One Piece (2023) Season 1 Ending, Explained

Based on the manga series of the same name, Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, called the Straw Hat Pirates. The first season lays the grounds for the story with unlimited potential. The story begins with Luffy’s dream of finding the lost treasure of Gol D. Roger, known as One Piece, and becoming the King of the Pirates. While Luffy is enthusiastic and full of vigor, the path to his dreams is full of perils. This season shows us a fraction of the challenges he will face in making his dream come true. Here’s what the ending of this season means for him. SPOILERS AHEAD

One Piece Season 1 Recap

Image Credit: Casey Crafford/Netflix

Ever since Luffy was little, he looked up to a pirate named Shanks and wanted to be a part of his crew. Eventually, however, he decided to go out on the sea on his own and find his own crew. He found this confidence after he ate a Devil Fruit that turned his body into rubber, making him strong enough to fight the enemies he’ll encounter along the way. But first, he must make some friends.

Luffy’s first friend is Koby, whom he encourages to run away from the captivity of a cruel pirate called Alvida. Together, they end up in Shells Town, where Koby expresses his desire to become a Marine. Here, Luffy meets Zoro and Nami, who become a part of his crew, even if unintentionally. While Koby is left behind, Luffy moves on to expand his team and make his way to the Grand Line, whose map he finally has. However, there are many others who want that map, and when they discover that Luffy has it, they attack him with everything they’ve got. On top of that, Luffy also has Vice Admiral Garp chasing him across the East Blue.

One Piece Season 1 Ending: Is Arlong Dead?

Just when it looked like things were going rather well for the Straw Hat Pirates, Arlong arrives and ruins everything. After they left Buggy in a disintegrated state, he was found by Arlong. When the pirate discovers that Luffy and his friends have the map, he follows them to Baratie, where he and Luffy have a fight. Knowing that Luffy wouldn’t be able to defeat him, Nami confesses to having been working for Arlong all this while. She claims she was never part of Luffy’s crew, but he refuses to accept.

Image Credit: Casey Crafford/Netflix

Later, it is revealed that Arlong raided Nami’s village and killed her mother. To save her people, she decided to work for Arlong. They had a deal where she would buy the village from him for a set amount so he wouldn’t harass them anymore. However, Arlomg never intended for her to leave, so when she reveals she has the money, he sends the Marines after her. They confiscate her treasure, and she is back to square one. Now that she knows she has caught herself in a bind and will never truly be free, she asks for Luffy’s help in defeating Arlong and saving her people.

In the final episode, the Straw Hat Pirates launch an attack on Arlong and his men. While the others fight Arlong’s men, Luffy and Nami go after the leader. After a long fight in which Luffy realizes he is not strong enough to beat Arlong, the young pirate decides to take a different route. He knows that Arlong kept Nami all these years because she was the only one who could make a map for him. So, instead of killing Arlong, Luffy decides to end his dream by destroying everything he’d worked for.

He starts destroying the pillars to bring the roof down and destroy the whole place and everything within it. Arlong realizes his plan but is unable to stop Luffy and even lands a punch or two to push Luffy’s plan forward. In the end, the whole building collapses, and Luffy succeeds. His friends watch with bated breaths, waiting for him to come out of the rubble. He makes his way out, revealing that he has survived and won the fight. Arlong, however, is nowhere to be seen. Does this mean he is dead?

Because we don’t see a body and considering that Arlong is much stronger than Luffy, it is safe to assume that Arlong has survived this ordeal. Later, Garp and the other Marines arrive on the scene, and he talks about arresting Arlong’s men, but there is no mention of Arlong himself. This means he might have run away, knowing he would be arrested if the Marines found him.

So, if he is alive, does it mean we will see Arlong again? The answer is up in the air. In the manga series, once Arlong is defeated, he doesn’t come back, even though it was confirmed by the author that he survived. Considering how many more challenges await the Straw Hat Pirates, the Netflix series has a lot of options and storylines to consider in the coming seasons, so they might not be as keen on bringing Arlong back and concocting a new storyline for him. However, a TV show works differently than a manga, so the show’s creators might find a way to bring him back after all.

What Happens to Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates?

With Arlong gone, Nami gets her freedom back, and her village is revived. But then, Garp and the Marines arrive. The Vice Admiral is in no mood to let his grandson go, and they fight, in which Garp proves to be much more powerful than Luffy. No matter how much the odds seem against him, the young pirate doesn’t back down and continues fighting. In the end, when Garp has him by the throat, Luffy starts laughing, and Garp is reminded of Gol D. Roger, the last King of the Pirates, who laughed just like that during his execution.

Image Credits:Casey Crafford/Netflix

The comparison between Roger and Luffy makes Garp realize what Mihawk had told him. The two pirates seem to have some uncanny similarities, and who knows, Luffy just might do what no one else could. Maybe he could find One Piece. Garp lets his grandson go and reveals that he fought him to find out if he had the willpower to be a pirate. He was testing Luffy, looking for his weakness, checking if he would give up at the slightest inconvenience. However, Luffy proved himself capable of being a pirate. So, Garp gives him his blessings and lets him leave for the Grand Line to embark on his quest for One Piece.

In the end, the Straw Hat Pirates assemble and talk about their dreams. Luffy reiterates his desire to become the King of Pirates, Zoro wants to become the best swordsman in the world, Nami wants to make a map of the world, Usopp wants to become a brave warrior of the sea, and Sanji wants to find the All Blue. As Nami navigates them, she points out the presence of a weird mountain where the water is going uphill. She thinks this is an anomaly, a misprint perhaps. This refers to the Reverse Mountain, meaning they are going to the Grand Line.

The mention of the Reverse Mountain shows that the second season has many more challenges lined up for the brave pirates, but that’s not it. Following his victory over Arlong, a bounty is placed on Luffy’s head, consolidating his position as a pirate. The bounty is huge, showing that the government considers him a significant threat. The bounty means that every pirate, pirate hunter, Marine, and anyone interested in making a lot of money would be after Luffy now. This is on top of the enemies they’ve already made. In one scene, we find Buggy and Alvida in a bar talking about collaborating to get their hands on Luffy because both have a bone to pick with him. This shows that Luffy’s path ahead is full of dangers and enemies.

Who is the Mystery Man at the End?

Speaking of enemies, the season ends with the shot of a mystery man whose face is not revealed, but we see him looking at Luffy’s bounty poster, which means he will be after the pirate as well. While no name is revealed, the presence of the two cigars is a strong giveaway. This is Captain Smoker, a formidable Marine dedicated to bringing pirates to justice. His presence in the final shot shows that he will be an important part of the storyline next season, probably even serving as the main antagonist.

Without giving away too much about the Captain, we can tell you that he sees the world in grey, meaning he works by his own moral code. Not everyone is completely good or bad for him, and he doesn’t shy away from collaborating with less bad people to catch the worse ones. Another thing to know about the Captian is that he has powers after eating a Devil Fruit, which allows him to transform himself into pure smoke.

The Captain’s location is Loguetown, where the infamous Gol D. Roger was executed. This is also one of the last places before one begins their journey towards the Grand Line, which means that Luffy and his crew will have to pass through this town, bringing them face to face with the Captain. How the events unfold from there remains to be seen. But the Netflix series has dropped enough threads for its audience to hold on to and later explore in the second season.

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