Shortly after they've submerged, a much-larger pirate ship, led by the very monkey-like Masira, shows up. After Masira explains that his pirate crew is a professional group of salvagers, and that this is their territory, the remaining four Straw Hats on the ship do their best to conceal the fact that they've sent divers down themselves in order to avoid getting into a fight with the Masira pirates. Masira and crew begin to raise the ship out of the water, and Masira encounters the Monster Trio, who have found little of value. The newly-raised ship is eaten by a turtle, but then spat back out; Masira ends up on the Going Merry, which gets separated from his own ship, and the Monster Trio angrily kicks him off the ship (literally) and into the water before sailing away.
Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji empty the bags of stuff they brought up, which is mostly worthless due to rust from old age, but Luffy struck gold (so to speak) by finding a map of Skypeia, a country in the sky. Luffy is eager to go, but the others point out that they have no idea how to actually get there; however, Robin reveals that she stole an Eternal Pose to the nearby Jaya Island from Masira's ship (just in case), so the crew goes there in the hopes of obtaining more information. After arriving on the island, Luffy and Zoro leave to explore the town; Nami, knowing that the two are almost certain to get into a fight if they go alone, tags along with them. Sanji wants to go with her, but Chopper and Usopp beg him to stay in case someone attacks the ship. They then notice that Robin is gone, too. In town, Luffy, Zoro, and Nami come across quite a few violent vagabonds, and Nami, despite making Zoro and Luffy promise not to fight anyone (not wanting to be kicked out of town before finding the information they need), has a difficult time keeping them to it. The trio finally manages to reach a nice hotel outside the downtown area, but are almost immediately forced to leave, since the hotel is being rented out to the Bellamy pirates (whose captain has a 55 million Berry bounty and was seen earlier killing a guy who was beating him at cards). Some of Bellamy's crew shows up and rudely demands that the three of them leave; they comply, but are pissed off. After they leave, one of Bellamy's crew recognizes Luffy from his (now outdated) 30 million Berry Wanted poster, and resolves to tell Bellamy about it. Luffy, Zoro, and Nami head to a bar downtown, where they meet an unnamed man who immediately further annoys Luffy (and the feeling is mutual) by liking the bar's cherry pies that Luffy hates, and hating the booze that Luffy loves. They get into a brief, childish competition before the man leaves.
Shortly after, Bellamy arrives looking for Luffy (having learned of his bounty) and pretends to play nice with him before attacking him. Luffy and Zoro both prepare to fight him, so Nami quickly tries to get the information they need from the bartender before the fight starts; however, when she asks him about Sky Island, all of the bar's other patrons begin to laugh at her (much to her embarrassment), saying that Sky Island is just a ridiculous myth and those who believe it exists are idiots. Bellamy then goes further, stating that pirates who journey to follow their dreams are pathetic, and that in the "New Era" of pirates, those who journey to find treasure will be the ones to come out on top. Nami, livid, releases Luffy and Zoro from the promise and encourages them to fight, only to find that, to her dismay, neither of them has any desire whatsoever to fight back anymore. (Though not explained until later, and not spelled out in detail, the reason for this is that Luffy and Zoro both realized (though Nami did not) that someone with a mindset like Bellamy's is to be pitied, and that there is absolutely no satisfaction to be gained by fighting him; this "not worth it" attitude mirrors that of Shanks from the very first chapter of the manga.) Both of them take a beating from Bellamy and his pirates, who offer to "buy" Nami off of them on top of that; Nami just responds with cold refusal before leaving with the guys. Outside the bar, they meet the mystery man from earlier, who assures Nami that Luffy and Zoro "won that fight" with Bellamy pirates, stating that Sky Island exists, the "New Age" Bellamy was talking about is bullshit, and men must continue to follow their dreams no matter what.
