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The Warship Island Arc, sometimes referred to as the Apis Arc, is a story arc in the One Piece anime. It is the first story arc of the series not to be based on any content from the manga by Eiichiro Oda, making it the first filler arc. It was left out of the 4Kids dub for an unspecified reason.
A fleet of Marine ships from Branch 8 goes through a rainstorm and a mysterious girl, Apis, plans her escape from the crew members of the ship. She manages to slip past her guard only to be chased across the deck. As she traps herself on the mast of the ship, she accidentally opens the sail, causing the wind to tip over the ship. She manages to escape by jumping off the mast and onto a small wooden boat while chanting to herself for Ryuji to protect her.
The captain of the 8th Branch, Nelson Royale, a very husky man who cannot move without support, is angered by the news and summons forth his mercenary, Eric the Whirlwind, to go after the girl, who seems to have the key to the elixir of eternal youth.
The next morning, Luffy grows impatient of getting to the Grand Line with Nami reassuring him they will reach it within a few days. Usopp spots the raft Apis is on surrounded by seagulls. Usopp and Sanji mistake this for a school of fish and ask Luffy to catch them. They only find a very confused and shocked Apis, who Luffy accidentally knocks Zoro off the boat to get. Apis wakes up later in the afternoon shocked to hear she was taken in by pirates, causing her to panic in fear. Later that night, the crew reassures Apis that they are "good" pirates. They eventually find out that she has escaped from Marine Branch 8 and is running from Commodore Nelson. The Straw Hats agree to return her back to Warship Island, and they are soon attacked by Branch 8. After escaping from the Marines, the Straw Hats realize that they are in the Calm Belt, where they find large sea kings. They then narrowly escape the Sea Kings and the Calm Belt, before continuing on their course to Warship Island. After reaching Warship Island, they find out that Apis has a Devil Fruit ability that allows her to talk to animals, and she has used it to befriend a dying Sennenryu, a type of dragon species thought to be extinct. She wants to return this Sennenryu to his homeland, but they run into two problems:
- A Marine fleet is after the dragon also, because it can be used to make a powerful, and valuable, medicine. Their commander (Commodore Nelson Royale), has hired the mercenary Eric (A Devil Fruit user with claws so sharp, that he can cut the air) to help him get the Sennenryu, but Eric has his own agenda, and wishes to keep it for himself.
- They do not know where the Sennenryu's homeland is.
This arc chronicles the Straw Hats' efforts to return the Sennenryu to his home, make Apis happy, and stay out of Eric's way.
Scenes Fitting With the Manga
Despite the Filler status of the arc, the anime manages to incorporate some parts from the manga into it.
- The crew accidentally sailed into the Calm Belt. In the manga, after finding themselves on a Sea King's nose, it sneezes them back onto the main course. The crew nearly lose Usopp during the flight but Luffy catches him. In the anime, the scene is changed and Apis is the one who nearly falls off after the sea kings reveal themselves. After Luffy catches her, he swings Apis into the nose of the sea king the ship is on, allowing her to pluck a nose hair, and causing it to sneeze and the crew to fly back into safe seas.
- After the arc, the crew reach and enter Reverse Mountain. Eric comes back at the last minute to try and take his revenge on the crew as they go up the slope. Nami, however, trips him off the railing of the ship and knocks him into the water. In the manga, they enter the mountain with no incident.
- When the Straw Hats find themselves surrounded by a Marine Blockade connected by steel chains, Roronoa Zoro says that he can "cut anything" and proceeds to slice through the steel chains. However, later in the canon Arabasta Arc, Zoro reveals he cannot cut through steel. Unless the chains were not purely steel but a combination of metal alloys, the above has no way of fitting into the continuity.
- Also, the crew meets a dragon here. However, when they came across Vegapunk's dragon during the Punk Hazard Arc, they were surprised. Both Luffy and Zoro were amazed at its existence and Zoro even mentioned that they are 'fictional' creatures.
Translation and Dub Issues
In the English dub of the anime, produced by 4Kids Entertainment, these episodes were cut completely from the series. No explanation was given, and nothing (other than their irrelevance to the main plot of the series) would seem to be just cause for dropping them from the show entirely. Since their content is much more "kid-friendly" than the rest of the series, many fans actually expected 4Kids to heavily promote the arc, but the exact opposite happened. The precise reason for their deletion from the run of the English-dubbed anime remains unknown. However, 4Kids had been known to omit particularly strong death scenes from anime that they dubbed which could upset younger viewers, and this arc contained the passing of Ryuji.
Another possible reason for the removal of this arc in the 4Kids adaption (including the removal of both the Reverse Mountain Arc and the Little Garden arc) was that many fans a stated that Al Kahn's marketing decision was to get to the Drum Island arc faster and introduce Tony Chopper much earlier in the 4Kids adaption as a marketing strategy to make money off of Chopper merchandise.
- Warship Island arc is the very first filler story arc in the series.
- Like other fillers, the Warship Island arc received a light novel adaptation.
- Interestingly, the fact that Luffy can hear animals' voices is now true in canon, as Luffy was revealed in Chapter 648 to be able to hear Sea Kings speaking.
- The Sennenryu was referenced in the Ocean's Dream Arc. The main antagonist of the arc, Tatsu aspired to become one.
- First series director of the anime Konosuke Uda revealed that the story for the Warship Island filler arc was originally considered for use in a theatrical film, among other filler stories.
Warship Island Arc