"Thank You Merry! The Sea of Separation in the Snow" is the 312th episode of the One Piece anime.
As the crew make their way back to Water 7, they meet the Galley-La Company, Iceburg and all, who are sailing out to greet them. The Going Merry cracks and breaks under her own weight, and the crew say their own farewells as they give the ship a Viking funeral, finally putting her to rest. As she goes up in flames, Merry apologizes and then thanks them for treasuring her for so long.
As they sail away from the smoldering ruins of Enies Lobby, Luffy looks all around the Going Merry for Usopp, wondering who sailed the ship to Enies Lobby to rescue them. He's still being fooled by the Sogeking costume; Usopp shrinks behind it, wondering how long it'll be before Luffy and Chopper figure out that he is Usopp. Sanji tries to get Usopp to admit to the ruse, but he won't. Robin just chuckles knowingly. Sogeking claims that Usopp sailed ahead to Water 7 in another ship. Zoro wonders how they could possibly not realize it's Usopp. Nami is also dumbfounded that nobody else is on Merry.
Zoro and Robin are certain they heard a voice from the ship when they were rescued, but Luffy says it was Merry's voice. But Franky remembers back in Water 7 before the CP9 betrayal, when Usopp told him, Mozu and Kiwi about what happened in Skypiea, how a mysterious figure was seen "fixing" the ship. The figure's voice, the same as what they heard at Enies Lobby, said it'll carry the Straw Hats a little while longer. Usopp was certain the figure was the spirit of Merry. Franky said the figure was a Klabautermann, a legendary manifestation of a ship's spirit that fixes the old ship when she wants to sail a little longer.
They are soon met by a massive ship from Galley-La Company, helmed by Iceburg himself. Iceburg was impressed that the Straw Hats and his brother made it back alive and got Robin back. Suddenly, however, the Going Merry lurches in the water before splitting across her beam down the middle, her bow end folding toward the sea. Kaku's diagnosis had come true: her keel snapped. Luffy begs Iceburg for help, not wanting to lose Merry right after she saved them. But Iceburg tells him there's nothing he can do. While the Straw Hats were on their way to Enies Lobby, he heard a banging on Scrap Island, where the ship had come to rest after being flushed by CP9. Although she had been grounded by the Aqua Laguna, he heard a voice saying she wanted to sail just one more time. So Iceburg did as much patching as he could that night, and allowed the hull to go out to sea on the next Aqua Laguna wave. To his shock, he heard a "thank you", and the ship appeared to sail off as if she had a mind of her own. Seeing this as a sign, he took one of his company ships out after it, leading him to find them now.
Iceburg says the Going Merry is a magnificent ship which, like the rest of the crew, went well beyond her limits. But she was not going to make it back to Water 7. Luffy finally agrees with Iceburg: it was time to let go. The rest of the occupants board one dinghy as Luffy lags behind in another. He takes a torch, and sets the hull of Merry on fire, proceeding to give the ship a Viking funeral so she would not suffer the loneliness of the sea floor. Luffy muses that it's better that Usopp not be here to see this, but Usopp tells Zoro that he has accepted the fate of his ship. Everyone watches as Luffy slowly drifts away from the ship, their captain thanking Merry again for carrying them.
As the ship burns under newly-falling snow, each of the Straw Hats recall their fondest memories of the ship. As the mast burns down and the ship begins to list, the crew hear Merry's spirit speak. It apologizes for not being able to carry them any further. Luffy cries out that the crew should be apologizing for their inexperience and incompetence at maintaining a ship; that if they knew better, Merry would have never gotten in as bad a shape as she did. At this point, nobody on the crew could keep from crying. But Merry speaks up, saying she was always happy, and knew they loved it.
Merry thanks them one last time as her figurehead, Luffy's "special seat", disappears in the growing flames. Luffy cries out her name as she disintegrates to ashes.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- This is the last episode of the Enies Lobby Arc.
- The Going Merry is destroyed.
- The 16th ending theme "Dear Friends" was played during Merry's funeral.
- Apis, an anime-only character from the Warship Island Arc, appears in the flashback to the canon adventure the Straw Hats had in the Calm Belt. The anime merged this event with a filler arc.
- During the flashback montage, Nami says that the entrance to the Grand Line is a mountain, and Usopp responds as he did in the manga. However in the original anime version of this scene in episode 61, it was Luffy who responded.