Onepiece tells the adventure of Luffy and his friends searching for the ultimate treasure “Onepiece”. It can be seen as a series that is funny and goofy primarily due to the jovial character of Luffy and all the main characters. But over the years series has touched upon more dark realities of the world. Let us rank the top 10 darkest moments in the series so far. I mostly didn’t rank any individual deaths which in most cases I found it to be more sad that dark.
10. Experimentation on Children in Punk Hazard.
In Punk Hazard arc Sanji, Chopper, Franky and Nami were kidnapped by Ceasar’s men and while escaping they found a room filled with giant children. A giant child in the room begged the group to take them off the island with the other kids joining in, telling the group that they had recovered from whatever sickness they had and wished to go back home. Nami, though at first reluctant, agreed to their pleas and vowed to save them. Later Chopper examined their bodies and found they have traces of NHC10, a stimulant drug which is addictive in higher doses. Children were fed this drug disguised as a candy by Ceasar Clown.
The children began to have withdrawal symptoms and turned violent hurting others in need of the candy. With kids commenting that they were normal sized when first entered the lab, Chopper deduced that the kids were used for experiments.
Law revealed the reason the World Government has been researching the process is the ability to freely create giant soldiers. If they were to succeed in creating armies of giants, no one could stand up to them. However, by Caesar’s grudging admission, outright turning people into giants without any side-effects is impossible by scientific means. He believed that taking advantage of children’s growth by using drugs was a more practical process, although this would reduce their lifespan from the strain.
9. Doflamingo’s family crucifixion.
When Doflamingo was eight years old, his father Homing chose to cease being a World Noble and live a normal life. Despite his father renouncing his World Noble title, the people still resented them for the World Nobles. They burned down their mansion and drove the Donquixote Family into a makeshift shaft. Homing called the World Nobles for their help but was rejected. Doflamingo’s mother died from illness, due to the deplorable household they were forced into.
Doflamingo and his family were hung off a building by a large mob and the mob debates on whether to kill them or make them suffer, as well as how best to make them suffer. Individual people tell the Donquixote family about the atrocities the World Nobles inflicted on them and their loved ones, and how the tax the World Nobles demanded had sent them into poverty. One person taunts Doflamingo’s family about how terrible the World Nobles were, and asks them if they even know what pain and suffering really are. Later Doflamingo unlocked his Conqueror’s Haki to save themself from the people.
The reason why this scene is very sad and cruel is these are all the results of Homing’s noble decision to leave the Holy land. To live a privileged life right from birth and taking a decision to leave all that to live along with normal citizens is a revolutionary idea but in hindsight turned out to be a naive decision for Homing. Unfortunately people’s past experiences of cruelty and oppression by the Nobles blinded them and turned all their hatred on Doflamingo’s family. It was really sad that Homing and his family were treated that way since Homing’s decision to leave might well have paved a way for more World Nobles to take that route but this treatment made sure this no one will leave the position of World Nobles anymore. It also establishes that true equality for all people irrespective of race or birth can’t be achieved without bloodshed. Considering Onepiece’s endgame is bringing equality to all the people and breaking the current status quo, it will be interesting to see how the end unfolds.
This incident also gave rise to a psychopathic version of Doflamingo who then had nothing but anger towards his father and other peoples. He then shot his father and decapitated him trying to get back to Mariejois which turned to be a failure. He then turned into a pirate and all these could have been prevented had Homing not taken the noble decision to leave.
8. Human Auction in Sabaody Archipelago.
Sabaody Archipelago arc was entirely focused on the concept of Slavery. Initially we see a pirate captain running through the crowd and begging the people to help him remove the collar he was wearing. But Hatchan restrained Luffy from helping him as he was a slave of the World Nobles. Later the collar activated and blew him and he was then urinated on by Roswald’s family dog and shot by Saint Shalria, and then taken by the Marines. Above incident showed the extent of special treatment World Nobles receives considering an admiral will show up in case anyone offends them.
Later Camie was kidnapped and they learnt that she might be auctioned at the auction house. Auction house has people tied up from all races and each race have a price amount. During the auction a slave bit his own tongue preferring to die rather than being a slave. In the auction house, Nami planned to buy Camie with money but ultimately failed since Saint Charloss bid a higher amount.
