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Recap / One Piece Enies Lobby Arc

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Having found out Robin has been captured along with Franky and both are being taken to Enies Lobby (an impenetrable fortress of the World Government where criminals are convicted), the remaining Straw Hats head off to reclaim her before she's taken to Impel Down and lost forever. But to do so must make their way past a whole island of Marines and even then must contend with their strongest force, the secret police, CP9.

The Enies Lobby Arc has the following tropes:

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  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Invoked Trope: After the awful-reality of Luffy being capable of single-handedly defeating 1800 of his men dawns upon him, Spandam orders Kalifa and Kaku to consume Devil Fruits on the spot to give them an edge against the Straw Hats.
  • Acrofatic: Fukurou.
  • Act of True Love:
    • The Straw Hats making themselves enemies of the entire world by declaring war on the World Government, just to prove to Robin that they'd never abandon her.
    • The Going Merry, already damaged beyond repair, sails itself through a massive storm all the way from Water 7 to Enies Lobby to rescue the crew at the last minute and escape from the Marines. The Merry manages to hold itself together with some patchwork repairs and sheer force of will; once the crew are safe, she finally succumbs to the accumulated damage and breaks in half.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: Lucci's backstory, briefly mentioned in the manga is given an entire episode in the anime recounting his first mission for the World Government.
  • All for Nothing: The CP9 spent five years infiltrating Water-7 to find Pluton's Blueprints. Spandam spent eight years seeking them, going as far as to frame the world's greatest shipwright for terrorism for a chance. Franky burns the blueprints right in front of their faces as an act of spite and rebellion.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Robin was frequently ridiculed for her Devil Fruit powers. What made this worse was when she used them in self defense against the kids who would tease her (without provocation). The kids would lie to their parents that she attacked them first, prompting them to lecture Robin.
  • Badass Boast: Here's one that doubles as I Like Those Odds:
    Marine Soldier: Hey, Straw Hat Luffy? Enies Lobby's forces number at the ten thousands.
    Luffy: Yeah, and I'm alone. Get out of my way!
    • Usopp makes one for the Going Merry:
    Usopp: This is the ship that survived a 10,000 meter fall. Don't underestimate her!
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  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: CP9 makes a game out of rescuing Robin by having keys on them, one of which is the key to her cuffs. To get it, each of the crew must beat each of them and secure a key. This was more or less meant as a distraction so Spandam can take Robin to the Gates of Justice. But each agent is defeated in the end.
  • Berserk Button: The entire arc is the Straw Hat Pirates showing CP9 and by extension, the World Government, just how they feel about taking one of their own from them.
    • Talking trash about Robin during a fight against Zoro? Not wise.
    • The Giants, Oimo and Kashii when they find out they've been lied to by the Marines for fifty years about Dorry and Brogy.
    • Kaku does not like being mocked about his new giraffe form.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Jabra. Despite being superstitious and silly, he's the only one willing to just take out his target as soon as they confront him.
    • Kaku in his giraffe form.
    • Also, Kumadori.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Chopper saving Nami from Kumadori.
    • Sanji saving Usopp/Sogeking from Jabra.
    • The Going Merry—yes, the ship—coming to save the crew in the climax.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Lucci and Spandam share the Big Bad role this time out.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Straw Hats succeed in rescuing Robin and manage to get away with the help of a returning Merry. However not long after they do, Merry's keel finally gives out and then, she breaks apart. To which the Straw Hats tearfully decide it's time to part with her, though not at least before sending her off gracefully.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Robin's reason for leaving the crew, as she doesn't wish to see the crew get attacked by the Buster Call, having seen it in action first hand. The crew respond by declaring war against the World Government.
  • Broken Bird: Robin had it rough even before the Ohara incident due to her parents leaving her with her uncle, who had a very abusive wife who would often ridicule Robin. The only solace Robin had was the band of archaeologists at Tree of Knowledge who looked after her. But then the island was attacked and things went downhill from there.
  • Burning the Flag: When the World Goverment's flag is boasted before Luffy as a symbol of their might and authority over people despite their ruthlessness and corruption, Luffy orders Sogeking to set it ablaze — which he does without hesitation. With this, the Strawhats prove to Robin that they'll protect her no matter the odds.
  • Call-Back:
    • One to the Little Garden Arc, when Oimo and Kashii reveal that they were in Dorry and Brogy's crew, and only work for the Marines because they tricked them into believing they've been captured. Once they find out the truth from Usopp, though...
    • And just like Nami, Robin was willing to leave her crewmates behind.
