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sahugani
August 26, 2007, 04:37 AM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 468

http://img184.imageshack.us/img184/9798/choppersappreciationoe6.jpg (http://jinguj.deviantart.com/art/Chopper-s-appreciation-5358313)
this is why we all love Chopper

Here it is folks, the week I’ve been waiting for since very early in this arc. We finally come to the clash of morals between Chopper and his former idol. Despite the various revelations in other series, it does not detract from the emotional beauty of this match-up. Lets just get straight into this. The pics in this review come from Franky House’s scanlation once again. The title pic is a great piece from the gallery of jinguj (http://jinguj.deviantart.com/) over at deviantart so go over there and take a look at the rest.


Spacey’s Origins

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AHHHH!!!! Its an army of midget robots!!!

Well this was an unexpected surprise. As far as we could tell, Spacey and his brothers were built on Earth (or the OP equivalent) since we watched with them as they looked at the explosion on the moon. Apparently though, there seems to be an army of Spaceys on standby within these lunar ruins, which begs the question of why Spacey and his brothers were on the Earth with the doctor. The most likely scenario is that somehow at least 4 of these identical soldiers fell from the moon to Earth and what we saw the doctor do is simply repair them and activate them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the way he found them is that he watched them fall while moongazing, thus forming an even deeper importance of the moon to him as it brought him his friends.


Adjusted Shadows

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I though Robin was better than this

The first we see of this duel, Chopper and Robin have already been caught by Jigoroh and Dogpen, so they are obviously not off to a great start. While being guarded by Dogpen, Chopper notes that unlike the last time, when Sanji’s personality had prevented Dogpen from attacking Nami, the zombie now has no qualms about kicking Robin. Hogback explains that with time, the zombies loose such eccentricities that belonged to their shadow’s true owner. This was also very noticeable in Ryuuma. While he bore the same techniques and vocabulary, the zombie harbored a much colder personality than Brooke. Now Dogpen is showing the same trend as he retains Sanji’s skills and words, but loses his morals. This makes sense as a shadow will merely copy a person’s movement and has no ability to think for itself. Eventually the zombie loses all sense of its former self as the shadow grows accustomed to the physiology of the new body. When first turned into zombies, the shadows rely purely on the instincts of their former selves and find themselves acting in ways they can’t explain. In time though, they grow accustomed to their new bodies and begin to acquire a new sense of self based on what Moria and Hogback tell them. Think of them like amnesia victims. At the beginning, they have no clear memory, but through unconscious behavioral conditioning, they react to certain things the same way they did before, but are then confused as to why they acted in that way. After meeting some strangers and settling down, they form a new identity and new thoughts based on what their new friends tell them, thus overshadowing the unconscious morals of their previous life.


Chopper’s Admiration

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how dare Hogback ruin this innocence

Chopper, now fully convinced that his former idol is evil, tries one last time to appeal to some shred of morality in Hogback’s profession. He explains all the reasons he had to look up to the surgeon. To Chopper, the entire reason for the medical profession is to help people. He innocently assumed that the man at the top of this profession would be the world’s greatest humanitarian for his efforts to save human life. Even when Hogback told Chopper of his interest in reviving the dead, Chopper could only see the benevolent reasons one would have for this. Fully aware that such an idea would be considered blasphemous and immoral by many, Chopper assumed that Hogback had been willing to suffer the hatred of the masses to bring happiness to the people whose only wish was to see their late family and friends again. Chopper saw things this way because not only would he share a keen intrest in the medical ramifications of this, but he was one of the ones who would give anything to revive the dead. Chopper more than any other Strawhat regrets the way he parted ways with his mentor. As Hiruluk left to die, Chopper had been informed that he had just given his friend a deadly poison. While the other Strawhats were given meaningful parting words before the parting of ways, the message in Chopper’s case was left unsaid. Chopper believed all the more in Hogback after coming to Thriller Bark since there was now hope that he might finally get to say those words to Hiruluk.


Hogback’s Ethics

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Dr. House to the extreme

Following Chopper’s emotional appeal, Hogback reveals to Chopper the truth of his reason for practicing medicine. He’s more of a prick when it comes to his medical skill than Gregory House (I love that show though). At least House practices medicine for an interest in process of diagnostics. Hogback is motivated solely by money. As he had the greatest medical mind, he used it to his advantage in creating a very lucrative medical practice. What he considers the price for his greatness is dealing with the patients. He loathed hearing their pleas and took solace only in the fact that he was better than them and the other doctor who had failed to cure them. He directly clashes with Hiruluk on every point, which infuriates Chopper. Hiruluk, despite having no skill as a doctor, strived to help everyone even if they could not pay or didn’t want his help. He bore the hatred of all of his patients and fellow doctors yet still strove to save them. In contrast, Hogback used his skill as a doctor to heighten his status in society and only saw his patients for the sake of taking their money for the service. He bore the admiration of his patients and fellow doctors, yet despised them for their inferiority.


