• Luffy's solo mission in Impel Down showcased his determination without his crew members, facing impossible odds.
  • Impel Down, an underwater prison, served as a pivotal prelude to significant events in One Piece history.
  • The ripple effects of Luffy's actions at Impel Down had lasting consequences on the world and characters.

The Impel Down arc of the One Piece series showcased Luffy’s tenacity and determination to a great degree. The events that occurred during the arc, such as Luffy scouring through the prison and Blackbeard making an appearance to recruit prison members, are events that have had consequences to this day.

While some fans may not consider Impel Down as good an arc as Marineford, Wano, and Enies Lobby, the arc served as a prelude to what would be one of the major turning points in One Piece history, making many intrigued by it. Centered around Luffy’s determination to save his brother and the underwater prison, the Impel Down arc is an important part of One Piece.

The World Government's Maximum-Security Prison

Luffy Is Forced To Work Without His Crew Members


“Impel Down Is Impregnable And Escape Proof. It's The World's Most Secure Prison.”

Of the various One Piece arcs so far, Impel Down is the only one that portrays Luffy working without any of his crew members present. Before Impel Down, Kuma separated the Straw Hats on Sabaody Archipelago and sent Luffy flying to Amazon Lily, the island of women. On Amazon Lily, Luffy initially had a hard time escaping the many female warriors, but after managing to get Boa Hancock to trust him, he learned of a much bigger event that had him postponing regrouping with his crew for the time being.

The execution of Portgas D. Ace, the second division commander of the White Beard pirates, was an event that was sure to rock the world. Meanwhile, Luffy, separated from his crew members, learned of the planned execution while on Amazon Lily and had to enlist the help of then-warlord Boa Hancock. Agreeing to slip Luffy into Impel Down using her warlord status, Luffy had a gateway to the prison, but escaping was more difficult than entering.

Known as the Underwater Great Prison, Impel Down serves as one of the World Government’s primary controlled strongholds, alongside the Marine Headquarters and Enies Lobby. With each level bearing the name of hell, the naive but determined Luffy was destined to go through all six levels to access his brother Ace.

Luffy's Infiltration: Adventures Within The Layers Of Hell

The Straw Hat Captain's Mission to Rescue Ace


In Impel Down, Hancock manages to sneak Luffy in by petrifying the guard in charge of searching for her. After Luffy sneaks off, Hancock un-petrifies the guard, who has no memory of being petrified. Luffy, on the other hand, begins his mission of sneaking to the sixth level of the prison to save his brother. Along the various levels, he comes across former enemies and allies such as Buggy the Clown, Mr. 3, and even Bon Clay.

Along the way, Buggy makes many attempts to deceive Luffy and escape on his own; however, Luffy mistakes his deception for shortcuts, leading to a comical partnership that appears to work. As Luffy and his newfound allies journey to the sixth level, Jinbe is seen talking to Ace about the war that would unfold if Whitebeard and the World Government clashed and how he would do anything to prevent it. Meanwhile, Hancock gets to the sixth level and tells Ace of his brother, who is on his way to save him. Surprised but believing the news, Ace begs Jinbe to take care of his brother; however, Jinbe declines Ace's request and mentions that he only fights for and with people he acknowledges.

As Ace waits to be taken for his execution, Luffy and his allies reach the fifth level of Impel Down, where Luffy is on his last legs after confronting Magellan. Seemingly on the verge of death after narrowly escaping the warden, Bon Clay carries Luffy through the freezing hell. Luckily for the duo, Bon Clay finds Newkama Land, a secret sub-level cut out by a devil fruit ability. Hearing Luffy’s backstory and relation to Dragon, Ivankov does his best to heal ‘Mugiwara boy’ and sets out with him to rescue Ace.

With Ivankov, his group, and the rest of his allies now on Luffy’s side, the Straw Hat captain can reach level six. However, by the time he gets there, Ace is gone. Interestingly, while he doesn’t meet Ace, Jinbe, and Crocodile join Luffy’s ragtag team of prisoners; however, unlike the others, they possess formidable strength. With their strength and all his allies, Luffy gets out of the prison, captures a marine ship, and sets sail for Marineford, but not without sacrifices.

While Luffy and his allies caused mayhem within the walls of Impel Down, another pirate captain also contributed much to the mass outbreak of the prison— Blackbeard. Seeing Ace’s upcoming execution as the perfect opportunity, Blackbeard strikes Impel Down as he goes to recruit some of the world’s most dangerous level six prisoners as crew mates. Interestingly, Shiryu, the former Head Jailer of the prison, also joins Blackbeard. While Blackbeard and Luffy briefly clash, Jinbe mentions how it’s not the time as saving Ace carries more weight at the time. Listening to Jinbe, Luffy decides to settle the score with Blackbeard another time.

Impel Down’s Ripple Effect

The Impel Down Arc Introduced Many Changes To The One Piece World


With the world unaware of the consequences of Luffy’s actions at Impel Down at the time, the Straw Hat captain was journeying to Marineford after leaving the Underwater Prison. Unknown to the world, the events spearheaded by him and Blackbeard would lead to great changes that would not be seen until later arcs.

The aftermath the Impel Down arc had on the One Piece series was by no means minute. Thanks to Luffy and Blackbeard, Impel Down had its first and last mass outbreak of prisoners. Meanwhile, with Magellan being the head warden during this incident, he would later be demoted to vice warden, with Hannyabal being promoted to being the new warden. Apart from the change in office of the wardens, the lesser-known inmates that escaped with Luffy and his ragtag team of allies would all join Buggy’s crew as they learned of his past with Gol D. Roger and his being an acquaintance of Red Hed Shanks. This infamy would later lead to his becoming a warlord.

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