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The Syrup Village Arc, also referred to as the Captain Kuro Arc, is the third story arc in the East Blue Saga of the manga and anime, One Piece. Monkey D. Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, and Nami arrive at Syrup Village looking for a ship, where they meet Usopp, the local village liar. After they learn of Usopp's past and the reason for his lying, they decide they have no choice but to help him defeat Captain Kuro in order to save his friend, Kaya.
The Man in the Treasure ChestEdit
The first part of this arc sees the group land on a mysterious island inhabited by strange creatures. After passing the "test" of the forest, the Straw Hat Pirates (now comprising of Luffy, Zoro, and Nami) meet Gaimon, a pirate stuck inside a treasure chest who was marooned by his crew. The four become friends, and Luffy agrees to help Gaimon get down the treasure he has been guarding on top of a rock. When Luffy refuses to throw down the treasure chests, Gaimon realizes that the chests on the rock are the same as the island's other treasure chests, which are empty. Seeing Gaimon is disappointed, Luffy offers to take him off the island. Gaimon decides to remain on the island and protect the island's rare animals, which have become his friends. With that, the Straw Hats bid Gaimon goodbye and continue on.
The Liar and the DeceiverEdit
Next, the Straw Hat Pirates arrive in Syrup Village, where they meet Usopp, who entertains notions of grandeur by commanding the Usopp Pirates. This group is composed of Usopp and three loyal village children: Tamanegi, Ninjin, and Piiman. The Usopp Pirates cause no real trouble, but do frequently annoy the villagers, most often by giving false warnings of attacking pirates.
Usopp's wealthy friend Kaya is bedridden, but is well-provided for by her two butlers, Merry and Klahadore. However, Klahadore hides a dangerous secret: he is actually the evil captain Kuro, leader of the Black Cat Pirates. Though Kuro was believed to have been executed years ago, in reality an imposter was switched to take his place. The real Kuro has since been undercover, working to acquire the villagers' respect and Kaya's assets so he can have a peaceful retirement.
The Straw Hat Pirates make a stop at Syrup Village in search of a ship. Usopp is overjoyed to have real pirates arrive, and greets them with a cleverly-conceived act designed to fool the pirates into believing he is the commander of his own huge pirate fleet. The ruse fails, and Luffy and friends proceed into Syrup Village unhindered. Soon, the Straw Hats make friends with Usopp when Luffy discovers he is the son of Yasopp, one of the pirates in Shanks' crew.
The Plans of the Black CatEdit
Kuro's long awaited time to act arrives, as he meets with his former first mate Jango, but his identity and plan is accidentally overheard by Luffy and Usopp. Jango hypnotizes Luffy to sleep, who then falls off a cliff and is believed to be dead by everyone present; however, they are unaware that Luffy has survived because of his Devil Fruit powers.
Kuro allows Usopp to flee because no one would believe him, which proves to be true as the villagers choose to not believe in Usopp's warnings. When trying to warn Kaya, she thinks that Usopp is trying to kidnap her, and Merry, armed with a gun, chases him off. Usopp then lies to his crew in order to protect them from harm. However, the Straw Hat Pirates are aware of the situation, and decide to lend aid to the side of Usopp and Kaya and prepare with setting up traps. That night Merry gives Klahadore the glasses that Kaya bought for his three years of service, only for Klahadore to destroy them and reveal his true intentions that he wants Kaya's estate, attacking Merry to prevent him from warning Kaya. Kuro's ship and crew will arrive at Syrup Village the next day, where they believe they will find no resistance.
Battle Against the Black Cat PiratesEdit
The Straw Hats initially get which beach the Black Cat pirates are going to land on wrong. This is caused by Usopp's faulty assumption that the area where Kuro met Jango is the arrival point, unaware that the real landing point is on the other beach. This results in Usopp and Nami initially fighting the pirates alone, as Luffy gets lost and Zoro is stuck in their oil slick trap (as a result of Nami using Zoro to get out of it herself in a desperate attempt to make sure the Black Cat Pirates did not get to her treasure, which was on the other beach where their boats were).
Just before the two are killed, Zoro and Luffy arrive and fight Kuro's crew. Jango hypnotizes the crew to increase their strength, but accidentally hypnotizes Luffy as well, turning him into even more of a threat. Jango is forced to hypnotize Luffy to sleep again to stop him, but accidentally causes the crew to be knocked out by the ship's stempost, which Luffy was holding onto when he fell asleep. Meanwhile, Kaya finds the wounded Merry, who informs her of Klahadore's identity, and, realizing she was wrong about her accusations about Usopp, heads out to find Kuro to talk to him. Usopp's crew figures out that his earlier lie about a pirate attack was actually a lie; they notice Kaya walking out of the village and begin to follow her.
Meanwhile, Jango summons the ship's guards, the Nyaban brothers, Buchi and Sham, who fight against Zoro. Disarmed of all but one sword, Zoro must fight an uphill battle against the teamwork of Buchi and Sham, which is difficult without all three swords. Zoro prevents Usopp from helping him by taking a hit from Usopp's Lead Star to keep Usopp from getting dragged into the fight. Kuro then appears disgusted by how the Black Cat Pirates are getting beaten by children, and gives the Nyaban brothers five minutes before he kills everyone.
Nami is able to kick Zoro's swords back to him, allowing him to defeat the Nyaban brothers. However, Buchi survives and is hypnotized by Jango, turning him into an even bigger threat to Zoro. Nami goes to wake Luffy up, and Jango tries to stop her with his Chakram, but at the last second Nami steps on Luffy's face, which gets him up in time to stop the Chakram with his rubber body. Kaya then intervenes, holds Kuro at gunpoint, and tries to get him to remember the fun times they had. However, Kuro reveals that he never cared about her and only wants her money, and was simply waiting for this day where he can kill her, causing Kaya to drop the gun in shock. Usopp tries to attack Kuro to defend Kaya, but Kuro injures him badly in retaliation. Kuro is then attacked by Usopp's crew, who have arrived, but Kuro simply brushes off their attack.
