An excellent finale delivers heaps of narrative and emotional payoff while teasing an inevitable second season.
This recap of the 2023 Netflix series One Piece Season 1 Episode 8, “Worst in the East”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the ending of One Piece Season 1.
So, the battle lines for the finale have been fairly clearly drawn — Arlong and his Fishman pirates, versus… well, basically everyone else, but certainly the residents of Coco Village. Luffy, Nami, Sanji, Usopp, and Zoro get there to find the place razed to the ground as punishment for Nami’s attempts to buy its freedom.
In flashbacks that probably should have been in Episode 7, we see Nami getting her sawfish tattoo, and working on maps for Arlong’s crew, which is important information since I was previously wondering how she justified going on all the raids and such. As it turns out, she didn’t — she quietly worked, squirreled away enough Berry to buy back Coco Village, and assumed Arlong would keep his word.
She should have known better, but here we are.
One Piece Season 1 Episode 8 Recap
Vice-Admiral Garp and his Marines arrive at the Conomi Islands right as the Straw Hat Pirates are about to march on Arlong Park. Captain Nezumi is trying to pin the attack on Coco Village on Luffy, but nobody’s buying it. It is Luffy, though, who causes the giant ruckus at Arlong’s base. He and Nami go to confront Arlong in the map room while Zoro, Sanji, and to a lesser extent Usopp, take on the other fishmen outside.
How does Luffy defeat Arlong?
The climactic fight has a similar structure to other “boss fights” of the season. Usopp and Sanji both get their moments of victory to call out their special moves against Arlong’s chief henchmen. Meanwhile, Luffy fights Arlong in his map room, realizes he might not be able to beat him one-on-one, and decides instead to destroy the room itself, and all the comprehensive work Nami has been forced to do for the crew over the years.
This is hitting Arlong where it hurts since he cares more about conquest and fishman superiority than he does about anything else. Plus, Luffy axe-kicking Arlong’s base to rubble, collapsing the entire structure on his head, makes for a tremendous visual.
Why does Garp let the Straw Hat Pirates go?
Naturally, the Marines arrive after the battle and Garp orders Koby to arrest Luffy. He disobeys the order, though, and so too does Helmeppo, so Garp takes matters into his own hands.
Luffy is no match for Garp. The fight isn’t close. However, when Luffy doubles down on his intention to find the One Piece and become King of the Pirates, laughing like Gold Roger did, Garp sees the great pirate in his grandson and remembers what Zeff had said to him in Episode 7. Garp orders the Marines to lower their weapons and look for the scattered remnants of Arlong’s crew. The Straw Hat Pirates are free to go.
Garp reveals that he was merely testing Luffy to make sure he was committed to his path. Now he’s satisfied that he is, Luffy is on his own.
What is Luffy’s bounty?
Nami shares a touching farewell with Nojiko, and Koby visits Luffy to show him his first wanted poster. Thanks to Captain Nezumi, Luffy now has the highest bounty in the East Blue, thirty million Berry. The two promise each other they’ll be good Marines and good pirates, respectively, and part ways once again.
Luffy’s wanted poster — which also depicts the back of Usopp’s head — spreads far and wide, and we see various characters see it with enormous pleasure and pride, from Makino in Foosha village to Kaya, to Zeff. It also reaches Buggy, who escaped during the battle at Arlong Park, Alvida, who seems to be working with him, and Garp, who rather than punishing Koby and Helmeppo, offers to personally train them to become stronger.
Dracule Mihawk also delivers Luffy’s wanted poster to Shanks, whose entire crew drinks in celebration of Luffy’s success.
Who burned Luffy’s wanted poster at the end of One Piece Season 1?
Aboard the Going Merry, Luffy and Sanji have planted several of the tangerine trees from the Coco Village grove to remind Nami of home. And Usopp has finally designed a new Jolly Roger — a giant skull and crossbones wearing a straw hat.
The final scene of the season as the Going Merry sets sail for the Grand Line is of a mysterious figure burning Luffy’s wanted poster with one of two cigars. Sounds like Smoker, another Marine Vice-Admiral who may well be positioned as the villain in the second season.
You can stream the 2023 series One Piece Season 1 Episode 8, “Worst in the East” exclusively on Netflix. What did you think of the ending of One Piece Season 1? Let us know in the comments.