not knowing that. But the good doctor took it anyway since he was already dying and to honor Chopper's efforts. After visiting Kureha and asking some last requests. Hiruluk went to the castle only to find out it was a trap by Wapol to kill him. Hiruluk figured as much but just wanted to confirm that the doctors were alright.
Kureha, curious of Hiruluk's odd behavior, visits his hideout and finds Chopper there. When he explains he "cured" Hiruluk, Kureha revealed the truth to him. Horrified of his actions, Chopper dashed to the castle to save his friend and father figure. Just as he headed up to the castle, Hiruluk was already consigned to his fate. But before giving a speech how a person never truly dies unless they're completely forgotten and vows his legacy will live on. After giving a toast to his life and thanking Chopper, he commits suicide by drinking an explosive elixir. Chopper arrives not long after the explosion and, in grief and rage, nearly attacked Wapol who had laughed at Hiruluk's death. Dalton had stopped him however and calmed him down enough to get him to leave before turning on Wapol and trying to attack him, only to fail and be thrown in the dungeon for his actions. Meanwhile Kureha honors Hiruluk's requests and takes in Chopper to teach him how to be a true doctor.
Drum Island Arc has the following tropes:
- Adipose Rex: Wapol, until he uses his ability on himself.
- A Load of Bull: Dalton's Devil Fruit turns him into a bison.
- Androcles' Lion: While carrying an unconscious Sanji and Nami up the mountain, Luffy sees a Lapahn trapped under the snow, with its baby crying over it, and pulls it out to safety. Later, when Wapol and his men attack Luffy, several Lapahn attack them—stopping Chess and Kuromarimo from killing Nami and Sanji—to return the favor to Luffy.
- Animal Motifs: The hippo for Wapol. He rides on a walking hippo, and he even mispronounces "idiot" in the original Japanese version for "hippo" instead (he says "kaba" and instead of "Baka"). Seeing as he's a jerk, he does this a lot.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Chopper, pre and post Devil Fruit. Points, of course, for being a real reindeer. Double points for the original reason pre-Devil Fruit being his differently colored nose, just like the Trope Namer.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Wapol. He's essentially the first case of an evil royalty in the series, selffish, arrogant and just using his power to lord over his subjects. You know it's bad when the people of the island were actually grateful for Blackbeard's attack since it drove Wapol away from the island.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Dalton finds out the hard way that Wapol isn't someone to mess with. Kureha explicitly states that if Wapol's cabinet was easy to get rid of, the people of Drum would have revolted years ago.
- Batman Gambit: Wapol, of all people, pulled this one in the Flashback, getting one of the two doctor outlaws, Doctor Hiruluk to his castle to save the 20 MDs, only for him to reveal they weren't sick in the first place, and it was a ruse to draw him out and finally execute him. Worse, he was told by Doctor Kureha that it was a trap, and it's implied he might've understood her warnings in some sense, but went anyway.
- Bears Are Bad News: Let's just say the Lapahn are definitely more bear than rabbit. Ironically averted with the one actual bear we see, a quasi-Civilized Animal that isn't interested in anything besides hiking (though Oda notes in an aside that not bowing respectfully to it will cause it to force you into seiza for an hour).
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The Lapahn help out Luffy against Wapol and his henchmen after Luffy helps dig one out of the snow.
- Berserk Button: Oh, all over the place in this arc:
- Calling Kureha old. Luffy and Sanji found this out the hard way.
- Calling Wapol an idiot, especially when you're his subordinate, quickly takes that goofy smile off his face, and turns it into pure rage...
- Chasing Chopper around to try to eat him, will eventually get him to transform into Heavy Point and earn a punch to the head.
- Chasing Chopper is also known to piss Kureha off even more if you don't know him, so she chases you with medical knives.
- Trying to shoot down a pirate flag off anywhere, even a castle would get Luffy to kick your ass.
- Laughing at your father figure's death, or insulting his memory in any way, is this for Chopper for obvious reasons.
- Showing a blatant disregard for the country you're supposed to be ruling leading to a man taking his life to save it was the last straw for Dalton.
- Ruining Nami's jacket, or really anything of hers, pissed her off to no end.
- Beware the Silly Ones: All of Wapol's crew. Wapol's "Factory House" isn't something to sneeze at either — he easily defeated Dalton using it.
- Big Bad: Wapol.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Zigged-Zagged, against moderately tough forces (Dalton or the Laphan) yes he's an actual threat. But against someone who far exceeds his power (Blackbeard and Luffy) Wapol's an utter cakewalk.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Luffy does this when Chopper meekly tries to explain why he can't come with him.