    • Back in Drum Island, Luffy protected Dr. Hiriluk's flag from Wapol, who is somebody affiliated with the World Goverment. Luffy argued that any respectable pirate's flag is an invaluable symbol of their conviction. In this arc he famously declares war on the Goverment by burning their flag in contempt of what it represents.
  • Chained Heat: Usopp and Zoro find themselves in this situation during their fight against two of the CP9 agents.
  • The Comically Serious: Kaku—which makes his fight against the Straw Hats' resident Comically Serious member, Zoro, that much more entertaining.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: See Badass Boast. Let's just say they should've listened to Luffy. Later, the Marine warship for the Buster Call arrive and the crew is forced to fight hundreds of them, with dozens being at least of the rank of Captain. Despite Smoker having that rank in their previous encounters, the Straw Hats easily win.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Kumadori and Fukuro. The former was still able to successfully tank Chopper's Kokutsei Roseo Mete". The latter gave Franky a hard time, if only because Franky was running out of cola.
  • Cry Cute: Good grief; Robin in tears is so adorable you'd want to hug and protect her, and makes you completely forget she was the right-hand lady of one of the most vicious mass-murderers in the Grand Line.
  • Cue the Sun: Though in this case, it's because Enies Lobby is in a spot of the ocean where the sun always shines down on it. It's portrayed as a good thing as it means the Straw Hats are getting closer to Robin.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Luffy vs Blueno, in one the most standout examples of the series. The fight starts even, but Blueno becomes a glorified punching bag when Luffy activates Gear Second.
    • Sanji vs Kalifa as the former won't hit a girl, even an enemy, forcing Nami to take his place.
    • Franky vs Spandam, Franky crushes the little creep with his own sword/pet. After all the crap he put Robin, the Straw Hats, and him through, Spandam deserved it.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Nami once again ultimately goes up against the sole female opponent in the arc.
    • Partially subverted. She may have ended up with Kalifa, but she started out fighting Kumadori before several people switched opponents.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Luffy ordering Usopp to shoot down the World Government flag, essentially declaring war on the entire world.
  • Doomed Hometown: Ohara in Robin's flashback.
  • Dramatic Irony: For the first half of the arc, Spandam was under the impression that the Straw Hats were wiped out hours ago without making it past the gate. When he received an emergency report, he assumed it was details on their deaths and proceeded to smugly rub it in Robin's face before answering. His reaction when he finds out in truth that the Straw Hats have reached the courthouse and that Enies Lobby is in a state of emergency is most gratifying.
  • Elite Mooks: The Just Eleven Jurymen.
  • Epic Fail: Spandam attempts to communicate with his comrades on his Den Den Mushi. It turns out that he's actually used the Golden Den Den Mushi, which starts the Buster Call (he doesn't even know that it's on until Robin tells him so).
  • Equippable Ally/Living Weapon: We find out Spandam has a living sword that doubles as an elephant (Devil Fruit related, you see). Also, Zoro uses Usopp as a sword when they get chained together.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Akainu makes his first appearance in Robin's flashback. His first action is to blow up the ship that carried the civilians from Ohara, because of the risk that a scholar might have snuck on board.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Lucci was perfectly willing to massacre anyone the World Government branded an enemy, and his version of solving a hostage situation was to kill the hostages. But he was outright disgusted with Spandam beating up a restrained and defenseless Robin.
    • Even Spandine, who's a complete jackass like his son, is horrified when Akainu destroys the ship full of Oharan civilians.
  • Fanservice: The Nami/Kalifa fight is rife with it.
  • Fartillery: Franky's Coup de Boo.
  • Flashback: Robin tells her past to the Straw Hats, and the story goes back 20 years. We see the previous director of CP9, who was revealed to be Spandam's father, Aokiji when he was still known as Vice-Admiral Kuzan, Robin's mother Nico Olvia, and Robin's Giant friend.
    • Another one in the anime: A Marine vice-admiral recounts Lucci's backstory in an incident when he was dispatched by the WG at 13 years old to put an end to a crisis in a kingdom attacked by pirates and taking 500 of its soldiers hostage. Lucci resolved it by killing all the hostages and the pirate captain.
  • Foreshadowing: Luffy tells Blueno that his fight with Admiral Aokiji made him realise that he has to get stronger whatever the cost to protect the crew, or he'll lose them all. Words that indeed come back to haunt him later on.
    • When Lucci figures out what Luffy does to use Gear Second, he concludes that he's cutting years of his life away just for that technique, Luffy responds that it's better than losing people he cares about in front of him. Needless to say Luffy lives up to those words later on.
