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sahugani
June 04, 2007, 01:48 PM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 458

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for a final fond memory of Nami before an old zombie changes her clothes

As many of my readers who also partake in Naruto and Bleach know, I’ve recently had a bit of an issue with my reviews as I was considering starting up Naruto reviews. Luckily, there was never any question of the possibility of dropping OP reviews in my mind. I know I’ve been getting these OP reviews out a bit later that I would like lately and I’m afraid that will stay the same as my way of working three reviews is to get the easy ones (Bleach and Naruto) done first. The only explanation I can offer for this week’s lateness is that while insomnia is great for getting grunt work done, it basically kills the ability to think on a grand scale. The pics in this review come from the scan by OPHQST, so thanks guys. The title pic this week comes from Ri-su (http://ri-su.deviantart.com/) over at Deviantart and it is much appreciated.


Back to the Reality

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DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!! HAHAHAHA!!!:kukuku

Finally, we return to the present timeline in Enel’s side story as we join Spacey in watching the lightning man obliterate the ship of the space pirates.If you can remember back to the storyline from before Spacey’s flashback, the last time we saw Enel, he was pissed off at the space pirates and was standing atop a ship of theirs. Now he has used his devil fruit powers to destroy their ship. Whether he wants it or not, he has likely just become a source of hope for Spacey and his friends. While completely predictable, it’ll be nice to see Enel show some nobility in his actions a bit later.


On the Way Home

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I'm assuming that Robin is hiding behind Franky's huge frame

As Franky, Robin, Usopp, and Chopper make their way back down the castle steps, the zombies talk amongst themselves about how they now actually can fear death. To have someone know the secret of zombie purification nullifies the pride they hold in being able to return to battle no matter how many times they are beat due to the fact that they are already dead. The heroes though are using a special staircase that is used by Moria’s minions as a shortcut to the ships of their prey. They use they long run back to exchange each other’s information. Now Franky and Robin know that Nami is kidnapped and Luffy’s shadow is in a gigantic beast and Usopp and Chopper are likely informed about the zombies’ weakness to salt. Of anyone, the person this weakness is most important to is Usopp, as his long range capability and accuracy will allow him to trash the islands foot soldiers en mass. As for the news of Luffy’s shadow and Nami’s kidnapping, it is quite apparent to them that they can’t do anything without their top three fighters, so there is nothing to do but head back to the Sunny for now and get them.


The Untamable Shadow of Strawhat

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that'll be the line that breaks his friendship with Luffy

Now that Oz has awakened, they are soon to realize that along with a shadow that powerful comes a few character flaws that are quite unbecoming of a subordinate zombie. To start with, by combining Luffy’s appetite with a stomach with many times the capacity of even Luffy’s rubber body, the amount of meat it takes to appease him is utterly staggering. In addition, it is realized that he has no sense of respect for Moria beyond thanking him for the food, which initiates a brief scolding from Moria’s other zombies till a single look from Oz’s terrifying face quiets them. Then Moria makes the mistake of treating him like any other zombie as well. He tries to remind him of his flesh’s history and tells him that he is now a subordinate, which is not accepted by the beast. Instead, he still follows his own dream to become Pirate King, which is extremely uncommon among the zombies. My explanation for this is that Luffy followed his impulses most of the time anyway. A shadow follows the movements of its original body to recreate techniques and mimics the personality, but it leaves behind things like memory. Most people make their choices in life based on their experiences, so while their personalities are shaped by the experiences and passed to the zombies, without memory of the experiences, Moria can make them forget their original goals in life and make them subordinate. Luffy acts purely without thought of consequence and his dream is not built from experience as otherwise it would have been forgotten. This directly contrasts Garp’s claim that Luffy wanted to be a pirate because of Shanks. Since he still bears this dream even with no memory of Shanks, it has been part of his personality and, dare I say his destiny since birth.


Luffy’s Edge

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just imagine if HE was a rubberman

I should also mention that in his insubordination from Moria, we see him start to pull out some of Luffy’s techniques only to find out that his body can’t stretch like he thought it would. Regardless of this, he is easily able to punch through a dense steel wall like it was nothing. As I’ve said many times before, this arc’s final fight will be all about gear 3 for Luffy. Although the zombies bear the techniques of their shadow’s original host along with bodies strong enough to back them up, they do not get the devil fruit powers of the original. While the bodies of the strongest zombies like Oz and Ryuuma are made to surpass the flesh of their shadows’ original hosts, the fact that Luffy possesses an ability that can match up to the immense strength of a giant with the use of his devil fruit is invaluable if it can’t be copied by his zombie counterpart.