Clashing Morals

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a deer is more humane than any human i've ever seen

Chopper goes on to explain the cruelty of forcing these dead bodies to move as soldiers. In Chopper’s opinion, the zombies cannot be considered resurrected beings. A true resurrection brings back the soul of the deceased so that he may once again converse with the living and walk among them. What Hogback is doing simply disturbs the peace of that persons eternal slumber by forcing his corpse to move against his will. Hogback counters by stating that the sight of the dead walking cannot be ignored and must be considered the miracle of resurrection. This shows the distinct difference between the two doctors’ views on the definition of life. Chopper lives as a doctor for the sake of helping others and takes great pleasure from the appreciation they show for his efforts. He treasures the appreciation his patients feel knowing that their lives were saved by him. To Chopper, a life is something that has great value, which is measured by the appreciation they show when it is saved. Being a bigger misanthrope than Greg House, Hogback sees his patients as mere bodies that he fixes up for a fee. He puts no value in the person’s thoughts or appreciation and simply thinks of the medical profession as a business where all the value of his craft is placed in the wounds and illnesses themselves rather than saving the people who bear them. Since he views people as the mere flesh and blood that he repairs, he sees these zombies as alive since his actions fixed their wounds and allowed them to move once again.


Cindry and Hogback

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he must have been one ugly baby

After forcing Cindry into submission to prove his point of the zombie’s subservience, Hogback evplains to Chopper and Robin the truth about Cindry. During Cindry’s life, she was a patient of Hogback and one of the few people Hogback valued in the slightest. Unlike him, she was kind to everyone and was exceedingly humble regarding her celebrity. She took no gloating pride in her popularity and treated everyone with universal caring devotion. Hogback was simply infatuated with her beauty. Perhaps part of his crush was that unlike others, she showed him no ill will despite the air of cold-hearted misanthropy that he exuded to all he met. As she was not repelled by his personality, he mistook this for singular affection and became utterly obsessed with her. He thought that his talent and fame were enough to bring him anything he could ever want and so his ego would never allow him to consider that she might reject his advances should he attempt to woo her. This is what happened though and for the first time, his fame had failed him, which threw him into a deep depression. This state was furthered more still by the news that Cindry had died in an accident on the stage, thus throwing any remote chance of her return out of the realm of possibility. After this, Hogback met Moria, who together could breathe life into the corpses of the dead. Hogback jumped at the chance to revive the beauty of his beloved Cindry. While as a zombie, she lacked the same purity and kindness she had during life, Hogback only saw that her beautiful body was once again walking and was now his alone to cherish. Since he has no concept of a person’s true soul, Hogback lives under the delusion that Cindry is happy to be alive again and that by staying with him, she is repaying her debt for that resurrection.


Outrage

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and so begins the most emotional fight in a damn long time

At this point, Chopper is more enraged than ever. He condemns Hogback for the moral crimes he is committing by desecrating the bodies of the deceased. These people had no will to live again, yet Hogback has taken their bodies and forced tom to move under the command of another. In addition to the disrespect being shown to the dead person, the cost for creating each zombie is the shadow of a living person making the price for each zombie the destruction of two human beings and the result being a creature that bears no will of its own and thus can’t be considered a real person. It is on this point where Hogback’s actions sadly differ from the original story of Frankenstein. In the original novel, the created monster bears a new consciousness all its own and the crime of Dr. Frankenstein is that he ignored the truth that this being was a real living human soul. Now Hogback’s crime is that he has created soulless monsters more similar to the classic movie versions of Frankenstein’s monster. He has created a mere shadow of life at the cost of other people’s lives and dignity and for the purpose of continuing to create more zombies at the same price.