Upon seeing Camie, Luffy rushed to the stage despite the protest of Hatchan, who was forced to use his remaining arms to try and restrain him. This unfortunately revealed his identity as a Fish-Man to the crowd, and they immediately raised a panic, confirming Robin’s earlier story of discrimination against fish people. A shot suddenly rang out, stopping the commotion. Charloss has shot Hatchan with his pistol, much to the horror of the Straw Hats.
Although Camie and others were saved later by Luffy and others, it still remains one of the darkest moment in Onepiece.
At least we get to see the greatest manga panel of all time!!
7. Yasuie death and Smile devil fruit’s secret.
Wano arc has the most darkest tone in the whole series. It was exemplified by the gruesome public execution of Yasuie. Building up to this moment, We were introduced to Tonoyasu, his daughter Toko and a poor town of Ebisu. All the people of Ebisu town including Toko and Tonoyasu were always smiling regardless of the terrible conditions they were in. Tonoyasu cared for the whole town unconditionally and was even sharing his whole food rations and the money his daughter earned.
Later Orochi found that Tonoyasu was the Ushimitsu Kozo and arranged for him to be executed publicly and also to broadcast it. We then learn that Tonoyasu was actually the former daimyo of Hakumai Yasuie who had served under the Kozuki family.
When Yasuie is publicly crucified he revealed that he lied about him being Ushimitsu Kozo inorder to get a public platform to tell everyone what he had to say. He told a lie to everyone about him being the one responsible for Kineomon’s secret message in order to save the people imprisoned and gave them directions on the new meeting place. He also lied about the crescent mark of the Kozuki Family’s allies, causing people to doubt Orochi and questioning his cowardice. Orochi being pissed at being played by Yasuie shot him several times.
Everything about this scene is gruesome, publicly crucified and executed is pretty chilling in itself, but the way the people reacted to it made this scene more terrifying. We see Toko running to save her father by using the toad oil from Usopp not knowing it to be scam. All the people kept on smiling with tears rolling down much to Zoro’s anger. Hiyori revealed that the people were stolen of their negative emotions due to the artificial devil fruit Smiles. Only 10% of Smiles succeeds and remaining will have their emotions stolen and can only smile for rest of their entire life.
Few moments later we learn about Killer of Kidd pirates who also ate a smile devil fruit.
6. Minks battle with Beast Pirates.
Jack of the Beast pirates went to Zou to get Raizo who he believed was on that island. Mink tribe tried to reason with Jack that Raizo wasn’t on the island but Jack was certain that Raizo was on that island. The Mink Tribe and the Beasts Pirates fought for five days and five nights, with neither side managing to overwhelm the other. Eventually, the minks gained the upper hand, and Jack eventually decided to use Caesar’s gas weapon. The weapon made the minks helpless, and Jack and his underlings slaughtered dozens of warriors while tying Inuarashi, Nekomamushi, and several of the strongest warriors to crucifixes. The minks were tortured for Raizo’s whereabouts, but they could only give the same answer.
Jack would have wiped out the entire Mink tribe if he didn’t have to leave inorder to save Doflamingo from navy. It is one of the most goriest moments in Onepiece so far and learning later that minks already knew about Raizo adds more value to the scene.
5. Zeff eating his own leg.
After a storm, Zeff and Sanji found themselves washed up and stranded on a tall, rocky island. Zeff gave Sanji all his food and lied to the boy that the larger bag that he kept himself were his rations (knowing that the boy would never accept it if he found out that he had no food with him at all, only treasure). With no food available Zeff smashed his own leg off with a large rock and ate it to stay alive. After nearly three months with little food in their possession, Sanji went to Zeff with the intent to kill the pirate and steal his food and was horrified to discover that Zeff had his own leg amputated. Sanji realized that Zeff had eaten his own leg much to his shock and dismay.
This scene was so dark that anime made significant changes to this part of story and couldn’t show Zeff cutting his own leg. Do read the manga chapter of this if you haven’t yet.
4. Ohara island’s destruction
Till the start of Water 7 arc, we always knew the World government and navy had many corrupted people in them. We then saw Cipher pol who would go to any extent to complete their missions regardless of the collateral damage caused. None of these prepared for the Buster call in Ohara incident. The concept of Buster call where five vice admirals and a fleet of ten ships goes to an island to destroy them regardless of the people who are staying in them is a very terrifying situation.