Despite his words, Nami is still very angry when they get back to the Merry, demanding to know why they didn't fight, but Luffy and Zoro are merely confused by her attitude. Robin then comes back, revealing that she not only got provisions for the crew, but also found the information they were looking for, as well as a map of Jaya Island; on the other side of the island lives a man named Montblanc Cricket, who supposedly can tell them what they need to know about Sky Island, so the crew sets sail. Along the way, they run into the also-very-monkey-like Shoujou, Masira's brother, whose crew of pirates rules the territory surrounding Jaya; when Shoujou learns of what the Straw Hats did to his brother, he tries to attack them using high-powered sonar abilities, but this just ends up doing more damage to his own ship than to the Merry, and the Straw Hats escape successfully. Soon after they leave, Bellamy overhears a man in the bar telling his table about Robin's inquiries, who assumed that she simply wanted the gold that Cricket supposedly possesses. Upon hearing this, Bellamy decides to go visit Cricket as well to steal the gold for himself.
When the Straw Hats arrive at Cricket's home, he initially attacks them, but quickly collapses due to pressure sickness caused by improperly diving too often. While Chopper cares for him, Nami finds a book about someone called "Norland the Liar", a classic kids' story from North Blue, which details the life of a man from over 400 years ago. According to the story, Montblanc Norland (who, like Usopp, had a reputation as a perpetual liar) found treasure on Jaya Island, but when the king of Norland's country came there searching for it, they found nothing, and put Norland to death for his lies; Norland then claimed that the part of the island that contained the treasure must have sunk below the ocean, but no one believed him. Cricket wakes up, and once he realizes that the Straw Hats are not there to steal his gold as he initially thought, he befriends them. Masira and Shoujou also show up and are revealed to be friends of Cricket's, and Luffy manages to make friends with them as well. Cricket initially scorns the crew's efforts to travel to Sky Island, but once he realizes that they are truly serious in their desire to find it, reveals that he himself has been diving to try to find the treasure and the rest of the "sunken island", since he has been ridiculed all his life due to being Norland's descendant and thus wants to finish Norland's business himself. He, Masira, and Shoujou, all of whom have taken a liking to the Straw Hats (especially Luffy) resolve to help them reach Sky Island.
While the group is partying that evening, Cricket shows them the gold he's managed to find so far: three bell-shaped ingots and a golden statue of the island's native Southbird. He then tells them of his plan to get them to Sky Island; five times a month in the general area, the sky turns dark and a superheated current of water from below the ocean floor bursts to the surface and up into the clouds in a huge jet; if the Straw Hats can ride one of these jets into the sky, they can reach Sky Island. He is expecting the next jet to occur the following day due south of the island, and thus, he sends the crew into the nearby woods to find a Southbird, which possess both unique bird calls that make them easy to identify and a strong sense of direction that causes their heads to always point to the south; this will ensure that they head in the right direction the next day to catch the stream. In the meantime, he, Masira, Shoujou, and their crews will fix up the Going Merry to ensure that the ship will be in good enough shape to make the difficult trip. Unfortunately, not too long after the Straw Hats head into the woods, the Bellamy pirates attack, and Bellamy single-handedly beats up Cricket, Masira, and Shoujou quite badly before stealing Cricket's gold.
After some struggles in the forest due to numerous insect attacks, the Straw Hats are finally able to capture a Southbird thanks to Robin's powers. However, when they get back to Cricket's home and find their new friends beaten bloody, Luffy is furious; after Zoro finds Bellamy's symbol drawn nearby, Luffy resolves to go find Bellamy and get Cricket's treasure back for him (despite protests from Cricket himself) while the rest of the crew helps repair the ship. Back in town, a drunken member of Bellamy's crew sees a new batch of Wanted posters arrive, and upon seeing Luffy's and Zoro's new bounties of 100 million and 60 million Berries, respectively (both of which are higher than Bellamy's), immediately rushes to the bar to warn him. Bellamy just laughs it off, convinced the posters are fake, but Luffy shows up and challenges him, proceeding to defeat him easily in one punch, to the terror of the onlookers. Luffy takes Cricket's treasure back and heads back to his crew, arriving slightly (but not irreparably) late, and returns it to him before thanking him for the help and bidding him farewell, promising to find Sky Island for him. The Straw Hats set off towards the expected location of the jet eruption on the newly refurbished Going Merry, accompanied by the Shoujou and Masira pirates.