- Bowdlerize: In the manga, Dalton straight-up decapitates Wapol during their brief (present-day) fight. The anime changes this to a simpler slash across the chest; in both versions the 20 MDs fix Wapol up immediately after, but the former makes Wapol appear more of an idiot than usual.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Not so much save, but Hiriluk does this to Chopper as he doesn't want him to see him die.
- Chekhov's Gun: This is when the Reverie is first referenced, an event that becomes incredibly important much later on.
- Chekhov's Gunman: A couple of villagers mentions some guy called Ace passed by and wanted to let Luffy know to meet him in Alabasta. Once there, he's later revealed to be his big brother.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Luffy vs Wapol. Wapol doesn't even score a hit on him.
- Zoro vs. all of Wapol's nameless Mook soldiers. He defeats them all in less than 30 seconds.
- Dead Hat Shot: After Hiriluk blows himself up, the only thing left of him is his hat floating in the wind, which Chopper sees as he races up to Wapol's castle.
- Dirty Coward: Wapol only became a pirate when he and his men fled in fear of the Blackbeard Pirates passing through.
- Dr. Jerk/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kureha who, while coming off as crotchety, does do her duties as a doctor (albeit at an extravagant price) and even honors Hiruluk's last requests.
- Dramatic Irony: Dalton was planning to use a Suicide Attack on Wapol as he and the others rode the tram up to the mountain, unaware that at the moment, Luffy was already pounding the stuffing out of him.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Reverie (an event where the Nobles of the world gather together) occurs every four years, Funimation mistakenly changes it to every year.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Ace appears in a flashback after the Straw Hats have departed the Drum/Sakura Kingdom, with Dalton mentioning to Dr. Kureha that he appeared in one of their towns a while before asking about a kid in a bounty poster.
- Eat the Dog: Poor Chopper. Luffy and Sanji initially treat him as a potential meal.
- Expy: Sing it with me: Chopper the Blue-nosed Reindeer...
- Extreme Omnivore: Part of Wapol's powers which allow him to eat anything.
- Fantastic Drug: The Rumble Ball for Chopper. It's stated to interfere with the frequency of his transformations (which he calls Points) to give him four additional forms in battle, giving him seven forms in total. It takes six hours for them to wear off. Though there a bit of information he withholding that will come up later in the series.
- Fingore: In the anime, at least, there's a downright cringeworthy scene where Luffy's grip on the Drum Rockies slips, and he slides a good twenty or thirty feet down while his bared fingers and toes leave bloody red traces in the rock.
- Flashback: One occurs to explore Dalton's and Chopper's backstory, six years before the main storyline.
- Flower Motifs: Cherry blossom for the arc. As cherry blossoms are impossible to grow in a winter island like Drum Island, Hiruluk would begin his research on using them to "heal the country" and create a miracle, just as when he was miraculously healed in his home island where they're abundant. When Kureha gives Chopper one last going away present, she uses the fruit of Hiruluk's research to make cherry blossoms in a large part of the frozen forest, provoking tears from Chopper and symbolising a country whose heart was frozen and sick is now warm and healed. Chopper would continue to have this motif, and the Drum Kingdom was even changed to Sakura Kingdom.
- Foreshadowing: Wapol fled from his country when his army was defeated by the Blackbeard Pirates, who the Straw Hats would encounter (unknowingly) in the Jaya Arc.
- Vivi mentions the situation in her country is getting even worse, when she reads 700,000 people have joined the rebellion and 300,000 Royal Guards are expected to defend it. She fears that the civil war is unpreventable, and while Nami reassures her, Luffy only focuses on beating the one responsible. In a way, the next arc shows Vivi and Luffy were both right.
- Wapol mentions that Luffy's going to get the attention of the World Government, if he tries anything like knocking him out of the country. In the next arc, he does, though it's by defeating another sort of "government-sponsored pirate who wants to be king".
- When Ace's appearance is mentioned, Dalton says it didn't snow that day, an extremely odd occurrence. That's because Ace ate the Mera Mera no Mi Devil Fruit.
- Funny Afro: Kuromarimo. He even throws them at the people he fights.
- Fur and Loathing: Wapol is a rare male example; the "White Walky" cloak that he wears is actually made out of the skinned brother of his pet (and mount) Robson.
- Fusion Dance: Wapol invokes this to Chess and Kuromarimo by eating them via his "Wapol Factory", creating Chessmarimo. Later subverted when it turns out one's on top of the other and their clothes just fused.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Played for Laughs when Vivi, desperate to keep Usopp from succumbing to the cold, smacks his face until it ends up heavily swollen.
- Gonk: Wapol, Chess, and eventually Chessmarimo. Kureha is more of a Butter Face.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hiruluk, both after consuming Chopper's "cure" and killing himself, both for Chopper's sake and for the kingdom's.
- Less lethal, but no less heroic - Sanji hurls Luffy (and the invalid Nami) out of the avalanche's way, taking the brunt of it himself. This dislocates his spine, rendering him useless in combat for the rest of the arc.