Appealing to the Enemy

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Chopper's love for life has the power to bring about true resurrection

Sick of hearing Chopper lecture to him, Hogback sends Cindry to take the Strawhats down. Just like anytime, Cindry pulls plates out of thin air and throws them like shuriken at Chopper’s heavy point form. Rather that punch her to get to Hogback, Chopper holds her down and refuses to fight back as she lands blow after blow on his exposed body in an attempt to evade his grasp. After receiving a severe beating from her, Chopper tries to appeal to anything human deep within Cindry. He tells her how much her family would be ashamed at how her body is being disgraced. At the end of his speech he exclaims that a true human has the freedom to act according to his own heart’s will. A human can express emotion because they are free to think for themselves and chose what to do with their own bodies. Hogback has denied these people a choice and uses their bodies without considering what their former hearts would have allowed. Chopper tries to make Cindry see that her service to Hogback is not worth disgracing the dignity of her body after death.At this point, Cindry stops struggling and as she stands in shock, Robin attempts to feed her salt, but this action is halted by a swift kick by Dogpen.


Remnants of Rivalry

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...idiots...

After Dogpen breaks up Chopper and Cindry, Jigoroh launches a 108 poundo hou at both Chopper and Dogpen. Dogpen reacts by questioning why Jigoroh attacked him. Apparently both took Hogback’s order to eliminate anyone in the way too seriously. While the root of their dispute lied in the idiocy inherent in a zombie’s simple minded obedience, the intensity of their quarrel and the fact that it caused them to ignore the original targets to pursue the bickering is quite reminiscent of the relationship between Zoro and Sanji, revealing that their personalities are not fully gone from their systems. Being two of the more intelligent Strawhats, Chopper and Robin decide to use this to their advantage and Robin prevents Hogback from giving further orders to cooperate, to which the zombies would naturally have to follow. Robin then uses Hogback’s quickness to anger to trick him into giving orders to jump off the tower, though Jigoroh and Dogpen mistakenly assume the orders are for them and they oblige. While this does offer a quck way to make Choppers fight with Hogback more personal, I am somewhat disappointed that the opportunity for Chopper to prove himself has been lost. I was looking forward to him overcoming the techniques of his comrades and being personally responsible for returning their shadows to them. At least now Choppers fight is ALL about the emotion of Hogback’s lack of moral integrity and is not diluted by other methods of growth for Chopper. We may also now get the pleasure of having Zoro and Sanji meet their own zombies. I’m hoping that they leave these guys to Franky just cause I need my favorite cyborg to have another fight scene however small.


Cindry’s Tears

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thank you for this moment, Oda

With his hired guns now disposed of, Hogback decides to flee and orders Cindry to facilitate his escape. When she doesn’t respond or move, he once again proves his cold-heartedness by pointing out that even if she dies, he can simply put in a new shadow. However, it turns out that Cindry is physically unable to move and is crying. Some part deep inside of her was moved by Chopper’s speech and has taken over her body. The simplest explanation is that it was the suppressed morals of her stolen shadow that were moved by Chopper’s words, but from what I’ve seen, I think it goes deeper than that and is actually a remnant of the body’s original soul that has truly awoken from death to influence the actions of the body. We have seen this before in Ryuuma. By Hogback’s definition of a zombie, the creature would not be capable of an emotion such as praise and admiration. During the instants before his purification by fire was complete, Ryuuma entrusted his sword to Zoro in a truly noble fashion more characteristic of a true samurai than either a mere zombie or his shadow’s true master, Brooke. This means the honor shown to Zoro was that of the samurai calling through the conduit of Brooke’s shadow. Even before that instant of defeat, the amount of knowledge and trust in his blade, Shuusui, could only have been invoked by the spirit of the original samurai rather than Brooke’s shadow. In his case, it could be said that the intensity of his spirit before his death transcended said death and influenced his later zombie more than any other zombie’s former spirit could. If that is the case, then it is not incomprehensible that there is still some small shred of Cindry’s soul residing in her body, especially since her death was premature. Chopper’s words have reached that part of her soul and have begun to influence the zombie itself. We may see Cindry switch sides as her tue inner self is awakened to reveal to Chopper a true resurrection by his definition however brief.


Overall

While this fight lacks the action of Zoro’s duel with Ryuuma, it is proving to be everything I expected of it in terms of emotional value. Chopper’s moral battle with Hogback is the one thing I’ve looked forward to most this arc and I am overjoyed that it is finally here. I could deal with a little more action though. Although it does not seem to be going in this direction, I can still dream that Chopper will use monster point and Hogback will pull out a new uber-zombie, thus making this a battle between representatives of classic monster novels. Dr. Frankenstein and his monster versus Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Helltroll
August 26, 2007, 07:38 AM
greata s always sahugani. your reviews are really the best in the whole forums. and i'm sure that i will drop a comment on your bleach review in some hours (already beyond chapter 200)
damn, the robin panel above dogpen @ Adjusted Shadows looks damn awesome...