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Recap / One Piece Fish-Man Island Arc

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Short Summary
After a two year delay, the Straw Hats resume their journey and make it to Fish-Man Island. However, trouble brews once on the island as an admirer of Arlong's, Hody Jones, sets his plan into motion to seize the kingdom from the royal family while also trying to take revenge on all humanity for their treatment of fish-men.

Main Summary

The Fish-Man Island Arc provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The anime grants Hody Jones a few hits into what had otherwise been a Single-Stroke Battle for Zoro, as well as letting him last slightly longer at the end of his fight with Luffy.
    • Though the manga did show Brook separating his soul from his body to get help from Pappagu, his, Usopp's, and Zoro's actual escape was left as an Offscreen Moment of Awesome and Noodle Incident where Zoro apparently cut the tower in half. The anime actually shows their escape and this moment of Zoro cutting the tower, as well as the three of them meeting up with Sanji, Chopper, and Franky on the Sunny.
    • The anime also adds a flashback showing that his admiration for Arlong began when he saved Hody and his friends (who were kids at the time) from humans trying to kidnap them, but this contrasts with the canonical, plot-relevant reveal that humans have never personally harmed him. However, it might not be a contradiction as this doesn't seem to be the driving force behind his actions against humans, as Hody appears to haven chosen to persecute humans just for the sake of doing so, even before this event took place, as he was a young child upon embracing his malice, and had started attacking humans on purpose by the time this event took place.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz":
    • Hammond's name comes from "Hamo", Japanese for Daggertooth Pike Conger, i.e what he is.
    • Daruma's name comes from "darumazame", i.e cookiecutter shark.
    • Zeo's name is "Oze" reversed, i.e Japanese carpet shark.
    • Fukaboshi's name has "Fuka", i.e dogfish, on it.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Hody's crew invades Neptune's palace and holds the royal family as hostages as part of his planned rebellion on Fish-Man Island. It gets foiled in an awesome way by the Straw Hats.
  • 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 personally.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Immediately following Luffy's downing of 50,000 of Hody's men through Conqueror's 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!
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    • 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 Fish-Man Island!! You want to kill me... You couldn't kill my boredom!
  • Bad Boss:
    • The New Fish-Man Pirates, who will attack their fellow fish-men just for the sake of their hateful cause. Made even clearer when Hody uses one of his own men as a Human Shield, as Arlong's only Pet the Dog moment was his refusal to hurt a fish-man.
    • Big Mom. Who will eat her own subordinates for literally no reason.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Hody Jones teams up with Vander Decken as the main antagonists of the arc, making a point of labeling him his partner, not his subordinate.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Hody Jones. Hody was only planning to lead a small army of 100,000 fish-men against the World Government. It gradually becomes clear he isn'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 fish-men who actually has been to the surface. Also unlike Arlong, Hody, while manipulative, relies on sheer power and a risky overdose of what is basically steroids to command authority. He has 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 strong enough to warrant an imprisonment in Impel Down, had much more cunning in his manipulation of Nami and the World Government.
    • While Decken desired to marry Shirahoshi to use her power to control Sea Kings, which would have made him a legitimate threat. In the actual arc, he only becomes a threat when his and Hody's partnership goes south and Decken tries to destroy Fish-Man Island via Colony Drop.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Downplayed, Shirahoshi's distress subconsciously calls the Sea Kings, which stop Noah hitting Fish-men Island by mere seconds. However, it's made clear that even had they not arrived, Luffy would have stopped the ark from destroying the island anyway, but his method would have involved completely destroying Noah. The Sea Kings' arrival saves Fish-Man Island and also keeps the ark relatively intact.
  • 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.
    • A very subtle and easy to miss example, but, during one of Zoro and Sanji's arguments, Sanji threatens to put blades and poison in Zoro's food. Later, when everyone is eating bento boxes that Sanji made, Zoro can be seen making crunch sounds, implying Sanji on some level did follow through on his threat.
    • If you look carefully in the background of one scene, you can see a Fish-man identical to Luffy's crude drawing of one back when the race was first introduced.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Poor Megalo. Constantly forced to carry other characters in his mouth, including the gigantic Shirahoshi.
