One Piece Producer Reveals Surprise Story Behind Alabasta Arc

The Alabasta saga remains one of the most memorable and pivotal moments in One Piece's history, and the producer behind the anime franchise revealed an unfortunate story behind the production of the arc for the anime. Eiichiro Oda's original manga series is currently celebrating the 25th Anniversary of it first being published in the pages of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, and through that time fans have seen Luffy and the Straw Hats going on all sorts of adventures. Over that time they have recruited plenty of new members of their crew, but one famously slipped through their fingers.

Shinji Shimizu, producer behind the upcoming One Piece Film: Red moving hitting theaters in Japan later this Summer, opened up about the film and the anime's production during a special panel at Anime Expo earlier this year (of which was in attendance). Looking back on some of the producer's most memorable times with the series overall, Shimizu revealed a particularly upsetting memory during the Alabasta arc. More specifically, he remembers how upsetting it was when everyone had to say goodbye to Princess Vivi...including the actress that brought her to life. 

(Photo: Shueisha)

When asked about his favorite memory while working on the One Piece anime over the years, Shimizu brought up the Alabasta arc. He had mentioned that Vivi in particular was already in his extended "nakama" that fans had associated with Luffy and the Straw Hats. Vivi turning down the Straw Hats was a huge deal for the team back then because not only was it a new genuine offer for someone to join the crew, but she's also the very first (and only) person to also refuse to join Luffy and the others on their journey through the seas

In particular, it was rough for Vivi actress Misa Watanabe as Shimizu distinctly remembered how Watanabe had felt about the situation knowing that she was going to say goodbye to the crew (and her character) for quite some time. It's luckily not the only time we get to see Vivi as the rest of the series continued, but the Alabasta ending remains one of the biggest moments and goodbyes in the series overall. How did you feel about Vivi's goodbye when it first happened? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!