While exploring, Luffy, Vivi, and Carue encounter (to Vivi's horror) a dinosaur! She explains that, since many islands of the Grand Line are isolated and do not interact with each other, their wildlife is in all different phases of evolution; some islands have extremely advanced technology, while others (like Little Garden) are still stuck in prehistoric times. Luffy, naturally, finds the entire experience awesome and happily plays around with the dinosaurs; elsewhere, Zoro and Sanji each separately encounter dinosaurs themselves, humorously not realizing what they are (Sanji taking a T-Rex to be a "giant lizard", and Zoro mistaking a Triceratops for a "rhino") and simply killing them for food. Back on the ship, Nami, remembering that she'd read something strange about Little Garden in the past, finally finds a book about it, learning not only about the prehistoric life, but also that the island is inhabited by giants...unfortunately, no sooner does she discover this than a giant named Brogy finds Usopp and Nami at the ship, to both their terror; Brogy invites them to "have a feast" with him, but, believing that Brogy plans to eat them, Nami and Usopp try playing dead to get him to leave. However, he simply takes the two of them with him back to his home.
Meanwhile, another giant, Dorry, saves Luffy from being eaten by a dinosaur, and brings him, Vivi, and Carue back to his own home. Both Dorry and Brogy begin cooking dinosaur meat for their respective guests; while Nami and Usopp are still terrified, believing Brogy wants to fatten them up before eating them, Luffy isn't worried, and makes friends with Dorry easily, which in turn puts Vivi at ease. Both giants tell their guests that the Log Pose will take one year to reset (to their horror/chagrin), and also each claim to be the strongest warriors from the land of Elbaf, island of the giants. They reveal that they were sent to the isolated island of Little Garden 100 years ago (giants usually live around 300 years) to settle a dispute between them by fighting to the death; however, they have reached a tie in every single battle they've fought (which now numbers over 73,000 fights), preventing either of them from returning home. What's more, they both admit that neither of them even remembers anymore what their conflict was about in the first place; at this point, they're continuing to fight purely for the sake of their pride as warriors, something that Nami and Vivi clearly both find ridiculous, but impresses both Luffy and Usopp. After witnessing one of these fights (which occur every time a nearby volcano spews ashes), which again ends in a draw, Usopp forms a secondary dream of one day visiting Elbaf and meeting the giants there, since he sees them as prime examples of the "brave warrior of the sea" that he wishes to become. After the battle, Brogy shares some of the wine that the Straw Hats gave him with Dorry, and the two return home to their respective guests.
Elsewhere on the island, in a strange, white house-shaped structure, Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine from the previous arc meet with another pair of Baroque assassins: Mr. 3, a man whose Devil Fruit abilities give him the power to create and manipulate wax (which is what the structure is made out of), and his partner Miss Goldenweek, who looks like a young girl and has the ability to manipulate others' behavior using paint. Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine explain that they followed Vivi and the Straw Hats to complete their assassination mission. Mr. 3 replies he and Miss Goldenweek plan to help them do so, but they also have another reason for being on Little Garden: to kill/capture Dorry and Brogy, who are both former pirates with bounties on their heads of 100 million Berries each, and turn them in for the money. He also reveals that his plan for everyone on the island has already been set into motion. Shortly afterwards, while enjoying the wine that Brogy gave him, one of the wine barrels explodes inside Dorry's stomach, causing him severe internal injuries, much to the horror of Luffy, Vivi, and Carue. When Vivi wonders if Brogy could have put the explosive in the wine to sabotage their next fight, Dorry strongly refutes this statement, stating that Brogy would never do such a thing. Believing that it had to have been the Straw Hats (seemingly the only other possible suspects), Dorry tries to attack them and Luffy is forced to knock him out. Luffy, by now enraged, agrees with Dorry's assessment about Brogy, stating that the fight between them is far too important to dishonor it via sabotage, and since he knows that no one in his crew would do something like that, either, there must be someone else present on the island.