Brooke’s Memory

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Ryuuma's personality is so much more evil than Brooke's, but that doesn't make much sense

We finally return to Brooke’s clash with Ryuuma and as the two face off, Brooke reminisces about his first time to the island. Just like how Brooke bore an ironic fear of ghosts when we first met him, he apparently bore the same fear of zombies back then, but has since overcome the fear through either knowing how to get rid of them or determination to fight Ryuuma. For a while we have wondered exactly how Brooke could have initially found out about the zombie weakness to salt and here it is finally answered. In all actuality it was quite simple. Some new zombie made the mistake of eating salted fish and accidentally detached his shadow. Brooke heard the conversation and came to a realization. After receiving his clue as to the weakness of zombies, Brooke manages to locate Hogback, whom he questions regarding the whereabouts of the zombie with his shadow. Here we realize that Brooke initially thought it was the fish that separated a zombie’s shadow and flesh, but that is soon corrected as Hogback’s comical fear gives away the truth of salt’s importance. For some reason he lets Hogback go and sets off to find his shadow on his own, dealing with the normal zombies along the way.


Overcoming Fear

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i'd love to have this guy in th crew, don't get me wrong

While Brooke’s shadow does dwell within Ryuuma and thus his movement and personality dwells within him as well, it is clear that there is more difference between them than merely the flesh of their bodies. After leaving Hogback’s lab, Brooke actually makes some slight changes to his style in order to help himself deal with his fear of zombies. Since these changes were made after his shadow was taken, they were not passed along to Ryuuma. Brooke’s habit of singing before initiating an attack was a method of distracting himself from his fear and he learned how to use his skeleton speed to apply the salt simultaneously with the sword swings without being noticed. The former earned him his title on the island as the humming swordsman and the latter made him feared among the zombies of the island. We also learn here that the reason Perona knew nothing of him is that she slept through the entire ordeal. After causing immense damage to the island’s forces, Brooke finally found what he was looking for in Ryuuma.


The First Clash of Flesh and Bone

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He means his shadow's old body, not actual apprenticeship

Despite all Brooke’s eagerness, he cannot stand a chance against his zombie counterpart. With the flesh of a legendary samurai aiding him, Ryuuma is far too strong for Brooke to handle. In his first strike, he chips some bone from Brooke’s eye socket that has somehow healed since the encounter despite the fact that Brooke is a mere skeleton. When Ryuuma threatens Brooke’s afro, the skeleton loses his confidence completely. To Brooke, his hair is the sole remaining part of his first life. While his skeleton was there under his flesh before, his afro is the only part of him left that is the same as it was when he died, but since he is now dead, it will not grow back if cut. He has lived alone for so long that all he has left to keep him company are his memories of his first life, of which the existence of his afro is the sole reminder. With his hair on the line, Brooke pitifully agrees to leave the island as Ryuuma thrusts his sword into the skeleton’s empty eye socket.


The Humming Style

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YAAAAY!!! I love western fencing

In watching the fight between the two, it is important to note their style of swordsmanship as it is remarkably different than what was implied after merely witnessing the “Humming Ten Feet.” As it was Brooke who developed the style with his rapier-like cane blade rather than Ryuuma with the katana from his former life as a samurai, the style of swordsmanship (for the most part) seems to be based more closely to western fencing. While occasionally using two-handed strikes to cut with the full length of the blade like a katana, a majority of its use is one handed and with a fully extended arm to attack with only the blade’s tip. I felt I should mention this for a few reasons. First of all, I just love swords and in particular I like rapiers, so finally coming across a western style fencer makes me overjoyed. Secondly, as the katana Ryuuma wields is not really made for that kind of combat, I’m wondering how it will affect his fighting capability now and in his assumed future fight with Zoro (but that’s almost certainly not going to be an issue). Finally, though I don’t believe Brooke will join the crew, one of the reasons people who do grasp onto is the fact that Brooke’s style of swordsmanship is different from Zoro’s. For their sake I might as well classify what his style is.


