Chapter 653 is titled "The Hero's Hat".
The mermaid dancers from the Mermaid Cafe ask permission to see the Straw Hats off which they are granted by Madame Shyarly. The Minister of the Left introduces Nami to a new Log Pose from which she is able to tell which island is more dangerous.
After a respectful and (in some cases) tearful farewell, the Straw Hat Pirates leave Fishman Island and head out to the New World. However, they are stopped for a brief moment by Shirahoshi, making a promise with her to take her to the surface the next time they meet. After they set sail once again, a fishman child asks for a Straw Hat to play hero, but is told that there are none for sale. On the way to the surface, the Straw Hat Pirates remember and re-establish their dreams and prepare to enter the New World.
Keimi tells Shyarly that Luffy and his crew are going to leave the island. Shyarly tells her to go see them off. Before she leaves, Keimi notices the broken crystal ball on the floor. Shyarly tells Keimi that she is through with foreseeing the future for good, and she could not be happier if she was wrong. Keimi realizes her boss is more fearful than anyone, since her prediction may come in a year or more, and there is no way to know if she is wrong. Shyarly asks Keimi to forgive her for suspecting her friends of wrongdoing.
The scene changes and Shirahoshi is crying as she holds Luffy in her hand, asking him to stay for another week, then a month, and then a year. After seeing Shirahoshi, Sanji wishes he could stay for a year. Brook says that he will call his new single "Life on Fishman Island is a Dream". Zoro tells Sanji he should stay on the island. Sanji says he will teach him not to cross the person who cooks his food. Over to one side, the Minister of the Right whispers to Neptune about the tamatebako. Neptune tells him to look at the pirates. Usopp and Chopper are in despair, saying they are going to the New World to die. Chopper wonders if Big Mom would forgive them if they gave her all their treasure from here on out. Neptune and the minister realize they could not tell them at this point. Neptune does add that it was ten years since the bomb was placed in there, it may have become a dud. The Minister of the Right says he does have a point, the castle is damp, and Big Mom might not be the one to open the box. Robin wonders what they are whispering about.
The Minister of the Left then gives Nami a new Log Pose, with three needles on it instead of one. Shirahoshi lowers Luffy so he can see the new Log Pose. Nami looks at the one on her wrist. She wonders why it is moving, since she thought it had already recorded the next island. The minister tells her that each island in the New World as well as Fishman Island take only half a day to record. The islands can differ in current, climate, and magnetic fields, which until now have been the only thing they could rely on. However, there are also islands that lose their magnetic fields. The minister points out that only one needle on the Log Pose is shaking, while the other two are completely still. Each needle records the waves of a different island, meaning the navigator must choose which way to go, and the wrong decision could mean certain death. Master navigators can choose the safest routes by observing subtle differences in the needles' movements. The stronger the needle's movement the more dangerous the island. Nami finds this new navigation method deeply disturbing. Suddenly, Luffy wraps his neck around Nami and notices the center needle shaking. He decides to go to that island, as it looks like fun. Nami and Usopp are devastated that Luffy overheard the conversation. Nami tries to strangle him, saying she is the one who chooses the route, but Luffy says he is the captain. Usopp and Chopper beg Luffy to see sense.
Franky then declares that they are ready to go and he even learned how to float up. Hatchan tells them he is staying behind to help repair the factory. Usopp and Chopper have become more enthusiastic, saying they are going to war in Hell. Sanji and the mermaids say their goodbyes, and Sanji calls them the All Blue of his heart. Fukaboshi thanks Luffy. Manboshi declares that they will be leading the strongest army in the ocean next they meet, and Ryuboshi says their reputation will be even more renowned. Luffy and Jinbe simply exchange silent looks. As the crew leaves, the people call from the shore that they now like humans, as well as robots, raccoons, and skeletons. Shirahoshi then swims up and grabs the side of the ship, making everyone fall over. She tells him she will not be a crybaby next time they meet and wants to go on another walk with Luffy, only this time she wants to go to the surface and see a real forest with them. She holds out her pinky and Luffy wraps his own around hers, symbolizing the promise. The other Straw Hats, save for Zoro and Franky, all touch their own pinky fingers to hers. She then waves as they leave, splashing water on her face and holding her pinky finger. Neptune tells his son not to forget their debt. A child then asks his father for a straw hat so he could play heroes with it. His father then tells him that they are only available on the surface. Jinbe overhears the conversation and tells them he will send a merchant ship to get the hats.
On the Thousand Sunny, Sanji is reveling in his memories, but Nami tell them there is no time to rest, as they have to go back through the dark sea again. Attached to the foremost mast of the ship is a string of floating blocks. Franky tells Usopp they are called Kuuigosu, and extremely buoyant wood that he is using to raise the ship. Their speed of ascent can be controlled by how many are let out. Luffy is standing on the bow, and Zoro asks him if something is wrong. Luffy says they will be in the same ocean as Shanks when they reach the surface and he is looking forward to seeing him. He then remembers the day Shanks gave him his straw hat. He also remembers the words of encouragement given to him by Ace, Jinbe, and Rayleigh. Finally, he remembers the conversation he had with Coby about the New World. Everyone gets fired up while Robin simply laughs. The chapter ends with Luffy shouting they are going to the New World.
- Kokoro and Yokozuna are shown for the first time since the timeskip.
- Shyarly broke her crystal ball in half and says she will never tell a fortune again. Even though her prediction of Luffy destroying Fishman Island has not happened, Keimi herself admitted that Shyarly's prediction could happen anytime from a month to a year later, so there is still a possibility that the prediction is not wrong yet.
- A new three-needle Log Pose is introduced, which can point to three different locations in the New World at the same time. It is also explained that the stability of the needle reflects the stability of the island.
- Neptune and the Minister of the Right decide not to tell the Straw Hats about the bomb in the Tamatebako.
- All of the current members of the crew (excluding Franky and Zoro) make a promise with Shirahoshi that the next time they meet, they will take her to the surface. Shirahoshi also promises to stop being a crybaby.
- After the battle, many of the Fishman Island children want their own straw hat. Jinbe asks that a merchant ship be prepared for him so he can go get some for them.
- Franky shows off another one of his hair styles, this one modeled after a set of insect jaws.
- Also, in this chapter, we learn how the coated ships can float with the Kuuigosu.
- The Straw Hat Pirates leave Fishman Island and set sail for the New World.
- This is the last chapter of the Fishman Island Arc and the Fishman Island Saga.
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