At this point, all hell starts to break loose around the island for the heroes. The volcano again spews ashes, signalling the time for another fight. When Luffy tries to protest that Dorry can't possibly battle in his condition (and that he shouldn't, either, since his fight was sabotaged and would thus be unfair), Dorry, for the sake of his pride and honor, refuses to back out of the fight. He apologizes to Luffy and Vivi for suspecting them of the sabotage (now believing that it was a sign of disfavor from the god of Elbaf), but before leaving for the fight pins Luffy's lower half underneath his house to keep him from following or interfering in the battle, to Luffy's dismay. Vivi then notices that Carue has gone missing. Meanwhile, after Brogy also leaves for the fight, Nami and Usopp try to head over to Dorry's home to meet up with Luffy and Vivi, but are chased through the woods by a dinosaur and become separated. Nami sees and approaches what looks like Luffy in the forest, but is actually a painted wax statue created as a lure by the Mr. 3 pair, who capture her. Zoro, lost in the woods while trying to find his way back to the Merry, sees and approaches a similar statue of Nami, and is captured as well. Usopp, having realized that Nami has gone missing, panics (fearing that she has been eaten by a dinosaur), but does manage to find Luffy and Vivi; from a distance, the three of them witness Dorry (who had been struggling throughout the fight due to his injuries, while hiding them from Brogy, and was further sabotaged near the end of the fight by Mr. 3) finally being cut down by Brogy. Brogy's victory is short-lived, though, and Mr. 3 captures him as well. As Luffy and Usopp both swear vengeance against the saboteurs, the Mr. 5 pair shows up with a badly beaten and unconscious Carue, whom they tortured in a failed attempt to get him to cry out for Vivi in order to lure her away from her protectors. While they are surprised to see Usopp (whom BW previously did not know about), they resolve to kill him as well, noting that since Luffy is incapacitated, he will not be able protect himself or the others. Usopp and Vivi both try to fight back, but are quickly defeated by Mr 5.'s explosive powers and Miss Valentine's weight-changing powers. After the pair severely injures and knocks out Usopp and captures Vivi, Mr. 5 further taunts the group by confirming that they were the ones who put the bomb in the wine (which was actually intended for the Straw Hats), and that they've captured Zoro and Nami; when Luffy taunts him in return, Mr. 5 delivers several explosive kicks to his face, and the pair drags a screaming Vivi away while leaving Luffy, Usopp, and Carue for dead.
They bring Vivi to Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek, who have also restrained Brogy. Mr. 3 explains that he plans to kill all four of them (Zoro, Nami, Vivi, and Brogy) by using a giant wax structure topped with candles to melt the wax into small flakes that will eventually coat them inside and out, turning them into wax statues and making them part of his "art". He traps Vivi, Zoro, and Nami on the structure by their feet and holds Brogy down with wax handcuffs next to it, while revealing to all of them the part he played in sabotaging the battle between Brogy and Dorry, much to Brogy's horror. Zoro, disgusted, manages to lift Brogy from his depression by asking the giant to try to break free of his bonds in order to fight together with him, with Zoro actually planning to cut his own feet off to get free from the structure. Before he can go through with it, though (after cutting only halfway through his ankles), Luffy, Usopp, and Carue show up to save the day; however, they struggle in their 3-on-4 battle against the four Baroque assassins. While Usopp and Carue run off with the Mr. 5 pair chasing them, Luffy follows his friends' instructions to knock the pillar over to stop the wax-coating procedure, but this actually just ends up speeding up the process. He finally manages to knock out Mr. 3, only for Miss Goldenweek to use her hypnosis-like painting powers (which are extremely effective against Luffy) to repeatedly prevent him from rescuing his friends.
Usopp and Carue come back only to find that the four prisoners are completely coated with wax now, and thus have minutes at most to live. He succeeds in freeing Luffy from Miss Goldenweek's trap, and, despite being restrained by Miss Valentine, has Carue wrap an oil-covered rope around the entire wax structure, realizing that, if they can find a way to melt the wax, their friends can still be saved. When Mr. 3 gets back up to fight, Luffy uses the flame in his hair to light the rope on fire, lighting up the entire giant wax structure. Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek run off, with Luffy and Carue chasing them. Miss Valentine tries to kill Usopp, but she is defeated by a revived Nami and Vivi, who strike her while emerging from the flames. Mr. 5 tries to shoot all three of them, but Usopp distracts him long enough for the also-revived Zoro to finish him off. Elsewhere, Luffy catches up with Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek, who try to deceive him via well-painted wax copies of Mr. 3 (hoping that Luffy will waste his time attacking the wrong one, giving them an opening to strike); however, Luffy successfully knocks out the real Mr. 3 immediately, saying he knew which one was real via "instinct." As Miss Goldenweek tries to sneak away, Carue corners her and defeats her offscreen.