A Second Chance

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Brooke is so cool

I mentioned before that in his first duel with Ryuuma, he was overpowered and gave up as the zombie threatened the afro. Many things are different from that time and Brooke has confidence that he can win. First of all, he has trained his swordsmanship. Ryuuma’s technique is born from Brooke’s style at the time of his shadow being stolen, so any growth in Brooke’s ability since then would not be applied to Ryuuma, thus giving the skeleton a slight edge on that front. However, there is a reason deeper than that for Brooke’s confidence. Last time he was afraid to lose his afro and through my interpretation it was due to his wanting some human connection even if it was only a memory carried through his miraculously surviving hair. Now that he has met the Strawhats, he has finally had his first real human contact since his death and knows that they will carry him in their hearts just as he will for them. Due to this he has an iron resolve and can’t be held back by even the threat of losing his afro.


Preparing the Bride

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NOOOO!!! how many times must Nami be violated this arc before Oda is happy?

Briefly the story turns to Nami as she lies unconscious on a table after being taken by Absalom. The zombie there is ordered to dress her in a wedding dress and prepare the ceremony. This is going to be a somewhat odd event as I can imagine zombies filling seats formally dressed and crying. However, having a wedding ceremony does pretty much confirm Sanji’s fight with Absalom. Not only will Sanji take a big issue with Nami getting married (let alone to a guy who treats women like possessions), but the chance to say “I object” in movie cliché lends itself perfectly to Sanji’s need to make an entrance. We may even see a reappearance of Lola at the wedding (actually I’m pretty certain). My big concern at this point is that Nami would have no time to make her way to Perona to start her fight assuming that the thievery sets them at eachothers throats as it looked like. We may actually get the Robin vs. Perona fight we wanted at the beginning simply due to the division of the Strawhat forces.


The Triple Threat Awakens

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those zombies are artists

As the remaining Strawhats arrive on the Sunny, they find that it has been raided by the zombies. As Nami is not with them, they are able to put that issue aside for now and concentrate on finding Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji. They are found in the dining room with their faces decorated with chopstick, clips, and bows. After failing to wake them up through normally effective violent means, Usopp comes up with the genius idea of claiming a beautiful female swordsman brought meat, which is enough to bring each of them out of their dazes for each’s individual reasons. I think we can probably expect a bit of vengeance against Usopp for teasing them at the beginning of the next chapter, but then things start to get serious. After the explanation of events is given to the three main fighters, I think we can make some educated guesses as to what will happen next. Sanji will either run off to Nami’s aid or will start to before being stopped and reminded not to act alone. Eventually though, he will separate from the group and go after Nami himself. Luffy will react similarly in going to get back his shadow, but they know better than to let him go that fast. I really hope at some point though that Luffy gets lost and runs into the lost Oz and befriends him for a short time. That would just be a classic moment.


Overall

You really can never go wrong with a chapter of One Piece. Each one is filled with so much that I don’t want to miss a detail. That is the biggest reason why I decided to do this a day late rather than doing it yesterday. In the state I was in yesterday, I doubt I could have been capable of much analytical thought and I’d hate to do a simple recap of such a great chapter. The highlight for me was seeing Brooke and Ryuuma finally clash since I got to see the type of swordsmanship that the humming style exemplifies. While Oz’s actions were somewhat predictable, they were great nonetheless.

Aikyet
June 05, 2007, 10:23 AM
Great review. Still there are some issues, which I'm curious about, but in the review those theories aren't given.
Firstly, will the absence of their shadows some how affect the Monster Trio ? I think, without them LuZoSan won't be able to show us their best performance because with shadow taken away the power level should be lower. Though, shadowless Brooke hasn't gone any weaker compairing to his former shadowful self ; well, we don't know how strong was Brooke with a shadow, but we know that he had to become stronger to face Ryuuma, as I think, not only to overcome the flesh , but and the loss of the shadow.
The second thing is the healing of "dead bones". We see how in the past Ryuuma penetrated Brooke's skull around the left eye, but on the next page, inthe present, Brooke's skull is as good as new with no cracks at all (well, there is one in the middle of the skull). Brooke said that his hair won't grow back , but bones somehow did. In my opinion, this is all due to the Devil fruit. I remember that Brooke ate yomi yomi fruit - ressurection fruit , but I think that its power is not only to revive people, but heal all the necessary bodyparts.
I'm done :) No, wait, I'n not :) I haven't mentioned how I love you Luffy & Oz friendship idea :D It'd hilarious :eyeroll
Now I'm done talking. I mean writing :)

P.S.: If I have done something wrong, my apologies. It's my first post on this great forum .
P.P.S.: English isn't my native speech, so you may not understand what I have written. At all :darn

manu
June 05, 2007, 10:56 AM
I have to disagree, Luffy and Oz can never be friends. Probably for the same reason Brooke and his Shadow wont be. Brooke had to earn his strenght and come back from the dead to be at the level that he is now, though is shadow was given a superior body and all the skills were handed to him. He's spoiled and that causes him to be arragont and evil.

