Of the many episodes that make up the anime series, A pieceThe many story arcs have seen Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates sail across the seven seas. And on their journey they visited a variety of exciting and colorful islands and kingdoms.
But what fans might not know is that they’re actually based on cities and historic sites around the world. From the countries of Europe to the temples of Asia, Eiichiro Oda drew a lot of inspiration to create the series and expand his horizons.
Kingdom of Rommel – London, England
Of all the locations featured across the A piece series, Rommel Kingdom was introduced in a few panels from Chapter 734 and scenes from Episode 666 of the anime. It was the setting for a story about an unknown assailant responsible for gunning down people all over town, who would turn out to be a man named Hakuba.
But despite her brief appearance, it’s very clear that she drew inspiration from London, especially with the iconic Big Ben clock tower. And along with the Jack the Ripper murders in 19th century London, it seems that this historical event was also a source of narrative inspiration.
Zou Island – Elephant Rock, Iceland
Perhaps one of the most visually unique islands in the series to date, the Island of Zou sits atop a large elephant named Zunesha who travels across the sea on his impossibly long legs. Protecting the inhabitants from those who attempt to attack it, it shares a unique relationship with the civilization that inhabits it.
While the idea of elephants carrying worlds on their backs is not a new concept in literature (looking at you, Discworld series), it is very much inspired by Elephant Rock from Iceland. Sharing the same color scheme of green and gray as well as cave-like eyes, it’s understandable how well he can fit into the fairing adventures of Luffy and his crew.
Dawn Island Gray Terminal – Smokey Mountain, Philippines
Dawn Island is recognizable to fans as the home island of some of the show’s best main characters. While the island is made up of different locations, Gray Terminal was home to Sabo and other citizens who searched for trinkets and treasures under the rubble.
Perhaps one of the most controversial sources, Smokey Mountain is the Manila slum in the Philippines. The mountain of garbage and unwanted goods is also blanketed in smoke from burning wood. And people live there as well as work there, looking for valuables.
Dressrosa – Park Güell, Spain
Dressrosa was a pinnacle island as it saw the Straw Hat Pirates face off against its tyrannical and sinister leader: Donquixote Doflamingo! With its colorful checkered buildings and its citizens made up of sentient people and toys, it was shocking to discover what a menacing place it was under the ruthless ruler.
Its real-world counterpart is Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain. The park features lush gardens, mosaics, and architecture designed by Antoni Gaudi, one of the creators of modernism. This mix created one of the most visually arresting locations in Spain and made a great island to see Luffy and Doflamingo finally face off in one of the series’ most action-packed episodes.
Mary Geoise – Chateau de Chambord, France
This fictional capital is located on the Grand Line and is where the World Government meets to discuss the actions of the many sea pirates and their attempts to stop them for good. Despite its gorgeous marble and clean aesthetic, it’s home to some of the most corrupt characters and was also the former home of Doflamingo himself.
The inspiration for this particular building comes from the Chateau de Chambord, one of the most famous and visited mansions in all of France. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features French Renaissance architecture and belonged to several kings of France.
Amazon Lily – Hanging Temple, China
After being knocked over the horizon by Kuma’s mighty blow, Luffy crash-landed on an island inhabited only by women. Moreover, these women turn out to be among the most dangerous warriors in the world. A piece and without his crew, Luffy initially struggled on his hands.
But at least he can spend some time running in beautiful surroundings. The temple and architecture built into the walls of the steep Amazon Lily cliffs are based on temples located in Shanxi Province in China. It was originally built in the 6th century and houses those who study a number of traditional Chinese philosophies.
Kingdom of Alabasta – Egypt
During Luffy’s early adventures, he came to the kingdom of Alabasta, one of the biggest early arcs of A piece. Eventually in this arc he would gain two new crew members in Chopper and Nico Robin and reunite with his brother Ace. But it would also see them eventually face off against one of the show’s greatest antagonists to date in the form of Crocodile, a crime boss with the ability to control and manipulate sand.
Despite the many towns and villages that make up this fictional kingdom, they are all inspired by the many monuments that make up Egypt. From its iconic ancient pyramids to the banks of the Nile, these locations and Crocodile’s criminal empire have helped make for some of the best episodes of the first 130.
Water 7 – Venice, Italy
The City of Water 7 is known for its canals which citizens must use to get around. It’s also known for its shipbuilders, and it was a key location for the Straw Hats to get their ship, Going Merry, repaired and fully operational again.
From canals to the style of transport boats, it’s no surprise that Venice is a source of inspiration for this key location. Built on a series of islands, it is one of Italy’s most beloved and visited cities and has been celebrated as an inspiration for many television shows and films.
Punk Hazard – Iceland
The island of Punk Hazard was engulfed in fire and ice after a clash between Kuzan and Sakazuki. With their elemental powers battling, they left a crater ocean in the center that prevented the two sides from distinguishing or melting the other.
Iceland made another appearance on this list, but the geography of the country itself was the inspiration. With the country hosting some volcanic activity and some parts covered in snow, it is not uncommon to see fire and ice at the same time, creating a visually devastating and distinctive landscape. A piece island who was the star of one of the show’s weirdest story arcs.
Wano Kuni – Ninja Kingdom, Japan
The Japanese-inspired island of Wano Kuni was the home of the Beast Pirates, ruled by one of the most powerful and imposing villains to date: Kaiduo. Before its takeover, Wano was a beautiful country full of lavish places.
Perhaps one of the more unusual inspirations, one of his influences could very well be a theme park called Ninja Kingdom in Japan. With a life-size replica and construction of Azuchi Castle and the entire place located in Edo period Japan, this seems to be one of Wano’s inspirations. Plus, since it’s set recreationally in the era of Japanese warriors and ninjas, it wouldn’t be surprising if it also led to Kaiduo’s duel against a band of stylized samurai and fighters.
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