    • Caribou's life becomes one long-running joke the moment he meets the Straw Hats.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: There's a three-eyed young woman sitting beside Big Mom in Whole Cake Island. She turns out to be very important in the Totto Land Arc.
  • Colony Drop: Vander Decken uses his powers to throw an ark at Shirahoshi. In trying to lead it away from the island, Shirahoshi (with some help from Hody) unwittingly sends it falling toward Fish-Man Island.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Straw Hats vs. The New Fish-Man 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. Luffy himself took out half of them out with one blast of Haki. That's 50,000 fish-men. It just got progressively worse for the poor saps after that. Note that the Straw Hats weren't surprised at how easy the fight was — in fact, right before it started, Zoro had complained that Luffy had knocked out too many.
    • 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 Jimbei (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 Fish-men want revenge on humans for discriminating and treating them like second-class 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 Fish-Man Island.
    • 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 and fish-men 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 Fish-Man Island, which was dominated by hate and racism against humans.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The situation gets so bad that the fish-men actually start praying for Luffy to fulfill Madam Shirley's prophecy and destroy Fish-Man Island.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • King Neptune and the three princes were almost executed by Hody Jones, but were rescued in time.
    • Also, for a brief amount of time, Zoro, Usopp, and Brook, who were captured by Hody's crew (after they were weakened from being underwater and out of breath for an extended period) and subsequently broadcast onscreen in order to taunt Luffy. They manage to free themselves, though; see below.
  • Drunken Master: Hyouzou becomes more dangerous when he's drunk.
  • Dudes out of Distress: Zoro, Usopp, and Brook are captured and displayed onscreen, but get out of their situation pretty quickly when Brook removes his soul from his body and sends it to alert Pappagu, who brings Zoro's swords to him so that he can cut the cage open (which apparently leads to him cutting the entire frickin' tower in half).
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. Jimbei 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 fish-men.
  • Engineered Heroics: A rare well-intentioned example: Jimbei 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 fish-man (even if he's a terrorist). Jimbei then tells Luffy that if he wants to beat Hody, he has to be a hero of Fish-Man Island in the process. Jimbei makes a plan to do it, and ends up succeeding.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In the flashback, Arlong was shown to be appalled by Jimbei's brutality against humans. Ironically, as seen in the Arlong Arc, Arlong would lose those standards while Jimbei 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: 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. It didn't come true at the end of the arc, but Sharley expects it will someday.
    • In Jimbei's story about Otohime, when the fish-men are taking their rage upon the World Noble who stumbled to their place, Otohime tries to stop his people from doing it. She understood that her people can never stop hating humans, so she reminds them that the children are watching. Then it's revealed in the present that the reason Hody Jones and his crew hate humans so much is because of nothing but bad influence from where they're raised in.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Mentioned and averted. When Usopp saw that Chopper had gone into his Monster Point at the Plaza, he yelled that the battle with the New Fish-Man Pirates hadn't gotten to the point where he was forced to go on a rampage. Much to his surprise, however, Chopper revealed he had gotten control of the form over the timeskip.
  • 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 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 Hody 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 hatred towards humans, but his hate was more justified since he had firsthand experience of being a slave. He intellectually knew good humans exist but could never fully get over his hatred. This resulted in his death when he refused a human blood transfusion that could have saved his life.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Jimbei cries when Nami forgives him for being responsible for Arlong's freedom in East Blue.
    • Even Arlong cried at the death of Fisher Tiger.
  • 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 fish-men and humans.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Hyouzou, the blue-ringed octopus Fish-man swordsman. Up to Eleven when he gets drunk. And on steroids.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Straw Hats who visit Neptune's palace end up fighting him and his soldiers after being falsely accused of kidnapping mermaids and Luffy is foreseen to destroy the island. This results in Neptune and his men getting tied up as hostages, which makes it much easier for Hody to take over the palace when his crew arrives.