Sanji's zombie on the other hand has an inferior body so all the skill he has wont go to his head because he actually has to try harder to let his body accomadate his skill.

Oz though has the strongest body and the strongest fighting spirit. Also he shares the similarity with Luffy of never feeling pain. So while Luffy has been fighting his whole life to be Pirate King, Oz has been handed a body and spirit without realizing how much hard work was put behind his skill and that'll make him arragont and in a sense spoiled.

sahugani
June 05, 2007, 11:05 AM
@Aikyet - as long as they aren't exposed to direct sunlight, the monster trio won't really be affected by their loss of shadows and as we have already established, the mist of the Triangle blocks direct sunlight. as for the healing of Brooke's bones, ...i'm at a loss as well and think its just another mystery we'll have to give up on for the sake of the story.

@manu - i think there is an important difference between Ryuuma and Oz and that is that Ryuuma has allowed himself to enter Moria's service. Oz is now just roaming free and with a personality identical to Luffy, i think if they met, they'd get along well at first. Also, the difference between Luffy and Brooke is that Luffy's first concern won't be his own shadow, so hunting down Oz isn't really at the top of his to do list. eventually, when they learn that their goals clash, it may initiate a brawl, but not their final confrontation

haruka9
June 07, 2007, 08:13 PM
hey sahugani. i'm new to this forum. but before i registered, i have visited this site beforehand and read your reviews about the latest chapters of one piece. and hey, your reviews are great. i'm really impressed on how you deal and make it. you have nice analysis on the characters' situation. You correlate their current situations to the past events so you could tie the pieces together. And reading between the lines give you a great sense of evaluation of the One Piece characters' situation.

I also have some ideas to share regarding this chapter:

Absalom's strength
I am curious with regards to his ability to become invisible. Maybe he's eaten a devil fruit after being revived and becoming a zombie. But he really seems to be quite strong. The other zombies are intimidated by him. His position as Moria's commander and the abilities that he showed determine how strong he is (although we haven't seen his full power yet). But one thing is for sure: he shouldn't be underestimated because he seems to be good in kicking ass. And, if my evaluation is accurate and your theory about Sanji fighting Absalom is also correct, then that means that Sanji would have the chance to be one step ahead of the crew. I mean he would have the chance to fight enemies who are stronger that Zoro's.

Looking back, if we trace the characters'' fights, Zoro is always the one who fights the second strongest villain (Mr. 1 and Kaku, for example). And Sanji is the one who fights the third strongest enemies (Mr. 2 and Jyabura). And if Sanji gets to fight him, then he'll finlly have the chance to get this "I'll show you that I'm stronger than you Zoro" chance. On the other hand, I'm not actually stating that Absalom is stronger than Ryuuma because the latter seems to be really strong too. But, if we base the two's positions, Absalom is definitely higher because he's the commander of general zombies while Ryuuma is just a general zombie. Assuming that my theories are accurate, then Sanji would be one step ahead of Zoro (in terms of zombie positions, at least).

Brooke's Past
Alas, we finally know how the hell did he get the information about the zombies' weakness.But I am somehow disappointed about the way he found out about it. It seems that he got to know it by coincidence, and not be evaluation. It seems that he's not that intelligent as I'd expect him to be. On the other hand, Brooke got my sympathy regarding the value of his hair. It's sad to know that his Afro is the only remaining item during his past. At least the value his Afro is more profound than Luffy's (back in Davy Back Fight) because the latter's purpose of wearing it is more of a motivation and a comical touch of One Piece series. Lastly, I'm quite cruious about his promise to his nakama. What made Frank cried that much and Robin saying that Brooke is really a good man? Clearly, Brooke's promise is a heartfelt and a profound one.

