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sahugani
September 29, 2007, 04:27 PM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 471-472

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Franky's Battle Manta!!!

Damn it has been far too long since I got to do one of these. First there is a week with no One Piece and then I need to take a break so I can move back to college. In any case, I’m back now and happy to be. First things first, it was the birthday of my favorite One Piece AMV creator, JuniZorofan (http://youtube.com/profile?user=JuniZorofan) a couple days ago and in the time since my last review, she has blessed us with more masterpieces. Burn the Evidence (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZREVzNgQ5TI) is about the Captain Kuro arc. My Guardian Angel (http://youtube.com/watch?v=LvN6GxJUifM) is very fitting for the current events as its about the crew’s appreciation of Luffy and it is beautiful. The pics in this review come from the Mangashare scanlation for 471 and KaNx’s scanlation of 472. The title pic is an Oda original.


471: My Friend

Missing Targets

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when will Luffy learn about Sogeking?

As we left the crew last time, Oz had pretty much bulldozed the lot of them effortlessly. As his victims lay on the ground seemingly unconscious among the rubble, he turns his attention to the bounty heads he didn’t find. The three remaining are Luffy, Nami, and Sogeking. Just as Luffy’s mentally challenged mind allowed Oz to recognize Sanji from the bounty when Absalom and Moria could not, it also prevents him from associating Sogeking with Usopp. He even goes as far as to glorify Sogeking as a cool-looking hero just as Luffy had.


While the Princess Slept

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gotta admit that would be scary

The scene swiftly switches over to Perona, who has just been awoken by her wild zombies. As she rises from her fainting spell, she is still suffering from the memory of her battle with Usopp. After realizing that the trauma is over, she notices the insane amount of damage to the building and is shocked to find out that it was Oz rather than the pirates that was responsible for the demolition. No sooner does she start inquiring as to why Oz is being so destructive, the demon himself strikes through the wall and annihilates a majority of Perona’s zombies. When he pokes his head around to look for Nami, he simply calls her the girl, which Perona automatically assumes to be referring to herself. As far as she can tell, Oz is simply acting completely out of Moria’s control, which combined with her already self-important personality easily explains her fear of living through a King Kong scene. After that, she decides that she needs to escape. As much as she was loyal to Moria’s goals, she is above all else a selfish spoiled brat, so it comes as no surprise that she chooses to steal the Sunny as her escape vessel. Beyond that, she refuses to leave without her precious treasure despite the fact that the longer she stays on Thriller Bark, the better her chances are of getting trampled like Hogback.


The Ceremony Resumes

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thats how to make an entrance

While Oz is causing havoc to the mast tower searching for the Strawhats, Absalom and the priest zombie are trying to resume the wedding ceremony that was put on hold by Oz and Sanji last time. This time however, Nami wakes up before Absalom tries to kiss her. As expected, she squirms to avoid being kissed while he continues to profess the futility of trying to escape. Before Absalom can get what he desires, the bride and groom are separated by a surprise appearance from Lola. As many predicted, the warthog zombie arrived to object to the wedding. She was just too amusing a character for Oda to drop with such a short appearance. Her actions are first turned against Nami for trying to get Absalom behind her back. She even brings back Nami’s lie that she is a man in an attempt to dissuade the beast man. Absalom considers this, but after reviewing his pervy memories of Nami in the bath, isn’t convinced. Given what we know now about the zombie process, Lola seems to be a truly unique member of this populace. The zombies of Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, and Brooke have all eventually reverted to fully submissive beings that while maintaining the shadow’s original personality, does not let that personality conflict with the orders given by Moria or the commanders. I’d like to know how Lola is able to overcome this aspect of being a zombie that even Luffy’s zombie could not.


Easy Victory

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:blink ...where did she pull the weapon out of?