  • Noble Demon: Fisher Tiger hated humans but when he freed slaves in Mariejois, he freed both humans and fish-men 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 fish-men.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: That is the main issue with the New Fish-Man 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.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the manga, we don't get to actually see Zoro, Usopp, and Brook escape Hody's imprisonment; we just find out later that, when Zoro cut the cage open, he ended up cutting the entire top half of the tower off.
  • Only in It for the Money: Hyouzou doesn't really care for Hody's plan to incite a rebellion in Fish-Man Island, and only joined him because he was less stingy than Arlong.
  • Person of Mass Destruction:
    • Vander Decken shows the extent of his "marking" ability - with it he can throw anything, even things that he won't be able to physically throw otherwise, such as a ship that's half the size of the island.
    • What was thought as the "Ancient Weapon" Poseidon is revealed to be a person, specifically a Mermaid Princess who lived in the Void Century, who possessed the ability to control Sea Kings, each of which could raze a city by itself. And Shirahoshi is revealed to be the current incarnation of her, although she only has little control of the power.
  • Posthumous Character: There are 4 prominent ones in this arc.
    • Queen Otohime of the Ryuugu Kingdom, who fought for the Fish-men and Merfolk's rights and equality to humanity through peaceful means. She was known for trying to defend a human - a World Noble to be exact - from her fellow merfolk, and later be invited for diplomacy talks about her goals and have her ideas be heard by the humans. She was thought to be murdered by a human, when it's revealed that actually Hody Jones did it - and Shirahoshi knew about it all this time.
    • Fisher Tiger, the previous captain of Sun Pirates. He was a slave in Mariejois, who freed himself and countless other slaves, human or fish-men, and later created the pirate group to hide their former slave status (i.e the tattoo on their backs). He hated humans so much, but he at least struggled to not let the hatred of humans be passed on to other fish-men, especially the younger generation. His life ended when he got shot by humans and then refused to get human blood transfusion from the human ship they raided.
    • There are also Poseidon and Joy Boy, who are only revealed in the Poneglyph that King Neptune shows Robin. The former was a mermaid princess with the capability of controlling Sea Kings. The latter was a man who promised something with the Fish-Man Island's inhabitants about floating the ship Noah to the surface with Poseidon's help, but for one reason or another he failed to keep his promise and he made said Poneglyph as a letter of apology.
  • Quality Vs Quantity: The battle between the Straw Hat Pirates and the New Fish-Man Pirates certainly counts. Hody believed he had the advantage since he had superior numbers. Too bad the crew he was fighting was made up of One Man Armies.
  • Rapid Aging: Hody and his gang end up turning into old men, due to repeated usage of the steroids they had stolen. Since Hody took so many he becomes so decrepit that just pulling at the bars hurts his wrist.
  • 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 fish-men 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!: Jimbei gave blood to Luffy despite the laws of Fish-Man Island forbidding him due to the stigma against humans and the local law. He justifies his actions by simply stating that he's a pirate. Considering Luffy just saved their home island, no one was complaining.
  • Shaming the Mob: Queen Otothime does this with one sentence to prevent the mob from killing a World Noble.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Koala went from looking like this to this during her time with the Sun Pirates.
  • Shout-Out: King Neptune lost his wife in a tragic incident that was designed to be a Cynicism Catalyst which kept the denizens of the sea from going above land and serve as a reason to bear hatred towards humans? He's also highly protective of his daughter and doesn't want her venturing out of the kingdom? That rings a few bells...
  • 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 Fish-Man 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 fish-men/merfolk-human relations. Fisher Tiger also actively opposed the Celestial Dragons.
  • Tomato Surprise: Shirahoshi is the weapon Poseidon. Well, the current Reincarnation of her, at least.
  • 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 Jimbei 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 Fish-Man Island territory.
    • Let's not forget Luffy inviting Jimbei to join the Straw Hats. While Jimbei turned him down for the time being, he makes it clear that he'll return to join in the future.
  • Wham Shot: Shirahoshi, giant smelting whale mermaid.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Hody Jones. The guy wants to go against the World Government and the Marines with a gigantic army, pill-popping army. He's worse than Arlong, and seems like a legit threat. Then Zoro beat him. With one slash. Underwater. 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 Fish-Man 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 Fish-Man 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 Pekoms right after.

Example of: