The Syrup Village Arc is one of my least favourite arcs in the entire manga, and it introduces my least favourite Straw Hat member… Usopp.
Now this isn’t a discussion about how useless Usopp is, or how much of a coward, or even how he is only around to foreshadow future events in the story, it is a review of the arc itself, so let’s break it down.
At the beginning of the arc we meet Klahador, Kaya, Usopp and the Usopp Pirates. Klahador, or Kuro, is by far the only interesting person in this group, and he’s as stale as a cracker. The only thing interesting about him is how smart he is.
I mean the guy is a genius, and the only reason his plan failed was because of Luffy, Nami, and Zoro who happened to show up as his plan was being put into action.
There wasn’t a lot of fighting in the arc. Luffy fights Kuro, obviously, and Zoro takes on some cat brothers who give him a bit of a hard time, but he can handle it.
Nami is pre Alabasta, so she isn’t useful in a fight just yet, and we don’t have any other crew members. I think that’s the weakest part of One Piece, is that the early arcs don’t have a lot of quality villains, and there isn’t a lot of crew members to interact with the world around them.
Overall, I’d probably give this arc a 2.5/5. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. The best part about it is that it’s short, its got a few funny scenes with Jango, and we get to see Kuro absolutely destroy some of his own crew members, because he can’t control his powers at the time.
This is also where we get to meet the Going Merry for the first time. It’s Kaya’s ship, but she loans it to the Straw Hats to sail it around the world, and we all know what happens there. I kind of hope there’s a scene in the future where all the Straw Hats go back to their towns or whatever, and talk with the people, sharing their stories, before heading off to save Luffy from the marines or something. I just think it could be cool to see Usopp cry at Kaya’s feet because he tried to keep the Merry safe, but couldn’t do that. Plus he could tell her all about how the Merry “came to life” and saved them from Enies Lobby.
Before I forget, this is technically where we meet Gaimon too! He comes before the Syrup Village portion itself, but he’s a nice little part of the story at the time. I hope we get to see him again in the future, maybe he has finally broken out of the chest he was stuck in.
Luffy also tells us that Usopp’s dad Yassop is a great pirate, and a member of the Red-Haired Pirates, which gives the audience a nice connection between Shank’s crew and Luffy’s, which im sure can lead to some cool moments in the future, though I kind of hope Shanks and Luffy never meet up, until Blackbeard kills Shanks, and Luffy rests the hat at his grave or something, but that’s just predictions.