Elsewhere, other powerful entities around the world have begun to take action. The World Government has received word that one of the Four Emperors (Shanks) has contacted another (Edward Newgate a.k.a. Whitebeard, Ace's captain and the most powerful man in the world), which deeply concerns them due to the enormous levels of strength and influence both of them hold. A messenger from Shanks arrives on Whitebeard's ship to deliver an important letter, but to his dismay, Whitebeard dismissively tears it up and tells the messenger to have Shanks come speak with him in person; when Shanks learns of this, he laughs it off, figuring that Whitebeard would react that way, and leaves with his crew to do just that, while remaining unconcerned about the actions that the government may take. The World Government is also worried about the instability that will be caused by the gap left by Crocodile among the Seven Warlords of the Sea (Shichibukai), so Fleet Admiral Sengoku calls a meeting of the remaining members to discuss the situation, despite not expecting very many of them to actually show up. Sure enough, the initial count is only two members—whose names are Bartholomew Kuma and Donquixote Doflamingo—but unexpectedly, a third member shows up: Dracule Mihawk, whose initial interest was piqued when he learned of the bounties on Monkey D. Luffy and Roronoa Zoro, two of the pirates who will be discussed at the meeting and in whom Mihawk has taken a personal interest. Another unexpected guest shows up: a pirate named Lafitte, who has come to nominate his captain, Marshall D. Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard (the former Whitebeard pirate whom Ace was hunting) for the now-open position of Warlord of the Sea. Back on Jaya, the previously unknown man whom Luffy, Zoro, and Nami met earlier is revealed to be Blackbeard, and several other people they met from around town are actually his crew members; once Blackbeard learns of Luffy's new bounty, he decides to chase after and capture him, since he figures that netting a pirate of 100 million Berries or greater and turning him/her in to the government would be enough to win him the position of Warlord of the Sea. He and his men, remembering Luffy's plans to go to Sky Island, leave Jaya in pursuit of the Straw Hats.
Meanwhile, the Straw Hats and the Shoujou and Masira pirates successfully reach the correct area of the sea and find the giant whirlpool they were expecting from which the current will erupt. Despite protests from Usopp and Nami, Luffy bodly sails towards the center of the whirlpool, only for the seas to suddenly go calm once they reach it; however, Nami correctly predicts that the jet is moments away from erupting. Blackbeard and co. show up to capture Luffy, and the Straw Hats finally learn of the new bounties on Luffy and Zoro; Usopp seems appreciative, Sanji is upset at not having a bounty as well, Nami is chagrined, and naturally, Luffy and Zoro are thrilled (though Zoro also jokes that he wishes his were higher), to Nami's annoyance. Before Blackbeard and his crew can attack, though, the jet finally erupts, carrying the Going Merry into the sky; though it initially appears that the ship may "lose its footing" and crash back down into the sea, Nami is able to use her navigational skills to get them through it, and the crew successfully reaches the sea in the sky, with Cricket watching from a distance, the Masira and Shoujou pirates cheering them on, and Blackbeard good-naturedly admitting that Luffy and crew got away while still planning on capturing him sometime in the future.
Jaya Arc has the following tropes
- Anticlimax: Gloriously invoked. After all the build-up given, Bellamy goes down in a single punch to Luffy.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The majority of Mock Town, but the Bellamy Pirates in particular. They're in the Grand Line, which screws up natural law so often that it is bluntly stated that anything is possible on this sea, yet they laugh at the notion of an island in the sky; which, to be quite honest, is small potatoes compared to everything that happens in the series after this point. And this was in the first half of the Grand Line.
- Ascended Fanboys: Masira and Shoujou, who were fans of the Norland tale and were more than happy to meet and help out a descendant of his.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Masira and Shojou.
