"Everyone Escapes! The Path to Victory is for the Pirates" is the 311th episode of the One Piece anime.
With the arrival of Going Merry, the Straw Hats make their great escape from Enies Lobby. Thanks to Sanji and his clever strategy of closing the Gates of Justice, the Marines are unable to get a clear shot at Merry. The crew fights off the remaining cannon fire, and finally gives their thanks to Merry. Nico Robin finally gets revenge on Spandam by breaking his spine.
The Straw Hat Pirates, Franky, Kokoro, Chimney, and Gonbe leap into the sea to find the Going Merry waiting for them. It takes a moment for the Marines of the Buster Call to realize what's happening. As the rope ladder seemingly drops on its own, Sanji and Nami climb aboard. As Zoro carries Chimney and Gonbe up with him, Franky brings Usopp, and Kokoro tosses Luffy, Robin, and Chopper aboard before climing on, Sanji starts wondering how the Merry got here and who threw down the rope ladder. Many of the Straw Hats are choking back emotion at being back aboard their ship. Even Franky is wondering just how she got here after being dumped from his hideout by CP9. Luffy tries to thank Robin for getting him out of the tower, but a Fleur covers his mouth. Instead it is Robin who thanks everyone for saving her even when she felt she wasn't worth saving. In the emotional exchange, Chopper regains his ability to move. The Straw Hats soon organize and make plans to escape Enies Lobby.
Spandam is livid and orders all guns on the Merry, even if it means killing Robin. Spandam justifies it (falsely) as orders from Aokiji that Robin is to be killed if she cannot be captured. But when the cannons fire, the shot miss the Merry and hit each other instead. Then, two of the ships crash into each other. Eventually, the Marines discover the reason for their loss of control: the Gates of Justice are closing, meaning the whirlpool currents are returning. Usopp then realizes this was the reason for Sanji's absense earlier. He had been in the third tower looking for the gates' operating lever. Thanks to his thinking ahead, they now have a fighting chance.
As the Merry speeds along, Zoro, Sanji, Robin, and Franky fend off cannonballs from the battleships. Eventually, Luffy crawls his way to the stern using his mouth and insists he join in the fight. Eventually, Zoro and Sanji decide to quiet him by stretching his body like a net and using him to catch and return a large salvo of the cannonballs. Eventually, Nami computes a course along the whirlpool currents, allowing them to outrace the cannonballs. Spandam goes into a tirade over how the mightiest force in the world can't defeat one pirate crew and capture one woman. The tirade eventually stops when the "hands" of Nico Robin envelop him and begin to bend him backwards. After all the physical and mental abuse he had inflicted upon her, everyone knew what was coming. With a final, cathartic, "Clutch!", Spandam's spine snaps in two and Robin gets her revenge. Nami then directs Franky to finish their escape. With apologies to the crew and ship, Franky fires his Coup de Vent, launching the Merry clear of the whirlpools, the Buster Call, and Enies Lobby altogether. A final Smoke Star from Usopp ensures they cannot pursue.
Meanwhile, back at the Enies Lobby Front Gate, Zambai, Paulie, and the rest of the invasion force have boarded Puffing Tom and are starting their way back to Water 7. Lulu and Tilestone reflect on what's just happened while Mozu and Kiwi appreciatevely cuddle up to Paulie in spite of his protests: resulting in a massive nosebleed from him. Everyone is in high spirits as in spite of bumps, bruises, and broken bones, they have taken on the World Government and made it out alive.
Eventually, Admiral Aokiji makes his way to Enies Lobby personally. The Buster Call is adamant in pursuing the Straw Hats, but Aokiji firmly orders everyone to stand down. There is no way to salvage the day now. The Buster Call is supposed to comprise a force equivalent to that of an entire country, yet their current situation is anything but proud and strong. Two ships are sunk, several more are severely damaged. And Enies Lobby stands a smoldering ruin: one of the great strongholds of the entire World Government destroyed. Something this catastrophic cannot be disguised or sugar-coated. The World Government has suffered a complete and utter defeat this day.
At his insistence, Kokoro positions Luffy at his customary position atop the Merry's figurehead. Luffy thanks Merry for coming to their rescue. He also thanks Franky for helping out. Franky has to appreciate the sheery audacity of the Straw Hats and cautions the World Government will be coming after them with a fervor now, but the Straw Hats don't care. To them, saving their friend was more important than defying the World Government and in this most important regard, they have won.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- If you look closely at Luffy during the scene when Robin was thanking everyone in the Going Merry, it was Luffy's hand instead of Robin's.
- While riding the current around the big Marina galleon, the Merry disappears at the end of the shot for about half a second.