Meanwhile, Sanji, back at the Going Merry, is worried since the others have been gone for so long, and leaves the ship to go look for them, stumbling upon Mr. 3's wax hideout in the process. After helping himself to some tea, he is about to leave when he hears a Transponder Snail (Den Den Mushi) ringing, and sarcastically answers it by quipping "Hello, you've reached the Crap Café," only to learn that the deep-voiced man on the other end is Mr. 0, the boss of Baroque Works, who is calling for Mr. 3. Remembering what his friends told him about Baroque, Sanji, improvising, pretends to be Mr. 3, reporting that "he" has successfully completed "his" assassination mission and that Vivi and the Straw Hats are dead. Mr. 0 congratulates him and replies that he has sent the Unluckies to deliver an Eternal Pose to Alabasta, and that he is to return immediately. The Unluckies arrive at Mr. 3's hideout and, recognizing Sanji as an imposter, try to kill him; however, Sanji successfully defeats them both, and just barely manages to preserve his cover with Mr. 0. After hanging up, Mr. 0 orders Miss All-Sunday to send Mr. 2 to assassinate Mr. 3 en route to Alabasta. Sanji takes the Eternal Pose from the now-unconscious Unluckies and heads out to find his friends.
In the aftermath of the battle, Dorry (who survived his injury in the fight and was merely unconscious) and Brogy appear to have buried the hatchet for good, and are having a victory celebration with dinosaur meat with the rest of the Straw Hat crew. Sanji arrives and tells the others about his conversation with Mr. 0, stating that, since Baroque Works now believes them to be dead, they won't have to worry anymore about being continuously pursued by assassins on the way to Alabasta. When the rest of the crew laments that, despite this good news, they'll have to wait around anyway for the Log Pose to reset, Sanji also brings out the Eternal Pose he stole, to the humorous shock of the others. With the Pose, and plenty of food thanks to Zoro's and Sanji's hunting contest (which each of them claims they won, but everyone else thinks is a tie), the crew prepares to set sail, bidding goodbye to their new giant friends with Usopp promising to visit Elbaf someday. As they're leaving the island, the Going Merry is almost swallowed by a Sea King that prevents sailors from leaving the island once they've entered it, but Brogy and Dorry work together and defeat it for the sake of helping their friends, allowing the crew to continue on their journey.
Little Garden Arc has the following tropes
- An Arm and a Leg: Narrowly averted. Zoro fully intended to cut his feet off to fight Mr. 3 and his gang, but Luffy's timely intervention made it unnecessary. Zoro still has scars around his ankles from the attempt, though.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Nami and Vivi take this pose after being freed from Mr. 3's wax and saving Usopp from Miss Valentine.
- Bear Hug: Mr. 5 grabs Usopp in one in an attempt to blow him to kingdom come by denotating his entire body. Zoro quickly puts a kibosh to that.
- Big Bad: Mr. 3, who leads the ambush against the group.
- The Man Behind the Man: Mr. 0/Crocodile again.
- Big Damn Heroes: Luffy, Usopp, and Carue have one of these moments to save Zoro, Vivi, and Nami from Mr. 3's wax powers.
- Brick Joke/Call-Back: The Going Merry gets swallowed by a giant goldfish whose poop is massive. This is one of the tall tales Usopp tells Kaya back in Syrup Village.
- Calling Your Attacks: While naturally everyone does this, Usopp intentionally calls the name of a different attack to trick Mr. 5 into swallowing a Fire Breathing Dinner instead of an explosive he could No-Sell.
- Character Development: For Usopp, who is now so inspired by the awesomeness of Dorry and Brogy that he decides he wants to visit their home island, and fearlessly charges towards Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek when he finds out that they've interfered with their eternal battle.
- Chekhov's Gunmen: Dorry and Brogy will be important in the Enies Lobby Arc, and Mr. 3 will be extremely important in the Impel Down and Marineford Arcs!
- Clothing Damage: Nami gets her shirt burned off in the fire Luffy and Usopp create to get them out of the Candle Set Trap leaving her in a bra. Strangely, Vivi and Zoro, who were in the exact same situation and the exact same fire, are fully clothed when they escape.
- Previously to that, Usopp burned off Luffy's shirt because it had one of Miss Goldenweek's Color Traps on it.