When Nami realizes that Lola is missing intentionally, we realize the true nature of the warthog’s appearance. She knew that Nami was not willingly getting married and so came to save her new friend while simultaneously attempting another shot at marrying Absalom herself. However, it seems that the Graveyard Commander still has his left arm bazooka and unleashes an invisible shot at the desperate zombie. Here we see how exhausted he is after his fight with Sanji. Before, his immense weight and strength allowed him to withstand the kickback of one or two bazookas effortlessly. Now it seems he is straining himself just firing one. Unaware of her opponent’s physical condition, Nami decides to stop running and fight despite the risk. Even though she is fully capable in battle with the Perfect Clima-tact, Nami is still with Usopp and Chopper in that if there is a great risk from a certain opponent, her first instinct is to run and let the crew’s powerhouses deal with it. For Nami, the trigger to her bravery seems to be watching those who protected her fall. In Skypiea, she went with Enel out of fear until Luffy came. After Enel tossed him overboard, Nami cast aside her fear and fought bravely. In Enies Lobby, she saw the effect Califa had on Sanji, a man who continuously protects her, and at that point solidly determined herself to fight. Now she has been saved by Lola and after watching the zombie fall during the rescue, has once again mustered up the courage to fight. She does not even expect her attack to work as it hadn’t before, but she is not about to stand by and let Lola go unavenged. Luckily for her, Absalom was just barely capable of remaining conscious after Sanji’s thorough beating, so her attack was enough to take him down. With the beast man out of the picture, Nami rushes to Lola’s side to say thank you. The zombie reveals that she knew all along that Nami was a man and that the bigger issue now is that Absalom is in prime condition for her to take advantage and marry him.


Till the Fat Lady Sings

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shouldn't they at least have some broken bones?

The scene shifts back to the fight against Oz as the gigantic beast is still poking around trying to find the remaining Strawhats. While he’s looking around, the pirates that he thought he had disposed of have gotten back up and are chatting as if they hadn’t just gotten their asses handed to them. After a brief debate over trying to recall their opponent’s name (I’m assuming ended by Robin as she has knowledge of Oz during his former life), they reveal themselves and tell him not to underestimate them. Zoro has finally donned his bandana and Franky has reassembled his heavy nunchuku, so the fight has definitely gotten serious. One important thing to notice is that even though Brooke fell with the Strawhats, he is not among the revived fighting force and I think that is a good thing. My opinion on this goes beyond my general view that Brooke won’t join the crew. It is based on the symbolic nature of this fight. In other arcs, the crew’s task while Luffy fights the leader has been more open to outside involvement. Vivi, Pell and Tashigi helped search for the bomb and stop the fighting during the Arabasta arc since that was about saving a country. Wiper helped break Giant Jack in Skypiea since he and Luffy shared the same goal. Kokoro and Franky helped fight marines on the bridge at Enies Lobby since their lives depended on protecting the escape route till Luffy won. This task is different from the others since they are fighting their own captain’s zombie. Brooke does not share the same emotion as the others in regards to fighting Oz. To them, they are not only fighting to save their captain’s shadow. They are proving that their unity as a pirate crew is a far greater strength than the raw power that Luffy and the others wield individually.


472: Down

History Told

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finally some answers for the wings

We return once again to Enel’s lunar adventure. Not really much has happened since last time. We have just moved down the wall to read of more history. Apparently, the moon society’s name was Bilka and they traveled to Earth to look for resources. It is important to note some similarities between these people and some we already know. Like the Skypieans and Shandians, these people apparently have wings. This may answer how people came to reside on the clouds. Also as the artwork seems to be heavily derived from that of the Aztec empire that is now Mexico, another link can be drawn to the Shandians directly. If you look at the architecture of Shandia, it is definitely similar to Aztecs and if you look at the customs and histories of both, it is undeniable that Oda based his fictional civilization on this historical counterpart. Both prominently used human sacrifice and both were victims of a brutal conquest. I have long wondered why non-Skypiean people like the Shandians had wings. From this evidence, it seems that both civilizations were originally from the same ancestral peoples and it was by sheer chance that they were reunited by the knock-up stream.


Perspectives

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what would Nami and Luffy say?

As we last left them, the Strawhat crew had gotten back up and now face off against Oz once more. Now that they are about to restart the battle, each takes a moment to analyze the fight in their own way. Zoro pays tribute to Oz’s strength as a way to psych himself up. Historically, Zoro finds his greatest strength and surpasses himself when facing impossible odds, so he’s getting giddy at the idea that fighting Oz will help him climb another rung. Robin in her blunt manner of speaking points out that unlike Luffy, Oz is not cut out to be pirate king. As an inventor, Franky is running a large number of possible plans through his head trying to pick the best one to beat Oz. Chopper tries to see a weak point on Oz, which technically would be easier to do if he used a rumble and scope, but I think the rumble is being saved for later. Sanji simply disregards Oz’s strength and puts the need to win in the form f a cooking metaphor. Usopp is just scared shitless. Really this is just to showcase that at the start of the fight, each person is operation on their own wavelength and it’s not until they work together that they can succeed.


