One Piece: The Arabasta Arc, Explained

Featuring the Straw Hats’ battle against the Warlord Crocodile, the crew’s adventures in Arabasta had a huge influence on the rest of the series.


  • Arabasta Arc marked a turning point for One Piece, introducing themes of political uprising and corruption.
  • Crocodile’s sinister power play in Arabasta set the stage for future arcs, shaping the crew’s growth.
  • The epic final battle in Alubarna showcased Luffy’s growth and laid the groundwork for the series’ world-building.

Ringing in the climax of the Arabasta Saga, the second in the series, the Arabasta Arc is the first narrative peak in the Straw Hat Pirates’ initial journey through the Grand Line, which began with the Reverse Mountain Arc. Expanding on the scale, stakes, and drama that pervaded every story arc before it, Arabasta was a turning point for Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, and it would serve as a model for virtually every major story arc that followed.

Following their exploits in Whisky Peak, Little Garden, and Drum Island, the Straw Hat Pirates — accompanied by Princess Nefertari Vivi and Karoo — continued their investigation of the impending coup d’état staged by the mysterious organization known as Baroque Works. Introducing new allies and adversaries, Arabasta combined enthralling action and storytelling with themes of famine, political uprising, and corruption. It also introduced several key elements of One Piece’s lore, which would go on to have a significant impact later in the series.

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A Kingdom On The Verge Of Ruin


The initial seeds of the Arabasta Arc were sown as early as the Whisky Peak Arc. It was here that the Straw Hats first met Nefertari Vivi and her ally Igaram, who had infiltrated the ranks of Baroque Works in order to unravel the organization’s scheme to overthrow the royal family of the Arabasta Kingdom. After facing off against a host of Baroque Works agents, the crew learned of the growing conspiracy against the government of Arabasta, and resolved to aid Vivi in her quest to save her kingdom. This sequence also marked the first appearance of Nico Robin, who was using the alias of Miss All-Sunday.

Much like preceding story arcs such as Syrup Village or Arlong Park, the plot kicked off with Luffy agreeing to help someone in need, although the scale and dangers of this conflict would be like nothing the crew had encountered before. Subsequent skirmishes with the Baroque Works agents Mr. 5, Mr. 3, Miss Valentine, and Miss Goldenweek in Little Garden, shed more light on the truth of what was happening in Arabasta, before the crew finally arrived at the country’s shores. Just before this, a small detour to Drum Island saw a new addition to the crew in the form of Tony Tony Chopper, who became the crew’s doctor. Upon reaching the Arabasta Kingdom, Luffy and his allies had a challenging journey ahead of them, as they dealt with forces that could easily destroy them without so much as batting an eyelid.

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Crocodile’s Sinister Ploy For Power


The spark that ignited this whole saga was the plan hatched by Crocodile and his underlings in Baroque Works to dethrone King Cobra. He devised “Operation Utopia” — a scheme to discredit the monarch by masquerading as a hero to the people while driving off invading pirates with his powerful Logia Devil Fruit, the Suna Suna no Mi. Simultaneously, the agents of Baroque Works capitalized on the harsh desert climate of Arabasta, by framing King Cobra for using Dance Powder to direct the country’s limited rainfall towards Alubarna, the national capital.

In reality, the problem really came down to Crocodile using both his Devil Fruit abilities and the Dance Powder to engineer a drought in the region. Baroque Works agents covered this up by first faking an accident where Dance Powder was accidentally discovered in one of the country’s towns, Nanohana. Following this, they smuggled large quantities of it into the royal palace in Alubarna, which severely tarnished Cobra’s credibility. As the citizens of Arabasta began to suspect the Nefertari family for the country’s diminishing rainfall, Baroque Works agents infiltrated a faction of rebels and fanned the flames of revolt.

