Sanji looking irritated in One Piece

These ‘One Piece’ Filler Episodes Are Unskippable

Do you know what terrifies me most about One Piece? Is it the piratical rogues gallery of debauched villains? No. Maybe it’s the world-ruling cabal of wealthy tyrants? Not quite. Perhaps it’s the length of the show? The sheer amount of hours, days, weeks, and months that one must spend devoted to it in order to see the 1,000-plus-episode show through to the end? Closer. But not quite.

Recommended Videos

It’s the filler.

For a Big Three anime show clocking in at over 1,000 episodes, One Piece is hair-raisingly low on filler. Of its hundreds and hundreds of episodes, only around 10 percent of them are filler. That means the rest of the series is CANON. How could one man come up with SO MANY STORY POINTS? How do you possibly pace out a story that you’ve been telling for DECADES in a way that makes it interesting? Eiichiro Oda, the author of One Piece, manages to do it. But that’s not even the most terrifying bit of all.

The most terrifying part is that the filler is good.

How can a person be such a titanic genius that even his filler arcs are better than entire canon seasons of other anime? How is that possible? What god or devil did this man make a deal with? Was it at the cost of his first born child? His parents? His own soul?

Whatever it was, it was a pretty good deal, because there are some seriously good filler episodes in One Piece. And we’re about to list the best of the best.

10. “Hot Blood Special Unit Participation! Bridge Offensive and Defensive Battle!”

Nami and Chopper in episode 201 of One Piece
(Toei)

After the Skypiea story arc, Luffy and the gang are thrust into battle once more. Against whom? A low-rent pirate crew? A mid-tier Sea King? Nope. AN ENTIRE MARINE BASE. One would think the Luffy would have learned not to go messing with these guys the second he sprang Zoro out of prison, but this is Luffy. He DOESN’T think. “Hot Blood Special Unit Participation! Bridge Offensive and Defensive Battle!” marks a particularly glowing moment in this 11-episode Straw Hats vs. Marines arc.

9. “The Devil’s Fist – A Show Down! Luffy vs. Grount”

Episode 782 of One Piece Luffy and Grount fighting
(Toei)

This episode centers around one of the most underrated characters in all of the four blue seas: Grount. Grount serves as fierce rival to ol’ Monkey D., and their all-out battle serves as one of the best fights in the entire series. “The Devil’s Fist — A Show Down! Luffy vs. Grount” is especially good because we get to see what’s REALLY underneath Grount’s metal arm as he battles Luffy. Is it a .357 Magnum? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

8. “A Hungry Front – Luffy and the Marine Rookies!”

Luffy takes a bite out of chopper in One Piece
(Toei)

Like many of the arcs where the gang gets into trouble, this one began because Luffy was hungry. Kid’s a growing boy with a rubber stomach, can you blame him? After spotting a distant island, the Straw Hat Pirates drop anchor and search for food. What they find is a Marine base, and the gang has to sneak on to the island in order to steal some grub. “A Hungry Front – Luffy and the Marine Rookies!” serves as the introduction to the aforementioned All-Hunt Grount. And what a spectacular introduction it is.

7. “Burning Roller Race! Dash into the Final Round!”

Luffy screaming on roller skates
(Toei)

The Straw Hat Pirates pull a page out of the Whip It playbook and are forced to roller skate for their lives in “Burning Roller Race! Dash into the Final Round!” While Luffy of course manages to protagonist his way into a win for the group, the real stars of this episode are the girls. Nami and Nico serve as the perfect roller derby girl pair. And the gang’s matching outfits? Iconic.

6. “So Long, Marine Base! The Final Battle for Freedom”

the going merry at sea
(Toei)

“So Long, Marine Base! The Final Battle for Freedom” features one of One Piece‘s filler villains: Jonathan. While many of the Straw Hat’s adversaries use brawn to get the upper hand, Jonathan resorts to using BRAIN. He floods the G-8 base and grounds the Straw Hats’ pirate ship, the Going Merry. Plus his clever use of traps serves as inspiration for Usopp’s fighting style down the line!

5. “Luffy and Sanji’s Desperate Decision! Large Rescue Maneuvers!”