- Hair-Raising Hare: Good lord, the Lapahn - the adults are roughly twice the size of a grown man, even the cubs have More Teeth than the Osmond Family, and they all have flat red eyes.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Wapol's power was practically made for this, and he tries it on several characters, but never succeeds (except for his two henchmen, who weren't digested but instead "fused" into Kuromarimo, and himself).
- Ill Girl:
- Nami is this for the majority of the arc.
- In the flashback, Hiruluk is an "Ill Guy" despite his claim that seeing cherry blossoms cured him (though he meant in a metaphorical sense in that it inspired him to give up the life of being a thief and help others).
- Ironic Echo: Chopper went most of his life hearing people call him a monster for his Devil Fruit power, even Luffy and Sanji get in on it when they find out he can talk and transform (though that one was entirely complimentary). So when Luffy begins his fight with Wapol, we get to hear this exchange between Chopper and Sanji:Chopper: Did his arm just stretch?Sanji: Yep. He's a rubber man.Chopper: A "rubber man"? What's that?
- When Luffy sees what Chopper can do with his Devil Fruit and the Rumble Ball, he has one of his geek-out moments: "SEVEN-FORM TRANSFORMING INTERESTING REINDEER!" Later, while they're sailing away, when Nami asks Luffy why he invited Chopper to the crew when he had no clue Chopper was a doctor, he repeats that exact line, but utterly deadpan.
- Kick the Dog: Wapol's such an asshole he spent all of Hiruluk's Obi-Wan Moment and after the Heroic Sacrifice laughing his ass off at him. He even laughs at Dalton for having a shred of empathy and caring about the country!
- Killer Rabbit: Not the Lapahn (except in the most literal sense), though Chopper somewhat counts.
- The Lancer: With Zoro and Usopp Out of Focus and Nami as the Ill Girl for this arc, Vivi and Sanji alternate as Luffy's more logical second in command at varying parts of the arc before they all convene for the final battle against Wapol at the the top of the mountains.
- Lean and Mean: Part of Wapol's powers, which allow him to eat himself and reconfigure his body to a much slimmer form.
- Mama Bear: Kureha, though she'd hardly admit it. She did chase Luffy and Sanji around with knives and throw them at the two, when they were a little more enthusiastic about getting Chopper to join the crew. Though, she did the same thing to Chopper to force him to pursue his dream.
- Manchild: Wapol isn't insane, just an asshole. But he is definitely this. He thinks of nothing but his own pleasure, and showed little concern about possible threats to his kingdom. And when he was called out for it, he took it out a small child (a then 10 year old Vivi) who acted more mature than him. Dalton never let this go past his attention, and it sowed the seeds for his HeelFace Turn.
- Martial Pacifist: Chopper, initially.
- Megaton Punch: What Luffy does to Wapol to end the fight.
- Mood Whiplash:
- When Luffy and Sanji realize that Chopper can talk, become huge, and walk on two legs, they call him a monster. Chopper, overhearing them, becomes saddened that someone else sees him as a horrible monster and walks off. The second he's out of earshot, however, Luffy proclaims how cool Chopper is and wants him in the crew.
- In Chopper's backstory, Dr. Hiluk's potions' exploding was Played for Laughs, only leaving him and Chopper worse for ware...until he uses it to perform a Heroic Sacrifice so as to not to die from his illness, the poisoned mushroom, or Wapol's firing squad.
- Ms. Exposition: At the end of the arc (episode 91 in the anime), Vivi explains the power structure of Baroque Works. It's framed as the crew getting Chopper up to speed.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Everytime Dalton tries to stand up against Wapol. While his Bison Model Fruit power allow him to trash Wapol's soldiers, Chess shoots the villagers knowing Dalton will act as a Human Shield, getting taken down. In the flashback, on the heels of Hiriluk's Obi-Wan Moment, Dalton declares that there's no cure for idiots and charges Wapol. The next we see of him is in Wapol's dungeon, wounded.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: A very tragic case in Chopper's flashback, when he sets off to get a supposed mushroom that might cure Hiruluk who, at best, had a few weeks to live. The mushroom turned out to be poisonous and only sped up his death. But he knew it anyway and took it to honor Chopper's efforts.
- Death by Irony: Zig-zagged — had he not told Chopper about the "awesome" symbol of the skull & crossbones, waxing on about how it signifies the freedom of a pirate, instead of telling him him it actually means certain death, Chopper wouldn't have gave him the mushroom to him in the first place. Though, he honored Chopper's efforts by eating it, then (possibly on purpose) walking into a trap for an execution by sniper fire, and lastly by blowing himself up with the medicine he kept working on.
