After the conclusion of the straw hats adventures on the Sky Islands they came back to open sea by riding a flying octopus, but because of reasons they splashed down on G8 Marine Base. After 11 solid and incredibly entertaining episodes I was very satisfied and super excited for what was about to come. Then the Davy Back Fight Arc started and on my first watch the episode felt like filler. So I went to Google and search for a list of One Piece filler episodes and I couldn’t believe it, the Davy Back are Canon while the G8 Arc were filler. Below a pretty accurate representation of my reaction:
1. When they are falling from the sky riding the octopus they don’t have a clue of where they are going to land.
They are just soaring through the skies when suddenly the octopus shrinks and they fell down to what we all expected, in the water. After they compose themselves from the fall to continue their journey this happened:
Of all the places in the grand line they could have fallen into, they fell on a maximum security base of the Marines. Now the story shifted from simply landing on the sea to figuring out how they are going to escape. In the manga, they just fell from the sky, got scared a bit and then they continue their journey. But in G8 they fell in the worst possible place for a pirate, how are they going to get out? What will they do now? Is open to so many possibilities that makes it exciting.
2. Each straw hat are faced with situations that really helped them grow as individual characters.
Basically this arc had solid character development for each of the straws hats.
Sanji demonstrates the importance of not wasting food and cooks for hundreds of marines, even though he is a pirate. His belief of feeding the hungry, even when they are his enemies, is exemplified excellently here.
Zoro gets captured because of Nami intervention, but until that moment he was hopelessly lost on the base. The way he is caught here fits perfectly with the story because he is completely surrounded without solid ground to fight and realised he needed to get caught and wait for his crew to rescue him. Usually Zoro fight with brute force, but in this case he was outwitted by a very smart opponent. The character development of Zoro relies on his unconditional trust to his crew.
Chopper demonstrate the true importance of being a doctor. His strong beliefs of putting peoples lives over anything is masterfully played here. Nami even tried to convinced Chopper they should escaped, but Chopper hold strong to his beliefs. Excellent character development for Chopper, helping his enemies to maintain his beliefs.
Nami true position in the crew is shown very well when she found out their gold was stolen by the marines. Nami basically is the one who makes the rational decisions of what the crew is going to do, and although Luffy has the final say, she is very persuasive and knows how to “manipulate” or talk the crew into doing what she wants. Her character is monumentally important in the crew and they definitely needed the gold to fix Merry in the Water 7 arc.
Robin (which at this point we only know has a genius intellect) does what she does best, escaping from the Navy. But the big difference here is that she takes into account the rest of the crew. This is a very subtle development for her character, but after we learn of her past her actions here become more noticeable.
Usopp main concern when landing in the base was Merry. He wanted to make sure she was without harm and this helps builds even more how much he cares about Merry. But what makes Usopp stands out is the massive lie he made making Inspector Shepherd into Condoriano. Man that was so funny! Usopp causes a momentary confusion among the marines buying Robin some time to investigate. Also thanks to Usopp dials they were able to escape successfully.
Luffy in this arc is super funny. To me this arc cemented Luffy “no sense of tension” and “I’ll do what I want when I want” mentality. Contrary to all other arcs the main villain (Commander Jonathan or the Old Fortress Guy as Luffy calls him) of this story is not someone who is a fighting powerhouse. Instead he uses his smarts and resources to try to capture the straw hats and Luffy immediately noticed that he is tough adversary and that he shouldn’t let his guard down. This was a perfect adversary for Luffy because is completely different from what we seen so far and is an opponent that cannot be beaten by brute force.
3. The decision to spend most of the gold for repairing Merry has a more meaningful impact compared to the manga.
In the G8 Arc their gold was stolen and it had more urgency to get it back. In the manga they simply discussed it after they fell from the sky, but since they had the gold safely stored there is just the sentiment of using it for repairs instead of a sentiment with urgency of working together to get it back to repair their friend Merry.
4. Con D. Oriano
I absolutely love the Condoriano (Inspector Shepard) character (or like people on One Piece subreddit called him “Con D. Oriano”). Thank Usopp for making Condoriano part of the straw hats crew, which by the way they wouldn’t have been able to escape without his great assistance. This character was funny, annoying and very original.
5. Commander Jonathan
This character is what made this arc so engaging. This guy is kind of lazy, with a relaxing and meditating personality, but he is a very skilled strategist, being at least one step ahead of everyone else. Also he is a vice-admiral so he no a pushover by any means as shown in this shot:
At that moment commander Jonathan was still trying to figure out the purpose of the straw hats landing on his base. Since he personally witness Merry falling from the sky his first conclusion must have been that his base was under attack. But after his encounter with Luffy he finally figure out that they simply fell there by accident and they didn’t have bad intentions. In that moment he decided to play with them instead of going completely out to capture them.
In the end Jonathan accomplished his goal of bringing his soldiers together. He actually didn’t have any aspirations of capturing the straw hats so, as a brilliant leader, he uses the opportunity to his advantage. Now with the straw hats “invasion data” he had enough evidence to let marine headquarters know how important G-8 is. This characters and this arc proves that you don’t necessarily need an epic fist battle with ridiculous amount of destruction between two very powerful opponents (and by ridiculous I’m referring to Luffy vs Doflamingo). Sometimes you just need a more subtle, but still exciting story and to accomplish that a character with a strategic mind like Jonathan is key. To sum up I leave you with this awesome meme: