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sahugani
August 18, 2007, 02:33 AM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 467

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/1171/zoroblackandwhitebyvashpp0.jpg (http://vashperado.deviantart.com/art/ZORO-Black-and-White-35613220)
proof that black and white is more badass

The two long weeks are over and we once again return to the story we’ve all been waiting for, the latest chapter of One Piece. If I recall correctly, the anime will return to real story in the upcoming episode as well, so all is well this week in the One Piece world. In addition to that, my favorite AMV maker JuniZorofan (http://youtube.com/profile?user=JuniZorofan) has created her best work yet in a Skypiea AMV that can be found HERE (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Xp6aS8JUcfk) and I must say is absolutely breathtaking. Oh well, lets get on with the chapter. The pics for this review come from the Mangashare scanlation of this chapter. The title pic is another piece by vashperado (http://vashperado.deviantart.com/) over at deviantart, so check out his other works in his gallery.


Let Me Down

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/2084/1aaj2.png
impulsive bastard

Every time Enel has given me hope that he will start down the path of good, he zaps it away. He saved the robots inadvertently and rather than take the small step of basking in genuine praise, he zaps them. Now he has found these beautiful and seemingly well-preserved ruins of a lunar city under the surface and his first instinct is to run a few volts through every inch of it, presumably to root out anyone still living in the buildings, possibly just for shits and giggles or more than likely both. This is volume 32 of his lunar saga, we need to see some hint of character development in the positive direction at some point in the near future.


Flying Blades

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/9991/2aob2.png
this fight will make a kick ass AMV after the anime reaches it

Well two weeks ago we were left looking at a hole in the wall caused by Ryuuma’s piercing attack. While the attack was the same in name and technique as the one Brooke had himself crafted, the sheer power Ryuuma puts behind it has allowed it to surpass any level of strength it had held while wielded by the skeleton. In addition to this, we see that Zoro has also achieved the same level of power as a gigantic slash appears on the wall behind Ryuuma. Zoro has achieved the ability to replicate with a regular sword slash the same properties of CP9’s rankyaku. It is easy to assume that Zoro had already achieved this, but if you look at the facts this is untrue. First of all, even though we have seen him cut in a single slash things far thicker than his sword’s blade, we have never seen him slash the air to project a blade. Even the poundo hou attacks are defined on many occasions as being related closer to a cannon than a projected blade since it simply creates a concentrated blast (though this can be debated).


True Swordsmen

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/8443/3afa3.png
a talking skeleton boasting premonitions should feel creepier than Brooke makes it seem

After witnessing the strength of both Zoro and Ryuuma, Brooke comes to the realization of the nature of their strengths. Even though he is not a swordsman of their caliber, he can sense what is really going on better than Franky through his dedication to the sword. Brooke finally recognizes Ryuuma as a master samurai than as simply the zombie with his shadow. He has acknowledged that it was not a better mastery of Brooke’s own techniques that gave the zombie greater power in their duel but that there was some inherent quality of the swordsman Ryuuma once was that was passed down through his corpse and remains in the zombie’s second life. He also sees that Zoro possesses this same quality, which gives Zoro his own foreshadowing of fate similar to Luffy’s “Will of D.” While Brooke’s words are not an official declaration of such a fate like Dr. Kureha’s were regarding the “Will of D,” they still have great comparative value. In his own time, Ryuuma was considered the world’s greatest swordsman. By putting Zoro on the same caliber as this, reaching Mihawk is no longer such a distant goal.


The Fight Resumes

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/2094/4azr6.png
can't he cross his blades just once in this style?

