Impel Down (インペルダウン, Inperu Daun), known as, Great Prison (大監獄, Daikangoku) is the World Government's maximum-security prison for the most dangerous criminals, pirates, mages. It is located underwater in the middle of the Calm Belt.
Entering Impel DownEdit
Impel Down is located in the middle of the Calm Belt, where Neptunians thrive, making entrance difficult. The only way to get there with the greatest of ease is to use the Tub Current, a water current accessible by going through the Gates of Justice located at either the Navy Headquarters or Enies Lobby. Also, the only way to safely get to the prison is to use one of the Sea-Prism Stone lined Navy battleships, as the entire place is surrounded by Neptunians.
Because of its brutal nature and being renowned for being inescapable since Shiki, almost no person wishes to ever go there. However, there are people who choose to enter it willingly: such as Monkey D. Luffy, Daz Bonez and Crocodile.
Usually, Impel Down is an eternal-fortress with maximum defenses, making intrusion and breaking-out by criminals impossible. However, Luffy made the record of being the first to break-in, tarnishing that perfect record since Shiki's breakout twenty years ago. The Blackbeard Pirates are the second group of people to ever instigate a break-in, and they did so with less effort than Luffy, not having bothered to try to avoid detection.
Arrival and SterilizationEdit
When prisoners arrive in Impel Down, thier clothes are thrown into the boiling water to disinfect and sterilize them. This is ritualistically referred to as "baptizing" them.
While most have screamed in pain due to the extreme heat, only a few prisoners have been known to take the sterilization without flinching even one bit. These prisoners include Portgaz D. Ace, Jimbei, and Crocodile.
Change of ClothingEdit
Most prisoners then have their clothes taken before they are given a striped black and white shirt and trousers. However, they are permitted to keep certain articles of clothing, such as Galdino's glasses, and Crocodile's hook.
Exceptions to this rule are prisoners who were not meant to stay long before death. These include Portgaz D. Ace, Monkey D. Luffy, and Shiryu. Jimbei was also allowed to keep his own clothing, as he was meant to be kept there until he was willing to cooperate with the World Government.
The residents of New Kama Land seem to have managed to retrieve their old clothes after escaping from their cells. Similarly, Crocodile seems to have somehow retrieved clothing similar to his old attire, including a long fur coat, almost immediately after escaping from his cell. However, it was revealed by Oda as well in the anime that Crocodile got his outfit back from New Kama Land.
Level Assignment and Life of TortureEdit
After sterilization and a change of clothing, the prisoners are then placed in one of the six known levels of Impel Down, based on their crimes and strength. The more heinous or powerful a prisoner is, the lower the level in impel they will be placed. From then on, the prisoners are tortured everyday in various ways, depending on their assigned levels, with most of them supposedly having no chance of ever leaving alive.
Whether outside people are permitted to visit the prisoners is unknown. Government agents and Navy have the authority to do so, but they would need permission from their superiors.
As Impel Down is a World Government facility, it is obvious pirates cannot enter without being branded as intruders and criminals. The Warlords are allowed, at the permission of the Government. Even so, they would be subjected to a full body search, then be forced to wear Sea-Prism Stone-cuffs, for safety measures. Without permission, such as Blackbeard and his crew, they would be considered as traitors.
Leaving Impel DownEdit
Aside from visitors and Government officials, most people who enter Impel Down never leave there alive. The only prisoners ever allowed to leave are those who are held until their death penalty that takes place outside of the fortress (i.e. Portgaz D. Ace), those who are meant to serve temporary sentence (i.e. Jimbei) and those who are released for special reasons (i.e. Arlong).
Breakout of Impel Down is virtually impossible, due to the defenses from the extremely powerful traps and guards of the place, with the Neptunian-infested Calm Belt being its ultimate barricade. However, Shiki made the record of being the first person to break-out of the prison twenty years ago due to a mistake made by the Navy. Monkey D. Luffy became the second to do so.
Aside from his own escape, Luffy is also responsible for leading the very first mass-riot within the Great Prison. Along with Emporio Ivankov, Inazuma, Buggy, Daz Bonez, Crocodile, Jimbei, Galdino, and 233 other prisoners, he is also responsible for the first-ever mass breakout in Impel Down's history. Bentham intentionally stayed behind, sacrificing himself to let the others complete their escape. It is unknown how many prisoners died during this riot, mostly by the Demon Guards and Magellan's poison.
Following this second breakout, the Blackbeard Pirates had freed several Level 6 prisoners for recruitment into their crew, leading to more prisoners leaving.
