FEATURE: The Top 5 Best Anime-Original Additions to Onigashima in One Piece

Let's celebrate the moments when the One Piece anime has gone above and beyond throughout Onigashima!



WARNING: This article contains spoilers for One Piece’s ongoing Wano arc.


So how are you all enjoying the continuing highlights of Onigashima? I’ve personally been impatiently awaiting the Robin versus Black Maria fight ever since it took place in the manga and have been delighted to see it receive so much love over these last few episodes. 


It’s also been a delight to see Brook so fully integrated into the battle as well. Having him cross blades with his former companions was an excellent way to emphasize his presence and contributions to this fight. It felt like such a natural embellishment that I’m guessing those who don't read the One Piece manga would be surprised to learn his conflict was largely anime-original content.


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Though the appearance of anime-original content in a manga adaptation is often maligned as “filler,” One Piece’s recent additions have felt anything but superfluous. These additions are not designed in the original “filler” model — as delay tactics to let the manga get a head start. Rather, they have been fleshing out the fascinating corners of a conflict that was simply too grand and multifaceted to fully capture in Oda’s chapters.


RELATED: How Does One Piece Keep Both Its World And Its Drama So Big?


Characters who never got their moment to shine in the manga, battles that were largely waged off-screen, moments of reflection setting some conflict in the context of a character’s history — Onigashima’s anime embellishments are in many ways establishing the show as this arc’s “definitive edition” with every ounce of payoff and poignancy it can muster. Today I’d like to celebrate all the ways this staff is elevating One Piece and am happy to share with you my top five anime-original Onigashima moments!


#5: Air Superiority


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Many of Toei’s additions to Onigashima fall into the category of “emotional fill-in,” highlighting and bolstering the personal dramas underlining the arc’s many confrontations. Brook falls into this category, as do the welcome additions to Carrot’s arc. Others simply take a single promising moment in the manga and turn it into a full, gloriously realized action sequence. So it goes for Sanji first confronting King on the main performance floor. In the manga, their clash is little more than a single panel, but for the anime, the opportunity to have each side’s strongest aerial warrior was embraced in full, resulting in a speedy but breathtaking airborne chase across the arena.


#4: It’s A Raid!


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Oden’s Red Scabbards have rightfully received much of Onigashima’s production glory, with sequences from Kiku’s faceoff with Kanjuro to Kaido dispatching Kin’emon all being elevated through beautifully illustrated memories and vivid choreography. But for my money, it’s their frantic charge toward piercing Kaido that serves as this production’s most generous addition to their tale. The dynamic camerawork, weighted fluidity of character movement and seemingly effortless conceptualization of an extended three-dimensional space all serve to conjure both the confusion and determination of this moment. It makes the actual collision that much more of a resounding payoff.


#3: The Heroes Arrive


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Sometimes events external to the actual One Piece narrative happen to intrude on the adaptation’s progress. This is generally used to herald the arrival of a new feature film, but for episode 1,000, this auspicious marker happened to neatly align with the Straw Hats’ collective arrival on the performance floor. As such, episode 1,000 was elevated into an overall celebration of the Straw Hats’ collective journey, acting much like a promo reel to hype the battles to come. In many ways, Wano has felt like a culmination of the Straw Hats’ adventure so far. With episode 1,000 that feeling was made visible and visceral, ratcheting up the tension just in time for the big show.


#2: Luffy Vs Kaido, Round One


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We don’t actually see that much of Luffy’s first rooftop bout with Kaido in the manga. After some brief exchanges, the focus cuts to events elsewhere on the island, only returning roofward once Luffy’s already plummeting towards the sea. This restraint certainly does a fine job of establishing Kaido as a yet-untouchable threat, but it also robs us readers of the chance to see Luffy crossing blows using his classic weapons, having yet to unlock the power he needs. The anime gleefully addresses this absence, making Luffy’s first rooftop tango into a glorious action spectacle and further emphasizing Kaido’s absurd power.


#1: Succession and Ascension


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When considering all the ways the One Piece anime has elevated Onigashima’s drama, a single name comes inevitability to mind: Megumi Ishitani, the incomparable director of One Piece episode 1,015. Her ability to weave Wano’s moments of transition into stunning expressions of One Piece’s philosophy is simply unbelievable.


RELATED: The Soul of One Piece - Megumi Ishitani's Wano Episodes


I’ve already waxed at length about her accomplishments and have only been more impressed by her latest masterpiece on re-watches. All of Wano is infused with a sense of inheriting a grand legacy and moving toward an uncertain future. In Ishitani’s vision of Luffy reaching the roof, all of those emotions are concentrated into one thunderous, anthemic punch of rebellion.


At their best, this production team’s additions to Onigashima make the anime feel “more One Piece than One Piece,” filling out the personal stories and confrontations occurring all across Kaido’s fortress. I’m perpetually thankful that Wano is receiving such love and can’t wait to see how this team embellishes its way to the finale!




Nick Creamer has been writing about cartoons for too many years now and is always ready to cry about Madoka. You can find more of his work at his blog Wrong Every Time or follow him on Twitter.

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