As the two once again clash blades, Ryuuma starts off with a weapon breaking technique. While in the frame, it looks like he is using his aura to multiply his blades (similar to Zoro’s Ashura) if you take Ryuuma’d fencing style into consideration, all he is doing is striking the side of Zoro’s blade many times in rapid succession to shatter it. Zoro recovers and counters with some nitouryuu attacks. One thing I’ve noticed about Zoro’s nitouryuu syle as compared to santouryuu is that when he has all three swords, his arms move rather freely to take on a multitude of positions. With only two swords, it seems that every single one of his attacks uses his blades held in parallel. No real story significance to that observation. I just thought I’d share this little quirk that Oda has incorporated. The battle scene, though quite extensive with a large number of clashing techniques, is kept fast paced so that it conveys all of the action without costing space for story progression. This is one of the reasons for loving One Piece that I have not really had the pleasure of delving into since starting my reviews and I am thrilled.


The Tower Crumbles

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/6940/5apw3.png
it's safe to say that should Hogback survive Chopper's beating, he won't have many experiments for a while

In one final clash, Zoro resorts to his nitouryuu iai style (drawing style) attack, rashoumon. The force of this as well as Ryuuma’s attack crates a blast powerful enough to destroy the walls all around the lab and the people inside are forced to blast holes in the ceiling to avoid being crushed by it (unfortunately we do not get to see Franky’s weapons left). Once outside, Brooke and Franky look on in wonder from the hole Franky made as the two swordsmen continue to fight on an extremely slanted rooftop. To my extreme pleasure, this means a lot of airborne maneuvers. Zoro runs to the side as the slant pulls him down but is interrupted as Ryuuma reaches him first. After the clash, Ryuuma is somehow able to find a good grip on the building to keep himself from slipping while Zoro uses his swords like ice-picks to propel himself up the roof and gain momentum for a powerful airborne attack on his opponent.


Witnessing Destruction

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/7482/6aut4.png
now that i think of it the AMV i mentioned before i envision as "Ready to Fall" by Rise Against

With the amount of scars to the structure, it is pretty clear at this point that finding footholds on the roof is no longer a problem. The two swordsmen have halted their reign of destruction to allow a calm before the storm. It is during this moment that Zoro acknowledges to himself the level of power that his opponent wields. He realizes the difference between this battle and all that have come before. The others had some alternate skill to amplify a relatively mediocre level of swordsmanship. Their main goal was to kill Zoro, who posed a threat to their organization. This is a true duel of swordsmen. The intent is to defeat the other’s swordsmanship and slay or wound them honorably. In Zoro’s fight with Mihawk, Zoro lost when the Shichibukai had broken two of his swords. Since making his promise to Mihawk, Zoro fears a loss more than death and knows that as Ryuuma, a true swordsman, intends to defeat Zoro’s swordsmanship, that means breaking his blades and Zoro cannot allow that. On that note, the calm is broken as Ryuuma slices off the top half of the roof. Zoro avoids the cut and prepares his counter.


The Single Blade

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/2833/7ami8.png
this is without a doubt my new favorite move in Zoro's arsenal

After recovering from Ryuuma’s last attack, Zoro is once again airborne and announces a new ittouryuu technique, hiryuu kaen, which is pitted against Ryuuma and Brooke’s hanauta sanchou. While my prediction from two weeks ago on how this fight would be fought and finished did not come true, I am at least very relieved to see that the finishing move was an ittouryuu technique instead of a nitouryuu one. I think it is very important for Zoro to make his final clash be that of one sword against another. Even if I was denied the meaningful exit I had in mind for Yubashiri, I think the actions of Ryuuma after the fight made up for this. In lieu of my envisioned victory with the broken blade, we were granted a spectacular technique from the Wado Ichimonji. The purpose of this fight was to test the depth of the link between sword and swordsman in both fighters. Had Zoro finished Ryuuma off with two swords, it would simply be another show of force like any other time. This time, he used the blade he trusted most with his life and the one he would put his life on the line to protect. That kind of trust between the two was vital to achieving Ryuuma’s acceptance of Zoro’s honor.