    • In the arc, Luffy twice foreshadows Gear Third before the fight with Lucci: Firstly in the battle with Blueno, and its destructive capabilities (and drawbacks) when he uses it and makes half of the damaged Tower of Justice slide before shrinking to a "chibi" size.
  • Giant Mooks: Oimo and Kashi. They later perform a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Franky realizes that since Spandam will stop at nothing to steal the blueprints, he burns the blueprints to keep Spandam from abusing Pluton's power.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Lucci has scars on his back, during one of his early missions to stop a pirate crew from taking over a kingdom, either from gunfire or cannons depending on the adaptation, which resembles the symbol of the World Government.
  • Government Conspiracy: The whole Ohara incident, which resulted in the island getting burned down.
    • And of course, Robin's capture. Though, she's a pirate at the time of her capture, which works better for the World Government.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • Even up to the very end, the Going Merry's smile remains.
    • In Robin's flashback, Saul did this, even laughing as he died.
  • Graceful Loser: Kaku when beaten by Zoro. Aokiji also quietly accepts the Marines' loss when the Straw Hats manage to get away.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The Franky Family, the remaining Galley-La members, along with Kokoro, Chimney and Gonbe.
  • He Knows Too Much: Professor Clover was already facing immediate execution for studying the Lost Hundred Years, but the Five Elder Stars made it a point to try to condemn him for his actions. Clover was having none of it, and nearly divulged the truth about the History by revealing the name of an ancient country, which a number of kingdoms combined to defeat it and lay the foundations of the World Government. This led to one of the Elder Stars ordering him to be shot, and the island bombarded by the Buster Call.
  • Heroic RRoD: Lucci figures out the mechanics of Gear Second: by increasing the blood circulation by pressing his rubber legs, Luffy is able to transfer oxygen more rapidly in his body, increasing his strength and speed, at the massive cost of his stamina. Lucci even suggests Luffy is shortening his life doing this. Luffy rebuffs him saying that so long as it gets Robin back, it doesn't matter. Gear Third similarly wears out Luffy by forcing him into a 'shrink' form based on the length of time he used it, which wasn't helpful against Lucci.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Kaku and Kalifa, who eat Devil Fruits shortly before the battle with the Straw Hats. Kalifa manages to get a handle on her power fairly quickly. Kaku takes awhile before he able to fully master his, though still manages to give Zoro a tough fight.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Franky and Fukuro's fight ends with one.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: As part of his Kabuki persona, Kumadori will attempt to commit seppuku if he feels Spandam has been insulted by another CP9 member. But he promptly invokes Tekkai, preventing himself from actually doing it.
    Kumadori (sobbing): Why can't I die?!
  • Kill It with Fire: Robin's flashback shows the Marines finishing off Ohara by setting it on fire.
  • Knight Templar: This is the first on screen appearance of Akainu in the series via Robin's flashback. His first action in the series: blowing up a boat full of islanders trying to get off the island in the event a scholar (whom the Marines were sent to kill) escaped on board.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Aokiji declaring the Marines' "complete defeat" after the Going Merry escapes from their Marine warships.
  • Kung-Fu Sonic Boom: During the beginning of Luffy vs Lucci's fight: Their clashing fists unleashes a shockwave that blasts them back to sides of the room.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Luffy leaps off to Enies Lobby five minutes before everyone else (thanks to his Devil-Fruit powers), and leads a one-man assault on the judicial island, causing a global-scale incident, and downing a CP9 member even before his crew landed there.
  • Mook Horror Show: One of the longest in the series, when Luffy crashes Enies Lobby before the others and spends several chapters beating the tar out of hundreds of Marines until they start panicking.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Almost the entire crew breaks out some new techniques/equipment for the arc:
    • Luffy reveals his Second and Third Gear techniques.
    • Zoro used his Asura technique.
    • Nami breaks out the upgraded Perfect Clima-Tact.
    • Usopp starts using a larger staff/slingshot called the Kabuto.
    • Sanji uses the Diable Jambe.
    • Chopper uses his Dangerous Forbidden Technique by using three Rumble Balls and activating Monster Point.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The Buster Call is pretty much this, razing every thing to the ground without discretion just to take out its target even if it's just a measly bunch of pirates. The Marines likewise aren't except from this as the they'll bomb their own ships if one of the targets manage to get aboard even if means sacrificing their own troops. Needless to say, many question how this could be such a viable tactic, seeing it more as just a show of power than anything.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Spandam, when he realizes that Luffy doesn't care about making enemies with the World Government if it means protecting his friends.
