I just want to take a minute to gripe about something that is such a minor issue, but I’ve always had a problem with. The first half of the story before the timeskip in America, had each volume separated by arc on the actual volumes. You could also see where the arcs begin and end when you have them all lined up. We even got arc titles for Sabaody, Impel Down, and Paramount War. Now I understand that we are going to the New World and each arc is essentially connected in some way, but it’s annoying now to have everything up to Wano being titled “New World”. There were plenty of volumes for you to have them separated by “Fishman Island”, “Punk Hazard”, “Dressrosa”, and “Whole Cake”. They do eventually make the change for Wano, but it doesn’t make any sense to me and I wish they would rebrand them by arc like they did in the first half. Anyways, let’s continue to #40-#31!
40. Volume 49
This cover should not be as high up on this list as it is right now, but there’s something about the absolute ridiculousness of it that I think is peak One Piece comedy. If you have read One Piece but haven’t made it this far and just pick up the volume to look at it, you will likely be so confused and so interested at the same time that I think it makes this cover perfect. You have Nightmare Luffy, Nami in a wedding dress, and the super Franky battle form with the rest of the crew sort of making a giant. It’s all wacky and crazy and I love the representation on the volume cover. Peak One Piece comedy.
39. Volume 48
One of the simplest volume covers, but still one of the coolest. I love my giant monsters like Godzilla and Oars served as the Godzilla of this storyline. It took the whole crew to take him down, but it came down to Luffy being the one to make the biggest moves against the giant. They are both highlighted on this cover as being the two biggest factors in the fight against each other. I really love this battle and how ridiculous it is, but it is also the first telling of how the Straw Hats might not yet be ready for some bigger threats in the New World. Especially with how easily Oars jr. was taken down in the war.
38. Volume 20
This is one of the last few earlier volumes to make it on this list, but something about this volume tells so much, without saying that much. You have all of these guys facing each other as they all stand on their own sides, while all fighting over the same cause. You have pirates, criminals, marines, royalty, and rebels all fighting over Vivi and the kingdom of Alabasta. It’s a simple cover that means so much more when you really take a harder look at it. I just love how much political and personal adversity is at work on this cover.
37. Volume 76
One of my favorite characters is Law, so him appearing on a cover is automatically going to get some bonus points. This one again like many others has lots of color which always looks great. We get to see a lot of the major players on this cover with the Straw Hats that elected to stay behind and help fight the Donquixote pirates. It is a bit of a testament to how much stronger they got since they only needed about half the crew to take down Doflamingo and his crew. Granted they had some help which we also see on this cover. Overall it’s just appealing and looks great having both Luffy and Law teaming up right in the center. It’s awesome.
36. Volume 68
This is my second favorite Punk Hazard cover. I think there are only three anyways, but I really like all of them. The light blue and white of the snow is what makes this cover standout for me. I also like how Caesar is above looking as if he’s manipulating everyone which in a way he is, but the best part is seeing Luffy, Law, and Smoker standing together. They are some of my favorite characters and this cover shows that they are teaming up against Caesar. It’s a simple cover, but everything works great and I just like it a lot.
35. Volume 40
Forget the enemies in the background for a minute because I really don’t like them, but Blueno isn’t bad. The highlight though is not the characters so much as it is just Luffy and what we see. The steam rolling around him shows us the new event that happens in this volume in his fight against Blueno. Unfortunately Blueno was the victim of being a test for Luffy to show off his Gear Second. It’s a badass moment and one that I will always remember. It was sad that Blueno had to be fodder for Luffy in this moment, but it’s because of the moment that I remember him as much as I do. This cover gets credit for having the first look at the new Gear Second and is the main reason why it’s ranked so high.
34. Volume 45
There is a lot going on with this cover, but all of it I absolutely love. I remember when I was buying the volumes, I used to look up the ones I didn’t have just to get excited for eventually getting them. This was one of my most anticipated volumes to get and I will always have strong feelings for it. The cover is one of the first major, what’s going on in the world covers and I think it does it the best. We see Garp with Helmeppo and Coby which is just awesome, especially seeing a more grown up Coby. We also get the meeting between Whitebeard and Shanks which is the first time we see them together. I think I was mistaken with Volume 25. Finally, we get Blackbeard and Ace facing off. There is so much revealed and so much that happens in this volume that it not only gets credit for the cover, but also all of the events that transpire within. This is the volume that really blew open the doors on the One Piece world.
33. Volume 56
A mixture of both new and old characters. Ivankov is a little weird but plays a major role in this arc. The design is outlandish and that is represented with how big his/her head is on the cover. The coolest part though is seeing Jinbei on one side and Crocodile on the other side of a team up between them and Luffy. Some of my favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption, and Escape from Alcatraz so I’m a sucker for prison break stories. This volume covers a lot of the break out and also gives us that old saying of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” so we see the return of Mr. 1 and Crocodile as they help Luffy escape. The purple background color is also a good addition to work with Ivankov.
32. Volume 43
A lot of times in big arcs we get a cover of our crew followed or preceded by a cover of the enemy crew. This is one of those covers in the Enies Lobby arc. We see all of our Straw Hat crew that shows us the great comedy with the look of Luffy, as well as a showcase of everyone ready to fight. The biggest highlight though is that of Chopper in his monster point form which is a badass moment and looks incredibly appealing on the cover. All of the other Straw Hats are ready to fight as well and it just makes for a great cover.
31. Volume 84
I originally had this cover lower to start with, but slowly started moving it up the more I got to look at it. There are two awesome things to make note of on this cover. The first being the Vinsmoke family. Sanji’s siblings and father take center stage with each of their unique colors and appearances. They are badass and the designs are great and I hope we get to see more of them down the road. The other important thing to note is Luffy and Sanji at the top of the cover. It’s simple and only shows their face, but it’s the placement that I like so much. The Vinsmoke family is at the center, splitting Luffy and Sanji. Luffy is bloody and battered while Sanji is clean and unhurt. They are also facing away from each other representing their split and fight that they have. I grew to love this cover the more I got to looking at it so I moved it up to here.
It was a struggle just getting everything to feel right up to this point, but I managed to do it and feel comfortable with my results. I’m sure with this part as well as many others, we will have differing opinions, but it’s all fun. As I’ve said before, I welcome any differing opinions on any of my rankings and actually look forward to seeing where everyone else places some of these other covers on their own list. Please comment below or email us at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and follow us @TowerCityMedia