One of the most beloved parts of One Piece is the series’ many emotionally charged flashbacks. The pirate manga by Eiichiro Oda is generally lighthearted, with fun characters, but the series can also get extremely dark at times.

Somehow, Oda manages to keep writing characters with tragic histories that connect to the deeper mysteries and main plot of the series in devastating ways. No matter how major or minor the characters are, their histories can still tug on the heartstrings. However, while each of the flashbacks are great in their own way, some are better than others especially when it comes to the depth of emotions they elicit.

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10 Señor Pink

Senor Pink in One Piece-1

One of One Piece‘s greatest accomplishments is taking a middle-aged man dressed in a baby costume and making fans actually care about his life. Señor Pink was a man whose wife entered a catatonic state after they had an argument and the only way he could get a reaction out of her afterward was to wear his dead son’s baby bonnet. This backstory truly came out of nowhere in the middle of the Dressrosa arc and while it is certainly tragic, it is unfortunately at the bottom of this list because it is so self-contained and doesn’t really have a broader impact on the story like many of the other backstories do.

9 Fishman Island

otohime in One Piece

The first flashback after the time skip focused more on the history of tensions between One Piece’s Fishmen and humans, but it was no less compelling or heartbreaking for it. Seeing how the Fishmen were continually mistreated and how hatred among their own kind led to a vicious cycle of violence and the death of Queen Otohime is both powerful and tied into the themes of the arc. The parallels between Fisher Tiger’s death and the symbolic progress made through the blood transfusion at the end of the arc causes the flashback to resonate long after it has concluded. However, this flashback lacks the focus on individual characters which makes so many of the other flashbacks on this list so much more impactful.

8 Wano

Roger laughing in One Piece

This flashback suffers from many of the same issues as the Fishman Island flashback, but it makes up for this in how centrally it ties to the overall mysteries of the series. This makes it a joy to read, even before its most breathtaking sequence of Gol D. Rogers’s crew laughing on the island of Laugh Tale. However, Oden’s return to Wano and the humiliation and suffering he receives at the hands of Orochi and Kaido make this just as tragic as many of the other flashbacks on this list. Despite how little time he appears, his final words are simultaneously epic, tragic, and funny at the same time, a perfect encapsulation of what One Piece can be at its best.

Related: One Piece Confirms Wano is So Much More Tragic Than Anyone Knew

7 Skypiea

The bell from Skypiea in One Piece

The Skypiea arc is often seen as separate from the rest of the series given how little it connects to One Piece’s overall story. Its flashback could have suffered from a similar problem, as it is set hundreds of years in the past, being the oldest chronologically. But the friendship between Kalgara and Noland and the tragic lengths that both go to try and maintain it makes this flashback compelling and emotional despite this. While they never meet each other again in life, the dramatic ending of One Piece’s Skypiea arc gives their story an emotional sense of closure that is one of the series’ most iconic moments.

6 Sanji

Sanji and Zeff in One Piece

Sanji is unique among the Straw Hats in that he has gotten two stellar flashbacks exploring his past and motivations. But while the later reveal of his brutal upbringing at the hands of his father and siblings is incredibly good, it still can’t beat his original flashback. Up until this point, One Piece’s flashbacks had been okay, but not anything too special. Sanji’s flashback raised the bar, proving that Oda could write a backstory that both explained a character’s motivations and delivered an emotional gut punch. Seeing One Piece’s Sanji slowly starve and then seeing the sacrifice that Zeff made for him is one of the more brutal parts of the manga. This was the moment that provided a glimpse of the much more tragic and masterful backstories to come.

5 Nami

Nami cries when she says help me to Luffy during the Arlong Arc in One Piece.

This may be a controversial placement, given many fans feel like this is the best flashback of the series. The harrowing death of Nami’s mother Bellamy and her being forced to work for her murderer afterward may seem simplistic compared to the more complex backstories that Oda would create for his later characters. But this simplicity is part of what makes Nami’s past so tragic in One Piece and which makes Arlong Park’s conclusion so satisfying. Eventually Oda would reveal that Arlong’s actions had their own tragic roots in a cycle of racial violence, but this doesn’t diminish the pure evil of his actions or the emotional impact they had.

Related: One Piece’s World Government Proves Nami is the Most Underrated Pirate

4 Chopper

Hiriluk dies in One Piece

As a young reindeer, Chopper was ostracized by his species for being different after he ate the Human Human fruit. Luckily for him, he was taken in by the quack doctor Hiriluk who became a loving father figure to him. However, Hiriluk was dying from a terminal illness that he could not cure. In order to cure Hiriluk Chopper collects rare ingredients being severely beaten by his fellow reindeer in the process and brews them into a potion that he believes will cure the illness. However, he actually creates a deadly poison. Hiriluk drinks Chopper’s creation anyway, knowing that what matters more than living is being remembered by those you leave behind.

3 Law

Corazon from One Piece

While Trafalgar Law isn’t officially a Straw Hat, his backstory is just as tragic. After his family of doctors was murdered to prevent the spread of a plague, Law was taken under the wing of Donquixote Doflamingo, joining his pirate family. Knowing that his life would be cut short by the plague his parents were attempting to cure, Law had a negative outlook on life until he grew closer to Doflamingo’s brother Corazon, who was secretly a navy spy. However, the two betrayed both the navy and Doflamingo by setting off on a futile quest to cure Law’s disease. Eventually, they succeeded with Law eating the Op Op fruit that let him cure himself. But for their betrayal, Doflamingo murdered his own brother while Law hid behind him, his tears silenced by the powers of Corazon’s seemingly useless Devil Fruit. This is a backstory with a tragic depth that matches any of the Straw Hats, even if it doesn’t quite attain the top spot on this list.

Related: One Piece Just Ended a Huge Battle in the Most Cathartic Way

2 Brook

Brook crying in One Piece

One of the backstories that didn’t make this list is that of the whale Laboon, who was apparently abandoned by its pirate friends after they entered the grand line. However, Brook’s backstory reveals that these pirates didn’t truly abandon Laboon, instead suffering a much worse fate. Brook was a member of Laboon’s pirate crew in One Piece, and as that crew continued along the Grand Line, it suffered great tragedies eventually culminating in the entire crew being poisoned after a brutal battle. While they knew they had no hope of surviving, Brook had eaten the Revive Revive Fruit which would bring him back to life. So the crew decided to play one final song and record it for Laboon in case Brook ever made it back to him. As they played their song, one by one they died, eventually leaving Brook playing alone, crying for his fallen comrades in one of One Piece’s saddest scenes, even if the song itself is a source of great joy.

1 Robin

Robin crying in One Piece

Robin’s backstory is one of the most important of the series. It shows the devastating power of the military and hints at some of the series’ central mysteries. But what makes this One Piece’s best flashback is how devastating it is for Robin. She loses her entire adoptive family, her birth mother, and her new friend Saul all in one fell swoop and is forced into a life of constant abuse and mistrust. The abject misery of her past in turn makes her iconic cry that she actually wants to live even more powerful and easily earns this flashback the top spot on this list.

With Kuma’s tragic backstory being teased in One Piece’s latest chapters, he could easily take a spot on this list in the future. Indeed, as the series continues there will likely continue to be no shortage of emotional flashbacks. But any new One Piece backstories can’t diminish the greatness of these flashbacks, which will still contain some of the most tragic anime moments of all time.

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