- Baddie Flattery: Teach had nothing but praise for Luffy and Zoro for how they handled the situation with Bellamy at the bar.
- Bait the Dog: That old bar patron that Luffy almost had a fight with actually turned out to be an alright guy, telling Luffy to never give up his dreams, until you realise he is actually Marshall D. Teach, the guy who Ace was looking for, and had left the Whitebeard Pirates for killing his own crewmate for power.
- Balance of Power: It's very subtle but this is the arc where the Three Great Powers (The Marines, The Seven Warlords Of The Sea and the Four Emperors) are established, and the influence they hold in the politics of the world. Naturally, the Five Elder Stars are introduced in this arc as well.
- Bar Brawl: Bellamy's crew decided to beat up Luffy and Zoro for the fun of it. But because the crew was much weaker than both of them and that Luffy knew there was no point fighting someone without dreams, he and Zoro got beaten up but were hardly hurt.
- Berserk Button: Nami is rather pissed when Sarkiss offers to buy her off. She also quickly tells Zoro and Luffy to forget their promise not to fight when she's laughed at for asking about Sky Island.
- Big Bad: Bellamy (if you can call him one).
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Bellamy along with Marshall D. Teach aka "Blackbeard", who wanted to capture Luffy for a Warlord position.
- Breather Episode: After the tension-fueled roller coaster that was Alabasta. This arc is a welcomed cool-down from it, focusing more on exploration and world-building. The "threat" here isn't even all that serious and way below the caliber of the Straw Hats.
- Bowdlerise: A minor instance, but the argument between Bellamy and Roshio was toned down quite a bit in the anime.
- Callback: Many liken the bar encounter to Shanks's refusal to fight Higuma at the beginning of the series.
- Came from the Sky: A huge galleon came crashing down from the sky in front of the Straw Hats, nearly capsizing them. When they recovered, they immediately went to investigate the wreckage and began to find clues that would set them up for their adventure to Skypiea.
- Chekhov's Gunmen: There were three men who Luffy, Zoro and Nami interacted with on separate occasions during their stay at Jaya. They turn out to be the Blackbeard Pirates, an incredibly powerful pirate crew who previously tore up Drum Island, whose captain Ace was looking for, and the guy who Luffy almost got into a brawl with? He is Blackbeard, and he is shaping up to be the series Big Bad.
- Cool Old Guy: Cricket.
- Cold Sniper: Van Augur, who can shoot a seagull from hundreds of miles away, Usopp remarking that he didn't even know what island the shot came from.
- Cosmopolitan Council: The Five Elder Stars.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: A rather literal version. For all the flair and bravado he puts on, Bellamy gets stopped cold by a single punch, caving his face in the pavement.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- The first thing we see Doflamingo is use his powers to force two Marines into fighting for his own amusement.
- After much discussion establishing Whitebeard as an extremely powerful and feared figure in the world, his first actual appearance shows him harshly declining Shanks offer for a discussion, only for it to be shown that he's an old man hooked up to multiple I Vs and being tended to by nurses, establishing him as a man of intense power and character who is nevertheless still wasting away physically from time and illness.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Saruyama Alliance, though they only have the appearance of such.
- Foil: While he does mirror Luffy in many ways, Teach is really this for Bellamy. They're both rookie captains in the Great Pirate Era, and while the latter likes to boast about being a "Big-Time Rookie" and throws his weight across, generally being a braggart, the former prefers to hide his devices, had a part in doing unthinkable things, while being completely unknown to the world, making all those who encounter him (save for Luffy) underestimate him. He doesn't even give out his name. Their views on dreams are also mirrored: While Bellamy is dismissive of them and disrespects those who hold them, Teach wholeheartedly believes in dreams and praises people for holding on to them.
- Foreshadowing: The "giants" appearing in the ocean and Blackbeard and his crew make their appearance. Also, the damage Bellamy's crew do to the Going Merry, as well as Sanji's comment about how they should just buy a new ship and Ussop's reaction.
