The Most Iconic Scenes That Everyone Remembers

The juggernaut One Piece shonen anime series has dazzled fans time and again with iconic, impactful scenes that helped make it one of the best anime to ever hit the airwaves. Some moments in One Piece helped change the game for all of shonen anime, like Luffy’s awakening of Gear 5, while other classic One Piece moments are more conventional but still mean a lot to dedicated fans.

Some of the best moments in One Piece stood out to fans because they feature an exciting, fist-pumping victory over the forces of evil or explore the main characters’ emotions and personal backgrounds in fascinating, compelling ways. With stunning visuals, fight scenes, and meaningful dialogue, the best One Piece moments remind fans why they’re still watching this voyage of 1,000 episodes. These moments will stick around in fans’ minds for many years to come.

RELATED: 10 Big Three Scenes That Changed Shonen Anime Forever

10 When Shanks Lost An Arm To Save Luffy

shanks lost an arm saving luffy in one piece

One of the most iconic One Piece moments took place early in the anime, during a flashback sequence in the East Blue saga. As a child, Luffy ate the Gum-Gum Fruit by accident but wasn’t ready to fight with it, so he got tossed into the ocean and nearly drowned. Then, a sea king showed up, and Shanks leaped in to save the day.

Shanks lost an arm to that sea king, but saving Luffy’s life was all he cared about. It was a defining moment for both characters, and it showed how selflessly strong and courageous Shanks was. That moment also inspired Shanks to lend Luffy his straw hat despite Luffy’s feelings of inadequacy.

9 When Nami Begged Luffy For Help

one piece arlong park arc featuring nami with luffy's hat

Nami the navigator betrayed Luffy’s crew and ran off with their ship so she could return home to Coco Village and finally buy it back from Arlong. Unfortunately, Arlong reneged on their deal, and a tearful Nami was out of options — except for one. She implored Luffy for aid with a simple “Help me,” and Luffy wordlessly answered “yes” when he put his straw hat on Nami’s head.

That moment had some serious emotional impact, and it also made Nami an official Straw Hat pirate long after her first meeting with Luffy. Until then, Nami had been an opportunistic rogue who merely used Luffy’s small crew, but after that moment, with Luffy fighting for her sake, Nami knew she had joined the crew for real.

8 When The Five Straw Hats Did Their Barrel Tradition

luffy's teammates put one foot each on a barrel

After the short Loguetown story arc, Luffy and his four crewmates sailed off in a thunderstorm toward the distant Grand Line, all in high spirits. They were already officially a pirate crew, but they still needed one more symbolic gesture to feel like a real team, so they performed a barrel ritual.

Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji all put one foot each on that barrel, marking themselves as a true crew as they sailed off into the unknown, and One Piece fans loved it. The five Straw Hats felt closer than ever, and it’s a shame later arcs didn’t do something similar when the next five Straw Hats joined, too.

RELATED: 10 Best One Piece Fight Scenes, Ranked

7 When Luffy’s Happy Shadow Appeared Near Sky Island

Bellamy witnesses the giant Luffy shadow in One Piece.

During the Sky Island saga, Luffy and his team learned about the fabled lost city El Dorado and Mont Blanc Noland’s vain attempts to show it to others. It seemed the story of Sky Island was doomed, but then Luffy and his crew arrived at the island in the sky and defeated its tyrannical ruler, Eneru.

The locals were overjoyed, and Luffy’s astonishing victory was immortalized in his giant shadow appearing over the ocean. It was a natural phenomenon no one had seen in many years, and it seemed fitting for Luffy’s carefree form to bring it back. In some ways, that foreshadowed Luffy’s true role as Joy Boy, the one who will free everyone with the drums of liberation.

6 When Luffy’s Crew Destroyed The World Government Flag

The World Government Flag on fire after Luffy orders Sniper King to shoot it in One Piece.

In the Water 7 saga, several noteworthy One Piece scenes unfolded, including Nico Robin’s declaration that she wanted to live, the destruction of the Going Merry, and the arrival of the Thousand Sunny. The single most memorable and impactful scene, however, was the Straw Hat crew’s attack on the World Government’s flag.