Impel Down is a large submerged tower-like structure whose foundation is at the very bottom of the sea bed. Due to it being built within the Calm Belt, the entire structure is constantly surrounded by gigantic Neptunians swimming below the water. Along with these beasts, the prison is guarded by a force of Navy battleships.
Within the dark confines of the prison are various cells and torture chambers that are used for the prisoners. The cells are all made from seastone to keep those with Cursed Fruit powers from escaping. The torture chambers are used for all sorts of brutal unspeakable acts. Among these include continuous whipping, brutal beating to death, boiling cauldrons for burning and drowning, and spiked pits used for impaling.
The prison is carefully monitored all around by a Surveillance Transponder Snail. Tiny versions of them are found in specific locations throughout Impel Down. Whatever they see is transferred to a larger version that sends video feeds to monitors connected to it, allowing the guards to keep surveillance. Each of the smaller versions has an alarm beeper connected to the shells. The large Surveillance Transponder Snail is kept in a monitor room somewhere within the fortress.
There is also what appears to be a medical laboratory stationed somewhere within the great jail, with doctors and a variety of medical equipment for immediate treatments of anyone within the prison, both prisoner and staff alike. However, the doctors seem to have a limit, as they cannot produce a cure for an accumulation of various poisons.
The generator room of the entire prison is located on the first floor, before Level 1, and as are the controls to open the Gates of Justice.
A prisoner's assigned level is usually determined by the bounty value on his or her head. Although with exceptions, such as Crocodile whose bounty was removed a long time ago and Bentham, when the Government acknowledges their strength is obviously superior to their bounties.
Along with various cells to keep inmates, each level possesses a unique form of torture. Because of these unspeakable acts being performed, each descending level, means the tortures worsens.
Level 1: Red Crimson ForestEdit
Level 1: Red Crimson Forest(レベルワン: 赤紅蓮森, Reberu Wan: Aka Guren Mori) is the first level of Impel Down in which prisoners are kept. While the level relatively is used for less wanted criminals, it contains a large forest of red trees. The leaves of the trees, known as Kenju (剣樹, bladed tree), are as sharp as blades, while the grass on the floor, the Haribarisō (針々草, needle grass), is as spiky as needles. Here, prisoners are forced to run through the forest while being chased by poisonous spiders and guards to experience all the pain from being cut from all directions. As consequence of prisoners being forced through this forest, it is soaked in blood. Deep within the forest is a hole that leads to Level 2. For those who do not wish to live through the pain of being cut any longer, they were given the option of jumping down the hole to Level 2, which contains an even more terrifying that nobody is willing to risk. The security here seems to be somewhat lax, as a prisoner has managed to sneak a Black Transponder Snail into his cell, eavesdropping on what is happening around the fortress. Buggy was kept here prior to his escape due to the guards not knowing he was a Cursed Fruit user, much less one whose power rendered him completely impervious to this type of torture.
Level 2: Wild Beast JungleEdit
Level 2: Wild Beast Jungle (レベルツー: 猛獣ジャングル, Reberu Tsū: Mōjū Janguru) is the second level of Impel Down in which prisoners are kept. Buggy commented that every prisoner from level 2 that escaped with him holds a bounty higher than his own (15,000,000 berries). It contains various wild beasts of sorts. The beasts kept here include a giant praying mantis who slices with its sickle-like appendages, a small hippo who can extend its jaws widely to swallow prisoners whole, Puzzle Scorpions and Manticores. Puzzle Scorpions are large poisonous insects that can join together to become giant centipedes. Manticores are man-eating human faced lions that will devour everything from their prey including the bones. Their human faces allow them to speak however they can only imitate what they hear like parrots as they don't understand what they're actually speaking. The words they speak are mostly things they heard from the prisoners so some of the things that they say are completely out of place. Among these regular-sized beasts kept here are also two gigantic beasts, the Basilisk and the Sphinx.
With these various beasts, prisoners kept here are forced to be chased by them through the corridors of the level. Because of the fearsome danger, prisoners often either lose the will to go on, or refuse to escape even when their cells are unlocked. Galdino was kept here prior to being set free by Luffy and Buggy. After both the Basilisk and the Sphinx were defeated, and along with all the prison doors being unlocked, there was a mass riot in the level caused by Luffy and his companions. The riot however was quelled down by Saldeath and his Blue Gorillas. There was a second riot that occured shortly after the previous riot but has since been quelled after Magellan apparently decimated almost all the prisoners on the level and blocked all the entrances and exits. However, as Magellan became occupied with Luffy's breakout army, the rioters of Level 2 once again became active.