Sanji looking irritated in One Piece
(Toei)

Who doesn’t love a prison break? I mean … cops, I guess? But no one likes the police anyway so who cares! “Luffy and Sanji’s Desperate Decision! Large Rescue Maneuvers!” focuses on Sanji and Luffy as they attempt to rescue the rest of their crew from confinement. Sanji and Luffy’s banter makes this one especially shine, considering that we don’t get to see these two interact much until much later in the series during the Whole Cake arc. The villainous Jonathan makes a chilling appearance in this episode as well.

4. “And Then the Legend Begins! To the End of the Rainbow!”

Captain Wetton in a robot battle suit
(Toei)

“And Then the Legend Begins! To the End of the Rainbow!” pits Luffy against his piratical antithesis, the pirate Captain Wetton. Wetton serves as a complete anathema to all of Luffy’s ideals. He is selfish where Luffy is giving, he is cowardly where Luffy is brave, and he is cruel where Luffy is kind. Wetton’s malodorous personality traits make his downfall all the more satisfying at the hands of the happy-go-lucky rubber boy. Plus the timing of Zoro cutting the electricity at the end of the episode is comedy gold.

3. “Angry Finale! Cross the Red Line!”

The going merry plows through the waves in one piece
(Toei)

While this early episode may seem quaint when compared to the challenges the Straw Hats face on The Grand Line, “Angry Finale! Cross the Red Line!” serves as both an eye-opening world-builder episode and a showcase of one of the series’ better villains. Luffy fights Eric, a sharply dressed man with equally sharp combat abilities. Eric ate the sickle sickle Devil Fruit, which allows him to use his razor sharp nails to cut people to ribbons. The episode also delves in to the mysterious motivations of the world-ruling Celestial Dragons, something that the series doesn’t do all that much.

2. “The Implacable Three — A Big Chase After the Straw Hats!”

Gourt tries to knife Luffy
(Toei)

Grount returns! And “The Implacable Three — A Big Chase After the Straw Hats!” is nothing but one giant, flashy fight! Sometimes that’s all you need! Forget the world building and the emotional character backstories! We just wanna see people get clobbered in the face in the most beautifully animated way possible! And that’s what you get in this episode—all killer no filler. Well … I mean, it’s all filler too. You get what I mean.

1. “A Heartbreaking Duel – Luffy vs. Sanji – Part 1”

Sanji looking perturbed in one piece
(Toei)

In theory, flashback episodes suck. They’re simply a way to bloat an arc by reminding the audience of useless story bits that they’ve all already seen before. In reality, some flashback episodes are AWESOME. This is one of them. “A Heartbreaking Duel – Luffy vs. Sanji – Part 1” dives back into how Luffy and Sanji’s friendship began, which is made all the more potent considering they’re about to have a knock-down-drag-out duel. If there was ever a filler episode to fill your eyes with tears, it would be this one.

(featured image: Toei)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article What Do You Mean Gojo Satoru CAN’T Do Black Flash?!
Gojo Satoru after killing Hanami in Shibuya during Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
Read Article Seeing Monsters Get Chopped to Bits Is Just Part of the Fun in ‘Kaiju No 8’
Kafka transforming into a Kaiju for the first time in Kaiju no. 8
Read Article Revisiting ‘One Piece’s Long, Super-Hyped Road That Ended in Kaido’s Defeat
Luffy in Gear 5 form from One Piece
Read Article Who WOULDN’T Want To Smell Like Gojo Satoru?
Gojo Satoru peers over his sunglasses in Season 2 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Read Article Will We Get ‘The Eminence in Shadow’ Season 3?
Cid Kagenou from The Eminence in Shadow Season 2
Related Content
Read Article What Do You Mean Gojo Satoru CAN’T Do Black Flash?!
Gojo Satoru after killing Hanami in Shibuya during Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
Read Article Seeing Monsters Get Chopped to Bits Is Just Part of the Fun in ‘Kaiju No 8’
Kafka transforming into a Kaiju for the first time in Kaiju no. 8
Read Article Revisiting ‘One Piece’s Long, Super-Hyped Road That Ended in Kaido’s Defeat
Luffy in Gear 5 form from One Piece
Read Article Who WOULDN’T Want To Smell Like Gojo Satoru?
Gojo Satoru peers over his sunglasses in Season 2 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Read Article Will We Get ‘The Eminence in Shadow’ Season 3?
Cid Kagenou from The Eminence in Shadow Season 2
Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.