Franky’s…Plan…

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MECHA-MUGIWARA!!!

After Oz tries to crush the Strawhats under his own ass, Franky decides to put one of his plans into motion. Apparently he has already explained this technique to Usopp and Chopper, but assigns roles to the remaining crew on the fly. Since Franky is a cyborg I guess a mecha technique was inevitable at some point. With himself as the torso, Chopper as the head, Zoro and Sanji as the legs, and Usopp and Robin as the arms, Franky planned to create an oversized super warrior. While this is an amusing little reference Oda has thrown at us, I can really see no way in which the technique would help. It prevents nearly every Strawhat from using their abilities, thus weakening the overall fighting force. Oda has made it abundantly clear that in order to beat Oz, the crew must work together. I guess this technique was simply a joke on the idea of acting as one.


Disappointment

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huzzah for ADD

Unfortunately for Franky, Robin is not willing to subject herself to the humiliation of being part of the intended super warrior. I must admit I had a moment of doubt in Oda after introducing such a ridiculous thing from Franky’s mind. That is until I saw the real joke this was meant for. When Robin refuses to complete the technique, Oz is greatly disappointed. This is the clearest evidence yet that Luffy’s personality is still very much present in Oz. Luffy goes all starry-eyed any time he sees something interesting no matter if it comes from friend or foe. Like Luffy would have been, Oz was really looking forward to seeing the super warrior. After Oz strikes them in a fit of rage, the equally disappointed Franky, Chopper, and Usopp are still complaining to Robin after being imbedded into a stone slab. This may not be the last we hear of the technique. As Usopp pointed out, Luffy would have been excited to be part of a giant robot. There is a chance we’ll see a redesigned version at some point with the four willing crew members.


Teamwork

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Captain Zoro!!!

With Franky’s plan ending up being a complete joke, Zoro forms a new idea to win. It is in this plan that everyone comes together and are able to cooperate while each offering their own unique expertise to carry it out. Zoro’s role in the combo is what I find most spectacular for multiple reasons. First of all there is just the kick ass nature of his attack as he swings Franky’s nunchucku like a sword. The bigger part for me though is the leadership he shows in organizing the attack. As the first mate, he is the one the crew puts their faith in when Luffy’s not around. With a simple command to Robin and later Sanji, he establishes the framework of his plan and one by one each of the others see how it’s unfolding and act accordingly to bring him down. Usopp makes him lose his balance with a slick oil and after Zoro launches an arm back, Robin pins it. Both Chopper and Franky show off their proficiency in their respective professions as they apply their skills to facilitate a powerful attack. Franky once again builds a structure in mere seconds that brings the two of them up to Oz’s head and Chopper pinpoints a weak spot in the human skeletal structure at the jaw. With a mere combined punch to that weak spot, they are able to injure and disorient the behemoth. With one final kick from Sanji to Oz’s remaining leg, the crew succeeds in toppling their opponent.


The Bigger They Are…

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good thing that loin cloth is stiff

Due to Oz’s size, the zombies from all over the island witness his fall over the roof of the mansion. It is inconceivable to them that any group however large could possibly have done that to him. Now that the Strawhats have proven themselves capable of damaging him, Oz is no longer going to be taking the battle lightly. This brings up the issue of exactly how they can possibly win. While they did win that bout, it was hardly strong enough to be a finishing blow. I still maintain that the crew will beat Oz on their own and won’t have to rely on Luffy to beat Moria for the shadow to leave the giant. I don’t think Moria was bluffing when he said that beating him wouldn’t cause the shadows and corpses to separate. In order for Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji’s shadows to return, they would either need to purify each of their respective zombies or get Moria to command the shadows to return. At this point, Purifying Oz does not seem to be an option as it would take a shitload of salt and I don’t think they have that much handy. This means that for Luffy’s shadow to return, he’ll need to force Moria to give the order, but this creates a bigger problem in my mind. As I said before, this battle has huge symbolic relevance for the Strawhat crew. The idea for this type of situation in nearly every arc is that the crew does their part while Luffy does his and each of them trusts the other to succeed. While the crew does occasionally fail at their task due to no fault of their own, it ends up resolved due to an outside influence (like Pell carrying away the time bomb or Merry saving them after the escape ship is destroyed at Enies Lobby). The point is that Luffy did his part in beating the bad guy and didn’t have to clean up the mess his crew couldn’t finish. The most likely scenario I can think of is that the crew beats Oz into submission shortly before Luffy beats Moria so that while technically they can’t finish him off, they prove to him that he cannot overcome them. As they stand over him, Luffy makes Moria give the order. While this does mean that Luffy is technically dealing the final blow to Oz, the victory credit goes to the crew.