    • Later on, when Spandam accidentally launches the Buster Call by pressing the Golden Den Den Mushi.
    • Lucci has a very brief one at the end of his fight with Luffy who still stays standing after taking a third hit from his strongest technique. Coming to the realization that Luffy will not go down and that a pirate, something Lucci kept stressing could never defeat him, can actually beat him.
  • One-Man Army: Luffy. Within five minutes, he defeated 1,000 men, causing a global crisis.
  • One-Winged Angel: Lucci, Kaku and Jyabura are Zoan Devil Fruit users of the Cat-Cat Fruit, Model: Leopard; Cow-Cow Fruit, Model: Giraffe; And Dog-Dog Fruit, Model: Wolf respectively.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Ussop's mask to allow him to fight by his former-friends' side; only Luffy and Chopper were stupid/naive enough to be fooled by it; everyone else saw right through it, but stayed silent out of respect for Ussop's loyalty to help him save face (figuratively and literally).
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After spending most of the arc brutalizing a hand-cuffed and defenseless Robin, Spandam is payed back in kind as soon as Robin is released from the handcuffs by slapping him bloody with her powers, then breaking his back after he carries on his pursuit of her.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: It's even invoked by Sanji to Sogeking/Usopp.
    Sanji: For now, I'm going to stay here and do what you can't do. You need to do what I can't do. Think carefully. Read the situation. As long as we have you, there's still a chance we can save Robin. You hear me, Usopp?
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Marine soldiers reporting to Spandam though Den Den Mushi are knocked out before they can complete what they're saying to Spandam, leading him to believe the intruders are no threat right up until they arrive onto the roof of the Tower of Justice.
  • Predecessor Villain: Spandine, who is revealed to be Spandam's father.
  • Punch Parry: Occurs in Luffy vs Lucci.
  • Punched Across the Room: Twofold to Lucci. The first time is when Luffy unveils his Third Gear technique, which actually knocks him through several buildings. The second is when he gets punched so rapidly, not only does his Tekkei ability (which gives his body a defense like steel) not work, the attack comes so fast he can't even see it coming and gets knocked through a wall and flat on his back, knocked out.
  • Race Against the Clock: After arriving at Enies Lobby, our heroes have a tiny window of time until Robin can pass through the Gates of Justice to sabotage the CP9's plans.
  • Reality Ensues: Just as Iceberg and Franky predicted, the keel on Merry Go was too badly damaged for it to continue. While she was able to save her crewmates, her strength eventually gave out once they had escaped Enies Lobby.
  • Rescue Arc: The first of two in this series.
  • The Reveal: Kokoro is a mermaid, much to the shock (try horror) of the crew as she's saving them.
  • Sadistic Choice: Lucci breaches the wall of the Tower of Justice allowing it to flood in, pissing Luffy off, and forcing the fight to another floor. Lucci gives him the choice of either attempting to save the rest of his crew coming towards the tower underground, and drowning; Or continuing with the fight against Lucci with a slim chance of winning, with the danger towards the crew. Luffy decides to stay and fight, noting that if he leaves, Lucci will go and kill them afterwards.
  • Sea Sinkhole: Enies Lobby is an island hanging over an abyss by a narrow strip of land far too frail to actually support it. The abyss is in the middle of the ocean, which drains eternally into this bottomless pit.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Vice-Admiral Onigumo orders his ship to open fire on the battleship Luffy was on in an attempt to kill him, even gunning down a soldier who protested blowing up their own men. Besides being one of the most deplorable acts in the series, it is rendered pointless as Luffy is one of the only two people (Lucci being the other) to survive the attack.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: For the villains; the CP9 spend eight years undercover in Water 7 to find Pluton's blueprints. Then Franky incinerates the 'prints with his fire breath right in front of them, making all of their work a waste.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Spandam's attempt to intimidate the Straw Hats backfires horribly. He gestures to the World Government flag, and basically states that if they go after Robin, they'll be going against the world. They respond by shooting the flag, declaring war on the world.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Zoro vs. T-Bone.
  • Snow Means Death: It snows during the Going Merry's funeral.
  • Sole Survivor: So far, Robin is the only known survivor of Ohara.
  • Storming the Castle: The whole point of the arc. Points for the fact that Enies Lobby does look like a castle.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Nami has a moment during her fight with Kalifa where she squees about her opponent.
    Nami: " Wahh! I'd like to have her as my secretary!" (beat) "Wait, I'm not a dirty old man!"