- Also, Shanks' decision to meet with Whitebeard which doesn't lead to anywhere good.
- Lafitte mentions to Sengoku during the meeting with the Warlords that Marshall D. Teach while unknown, has a plan that will definitely get him accepted into the Seven Warlords...
- That little squabble between Luffy and that random guy at the bar over tastes in food & drink, is even more interesting when the latter is revealed to Marshall D. Teach, and very much Luffy's Evil Counterpart.
- Teach is hardly surprised when he reads Luffy's new bounty of 100 million belli, saying that 30 million is hardly worthy of Luffy's "haki".
- The Five Elder Stars mention the "Three World Powers", years before the concepts of the Emperors is established.
- Sanji mentions offhand that he was born in North Blue, something that surprises the others, a line which has dramatic impact on the story years hundreds of chapters later.
- For the Evulz: Doflamingo views forcing two high-ranking Marines into a swordfight via his Devil Fruit ability is merely a good way to pass the time.
- Friend to Bugs: Usopp is revealed to be one in this arc.
- I Gave My Word: Luffy and Zoro are sent into Mocktown after giving a promise to Nami not to fight anyone and cause trouble. Despite a few close calls, the two honor their promise to Nami even after she rescinds it. Both Luffy and Zoro's dreams are built on a promise, so it's only natural they'd keep their word.
- I Warned You: The town drunk who received the new bounties of Luffy and Zoro and tried to tell Bellamy about them. Bellamy dismisses them as fakes and Luffy and Zoro trying to trick him. However once Luffy arrives and effortlessly knocks out Bellamy, the man tells the crews that he did warn them.
- Kick the Dog: Bellamy and his crew decided to have some fun beating up Montblanc and his friends and proceeded to steal all their hard-earned gold.
- Law of Conservation of Detail: Even though the main plot is the conflict with the Bellamy Pirates, multiple scenes are dedicated to showing some pirates at Mock Town, and the crews encounter with a Boisterous Bruiser who carries very simular ideals to Luffy himself. Sure enough, this all turns out to be very important.
- The Legend of Chekhov: A 'Sky Island' and the City of Gold that featured in the North Blue tale about Montblanc Norland.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Shoujou, who does this to use sonar in the ocean as well as a form of attack.
- Megaton Kick: Luffy and Shojou take turns in punting Masira as a challenge.
- Mugging the Monster: Luffy and Zoro, let Bellamy's crew beat them up before they get word that Luffy's bounty was 100 million Beri and Zoro's was 60 million. Luffy would return to show them how he earned a bounty that high.
- Even his Dragon Sarkiss gets in on it, bumping into and mocking Teach / Blackbeard and getting a face full of pavement for his trouble.
- Not What It Looks Like: Usopp yells this, assuming that Masira and Shojou won't believe that he and his crew are treating the wounded Montblanc Cricket. Fortunately, Poor Communication Kills is subverted - the big lugs immediately believe him and befriend the Strawhats.
- Oh, Crap!: All of Bellamy's crew when they find that Luffy can indeed fight. Sarkiss in particular when Luffy's new bounty poster blows into his face and he reacts in horror that they aren't fakes. If that wasn't enough, a majority of Bellamy's crew run away when Luffy gives them a Death Glare while re-demanding where Cricket's gold is.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Five Elder Stars. We don't even know of their individual namesnote .
- One-Hit KO: Bellamy's fate.
- Paper Tiger: Bellamy talks tough and likes to pick on the weak, but when he came up against a real "big-time" rookie pirate (one that defeated the Warlord, no less) he can't back it up, and gets downed easily.
- Pest Controller: Jaya's Southbird has this power over the island's insects, to the point where he arguably gives Luffy's party a harder time than Bellamy and his goons ever did.
- Pragmatic Villainy: This seems to be how Teach does things, not minding he basically missed the Straw Hats getting away.
- The Psycho Rangers: The Blackbeard Pirates.