Usopp orders his crew to take Kaya and flee, and the three take Kaya into the forest while Kuro sends Jango after them. Zoro finishes off Buchi and then heads out with Usopp as his guide on his back to rescue Kaya and the boys (since Usopp cannot move due to his injuries and Zoro needs him to navigate through the forest), while Luffy deals with Kuro. Eventually, Jango catches up with his target and easily overpowers the boys. Kaya threatens to kill herself with Jango's Chakram to stop Jango from hurting Usopp's crew, and allows Jango to force herself to sign the will that allows Kuro to "legally" acquire her wealth after he kills her. Zoro and Usopp catch up, and proving himself less useless than he seems, Usopp aids Zoro in defeating Jango and rescuing Kaya and the boys with his sniper skills.
Meanwhile, Kuro unleashes his "Shakushi" that attacks everything in sight, including his own men, and reveals that part of his original plan was to kill his crew so his true identity could never be exposed. Angered by Kuro's lack of respect to his crew, and that Kuro had abandoned the ideal of what it means to be a pirate, the final victory is won by Luffy, who defeats him with his devastating Gomu Gomu no Kane attack and forces the Black Cat pirates to leave the village with Kuro's body.
From Play Pirate to Real PirateEdit
Usopp decides that news of a real pirate attack might be too upsetting for the villagers and would affect their peace of mind, since pirates do not normally come to an out-of-the-way village. He orders everyone to keep it a secret, which Kaya and his crew agree with. Kaya, realizing that confinement in her home and sorrow towards her parents' deaths had been the cause of her illness, is grateful to the Straw Hat Pirates, and gives them her ship, the Going Merry. Usopp is grateful to them as well, and now has the confidence to disband his pirate crew and strike out on his own to be a real pirate. But his luck proves to be even better than he knows when Luffy invites him to join his crew. With a new friend and crewmember, as well as a new ship, the Straw Hat Pirates leave Syrup Village to continue their voyage to the Grand Line.
- During their meeting with Gaimon, the Straw Hat Pirates fully understand the Grand Line's geography and location, as well as the "myth" of One Piece. Ever since Gold Roger started the Golden Age of Pirates twenty-two years ago, no one has found Roger's treasure, and many believe it does not exist. This is later referred to again in the Jaya Arc, and the question of the existence of One Piece becomes a major question in the story. Much later on in the Marineford Arc, in his dying breath, Whitebeard confirms the existence of One Piece, which starts the New Age of Piracy.
- This arc introduces a new crew member with Usopp, and the Straw Hats also gain a ship, the Going Merry, which will follow the Straw Hats' adventures until the end of the Enies Lobby Arc.
- In the manga mini-arc Jango's Dance Paradise, it is revealed that because he was knocked out in the woods, Jango is the only Black Cat pirate accidentally left behind. Through a number of adventures, he ends up on an island full of Marines. Jango becomes best friends with Fullbody, a Marine that encounters the Straw Hats in the Baratie Arc. After Jango's identity is revealed, Fullbody helps Jango get acquitted for his past crimes and enables him to join the Marines, at the price of being demoted. The Straw Hats would not encounter Jango again until the Alabasta Arc, where Luffy is surprised he is now a Marine.
Manga and Anime DifferencesEdit
Gaimon - Before and AfterEdit
Anime: This happens after the Kuro encounter, so Usopp is with the Straw Hats at that point and the Going Merry is in their possession. Unlike the manga, Nami heard rumors of the island being famous for incurring the gods' wrath if anyone gets too close, and the Straw Hats decide to search for treasure there. Zoro also meets Gaimon in the anime, while in the manga he is asleep the entire time on their raft.
Encounter with UsoppEdit
Manga: Usopp has only a small talk with Luffy, Nami, and Zoro on the beach.
Anime: The conversation is much longer, and he even attacks them with his slingshot.
Manga: Kaya's room is on the first floor.
Anime: Kaya's room is on the second floor.
Like Father, Like SonEdit
Anime: Luffy knew right away that Usopp is Yasopp's son. Additionally, while the anime mentions that Yasopp has a son during the Romance Dawn storyline, the manga first reveals it in this story arc.
Manga: When Jango throws the chakram at Nami, it hits the back of Luffy's head after he gets up.
Anime: Luffy catches it with his teeth and bites it to pieces.
Anime: Tamanegi is wearing his normal clothes. 
Manga: After Merry informs Kaya of what had happened, Tamanegi, Ninjin (Carrot), and Piiman (Pepper) figure out Usopp's earlier deception and, noticing Kaya walking around the village, they decide to follow her. 
Anime: The boys' conversation takes place first. Additionally, they try to break into the mansion on their own, but the hedge Usopp used had been repaired and they could not climb the front gate, until they see Kaya exiting the mansion and decide to follow her. 
Manga: Kaya shouts Kuro's name to get his attention.
Anime: Kuro does not know that she is behind him, thinking it is someone attacking from that position. He almost attacks Kaya, but Usopp shoves her out of the way, after which Kuro realizes that person is Kaya. 
Attacking Kuro Edit
Manga: After Kuro takes Kaya's pistol and declares that he never truly cared for her well-being, Usopp attempts to punch him.
Anime: Usopp picks up Kaya's pistol and attempts to shoot Kuro with it.
- Kaya's pistol is changed to a slingshot.
- The scene of Merry shooting Usopp is skipped.
- Jango's Chakram is made to look like it has a mind of its own, to tone down Kaya's threat of committing suicide.
Syrup Village Arc