- Combination Attack/Razor Wind: "HAKOKU!" by Dorry and Brogy.
- Convection Shmonvection: Zoro, Nami, Vivi, and Brogy are straight-up set on fire by Luffy, Usopp, and Carue in order to melt the wax off of them. Not only should this have completely destroyed all of their clothes, but the hot wax melting onto their skin should have burned them all horribly. Instead, only Nami's shirt is burned off (the others don't suffer any Clothing Damage), and they emerge burn-free from the inferno, instead just covered in the smudges similar to Luffy's and Usopp's battle damage. Hell, Zoro is still on fire when he bursts out of the flames to cut down Mr. 5, and yet he's totally fine afterwards.
- Creepy Child: Miss Goldenweek.
- Designated Girl Fight: It only lasts a few seconds, but Nami and Vivi take out Miss Valentine at the very end. This is also the only fighting they got to do the entire arc.
- Disney Death: Dorry.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: 4Kids had (again) cut this entire arc out; which was important for getting another Eternal Pose to Alabasta, was how Nami got her serious fever from which led to the next arc, gave Usopp some needed Character Development and gave him a more specific dream to aspire to, and would be extremely important in the Enies Lobby Arc. Mr. 0/Crocodile would declare Mr. 3 dead for no reason, not to mention the latter's importance in the Impel Down arc, while the Eternal Pose rather hamfistedly as something that Vivi had in her pocket the whole time.
- There was also the plotholes created for Alabasta. Like Mr. 3's appearance at Rainbase, claiming he had been following the Straw Hats since Logue Town (even though BW learned about them after that).
- Evil Genius: Mr. 3.
- Failed a Spot Check: Mr. 0, while talking on the Den Den Mushi with "Mr. 3" (Sanji), apparently doesn't notice that the person he's talking to has a much deeper voice than the real Mr. 3, as well as a totally different speaking style. (Let's face it, it's kind of hard to imagine Mr. 3 answering a call with the greeting "This is the Shitty Restaurant, what can I get you?") He seems slightly perturbed by "his" odd behavior, but not nearly as suspicious as he should be; it's only much later, in the Alabasta arc, that he realizes that the guy he spoke to here was an imposter.
- Five-Man Band: These include:
- Gentle Giants: Dorry and Brogy.
- Well, not entirely gentle, since their entire culture is built around being a Proud Warrior Race Guy, and they used to be co-captains of a pirate crew with massive bounties, but they are pleasant enough to outsiders.
- Girlish Pigtails: Ms. Goldenweek.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Mr. 3's Flaming Hair was just the fire source Luffy needed to burn the rope Usopp and Karoo had set up, setting Mr. 3's wax structure ablaze and his plans crashing down into a fiery mess.
- Hypno Fool: Luffy was very susceptible to Ms. Goldenweek's hypnosis.
- Incendiary Exponent: When Mr. 5 was about to kill Usopp, Zoro stops him with one attack while his swords were on fire, thanks to Usopp freeing him from his wax prison.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Mr. 3's Candle Champion move.
- Ironic Nickname: "Little Garden"...filled with exotic vegetation and prehistoric creatures. Then we learn that it was given that name because it was a 'little garden'...to the giants there.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Mr. 5 was the one to plant a bomb in Dorry's drink and blow it up inside him. Usopp badly injures him by tricking him into swallowing an incredibly spicy projectile that leaves him spitting up fire.
- Lazy Artist: Miss Goldenweek plays this for laughs.
- Mad Artist: Mr. 3, whose idea of art is encasing people in wax, essentially turning them into wax statues for Miss Goldenweek to paint over.
- Mad Bomber/Having a Blast: Mr. 5's Devil Fruit power allows him to turn his entire body into a bomb.
- A Mech by Any Other Name: Mr. 3's "Candle Champion!"
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Straw Hats thought breaking the pillar holding Mr. 3's spinning wax structure was enough to destroy it and free them. It actually makes it spin faster.
- No-Sell: Mr. 5 eats Usopp's exploding star, then comments it tasted a little bland.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Ms. Goldenweek gave off a good one when she realized Usopp was about to burn off the hypnotic symbol keeping Luffy from ruining the entire Little Garden operation.
- Zoro, Nami and Vivi get a more comical one when Luffy breaks the pillar holding Mr. 3's giant wax structure. At first they're cheering, but then they realize the structure is falling dangerously close towards them.
