I didn't say that it didn't have any plot or that it was unimportant. I said it was less plot driven than other arcs; the plot for the entire thing is literally to get to Eneru and beat him up.
It's not less plot driven than the other arcs. Enel and his priests may have been the main conflict, but the substance of the arc comes from adventuring in a previously unknown region of the world, first through the clouds and Angel Island, and then later through the milky roads and jungles of Upper Yard. Then there's the Shandian conflict with reclaiming Upper Yard as their homeland in order to find the bell, along with the Montblanc family storyline that was continued from Jaya, with Upper Yard being the old half of Jaya that was knocked into the sky. Then there's the world building and setup with the Skypieans and the Shandians having wings, which was important later in the Ancient Kingdom relation via Enel's cover story. To top it off, we got to see a poneglyph (which actually renewed Robin's dream), and it was revealed that Roger had been to Skypiea. How is any of this less plot driven than the other arcs when it sets up so much and contains so much substance (and I likely missed some things too)? Saying "the plot is to get to Enel and beat him up" is the vaguest way to describe it, and just isn't accurate.
It's like saying the plot of Fishman Island is "beat up Hody", or that the plot of Alabasta is "beat up Crocodile". Each arc has a conflict that needs to be resolved in the end, but each arc is not defined by that conflict, but rather by the subplots and characters that exist within.
And I'm positive if you really think about it, you'll find that there are far more fights in that arc than in the others. They fight their way through the jungle for the entirety of the arc, rather than the fights coming at the end of the arc like in the ones you've mentioned. Just outline the arcs and lay them out; it's pretty easily proven.
No, not really. Skypiea is 66 chapters total, and the first 10 chapters are the arrival on the island and the venturing into Upper Yard. The major fights in the arc that get the most of the screentime are Satori vs. Usopp, Sanji, and Luffy, Zoro vs. Ohm, Chopper vs. Gedatsu, and Luffy vs. Enel. There are a few minor fights that last a chapter or less, which are Wiper vs. Shura, Gan Fall vs. Shura, Zoro vs. Braham, Enel vs. Kamakiri, Robin, Zoro, and Wiper vs. Enel, Genbo vs. Yama, Nami & Gan Fall vs. Sotori & Kotori, Luffy vs. Wiper, and finally, Robin vs. Yama. I'm sure I'm missing some other minor skirmishes that may have occurred.
In comparison, Alabasta began at Chapter 155 and totals 63 chapters. The main fighting began with Luffy. vs. Crocodile Round 1 in Chapter 178. Then there's Mr. 4 & Miss Merry Christmas vs. Chopper & Usopp, Nami vs. Miss Doublefinger, Sanji vs. Mr. 2, Zoro vs. Mr. 1, Luffy vs. Crocodile Round 2, then Luffy vs. Crocodile Round 3. Then the arc finishes off with the crew facing off against Hina and the Marines. Most of these skirmishes lasted at least 2 chapters, with Luffy vs. Crocodile Round 3 going on longer than that.
And since the minor fights were counted with Skypiea, Alabasta also had the Straw Hats & Ace vs. the Millions, Ace stopping Smoker, Sanji infiltrating the Rainbase Casino, and the entirety of the Rebel army vs. the Royal army portions. I'm probably missing some minor skirmishes here too.
Now Water 7/Enies Lobby. We got Usopp vs. Luffy, Zoro vs. The Franky Family mooks, Chopper, Sanji, Luffy, and Zoro vs. The Franky House guys, Luffy vs. Franky, Luffy vs. the Galley-La Foremen, and then the invasion of Iceburg's manor.
At Iceburg's manor the Straw Hats tried to face off against the CP9 members, but failed. Then aboard the sea train, Sanji fought Jerry, Wanze, and a whole bunch of mooks. Then he tried to fight Blueno at the end and failed. Franky fought some mooks and then Nero. Zoro & Luffy "fought" the Aqua Laguna, and Zoro defeated T-Bone.
Then on Enies Lobby we got the first 20 chapters dedicated to the invasion portion, with the entire crew beating up grunt Marines (and Luffy ended up fighting over 2000 of them). This portion ended with Luffy fighting Blueno. Then after Robin's flashback we got Nami vs. Kumadori, Sanji vs. Kalifa, Chopper vs. Kumadori, Nami vs. Kalifa, Usopp & Zoro vs. Kaku & Jabra, Zoro vs. Kaku, Sanji vs. Jabra, Franky vs. Fukurou, and finally the nearly 10 chapter skirmish of Luffy vs. Lucci, along with the Straw Hats vs. the Marines on the bridge of hesitation. Probably some minor stuff missing here, like Franky beating up Funkfreed, but it really isn't necessary to mention all of that.
Though Enies Lobby is definitely along the same lines– but I give that a pass since it's really just a continuation of Water Seven, which was entirely story (the fighting at the end of W7 wasn't even really a fight. They talk for a bit and get thrown out of the building).
Yes, Water 7 & Enies Lobby are the same arc. The Water 7 portion really doesn't lack fights though, as stated above.
Anyways, it's not that fights are inherently a bad thing. I like a good portion of them, but saying Skypiea is only full of fights and that it contains significantly more panel time of fights than other arcs is just silly.
On a side note, looks like this thread is going to need a fourth edition soon. The 500th page is going to appear within a few more posts.