- Galdino - Membership in Baroque Works, Life sentence in Level 2; prisoner number D0464.
- Arlong - member of the Sun Pirates, Released on Jimbei's request when he became a Warlord.
Level 3: Starving DesertEdit
Level 3: Starving Desert (レベルスリー: 飢餓砂漠, Reberu Surī: Kiga Sabaku) is the third level of Impel Down in which prisoners are kept. Most of the prisoners kept here are pirates who have a bounty of 50,000,000 berries or higher. On this level, prisoners feel the heat rising up from Level 4 and are given precious little food and water to keep them in a near death state. They are reduced to the point where, by merely looking at them, one cannot tell that they were ever once frightening criminals. And while the temperature here is nothing compared to level below, it is intense enough to cause overwhelming dryness, resulting in Level 3's somewhat desert-like terrain. Bentham was kept here, despite his bounty being only 32,000,000 berries. Galdino stated that the sand in Level 3 is actually the remnants of prisoners who had dried up and died.
In the middle of the level is a large hole going directly to Level 4 down below. This, combined with a gigantic fan directly above the hole, serves as the main ventilation system to redirect the smoke produced from below. Level 4 can be reached through this hole, however, to travel down it holds a risk of death or scalding by the fire and heat from the floor below.
- Bentham - Membership in Baroque Works, Life sentence in Level 3; prisoner number C9915.
- Olive - captain of her own pirate crew, Life sentence in Level 3.
Level 4: Blazing InfernoEdit
Level 4: Blazing Inferno (レベルフォー: 焦熱インフェルノ, Reberu Fō: Shōnetsu Inferuno) is the fourth level of Impel Down in which prisoners are kept. At this level, a pool lies filled with boiling blood heated by a raging fire making it extremely hot. The heat caused by this is so intense that it also heats up the level directly above it. If one tries to jump down to this level from Level 3 using the large hole used for ventilation above but don't land in a safe place, then they will die.
Prisoners from other levels are regularly tortured here. The most prevalent form of torture however is being thrown into the gigantic pot of boiling blood in the middle of the level. Daz Bonez was kept here, though he was shown to be unfazed by the heat of this level while being placed into hard labor. He also saw Luffy and Magellan's battle while in his cell.
Magellan, the warden of Impel Down, stays here. His office contains a lift, which can take several people to all the levels throughout the fortress, bypassing the stairs. This is also where the kitchen of the prison is located, right next to Magellan's office. Luffy's battle with Magellan was fought here prior to him being completely poisoned and captured.
Level 5: Giant FreezerEdit
Level 5: Giant Freezer (レベルファイブ: ジャイアントフリーザー, Reberu Faibu: Jaianto Furīzā) is the fifth level of Impel Down in which prisoners are kept. This is the level where criminals with bounties of 100,000,000 berries and over are kept. In stark contrast to the level above it, the entire level here is a giant freezer. The level is so cold that not only do the prisoners kept here either freeze to death or lose pieces of their flesh from severe frostbite, but the food given to them is frozen to the level of being virtually inedible. Due to the extreme cold, Transponder Snails don't function in this Level, thus cutting off both contact and surveillance, except on the locations localized around the entrances that connects Level 5 to the previous and next levels. Along with the severe cold, the level is inhabited by wolves. These wolves roam around the level like the beasts of Level 2, where they were originally stationed at. However, they proved to be too brutal to be in Level 2 as they also hunted the other beasts as well, including the Basilisk and the Sphinx.
Along with the bitter cold of the level, there seems to be a occurrence of prisoners mysteriously disappearing as well. Prisoners who are incapable of moving by themselves have been disappearing without a trace. Because of this, the Impel Down staff and the prisoners call this phenomenon, the "demoning away". The superstition is that the missing prisoners have been actually pulled away by demons to the Gates of Hell itself. The belief of this superstition has been carefully kept within level 5 so that no inmates from the upper levels were aware about it prior to Bentham (disguised as Hannyabal), Buggy, and Galdino descending down to it where they were informed by the guards. Among these missing prisoners is Emporio Ivankov, the queen of the okama. He was imprisoned here until he mysteriously disappeared from his cell. Since then, he was rumored to be living in an abandoned guard's office deep within a forest situated in the level. Luffy was transferred into the central tower of this floor after his loss against Magellan, until released by Bentham, hoping to find a cure.
- Monkey D. Luffy - son of Monkey D. Tiger, Infiltrating Impel Down in attempt to break Portgaz D. Ace, Death by poison in 24 hours, sentenced to Level 5, Received treatment in Level 5.5 and survived.