- Miss Valentine has one as she is about to finish off Usopp, only to barely look over and see the revived Vivi and Nami leap out of the flames at her and deliver a simultaneous One-Hit KO to her, saving Usopp and knocking Miss Valentine out cold.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: These ones are pirates, too.
- Out of Focus: Sanji again, just like with the previous arc. Upon arriving at the island, he gets goaded into a hunting contest with Zoro, and ends up being entirely absent from all of the battles of the arc, when his assistance might have made the final fight much easier for the heroes (who spend the majority of the battle at a disadvantage in a 3-on-4 fight, with one of those three being a duck). This was even lampshaded by Usopp, and annoyed more than one fan. However, as a result, Baroque Works still doesn't know about Sanji's existence as a Straw Hat member, which proves to be absolutely vital to the Straw Hats' success in the Alabasta arc.
- This is also spectacularly subverted at the end of the arc; see Spanner in the Works below.
- Precision F-Strike: The English version of the anime has Sanji mutter "shit" - one of the only times it's uttered in the dub - when he realizes he's talking to Crocodile over the phone.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: Dorry and Brogy are this. Their code of honor from Elbaf dictates that they must fight to death to settle an argument and both of them take it very seriously, despite them being evenly matched for a century. Despite this, they remain life-long friends. Turns out the argument was because a little girl saw the Sea Kings they killed for lunch and asked which one was bigger.
- Required Secondary Powers: Mr. 5 has exploding parts of himself as his superpower, so naturally he's immune to explosions to the point swallowing an explosive has no effect.
- Reverse Psychology: When Luffy was stepping inside the betrayal symbol, he would do the opposite his friends told him to do. Vivi countered this by telling him to never step off the symbol.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Mr. 5 goes after Usopp and Carue with a fancy new-model revolver. The best part? All he has to do is breathe in it to load it with exploding, invisible bullets.
- Smug Snake: Mr. 3. Especially when he brags about taking down a criminal worth 42 million Beri (Luffy was then 30 million).
- Spanner in the Works: At the end of the previous arc, Baroque Works did not know about Usopp and Sanji being members of the Straw Hats. While BW does find out about Usopp here, they still don't know about Sanji by the end of this arc (due to him not being present for any of the battles with BW agents), which ends up saving the Straw Hats' lives in Alabasta.
- Sanji also gets a more direct moment of this, with some Guile Hero thrown in, at the end of the arc when he stumbles across Mr. 3's hideout in the woods and intercepts a call from Mr. 0; with some quick thinking, and by pretending to be Mr. 3, he is able to both convince Mr. 0 that all the Straw Hats are dead (which allows them to avoid pursuit from BW for the rest of their journey to Alabasta) and intercept an Eternal Pose to Alabasta from the Unluckies, which saves the group from having to wait a year until the log pose resets.
- Tempting Fate: Mr. 3 hides in a forest surrounded by wax copies of himself, mocking Luffy that he'll never find and defeat him because he's a dumb brute who relies purely on instinct to fight. Luffy then stretches out a kick and hits the real Mr. 3. A battered Mr. 3 asks how he could've possibly find him before he collapses. Luffy replies, "Instinct".
- Status Quo Is God: Future covers show that the truce between Dorry and Brogy will not last.
- The Stoic: Miss Goldenweek.
- The Voiceless: Miss Goldenweek...or so we thought. It turns out she just isn't very talkative.
- Wax Museum Morgue: Mr. 3 planned to turn Zoro, Nami and Vivi into this. Zoro decides to pose just in case it looks like it's hopeless for them.
- Warm-Up Boss: Mr. 3 is this. Four people did come close to dying, but he goes down pretty easy once his plan comes crashing down.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Zoro is about to be fully immobilized by wax and it doesn't look like there's any escape. So what does he do? After cutting his feet off didn't work? Don't pull a pathetic scaredy face like Vivi and Nami. Strike a cool pose. While this averts the inherent Nightmare Fuel in the Wax Museum Morgue trope, it also implies that no-one will rescue them in time, and..it's just a pretty bizarre thing to do in that situation, in general.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: We later learn of Mr. 0's inclination towards this trope when Sanji poses as Mr. 3 to tell him not to expect trouble from the Straw Hats, while receiving a Eternal Pose to Alabasta via the Unluckies...only for him to order Mr. 2 to eliminate him once he arrives.