5 Ways Thriller Bark Was Scary (& 5 It Was Silly)
The Thriller Bark arc followed Monkey D. Luffy’s battle against Gecko Moria in the A play universe. With a strong gothic backdrop and an abundance of horror tropes (like zombies, Frankenstein monsters, and vampire-like curses), you’d expect this to be the scariest arc in the series.
However, there are dozens of things that made him as stupid as he was terrifying. By identifying Thriller Bark’s most heartbreaking (and hilarious) moments, fans can better identify the tone of the arc and whether or not Gecko Moria can be seen as a genuinely believable threat.
ten Silly: Nami’s battle against Absalom provided a great deal of levity
Absalom took a keen interest in Nami and made several attempts to make her his wife. This resulted in the arc’s greatest moments of comedic relief, as it was foiled by Sanji, Lola, and later even the Navigator herself.
Nami’s interaction with Lola was particularly silly as it convinced her that she was in fact male in order to allay her anxiety about losing Absalom. Even after Lola’s shadow returned to her original body, she continued to refer to Nami by her male pseudonym.
9 Scary: Gecko Moria managed to steal Luffy’s shadow
Until Thriller Bark, Luffy had rarely been defeated by his opponents. The only casualties he suffered were against Crocodile in Alabasta and Lucci at Water Seven in Iceberg’s failed assassination attempt.
Instead of confronting him directly, Gecko Moria used his spider minions to remove the captain from the Straw Hat and forcibly extract his shadow from his body. Not only would this make Luffy vulnerable to sunlight, but his shadow would animate the Warlord’s greatest weapon to use against his own closest friends.
8 Silly: Brook’s introduction was as kind as it was ridiculous
As the Straw Hats braved the Florian Triangle, they quickly discovered a huge, presumably abandoned ship. His only passenger was Brook, a skeleton who greeted them to the sound of his music.
While this provided the setup for a nerve-racking fight, Brook quickly disarmed the Straw Hats with his charisma and charm. He made dozens of puns regarding his undead condition and even punched Nami, much to Sanji’s surprise and frustration. Luffy took such immediate sympathy for him that he offered him a spot on the Thousand Sunny.
7 Scary: Hogback & Cindry’s backstory was incredibly morbid
Cindry was Doctor Hogback’s personal undead assistant on Thriller Bark. When Nami, Chopper, and Usopp stumbled upon her bedroom, it was revealed that he had an obsession with her in life and stole her corpse after a tragic “accident”.
Worse yet, Hogback asked Gecko Moria to procure Cindry’s shadow from an innocent housekeeper to make him the perfect maid. The Doctor’s twisted patterns made him one of the most sinister and unrecoverable characters in the series, even though he failed to clog the Straw Hats significantly throughout the arc. . In the end, Hogback was accidentally defeated by one of his own creations.
6 Silly: Perona’s interactions with Kumacy were hilarious
Kumacy was Perona’s personal assistant and her most loyal vassal. As Nami, Usopp, and Chopper searched for a place to hide, they opened her back and crept inside.
Although Kumacy was quick to notice their presence, Perona refused to listen to her despite her best efforts. As she silenced Kumacy several times before he could warn her, the Straw Hats had enough time to assess Gecko Moria’s ultimate goal for Luffy’s shadow.
5 Scary: Kuma almost killed Zoro
Kuma has been sent to Thriller Bark to ensure that the Seven Warlords are no longer dishonored. Unfortunately for the world government, Gecko Moria’s refusal of his help made his foresight almost useless.
After Moria’s defeat, Kuma moved on the Straw Hats and attempted to kill Luffy. Realizing that the captain was too exhausted to defend himself, Zoro took his place and knocked down the towering cyborg. Upon entering a sphere that embodied pain extracted from Luffy, Zoro satisfied Kuma’s test and convinced him to leave without further conflict. However, he almost died in the process.
4 Silly: Oars acted like Luffy during his first rebirth
When Oars was first born, he wasn’t the horrible juggernaut Gecko Moria had hoped for. Since Luffy’s shadow was used to animate the giant’s body, he first began to act as an (even more) immature version of him.
The oars mimicked ridiculous behaviors like making pirate hats out of boulders, bouncing around a castle too fragile to contain it, and even climbing to the top of Thriller Bark so he could marvel at the sea beyond. Many of Gecko Moria’s henchmen wondered if he would calm down before the boat was destroyed.
3 Scary: When Oars took hold he was a monstrous opponent
With the body of a giant, Luffy’s experience, and Gecko Moria’s flexible shadow-manipulation abilities, Oars was nearly unstoppable. Despite their best efforts, the Straw Hats were unable to defeat him on their own, even with prior knowledge of his weakness.
In the end, it took Luffy and over a hundred Shadows to end Oars’ reign of tyranny for good. Even still, the heroes had not yet finished Gecko Moria.
2 Silly: Sanji and Zoro’s zombies kept arguing
As mentioned earlier, the behavior of zombies mirrors the shadows of their owners apart from artificially instilled obedience. When the shadows of Sanji and Zoro were placed in the bodies of Inuppe and Jigoro respectively, they began to fight within seconds of meeting each other.
This was much to the confusion of Doctor Hogback, who had thought he would have full control over his creations after their rebirth. As he was not specific in his instruction, the undead forms of Inuppe and Jigoro destroyed themselves and returned to the ships they belonged to.
1 Scary: Gecko Moria almost killed Luffy in his ultimate form
With Oars destroyed and most of his minions routed, Gecko Moria hatched his last contingency. By equipping himself with every last shadow in Thriller Bark, he has transformed into an incomparable monster.
While Moria still wasn’t strong enough to defeat the Straw Hats in this state, his plan was to block them out long enough to incinerate them with the sun. Luckily, Luffy managed to reclaim his shadow before he or his comrades could be completely immolated, with every kick he gave against the warlord’s portly body, returning dozens of shadows to their rightful owners.
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