Holy Flame

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a new definition of heartburn

Upon being slashed by the Wado Ichimonji, Ryuuma is ignited in flame that spreads from the wound. This flame has two significances. First, it is a new application of how Zoro has been able to affect the physical world with just his aura. It started with mere illusions, extended to create extra heads and arms, and now allows him to summon flames. I was said early on that Mihawk had mastered the power to cut the elements themselves. Due to the seeming impossibility of this, it was hypothesized that this power came from his sword. After witnessing the many physically impossible and reality bending feats that Zoro has achieved by willpower and dedication alone, all those rumors of Mihawk’s powers are coming to be understood more clearly. I said there were two significances to the flame and the other relates to the purification of a zombie. We have simply accepted that eating salt is the only way to separate corpse and shadow and simply passed off the zombies’ fear of fire as simply Oda referring to Frankenstein movies for a joke. If you think about it logically though, being fully engulfed in flame makes sense as a way to release the shadow. When a person dies, they are generally either buried or cremated. The first option preserves the body while the other destroys it. If salt works by breaking the bond between shadow and corpse, flames work by disintegrating the corpse itself in a more complete way than any other method can.


Respect

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/748/9azr9.png
who knows, we might see time travel at some point

With Zoro collapsed on the rooftop and Ryuuma ablaze, we witness the honor both swordsmen show each other despite the victory of one over the other. Ryuuma is moved by the purity of Zoro’s swordsmanship and accepts his fate to be purified by flames. He accepts that Shuusui would be proud to serve at Zoro’s side and entrusts his blade to the new successor. Zoro shows his own respect for Ryuuma as well. One big thing worth mentioning is that this is the first major fight Zoro has fought without donning his bandana. He only wears it when he is claiming victory over his opponent. His victory just now was over a dead man. Though the flesh, power and sword belonged to the samurai, the Ryuuma that Zoro just faced was but a mere shadow of the samurai’s former strength made animate by Brooke’s shadow. As Zoro did not face the samurai himself, it would have been disgraceful to claim a true win by wearing the bandana. He even goes as far as to say this flat out that he is not counting this battle as a victory and rather considers the Ryuuma that he fought simply a messenger to entrust the true samurai’s blade to him.


Shadow Returns

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/1156/10ajg2.png
I'd like to see Zoro and Sanji dance like that when Chopper retrieves their shadows

In addition to Zoro’s stellar dispatching and purifying of Ryuuma, the victory also marks the return of Brooke’s shadow to him, which has huge repercussions on the workings of Moria’s power. While talking with Liffy, Moria had said that in order to return all the shadows to their original owners, Moria himself would have to command every shadow to do so. This is likely the case for all shadows attached to a corpse, but it was left unclear as to the fate of purified shadows. Would they go back to their original masters regardless of Moria’s will or would they return to Moria to await a new order? Apparently it is the former, which makes me extremely happy. Since purified shadows return to their original masters regardless of Moria’s will and Moria would be unwilling to release the already attached shadows, it means that Luffy would be forced to fight Oz as the major battle, which I’ve always known would happen, but this gives more proof to validate it.


Overall

This chapter has been the most action packed chapter in a damn long time and I loved every second of it. This duel has been a long time coming and did not disappoint in the least. Zoro finally has his third sword and got it honorably. I just hope that either at the beginning of next chapter or at the end of this arc, we get to see some emotional parting of ways between Zoro and Yubashiri or some way of honoring its memory and service. Other than that, it is pretty clear what comes next. For the first time, Chopper’s duel is the last one before Luffy’s and is following the awesomeness of the Zoro fight, so we can expect something incredible for this and I’m tingling with excitement as I wait for it.

Aly
August 18, 2007, 03:07 AM
As detailed and in-depth as ever sahugani.

It's a pleasure to read your reviews :)

Helltroll
August 18, 2007, 11:26 AM
You're the best at reviews. Wonderful as the chapter itself.

conan
August 18, 2007, 11:59 AM
amazing, the depth you added to zoro's and ryuuma's fight is simply amazing, aplluase.