Nami’s Distraction

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Oh Noes!!!

The scene shifts once again to Nami, who after watching Lola finally marry her man separates from her new friend to find the treasure. Even though Lola has told her the situation regarding Oz and the events occurring on the island, Nami’s first thought is getting her treasure. While there are more pressing matters, she has been looking forward to this treasure since hearing the jack-in-the-box in Hogback’s room. She now knows where to find it and is in relatively close proximity, so she can’t help but go and grab some for herself. Unfortunately, Perona had already moved all of the treasure and food from the room to the Sunny, which she plans to escape on. With the treasure she sought gone from her sight, Nami’s wrath will reign down upon someone. She doesn’t even know that before it was moved back to the Sunny, Perona had stolen from the Strawhats first. With this inherent animosity between Nami and Perona added to the fact that Nami is already removed from the fight with Oz. it looks like there is a chance Nami will be responsible for dealing final blows to two of Moria’s commanders as she runs off toward the Sunny. Though I have no real basis, I’m hoping that Brooke joins her in the side job of freeing the Sunny from Perona. He has not joined the main force of the Strawhats in their fight, so he would serve a better purpose aiding Nami.


The Bear Arrives

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"Man, Smokey's way more intense in person"

We turn now to onboard the Thousand Sunny, where Perona and her wild zombies are loading up the ship with food and treasure before making an escape. However, they are joined by an unexpected guest. Bartholomew Kuma of the Shichibukai has come to see Moria. This is the best twist in a while. There are a number of reasons why Kuma would be coming by. The most likely reason would seem to be related to Ace and Blackbeard. As Ace is one of Whitebeard’s commanders as well as an advanced logia user, he most definitely has a very high bounty, which was the only reason Blackbeard was originally going after Luffy. If Blackbeard brought in Ace to the World Government as a bounty head to prove his worthiness as a Shichibukai, it would be the same as if he brought in Luffy. If Blackbeard was indeed initiated into the Shichibukai, it would make sense that the World Government would use the organization’s most loyal member to deliver the news. Another reason could possibly be that the World Government knows his crew has not disbanded and Kuma is here to deliver a reprimand or dismissal, but that is far less likely. As for what this means in terms of plot-development this is huge. Since nearly an entire arc has passed since the world changing events at Bonero Island, it is logical that the news is worldwide now and it is about time the Strawhats heard about it. I’m thinking he may even contribute to the final moments of Luffy’s fight with Moria. Even if Luffy beats Moria, the Shichibukai is likely too spiteful to release the shadows after Lufffy orders him too. After Kuma witnesses Moria’s loss and officially states his intention to remove Moria from the Shichibukai (from the latest loss rather than the idea I had before), he forces Moria to release the shadows. While this may be somewhat of an act of respect towards Luffy, he has his own official reasons as well. In stripping Moria of his title of Shichibukai and possibly arresting him, it is only logical that he would also strip him of his crew, which is in this case an army of zombies, so in the case of returning the Strawhats’ shadows, both Luffy and Kuma’s goals would happen to coincide.


Overall

Whew! That felt good. It’s great having two such awesome chapters back to back like that. The only downside is that the second chapter answered a lot of the analysis I would have posted in the first one, so the 471 half feels a bit uneven. That’s only a reviewer’s problem though. The chapters themselves were spectacular. While we didn’t really get to see Luffy or any progress against Moria, we did get to see Nami finally act for herself and some fine leadership from the crew’s first mate. Finally, the appearance of Kuma was enough to send me off the walls and I can’t wait to see what Oda will do with him.

MDLatqp
September 29, 2007, 05:32 PM
Excellent reviews; I usually read the chapters pretty quickly and so miss a few details. Your summaries always fill in the gaps and offer some cool new theories and analysis and such. Thanks very much!