"To the Future! The Path Towards the Sun!" is the 568th episode of the One Piece anime.
With the Sea Kings having stopped and saved the great ship Noah, Shirahoshi learns a startling secret from the Sea Kings. Meanwhile, the missing and captured mermaids have been found but they have been replaced with some other valuable items from the Palace. The remaining humans and New Fish-Man Pirates are being rounded up and caught by the Straw Hat Crew and Jinbe, while Shirahoshi rescues a collapsed and unconscious Luffy from Noah's remains. However, if Luffy is to survive from his injuries taken from his battle with Hody Jones and his unsuccessful destruction of Noah, the only thing that can save him is a blood transfusion, but the merfolk are reluctant to donate blood as it is forbidden in Fish-Man Island to give blood to a human. Jinbe volunteers, stating that he is a pirate. The episode ends with Luffy asking Jinbe to join his crew.
After the Sea Kings stop Noah, it is revealed by them that Shirahoshi is actually their queen ever since she was born. At the same time, the royal guards report the current situation to the Minister of the Left, and Neptune states that the power to destroy the world has finally awakened. The three princes get ready to capture Hody Jones and Vander Decken IX. While the sea kings are taking the Noah away from Fish-Man Island, they talk about how Luffy could hear their voices, comparing him to the late Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. As they relocate the Noah to the Sea Forest, they leave wondering if the Noah can be fixed by the "appointed time".
Meanwhile, at the royal palace, the kidnapped mermaids are found, however they've been traded for the entire contents of the treasure chamber, including the national treasure - the Tamate box. Nonetheless, Neptune disregards this information, saying that they nearly lost the whole nation just now, and that they need to clear the Straw Hats' names because they have been wrongly accused.
Down on the battlefield, the humans and New Fish-Man Pirates are stopped by Jinbe while they try to get away. As they plan on escaping him with their bubbles, Jinbe shoots a water shot, stating that he will attack anyone who tries to escape. The Minister of the Left proclaims that they take full responsibility for making a mistake with their fact-checking process. As the merfolk exclaim that they never suspected the Straw Hats anyways, they are ashamed when the kids point out that they blamed and didn't trust them the whole time because they were humans. The three princes return from the outside with a battered Hody Jones and Vander Decken IX, and announce that they won't allow them to cause any trouble again.
Whilst the merfolk are celebrating, they are interrupted by a crying Shirahoshi, sobbing about Luffy's injuries and how his bleeding won't stop. Chopper announces that Luffy needs a transfusion, but the merfolk are reluctant to donate blood as it is against the law to give blood to a human. Jinbe steps up, offering his own blood, since he is a pirate and does not need to obey the laws.
As the blood is flowing through the tube, there are flashbacks from the last moments of Fisher Tiger, Otohime and Whitebeard, three important figures that nearly succeeded in bringing peace between humans and merfolk. When the blood finally reaches Luffy, he smiles, and while everyone is rejoicing at the fact that he's alive, he invites Jinbe to join his crew.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- In the manga, Neptune and the Minister of the Left were on their way back to the plaza when they received news that the kidnapped mermaids were found and the palace treasures were stolen. In the anime, they remained in the same spot somewhere outside the plaza.
- While Jinbe is keeping the New Fish-Man Pirates in the plaza, some of them are thinking about using bubbles to escape before Jinbe gives them a warning water shot.
- The anime elaborated on the scene in which the citizens realized that the Straw Hats are innocent of the mermaid kidnappings.
- In the Japanese version, as criminals among the New Fish-Man Pirates are swearing at the fact that Jinbe has thwarted their escape efforts, one of the criminals says has a shirt with the words "CHIKI SHOW" (a skewing of the profanity chikshou, which can roughly translate to "damn it") and says these words instead of swearing.