Around the time the Straw Hat Pirates arrived in the country, the spark of rebellion had turned into a raging inferno, and the final battle for the kingdom was imminent. Crocodile played his hand by setting up a Baroque Works agent in the royal army to “accidentally” fire at the rebels, and he also planted a bomb with a five-kilometer blast radius to go off at the very center of the area where the fighting was expected to take place. His goal with all of this was to acquire the Nefertari family’s throne, along with the whereabouts of the Ancient Weapon Pluton, which was rumored to be hidden in Arabasta.

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The War For The Desert Kingdom


Civil war soon broke out as tensions between the rebels and the royal guard hit a fever pitch. This arc marked the first time that Luffy had to face an opponent who was significantly stronger than him, so much so that it took three tries for him to finally defeat Crocodile. Each of his initial battles against the Warlord left him on the verge of death, and it was only sheer dumb luck that allowed him to survive in both instances.

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Needless to say, the battle of Alubarna was a spectacle worthy of the build-up that preceded it, holding many significant moments for the Straw Hats. From Zoro learning how to cut through steel against Mr. 1, to Nami’s unlikely victory over Miss Doublefinger, every single one of the crew’s individual fights highlighted how much they had grown since joining Luffy on his quest to become the next Pirate King. The tension was palpable, and the finishing blows were emphatic, with Luffy’s inventive strategy to use moisture against Crocodile being a story beat that would influence how Oda wrote the final battles for future story arcs.

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In the aftermath of an epic final fight between Luffy and Crocodile at the Tomb of the Kings near one of Arabasta’s secretly hidden Poneglyphs, the Straw Hat Pirates prevailed and restored the Nefertari family’s reputation. Crocodile was subsequently arrested and thrown in Impel Down, with Captain Smoker and his forces made to take the credit for foiling his plot, despite their protests about the same.

As the crew journeyed onward from Arabasta, they also had to bid a tearful farewell to Vivi and Karoo, who chose to remain behind. This yielded one of the arc’s most iconic moments, as the crew acknowledged their eternal friendship with the duo after the epic adventure they had been on together.

What Makes Arabasta So Important?

One Piece The Desert Princess and the Pirates Adventures in Alabasta movie

In hindsight, Baroque Works, and its mysterious leader, Mr. 0, were the perfect avenue to depict the ills plaguing the World Government’s rule in One Piece for the first time. One manifestation of this could be seen in how Captain Smoker, a sworn enemy of the crew, chose to ally with them temporarily in the final battle instead of siding with the Warlord Crocodile, who was allied with the Marines. In turn, this also helped establish the convoluted role of the Shichibukai in maintaining order on the seas.

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Arabasta introduced Luffy’s sworn brother, Portgas D. Ace, and the Whitebeard Pirates, setting up plot threads that would be resolved in the Marineford Arc. This arc also introduced Zoan-type Devil Fruits used as weapons, along with crucial revelations about the Poneglyphs, the Void Century, the True History, and the Will of the D., which happened due to Nico Robin’s involvement.

Crocodile’s plan to overthrow Nefertari Cobra as ruler of Arabasta would also be used as a template for the narrative threads in future story arcs, with parallels seen in the subsequent Dressrosa and Wano Country Sagas in the New World. From the massive battle at the climax of the arc, to the countdown to destruction trope, and even the order in which the Straw Hat Pirates took on their opponents during the war, this saga helped create many of the elements that would reoccur throughout long arcs in later parts of the story, which highlights how important it was in the development of Oda’s own writing style.

Additionally, it featured the first real instance of the long-form story structure that Eiichiro Oda would employ heavily in later parts of the series, following the shorter conflicts of the East Blue Saga. In short, Arabasta laid the groundwork for the rich world-building that would come to define the series further down the line, while also telling a compelling story on a grand scale, that reflected One Piece‘s core themes.

One Piece is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

One Piece-9


Release Date

October 20, 1999




Toei Animation


Eiichiro Oda

Number of Episodes


Streaming Service(s)

, Netflix
, Hulu

See at Hulu

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