My hopes for the next events:
I guess some of you also assume that Zoro would be fighting Ryuuma because of their swordsmanship. IF he gets to fight that notrious samurai, then it would be the time for Zoro to level up his skill as his swordsman. In fact, this will be the second time he'd fight against a fellow swordsman (Mihawk being the first). It would be a sweet ending if Zoro acquires Ryumma's sword because it complements his cursed one. If I recall correctly, Zoro's cursed sword is named Third Generation Demon Splitter (the english version of his meitou) while Ryuuma's possession is its First Generation. Both of these swords are cursed blades and it'd be more notorious if Zoro gets to handle two cursed swords.

The only problem here is that Brooke is quite determined to defeat Ryuuma. I guess it wouldn't be easy for him to pass the chance of beating him and let Zoro do the rest. That is, unless he'd wholeheartedly admit his defeat from Ryuuma and let two honorable swordsmans fight each other.

I hope I get to see Robin fight. I haven't seen her get into a real one except the one she had back in Skyland. But, would you consider that a major fight? It seems a minor one for me. Either she or Nami would be fighting Perona. On the other hand, it is most likely that Nami would fight Perona because both of them are thieves. So, I really do hope that Robin would get to have a real, major fight.

Of course Luffy would be fighting his own shadow and Oz who might be the strongest fighter in this arc.

A wild guess:
I wonder what's Brooke like when he's still alive. It seems to me that he's from a noble class judging by the way he speaks. His clothes are sophisticated too. And canes are used by noble men before. And if you guys recall Ryuuma mentioned about Brooke's having luxury and chivalry way back when he's still alive. So that's a hint right there. I might be having an odd and crazy guess, but do you think Brooke was the one who proposed to Cindry? I mean Nami mentioned in previous chapters that Cindry might be from a noble class. And remember Dr. Hogback's mentioning about her past life? That Cindry's master proposed to her but changed his mind because she broke his plates? Knowing the nature of One Piece, things that occur as simple ones (that we tend to ignore because we think that it doesn't have a crucial value to the story) are actually the things that are related to the current or event future events. Apparently, Cindry's past story is not yet disclosed and is still purported with mystery. Her past wouldn't have been mentioned by Hogback if it's not that important. Brooke's past is also a mystery. Do you think those two (whom I guess both came from a noble class) have a connection? I might be crazy thinking this, but hey, it's a theory.

I respect your opinions Sahugani about Brooke not being a Straw Hat Crew. But, I'm afarid that I disagree with you for several reasons:
1. Luffy already decided that Brooke will be his next nakama. And you know Luffy, he'll get what he wants no matter what the cost.
2. He's a musician - the position that Luffy wants someone to fill in. Of course he'll grab this chance to get one so they'll finally get to sing and dance because they are pirates.
3. The Straw Hat Pirates are the ones that Brooke had in contact with for the first time in five years. After this arc ends, Brooke might once again, be left alone sailing the seas because his nakamas are already dead. And of course, he doesn't want to feel the same solitude again. Since these pirates are the real humans that he's talked to and felt warmth during their conversation, I guess he'd gladly accept the position and be their nakama.

However, we can determine if Brooke would join the Straw Hats if the next chapters would show (in vivid details) about his past before becoming a skeleton and when he lost his nakama and making promises to them. If you guys analyze it, all the major characters have shown their past first before actually joining the crew. Sanji, Chopper, and Franky have shown their past first before becoming a Straw Hat Pirate. Luffy and Zoro Have already been sailing when their past were shown. Ussop's past was shown right after he joined the crew but at least we were given a clue about the identity of his father before he joined them. Nami and Robin are exceptions because they already joined joined the crew and it took a long time when the series revealed their pasts. And there, they've become offical members after that.

Thus, if Brooke's past was mentioned during the Thriller Bark arc, that would be a hint that he's joining the crew. Except that the flow of the story would be like Ussop, Nami, and Robin who joined the crew first before telling the past.

So there. My reply is quite long. I can actually post this as a thread but since most of my comments are related to your latest review, I decided to reply here. I hope I'm not too late for posting this reply and get to see what you guys think about this.

Ginny-N
June 11, 2007, 01:19 PM
Luffy and Zoro Have already been sailing when their past were shown.

You're only watched the anime in this parts, right? The first episode, Romance Dawn, is Luffy's Past. And It's before he starts his journey. And Zoro has already start his journey, but his past was showed while he and Coby was almost killed by Morgan's Squadron.

It's not really something important, anyway, but I must tell to you that =P
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Double Post: My guessing for fight vs Perona are Robin or Ussop. For the ability she has. Anyway, I think will be Robin :P