WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW FOR ONE PIECE!
- Sea of Survival: Super Rookies Saga
- East Blue Saga
- Romance Dawn Arc
- Length: 7 Chapters
- Best Character: Zoro
- Best Villain: Axe-Hand Morgan
- Best Moment: Zoro’s Flashback
- Best Chapter: Chapter 6 – Number One
- Best Fight: Luffy & Zoro vs. Morgan
I’d like to mention that first and foremost, I am a One Piece fan at heart. It’s my favourite anime ever, it’s my favourite manga ever and it has now recently become my favourite anime live-action adaptation ever thanks to Netflix’s Adaptation.
I thought while we are in the spirit of things, why not review all of the One Piece manga? From Romance Dawn to Wano. It’ll be a long journey but it’ll be a fun one. I’ve read all of the manga already and currently, I’m only a few chapters behind but before the Netflix adaptation, I hadn’t experienced the start of One Piece since 2010.
So as much as this will count as a reread for me, it’ll also feel like my first time reading as it has been a little over a decade now. It’ll be interesting to experience these storylines now as a 23-year-old compared to my 10-year-old self.
I’ve chosen to do the manga over the anime as it’ll be easier and quicker to get through the whole series compared to spending hours getting through the anime, which would delay all the other things on my watchlist.
One Piece: Romance Dawn Summary
Luffy has always wanted to be a pirate just like Red Hair Shanks and after accidentally eating a devil fruit and gaining rubber powers, he promises Shanks that he will become the best pirate there is.
Ten years later, Luffy ventures out into the seas, ending up on Alvida’s ship and coming across Koby who wants to become a marine.
Luffy realises thanks to Koby that he will need a strong crew to take on the Grand Line and decides to go recruit the Pirate Hunter Zoro who Alvida mentioned.
They head to Shells Town where Zoro is currently being imprisoned. Zoro originally refuses to be rescued as Helmeppo, the son of Axe-Hand Morgan, has promised he will be free after a month.
Luffy overhears from Helmeppo that Zoro will be executed in 3 days and decides to rescue Zoro himself by getting his swords back and freeing him. Captain Morgan witnesses all this and an all-out fight starts in the prison grounds.
Zoro and Luffy defeat Captain Morgan together, Zoro then decides to join Luffy’s pirate crew after the rescue so he can continue his dream and become the greatest swordsman, which he must become to keep his promise to Kuina, a childhood friend who was better at him at sword fighting and tragically passed away.
Luffy and Zoro leave Koby in Shells Town where he decides to pursue his dream and join the Marines.
Romance Dawn Review
What I love about this opening arc for One Piece is that it sets up the premise of the story really well and in only seven chapters. It’s short and straightforward.
You get to know who Luffy is, not only his place in this manga or his goals but you get to really know him as a character. You witness the majority of his character traits in this short little arc.
The best thing about Luffy is that he truly doesn’t care who you are.
There are two villains in this arc and they both keep professing their titles but none of that matters to Luffy. This may all seem hypocritical with Luffy wanting want to be King of the Pirates but this isn’t about the title for him, it’s about the journey and having fun.
Think of it like how Goku from Dragon Ball Z loves to fight just for fun, it’s the same premise.
I personally think this is one of the reasons why One Piece has been so successful and is where it is now.
You have witnessed a lot of manga recently try to force iconic moments out and tell a lot of stories in just a short amount of time when all you need truly is an introduction like this.
We also get to meet Koby who starts off as a Cabin Boy for Alvida but after being rescued by Luffy, we learn of his dreams to be a Marine.
Koby was a great Segway in introducing the concept of Marines to us and how they’re conceived by different people in the world but once we reach Shells Town, everything seems to be the opposite of what Koby has described.
The Marines fear their captain, he’s corrupt in every sense, draining the town dry and killing innocent people. While Morgan is obviously evil, none of this makes him a good villain.
I think he’s great for what this arc needed, something simple to start off and just get things going but overall he and Alvida are very one-dimensional and are quite forgettable when it comes to the rest of the series in comparison.
The best thing about the Romance Dawn arc is the introduction of Zoro.
You get to learn so much about him just from how he acts. He starts off by not wanting to be rescued to realising that he has this dream that he needs to follow and accepting help so that he can continue on with that dream.
We get a flashback that showcases how this dream came about, we see the training that Zoro goes through and what makes him the man that he is in this current time.
All of Zoro’s traits that he showcases in just the 5 chapters he appears in are that he’s worthy of being Luffy’s second in command.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts
Romance Dawn is the perfect starter arc as it grabs your attention with these interesting characters and drops you into a world where anything is possible.
It’s not a masterpiece from the get-go but with its great pacing towards the start, you can see how this series eventually grows into the masterpiece that it is.
The grand scale of things is so small in this arc but it only begins to get bigger and you’ll see that within the next arc in the East Blue Saga.
If you want to keep up to date with our One Piece Manga Arc reviews then make sure to follow CoveredGeekly’s socials and check out the website for future reviews.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Next Arc: Orange Town