28 years ago, World government caught Nico Olvia and other archaeologists from Ohara studying the Void century and thus decided to destroy Ohara with a Buster call. There was an argument between Clover and Five Elders which resulted in Clover being shot and subsequent activation of Buster call. Sakazuki who was Vice admiral at that time ordered his men to fire on the evacuation ship which only had normal citizens. With whole island being destroyed, only Nico Robin managed to escape with help of Aokiji who did in honor of his friend Saul.
There are several things that make Ohara incident a chilling moment. Robin had to see her mother and all her friends die and whole island getting destroyed which gave here a permanent trauma. Sakazuki even killed the ships having normal citizen just to be thorough. Aokiji had to freeze his close friend Saul to fulfill his duty. It really showed Marines even higher ups are mere puppets to the World government.
3. Big Mom’s cannibalism
On Linlin’s sixth birthday, Mother Carmel and the Sheep’s House threw a big celebration and Linlin ate the croquembouche they had made. When she finally finished the semla and thanked her housemates, she saw that they had all disappeared. An Elbaf giant saw the whole thing and was so repulsed that he ran away, never to set foot on the island again. Streusen also saw the whole thing and remarked that Big Mom was a monster. Though never explicitly stated, it is heavily implied Big Mom ate Mother Caramel and all the other kids since Big Mom also inherited Mother Caramel’s Soul Soul fruit.
Big Mom still doesn’t know the truth and she waits for Caramel to return someday. Oda foreshadowed Big Mom’s cannibalism when Big Mom was first introduced. She was drooling and was shown to eat her own crew member which we later knew were just her Homies. Yet it is shocking to actually see cannibalism in the story.
2. Koala in Sun Pirates ship.
Fisher Tiger after freeing the slaves in Mariejois formed Sun pirates which had Jinbe and Arlong as members. On their journey they landed on an island where the natives requested that they take a former slave named Koala with them to return her to her homeland. They explained that she managed to escape from Maryjois during Tiger’s raid and ended up on their island.
Tiger obliged though Arlong showed his contempt as soon as Koala boarded their ship, even hitting her since she smiled all the time. Koala suddenly pulled out a rag and started cleaning the floor, saying she will do anything to keep them happy and apologized profusely. Jinbe then asked her if she was afraid of them. Koala stated that she is but wants to see her mother again so she gathered the courage to come aboard their ship, begging them not to kill her. It is explained that the lifestyle of a slave has been integrated into her body since if they cried or took a break, they will be killed by their owner.
Tiger branded Koala with the Sun symbol stating it was a necessary measure to free her of her burden. Koala awakened and apologized for passing out and once again said that she will not cry. Tiger yelled at her, saying that she was allowed to cry if she wished and told her that he is not the same as the Celestial Dragons. He then took his gun and threw it overboard, stating once more that he will not kill anyone. Tiger then ordered his crew that they are gonna take Koala home no matter what. Upon hearing this, Koala finally cried.
Her behavior of not crying and just cleaning the floor out of fear was so heartbreaking and so hard to watch. The most terrifying thing is her life as slave and the hardship she endured are left up to the readers’ imagination since we don’t see anything from her past life.
1. Trafalgar Law hiding in a mass of corpses to escape.
Law’s childhood coincided with the time when the symptoms of Amber Lead poisoning were at their peak within his country Flevance in the North Blue, and he was doomed to die before reaching adulthood. Though World government knew about the sickness beforehand they didn’t disclose the info to the public and neighbouring countries were at war believing the disease was contagious.
His parents being doctors tried to help the people but couldn’t do much without proper supplies and Law’s sister who was in an advanced stage of the disease was slowly dying. A nun was gathering children to be taken off the island and offered to Law to come with them. Law declined as he didn’t want to leave his sister behind, but the nun promised to come back for him. However, an extermination crew shot his parents before his very eyes and the nun and his friends were likewise killed in the raid and his parents’ hospital was burned down with his sister inside during the destruction of the country. Law managed to escape the quarantine by hiding under dead bodies being shipped outside the city.
Having lost everyone dear to him, he became nihilistic and omnicidal, hoping to destroy as much of the world as he could without believing in anything anymore. If it wasn’t for Corazon Law would have died or would have become a psychopath.
Definitely the most messed up moment in the whole series. Oda actual drew a panel of children’s corpses. It further solidified World Government’s greed and lack of any empathy. Also showed Other countries’ people being prejudiced against them and going as for us eliminating all based on fake rumour. For me the most frightening panel in whole manga is that of Law hiding in pile of corpses to escape.
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