  • Super Mode: Gear Second and Third for Luffy; Asura for Zoro; Diable Jambe for Sanji.
  • Tears of Joy: As the five-dotted flag burns in the sky and as the memories flash right before her eyes, Robin can do little more than burst into tears, having realized that she had finally found her place in life.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill/Godzilla Threshold: The Buster Call, the most powerful attack that the Marines can commission on any one target. Comprising of ten battleships commanded by five vice-admirals, the attack force will not discriminate, rendering entire islands down to fiery wastelands in order to destroy "enemies of justice". The sheer power of a Buster Call is so terrifying that Nico Robin was willing to surrender herself to the government she had been fleeing from her entire life just to spare the Straw Hats the fate of facing one. So powerful that it is used as sparingly as possible, and can only be ordered by ten people in the world at any given time: the three admirals, the Fleet Admiral, the Commander-in-Chief, and the Gorosei (Five Elder Stars), all of whom have the authority to issue a Buster Call either directly or through a proxy holding their golden Den Den Mushi. In fact, it's implied that the only reason Spandam had the golden Den Den Mushi is because he stole it from Admiral Aokiji, who, knowing him, would never use something like that just to eradicate a small pirate crew.
  • This Cannot Be!: Uttered word-for-word by Robin as the Straw Hats destroy the World Government flag.
  • This Means War!: To show Robin how far the crew would go to get her back, Luffy ordered Sogeking to shoot the World Government flag, effectively declaring war on the entire world.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Most of the crew, but especially Usopp.
  • Traintop Battle: The Franky vs Nero fight during the first half of the arc. While Sanji has a few inside the compartments. Zoro also fights T-Bone in front of a moving train.
  • True Companions: This was the arc where this aspect of the series was focused on the most. The Arlong arc may have cemented them as True Companions, but this arc shows how strong that bond is, and how deep it is as well.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Like villains before him, Spandam greatly underestimated the Straw Hats, believing them to be weak and no match for the forces of Enies Lobby and that Luffy wasn't crazy enough to face the entire guard force.
  • Viking Funeral: After the Merry breaks down following its rescue of the crew and being convinced by Iceburg to let it rest, the Straw Hats give it one as they see it off.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Spandam grows into a raving maniac as the Straw Hats get closer to him, he goes crazy when finds out all the CP9 agents were defeated, though he wasn't sane to begin with.
  • War Arc: Notable as the first one in which our heroes lead the charge of said army.
  • We Have Reserves: Spandam expresses this opinion when he (accidentally) summons the Buster Call, coupled with You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. When he realises the Transponder Snail is still transmitting, he claims he's really Luffy. No one is fooled.
  • Worthy Opponent: Zoro to Kaku. Sort of the case between Lucci and Luffy, with the former admiring Luffy's decision to fight him and his faith in his crew, and thinks he's a better leader than Spandam (though that's not saying much), though it's subverted in the anime, where he commends his resilience, but says a mere pirate couldn't hope to match him as he's strangling him with his tail in his half-Zoan form.
  • Worth Living For: Robin was willing to die for the Straw Hats, believing that despite their kindness and love (which made her happier than she had been her entire life), they would eventually abandon her, for her enemy was the entire world. And as that five dotted flag burned brightly in the sky, it was only then Robin realized, that after twenty long years, she had finally found her place.
  • You Are Not Alone: The driving force of this arc, and ultimately the entire saga. Robin gave herself to The Government she had been running away from her entire life, just to spare the crew the horrors of the Buster Call. When she is confronted by them on this, she shouts, on the verge of tears, that no matter how much they care for her, they'll eventually see her as nothing but a burden and abandon her, because her enemy is the world itself. The crew however make it clear that the burden she carries means nothing to them, and that they loved her all the same. Them declaring war on the world was just to show that no matter what hardship she faced, no matter what burden she carried, they would always be by her side, and that if the entire world was her enemy, then it was their enemy as well. Robin, seeing this and having finally realized where her place in life is, can do nothing more than burst into tears.
  • You Are Worth Hell: The Straw Hats make this declaration to Robin by showing just how far they'd go for her, in an act that would define the bonds of the crew: declaring war on the World Government, which is basically the entire world.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Luffy and Lucci both have goals that require them to get past the other, rescuing Robin and killing the pirate invaders respectively. However, those goals require that the other be beaten as well, Luffy can't leave Lucci alone or he will kill his crew mates and Luffy is one of the invaders Lucci needs to kill. What results is a fight between two men, both of whom need to get past the room they're fighting in but can't let the other leave it as well.

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