At Enies Lobby, a powerful and symbolic government island, Luffy’s crew declared war by destroying the World Government flag, even though they knew it would mean making a truly massive enemy. From that moment on, Luffy went from a roving outlaw to a proper enemy of the government, putting him on the map as a power player on the rise.

RELATED: 10 Darkest Moments in One Piece, Ranked

5 When Roronoa Zoro Took Luffy’s Pain For Him

Zoro with arms crossed covered in blood after taking Luffy's pain on Thriller Bark in One Piece

As the Thriller Bark saga was winding down, one of the warlords, Bartholomew Kuma, arrived on behalf of the Navy to punish Luffy. However, Luffy was exhausted and injured from fighting Gecko Moria, and he couldn’t easily withstand that punishment. So, Roronoa Zoro the swordsman volunteered to take Luffy’s pain instead.

Zoro endured a lot in that trial, and it was a minor miracle he survived. That noble, selfless deed stood out to One Piece fans as a reminder of Zoro’s toughness and loyalty, including Zoro’s trademark tough-guy attitude when he said, “Nothing happened.”

4 When Ace Died In Luffy’s Arms At Marineford

luffy crying over ace in one piece

The Summit War saga had a tragic conclusion for Luffy, and it was a game-changing moment for both Luffy and the audience. Luffy risked so much to save his foster brother Ace’s life, only for Admiral Akainu to deal a lethal blow, leaving Ace to die in Luffy’s arms. Ace may have died happy, but Luffy was broken.

That moment finally proved that Luffy wasn’t infalliable and that One Piece wouldn’t always deliver fairytale endings for its heroes. Luffy felt more alone than ever, unable to rely on Ace any longer as an aspiring pirate captain. It was up to Luffy to stand on his own and continue the dream he, Ace, and Sabo had together in the Goa Kingdom.

RELATED: 10 Things the One Piece Anime Does Better Than the Live Action Series

3 When Luffy Remembered He Still Has His Crew

luffy is distraught and wears bandages in one piece

Ace’s death was so profound for Luffy that it led to not just one but two iconic scenes in Luffy’s personal arc. After the Summit War ended, Luffy was next seen recovering on an island with Jimbei, and Luffy was unable to process his grief and outrage. He kept lashing out at Jimbei, but then Jimbei’s words finally reached him.

Luffy was reminded that he still had his crew, even if they were scattered all over the world, and they were just as much his family as Ace had been. Luffy’s recovery started at that moment, and it was in his most vulnerable moment that he realized how much he loved and relied on Nami, Sanji, and the others.

2 When Luffy Saved Trafalgar Law From Doflamingo

Luffy Stopping Doflamingo From Hurting Law in One Piece

Luffy had already teamed up with Trafalgar D. Water Law to take down Donquixote Doflamingo and two of the Emperors in the New World, but when Trafalgar fell, it was up to Luffy to save the day alone. Luffy arrived just in time to prevent Doflamingo from delivering the killing blow to Trafalgar, and then they started an all-out fight.

That moment was iconic for One Piece fans for many reasons, and not just because the ensuing fight included Luffy’s first use of Gear 4. Luffy’s protective gesture for Trafalgar helped prove that in Luffy’s mind, Trafalgar was a true friend and not just a fellow pirate captain. Despite Trafalgar’s harsh attitude toward Luffy, Luffy still cared about his well-being.

1 When Luffy Defeated Charlotte Katakuri

luffy is about to punch charlotte katakuri

Luffy’s battle against Charlotte Katakuri wasn’t the only major fight in the Whole Cake saga, and it wasn’t even the biggest. However, that duel is still iconic in the One Piece fandom because Luffy went up against his true equal and won despite taking the beating of a lifetime.

Charlotte Katakuri was Luffy’s true equal as a tough melee warrior with a stretchy Devil Fruit power, a huge appetite, and intense loyalty for his crew/family. He also had the benefit of strong Color of Observation Haki to predict Luffy’s moves. Still, in the end, Luffy learned to use that power for himself, leading to Luffy’s narrow victory over his Big Mom pirate counterpart.

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