Reasons the Thriller Bark Saga holds a special place in my heart...
It is the saga that introduced Bink's Sake which is one of my favorites (that and Luffy's Skypiea song).
It had elements of both horror/zombie/monster movies and music. I love that combo.
It gave answers to the storyline of that whale the Straw Hats met waay back at Twin Cape (Laboon~🐳🥰)
It is where we meet Brook and where he joined the Mugiwara Crew. Karaoke, which means "empty orchestra" in Japanese, has a different effect on me after the story of the Rumbar Pirates was revealed. (Brook you poor thing, let me hug you🥺)
It is where we see Kuma first. It was the first time the Mugiwara had to face two Shichibukais in one arc. In a way, it was the beginning of their journey in getting stronger. To me, Kuma is the biggest factor why the Straw Hats have gotten as strong as they are now. If he did not exist, who knows what could have happened to them at Sabaody Archipelago.
There was already a foreshadowing of Wano Country in the form of Ryuma who, as it turns out, is a legendary samurai from that country. It's also so werid to see a disciplined samurai with Brook's personality and laugh (in a good way). Zoro losing Yubashiri, in a way, was also a part of Zoro getting stronger.
This is the saga where I fell in love with 💕Roronoa Zoro💕. I've liked him before. I always knew he's a tough manly man but after that scene where he takes in all of Luffy's injuries even though he's already badly injured, his manliness just surpassed 9000 in my scouter that it broke. His loyalty and the lengths he would go through as the First Mate is just so🤧. And after all that pain, he was all like "nothing happened". Zoro, you are so goddamn cool 😭 (marry me!)
Basically, I love it because it opened a lot of things the viewers didn't even know about at the time. You'll only realize it when you get to that part. Even Lola turned out to have forshadowed the Whole Cake Island Saga. It was also near the end of that saga when Ace's Vivre Card started burning which marks the beginning of the Summit War but I really don't want to talk about that 🥲😢😭
This is the saga that also made me realize that despite how strong the Mugiwara crew already is (with three devil fruit users, four after Brook joined), they are still a long way to go from being the best. Zoro's loss of the sword he had since Loguetown also signified that the crew will have to sacrifice many things if they want to be the strongest. They will have to face so many losses in the road to being the strongest crew.
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