- The Quiet Ones: Tsuru and Kuma in the anime don't even speak at the meeting in Mariejois.
- Serious Business: Luffy gets more pissed at Blackbeard's taste in food than he ever does at Bellamy's crew laughing at his dream.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The core theme of the arc. The Straw Hats are shown to subscribe to a dying ideology of pirates as individuals who live as free spirits of adventure. By contrast however, the pirates at Mock Town, most especially the Bellamy Pirates, are a bunch of violent thugs who believe that dreams mean nothing. Greying the issue somewhat is the Blackbeard Pirates, who subscribe to the same mentality as the Straw Hats, but are very different in terms of morals.
- The Smart Guy: Robin really pulls her weight in her first (non-anime filler) arc as a Straw Hat: she provides quite a bit of exposition, she steals the Eternal Pose to Jaya and then gains the needed information about Montblanc Cricket during the Straw Hats' quest to find out more info about Sky Island, and she is the one who finally succeeds in catching the Southbird. She and Luffy also work together to save Usopp when he falls through the clouds.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted. Luffy had lost twice to previous Big Bad Crocodile and only won the third time due to determination, Crocodile having a mental breakdown in the face of said determination, blood, and pure, dumb luck. Compare this to the following Big Bad Bellamy, who, for all his bravado, got defeated by a single punch. To drive the point further, Bellamy used his devil fruit abilities for almost the entirety of their "fight" — yet he never found out that Luffy had devil fruit powers of his own since that one punch wasn't even stretched.
- Stunned Silence: Throughout most of the "fight", the Bellamy Pirates are watching from the sidelines, laughing (save for one of the crew who was taking the new bounty posters seriously) and mocking Luffy. However once Luffy downed Bellamy with one hit, that instantly came to abrupt halt.
- Smug Snake: The Bellamy Pirates think way too high of themselves.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Lafitte, one of the Blackbeard Pirates somehow managed to break in a highly-secure private meeting with the Seven Warlords. More impressively, he was wearing tap-dancing shoes. Although it's possible he could have flew in through an open window.
- Swallowed Whole: Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, and Masira by a turtle Sea King, though they get spat back out.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bellamy gives them both to Cricket and Luffy. Didn't take.Bellamy: You really should grow up, old-timer. The City of Gold is nothing but a myth made up by Norland. In the New Age, there'll be no-one to chase dreams!Bellamy (to Luffy): I thought you said you were going to take the gold back! All you do is talk trash, and you're too powerless to do anything. Pathetic!...Oh, I see. The monkeys and the old-timer are the same species as you! A pack of idiots believing a 400-year old lie! What 'Sky Island'? What 'City of Gold'? The age of dreams is over! YOU'RE A DISGRACE OF A PIRATE!!
- Tempting Fate: "Can you even throw a punch?"
- Underestimating Badassery:
- Played straight with Bellamy and his crew who judge Luffy purely on looks alone and antagonize him just for wanting any information about a Sky Island. During the scuffle at the bar, Luffy didn't think it worth it to get into a fight over meaningless words, showing his strength of character. However when Bellamy made it personal by wounding Cricket and the Mashira Alliance as well as damaging the Merry, the gloves were off. And indeed, during the "fight" Luffy mostly just dodges Bellamy attacks and isn't even wounded from the one hit he did get. When Bellamy tried to go in for the killing blow, the one hit he got from Luffy knocks him out instantly.
- Inverted with Teach to Luffy: They almost get into a fight, and Teach asks Luffy if he's a pirate. He then asks what his bounty isand when Luffy says 30 million belli (as he wasn't aware of his bounty increase since the Alabasta incident), Teach accuses him of lying. Not because he thinks it's too high a bounty for Luffy as is usually assumed by looking at him, but because Teach thinks it's too low for someone on Luffy's calibre.
- The World Is Just Awesome: When the Going Merry is blasted up the Knock-Up Stream into the Sky Island.
- Wretched Hive: Mock Town is a pirate run area and home to some of the most ruthless customers.