One Piece Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – Who is Kuina?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 31, 2023 (Last updated: September 4, 2023)
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One Piece Season 1 Episode 4 Recap - Who is Kuina?


One Piece closes off the Syrup Village arc with a distinct slasher tone, an all-action climax, some welcome backstory, and a last-minute twist.

This recap of the 2023 Netflix series One Piece Season 1 Episode 4, “The Pirates Are Coming”, contains spoilers.

“The Pirates Are Coming” follows directly on from Episode 3 in a way that previous episodes haven’t, closing off the two-part Syrup Village arc with a big climactic finale, a new crewmember, and many new problems.

It also provides a welcome bit of backstory for Zoro, who has been a pretty inscrutable – though undeniably cool – character thus far, so that’s nice.

One Piece Season 1 Episode 4 Recap

After the ending of the previous episode, Zoro is at the bottom of a well with Merry’s corpse.

Why Kuro wouldn’t kill the principal physical threat to his safety is anyone’s guess, but here we are. It’s a good excuse for flashbacks, at least, as Zoro reflects on his past as he tries to summon the spirit to climb out of the well, The Dark Knight Rises-style.

Who is Kuina?

Zoro thinks back to Shimotsuki Village, seven years in the past, and specifically of his rival Kuina, a fellow swords(wo)man in training who has superior skills than even him. When she offers him advice, he snaps at her, challenging her to a duel with real swords to really prove who’s better.

Even with the real blades, Kuina beats Zoro handily. He’s fuming, but she turns the tables on him by reminding him that one day, he’ll be much bigger and stronger than her and able to beat her regardless of how skilled she is. “A girl can beat a boy,” she says, “but no woman can beat a man.”

Zoro doesn’t like this idea, so they agree to practice every day until one of them becomes the greatest.

However, one day Kuina doesn’t come to practice. She has died in an accident, and Zoro keeps her sword in her honour, and in honour of the promise they made. It’s this memory that finally inspires Zoro to climb to freedom.

How do the Marines capture Luffy?

Meanwhile, Usopp is still trying to convince Koby and Helmeppo of what’s happening at Kaya’s mansion. The latter is sceptical, since his father famously killed the pirate captain Kuro. However, when Usopp namedrops Luffy, Koby knows he’s being genuine and accompanies him to the mansion.

Kuro puts on his very best, most unflappable manner, and is fairly convincing – certainly convincing enough for Helmeppo, who doesn’t want to be there in the first place. When they ask about Luffy, though, Kuro sees an opportunity. Since he’s still comatose after consuming Kaya’s poisoned soup, and he had already instructed Sham and Buchi to dump him in the well, he just hands Luffy over and pretends he’s a drunk degenerate.

Does Koby arrest Luffy?

Usopp flees and runs to Kaya instead. And while she doesn’t believe his fanciful tale at first, or at least would rather not, Nami promptly arrives and confirms it. Kuro and his crew lock the place down and begin to hunt them, at which point the episode takes on a real slasher vibe.

This works as a tense time-killer while we work to get everyone else back in position. As the Marines are taking Luffy away, he begins vomiting the poison up and coming to. Helmeppo wants to kill him and take him back to Garp dead, but Koby isn’t having it, despite Helmeppo’s – probably true – reminders than Garp is just using him for his connection to Luffy.

Luffy wants to return to the mansion and help his friends. When Zoro arrives after climbing out of the well, he knocks out Helmeppo, and Koby has to decide whether to allow Luffy to go. He says he’s arresting him, but he makes no effort to physically stop him from returning.

Things kick off in the mansion for the big finale, with Zoro taking on Sham and Buchi while Luffy fights Kuro. The Straw Hat Pirates emerge victorious, with Luffy landing a gigantic stretchy-necked headbutt as a finishing move.

One Piece Season 1 Episode 4 Ending Explained

With the Marines on their tail, the crew need to escape. Kaya gifts them the ship they were looking at in Episode 3, and Luffy names it the Going Merry in honour of her fallen friend. Usopp also joins the crew after saying a tearful goodbye to Kaya. Kuro escapes on a rowboat.

When Koby returns to Garp, he apologizes for failing his first mission, but Garp considers it a success since he managed to flush the pirates out. He follows the Going Merry with his spyglass.

Aboard the ship, Usopp makes a new Jolly Roger, and he and Luffy bicker about who the captain is. Luffy claims it’ll be smooth sailing from that point on, tempting fate. Immediately, they come under cannon fire from the Marine vessel.

When Luffy surveys their assailants through his own spyglass, he’s shocked to see Garp. “Grandpa?” he exclaims, much to the show of his crew.

You can stream the 2023 series One Piece Season 1 Episode 4, “The Pirates Are Coming” exclusively on Netflix.

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