- Obi-Wan Moment:Hiruluk: No, your bullets cannot kill me...How does a man die? When he gets shot? No. When he receives an incurable disease? No. When he eats a poisoned mushroom? No! A man dies when he is forgotten.
- Off with His Head!: In the manga, Dalton does this to Wapol. However, the 20 MDs' medical skills are so good that they attach it back on without it killing him!
- Oh, Crap!: Wapol's reaction to Dalton severely injuring him, and cutting his head off (in the anime, he merely slashes him across the chest). At least until the doctors fix him up.
- Wapol is about to go all out on Luffy by eating his entire artillery...except he can't find the key to it. Turns out Nami took it. While he's chasing Nami around, Luffy suddenly finds him again, and picks up where they left off.
- Luffy when he realises Nami's better and has noticed what he did to her winter jacket. She's not pleased.
- One-Winged Angel: Inverted. Wapol eats himself to make him leaner and faster.
- Chopper plays it straight with his Heavy Point, and the rest of his Rumble Ball transformations (Guard Point, Jumping Point, Arm Point and Horn Point), though Brain Point is the form he's usually in, and Walk Point is the closest to his natural reindeer form.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Zigzagged. When Chopper overheard Luffy and Sanji's conversation, they did indeed call him 'a monster'. However, he walked away before finding out that Luffy meant that in an awesome way.
- Out of Focus: This time, it's Zoro and Usopp's turn to sit the main story out. Even Vivi isn't particularly vital to the story after she's smoothed things over with Drum's locals.
- Plot Detour: Sort of. The Straw Hats take a brief reprieve from fighting Baroque Works.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Chopper.
- Running Gag: in the manga, Luffy doesn't realize that it's cold.Luffy: Oh, cool *insert thing here*Other Person: What are you doing? It's cold out here.Luffy: IT'S COLD!Other Person: YOU JUST NOTICED?!?
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Luffy and Sanji's banter on the way to Dr. Kureha's - their first one-on-one interaction since Sanji's debut - pretty much amounts to this, with heavy doses of Insane Troll Logic to boot.Luffy: Did you know? People in snow countries don't sleep!Sanji: Then why was there a bed in Dalton's house?Luffy: Hmm... that must be his deathbed!
- Sherlock Scan: Chopper can do this in Brain Point by eating a Rumble Ball. It barely comes up for the rest of the series.
- Awesome, but Impractical: While useful, Chopper must stay still while performing this technique. As shown later, it's a suicide against faster opponents.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Wapol saw how powerful the Blackbeard Pirates were, he took his army and cabinet and fled Drum Island. The people didn't mind, because Wapol was such a horrible ruler that some saw Blackbeard's attack as a mixed blessing. This enables Dalton to de facto take charge, and after Luffy defeats Wapol, he takes the throne de jure.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The medicines Hiruluk tries to develop, for people and the country itself. They tend up to blow up in his and Chopper's face. Played for Laughs...until he uses one of them to commit suicide.
- Sudden Principled Stand: Dalton makes one after Hiruluk's death, declaring Wapol to be a terrible and foolish leader who's ruining the country. However, all that does is get his ass kicked and imprison him for such insubordination.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: With Nami out of commission for the arc, Vivi takes it upon herself to act as the crew's de facto navigator, helping to plot a course to Drum Island and acting as the rational Only Sane Woman to the rest of the crew.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Dr. Kureha takes the key to the armory from Nami, she pretends like she still has to say, but also tells her where to find warm clothing, and that Sanji is well enough to travel now.
- Tears of Joy: Hiruluk doesn't mind being an Unwitting Pawn for Wapol...because it means the 20 MDs were never in danger and the country may still have a chance.
- Thanatos Gambit: Hiriluk may have flipped Wapol's Batman Gambit, knowingly walking into his trap, then committing suicide. Sure enough, when the 20 MDs did their HeelFace Turn, they said they were inspired by Hiriluk.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nami takes it nonchalantly when Luffy tells her there's a fight going outside before going back to sleep.
- Villainous Breakdown: Wapol begs for his life when it becomes obvious that Luffy's the better fighter, even offering to make Luffy a second king.
- We Can Rule Together: Wapol before being blasted away promises to make Luffy a "vice-king" if he stops, but Luffy's having none of it.
- Wham Line: From Dr. Kureha to Dalton at arc's end:"Monkey D. Luffy? Just like Gol D. Roger. So it still lives...the Will of D. Chopper is traveling with a very dangerous man."
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Vivi is shot in the arm as the crew prepares to enter Drum, Luffy gets mad and prepares to rip them a new one. However, Vivi chastizes Luffy for trying to recklessly start a fight when Nami is deathly ill, and enters a Pose of Supplication to beg the Drum citizens to let them see a doctor. Luffy promptly apologizes and follows suit.