- Emporio Ivankov - Membership in the Revolutionary Army, Sentenced to Level 5, "Demoned" away, hid in Level 5.5 over the years.
- Inazuma - Membership in the Revolutionary Army, Sentenced to Level 5, "Demoned" away, hid in Level 5.5 over the years.
- Roche Tomson - Sentenced to Level 5.
- George Black - Sentenced to Level 5.
- Unknown Cursed Fruit user - With an unnamed Cursed Fruit ability, he created Level 5.5.
- Bellett - sentenced to Level 5 to seek out Emporio Ivankov.
Level 5.5: Newkama LandEdit
Level 5.5: Newkama Land (レベルファイブ.ファイブ: ニューカマーランド, Reberu Faibu.Faibu: Nyūkamā Rando) or otherwise Known as the The "Prisoners' Secret Flower Garden", is a hidden sub level of Freezing Hell, and is where all the prisoners who have been supposedly "demoned away" have gone to. The secret area is located inside a rock between Levels 5 and 6. It was carved out long ago by a prisoner with a tunneling Devil Fruit power, and is a secret location unknown by the jailers. It is ruled by the "Queen" Emporio Ivankov, and it is called the Okama Paradise where all the okama and prisoners party and have fun all the time. It has been described by Ivankov as a "Prisoners secret but favorite paradise", and true enough, not one inmate from this hidden level is inclined at all to escape the prison as a result. However, since the level itself is hidden, the inhabitants seem to abide by very strict rules that prohibit them from actively interacting with the other levels, at least not without covert movement. Still, they don't seem to discriminate should new arrivals find their way here, as seen by the warm welcome they gave to Bon Clay.
One of its main rooms is a combination of a sit-down cafe and a discotheque, with the main attraction being a cabaret stage where Emporio Ivankov and his followers perform. Apparently, there are also secret entrances existing from the other levels (save for Level 6) that leads directly into this hidden level which the inhabitants can use to their advantage in procuring any necessary supplies. The level also has a Surveillance Transponder Snail that captures feeds from Impel Down's main surveillance system so the prisoners can see what is going on from all levels in the prison. They also steal newspapers from the prison's garbage cans to stay informed about current events.
Following the mass breakout of Impel Down, the residents of Newkama Land participated in the Whitebeard War and left for Kamabakka Kingdom, leaving Level 5.5 empty.
Its name is a pun on "new comer" and okama, and refers to the okama who are completely able to change genders thanks to Ivankov's powers. In Japan, a "New Half" is a man who undergoes a "sex-change" operation.
The Newkama land is a reference to the B-movie Rocky horror picture show, in which main character Frank N. Furter is a transvestite similar to Newkama inhabitants. In the final scene of the movie, the heroes Brad and Janett surrender to their transsexual feelings in a similar way as Ivankov's candyboys accept their true inner selves.
Level 6: Eternal AsylumEdit
Eternal Asylum (レベル: 無限アサイラム, Reberu: Mugen Asairamu): is the lowest level of Impel Down. It is where prisoners who are insanely powerful, have caused crimes extremely atrocious, and/or whose mere existences have become a major threat to the World Government itself are kept. Sengoku said even a single Level Six prisoner lurking in a remote country could be an incredible danger to the public. The prisoners on this level have been given either the death penalty or a life sentence. They are basically "erased" from history.
Ace was kept here on death row, awaiting his execution. Because most people dismiss Level 6 as just a rumor (until its actual discovery), Ace was believed to be on Level 5 by other prisoners.Jinbe was also placed on this floor, and was being kept in the same cell as Ace. Though the prisoners on this floor are either jailed for the rest of their lives or until their execution day arrives, Jimbei was only given a temporary sentence for refusing to fight against Whitebeard. Crocodile is also being kept here in a cell next to theirs. Near them are various other legendary pirates who hold deep grudges against Whitebeard, some of which are several imprisoned Giants.
Kept alongside the prisoners is the former Jail Manager Shiryu. Because he constantly massacred prisoners, he was deemed to be a menace even within Impel Down, and became too dangerous to be kept anywhere else in the prison. For abusing his powers, he was sentenced to Level 6, until his death sentence. Interestingly enough, even though Level 6 is considered the worst hell, prisoners kept here are never actually tortured (though it was shown that Minotaurus occasionaly showed up and tormented the prisoners with it's club). It simply seems to be a holding cell for life or until an execution and prisoners do not have to endure terrible conditions (burning heat, freezing cold, etc.) unlike the higher floors. However, as seen with Jimbei and Crocodile as they moved through the other levels and are unaffected by those conditions, the inhabitants of this level may simply be too powerful to be affected by torture. However, solitary imprisonment has been proven to be an effective torture in the real world, where even Shiryu stated that the boredom made him wish for death.