Ehllychan
August 18, 2007, 03:27 PM
Care to share some of your awesome writing talented with little me? D=
Yes, I, the newbie, am butting in again, for I have to do it. I cannot hold myself when I behold such amazing reviews. I wasn't gonna join this forum, but after what I read today, I can no longer call that an option. So here I am to once again express my admiration towards your awesomeness.

But back to One Piece manga, I liked this chapter too, of course, but I just don't enjoy Zoro's fights as much as most of the other strawhats'. Might just be because I cannot find myself to like Zoro no matter how much I look at him, but might also be because his fights are, for me, always too fast, even when they're not too easy, and they don't really add anything interesting, like Usopp's fights, for example. It's just plain ass-kicking. Even Luffy usually has to use his brains to fight, but Zoro just cuts people. that's why I usually don't like Sanji fighting eighter, I just liked his fight with Asalom because it was damn fun.

I'm personally just looking foward to Chopper's fight, because I really feel like Hogback's gonna come with some other super-duper awesome new power that Chopper'll have a hard time figuring out how to beat, like Perona did. I'm sure Hogback can't be just a zombie maker. He's problably much stronger and cooler than that, I just can't imagine right now what can his power be. And Cindry problably isn't just a plate thrower, like you already said yourself, that'd be just unfair with Robin (and Cindry too, of course).

The main point of this chapter was really just getting ride of Ryuuma, giving Zoro his fight and a new sword and giving Brook back his shadow, and so it did. I liked it, as I love Thrillerbark and every little bit of it, but right now I'm really anxious to see the more awesome fights that are yet to come, and I'm glad Zoro's turn went first, 'cause that means Chopper's fight is gonna kick-ass. Althought I don't think Zoro was lucky to have his fight after Usopp's. I might have like this much mroe if I hadn't seen Usopp's awesomeness before.

nanakawa
August 19, 2007, 11:19 AM
ilu, Sahugani.

sahugani
August 19, 2007, 01:32 PM
sorry it took me so long to get in a response here

first of all thanks everyone

@Echllychan - i can see what you mean about Zoro's fights. his battles are generally the most straightforward and just about overpowering or outmanuvering the enemy.. even in the Mr. 1 fight, we knew what he had to do to win early on and simply didn't know how he'd do it. the other fights generally have some humorous quirk to them that they have to see through in order to win.

I'm also REALLY looking forward to Chopper's fight. even when Hogbacks name was merely mentioned and we had yet to see him, i've felt that Chopper would have a moral battle with him and thatit would be central to the arc.Oda has alot of pressure built up to make this fight spectacular and he is not one to disappoint.

Ehllychan
August 19, 2007, 02:50 PM
It was always easy to imagine that Hogback and Chopper would have a really great fight, since Chopper idolized him so much as a doctor. And Chopper is like Usopp, when they fight for real, for somehting they believe, they're even more awesome than guys like Luffy, but Chopper doesn't get to fight like that very often, which is a real shame. Nami is another one I'd like to see fight more. I loved her fight with Califa because I though "Hey, Nami's getting to fight for real now!", but she seens to be back to start now. I'm still hoping that she'll wake up and fight someone, but I think it's quite unlikely for that to happen at this point =/ That's the only thing that dissapointed me so far in this arc, Nami doesn't get to fight too.

bebekhappy
August 19, 2007, 10:33 PM
Again...awesome review from you.Excellent job on detail as always.

I haven't noticed that Zoro didn't put his bandana on his head in this fight before reading this review, and yet you put a good notice to why it's not necessary to put his bandana in this fight.

One thing that made curious is Chopper's next fight against Hogback. I'm sure we all know that Chopper's strength, but the question is about Hogback, is he a fighter type person, which i don't think so, this is very interesting to see how Hogback handle the fight or will get owned with one hit just like when Luffy beat Bellamy? (well i hope not...cause it'd be so damn boring).