- Shiki - captain of the Golden Lion Pirates, Sentenced to Level 6, First escape of Impel Down 2 years ago after imprisonment by severing his shackled feet.
- Portgaz D. Ace - son of Monkey D. Tiger, former member of the Spade Pirates, membership in the Whitebeard Pirates, Death sentence at Navyford, temporary containment in Level 6.
- Jimbei - Causing an uproar at Navy Headquarters, and refusing to fight on behalf of the World Government, Temporal sentence in Level 6
- Crocodile - Abusing his Warlord title privileges, Founding the Baroque Works criminal organization, Attempted coup d'État of the Alabasta Kingdom, Production, possession and usage of Boggie Powder, Life sentence in Level 6.
- Shiryu - Unacceptable abuse of privilege: killing prisoners for personal reasons, Death penalty, sentenced to Level 6 death row which later was postponed for assistance against mass breakouts, Defected from post and sided with the Blackbeard Pirates.
- Catalina Devon - World's worst female prisoner, Death penalty, sentenced to Level 6 death row, Joined the Blackbeard Pirates after winning the battle royale amongst prisoners.
- San-Juan Wolf - Death penalty, sentenced to Level 6 death row, Joined the Blackbeard Pirates after winning the battle royale amongst prisoners.
- Abalo Pizarro - Death penalty, sentenced to Level 6 death row, Joined the Blackbeard Pirates after winning the battle royale amongst prisoners.
- Basco Shot - Death penalty, sentenced to Level 6 death row, Joined the Blackbeard Pirates after winning the battle royale amongst prisoners.
Only Escape and Past Horrible ReputationEdit
Twenty years before the start of the series, Shiki the Gold Lion became the first prisoner to escape Impel Down due to a mistake made by the Navy by allowing him to cut off his own chained up legs. Ever since then, no prisoner had ever made a successful break-out or break-in until the eve of the Battle of Navyford.
Over the years, many prisoners of Level 5 would disappear for no apparent reason. The guards dubbed this phenomenon as "demoning" away, and thought such prisoners are gone forever. In truth, they were rescued from their cells by Revolutionaries Army's commander Emporio Ivankov, who was also imprisoned in Level 5, and they all stayed at the secret Level 5.5, a space dug out by a past prisoner with a tunneling Cursed Fruit power.
Jail Manager Shiryu of the Rain has killed many prisoners within the walls of the prison for his sheer pleasure, and was deemed a menace. He was put on death row, and was held in Level 6 until his sentence would be carried out.
Baroque Works Downfall and Spark of the Whitebeard WarEdit
Sometime around Ace's imprisonment, Buggy the Clown was captured by the Navy captain T-Bone and sentenced to Level 1. His crew was thinking of saving him, but due to Impel Down's reputation of impregnability, they gave up and left him.
During the preparations for Ace's impending execution, Jimbei of the Warlords of the Sea was sent to Level 6, as he refused to fight on behalf of the World Government, and even broke out on a rage in Navyford. He was placed in the same cell as Ace, who he was friends with for a long time.
Following this, the events of the Impel Down Arc take place. After the consecutive mass break-outs (the first led by Luffy and Buggy, the second by Blackbeard), it is unlikely that Impel Down was left with any surviving prisoners at the time, leaving Impel Down completely defeated.
Two Years LaterEdit
After the time skip, Impel Down has been repaired from Luffy's mass break out. Warden for Impel Down was chosen and Domino has been promoted to Jail Manager. Another Demon Guard, Minochihuahua, has been added. Saldeath has grown taller and Sadie has fallen in love with the newly appointed Chief Guard, Magellan who has been demoted (or has stepped down) down to Chif Gaurd and Hannyabl retains his Vice Warden status.
Impel Down StaffEdit
- Magellan - Warden of Impel Down, Resides in Level 4, Possesses the Venom-Venom Fruit, Only serves about four hours of service per day
- Hannyabal - Vice Warden of Impel Down, Ambitious person.
- Saldeath - 1st Chief Guard of Impel Down, Commander of the Blue Gorillas.
- Sadie - 2nd Chief Guard of Impel Down, Sadistic torturer, Commander of the Four Demon Guards.
- Shiryu - Jail Manager of Impel Down, Magellan's equal, Abuse of privilege, stripped of status and sentenced to death row in Level 6, but postponed and released for assistance, betrayed the prison and defected towards the Blackbeard Pirates.
- Domino - Vice Jail Manager of Impel Down.