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sahugani
October 13, 2007, 03:03 AM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 474

http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/6001/thrillerbrookebylithuanpo0.jpg (http://lithuaniushairius.deviantart.com/art/Thriller-Brooke-58045460)
This just feels so right!!! :lmao

Huzzah!!! Once again we are blessed with a new chapter of One Piece. Unfortunately, the anime is still on its three week hiatus (and no Bleach or Naruto either), but the manga is so good right now it’s easy to get over. Speaking of the anime though, there is another masterpiece AMV by JuniZorofan (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=JuniZorofan) that I must announce. It is called The Kill (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TGgbGJgWYw) and it is about the Luffy versus Usopp duel from the Water 7 arc. The pics in this review come from the scanlation by Franky House and the cover pic is a piece drawn by LithuaniusHairius (http://lithuaniushairius.deviantart.com/) over at DeviantArt, so go take a peek at the rest of his stuff.


Commander-in-Chief

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I has an army! AYBABTU

As the Enel continues on and starts to wind down, we see the former god finally come to terms with his new situation. He is now the beloved leader of this little robot army and from the looks of the contraption at the top of the page, he is also the source of power for the newly restored Lunar Settlement. The only question now is what to do with his army. It seems that the only thing they can do is go beat up the space pirates again since the moon is pretty bleak when it comes to life-forms to target. I guess he could fix up the Maxim and fly his army back to Earth and try to conquer the islands of the Blue Sea, but then he’d be one of the few cover-arc stars that did not redeem themselves and to further the disappointment, he’d have corrupted the innocent robots.


Abandoned

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Luffy's so lonely

As the real story starts back up again, we see Moria’s shadow snake up into the sky in an attempt to get away from Luffy and return to its master. The sole purpose of sending out his doppelganger was to lead Luffy on a wild goose chase and put as much distance between them as possible. Once Luffy realized it was not the real Moria, he’d start looking around for the physical body instead of wasting his time with the shadow, so there is no point in keeping the shadow there. However, the thing I find truly remarkable is the fact that Moria can use his power remotely from such a distance with such skill. This is a feat that we have not seen from really any other devil fruit user. Zoans and most paramecia are not capable of such a feat due to the close combat nature of their powers but even the capable paramecia and logia we have seen can’t do this. Buggy couldn’t control his torso parts after his mini self was blasted away from sight. Crocodile could only start up the sandstorms that attacked Yuba and he said that by the time they reached the town, even he couldn’t stop it. Enel needed the Maxim to enhance his power in order to remotely send bolts of lightning to Sky Island without entering the sky himself. While Moria’s power is not nearly as destructive as others, he has truly mastered its usage.


Weight of the Blade

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this sword is badass

We turn now to the fight with Oz, which has now boiled down to a one-on-one with the zombie and Zoro. The swordsman has decided to use this as an opportunity to test out the power of his new blade. Last week, I was somewhat confused by the fact that Zoro knew the special trait of Shuusui despite only having heard of it earlier that night. From the Logue Island events, we know that while Tashigi has the encyclopedic knowledge of every meitou’s name, appearance, price, and abilities, Zoro is pretty much clueless. In conversing with Ryuuma, the only thing he understood in the blade’s description was that it was one of the o wazumono (21 great swords). Now it seems that his description of the blade last chapter was more a gut feeling deduced from the feel and heaviness of the katana. As it is several times heavier than Yubashiri, Zoro is able to use that weight to greatly amplify the strength of his attacks. This new strength proves strong enough to deflect a direct punch from Oz and when used with the 108 pondo hou, it blows a hole the width of Oz’s arm in a stone wall of the castle. After realizing the new level of strength this sword has granted him, Zoro once again shows his gratitude for the samurai who passed the sword onto him.


Strawhat’s First Mate

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now it sounds so simple to topple a giant zombie

I know I’ve said this before, but it definitely bears repeating. I absolutely love the amount of leadership Zoro has shown throughout this fight with Oz. When Usopp tries to convince him to settle on subduing Oz so Luffy can finish the job, Zoro is the first one to see the truth of the situation and explains to the others why their only option is to try to finish Oz themselves. He points out that while they all have complete faith in Luffy’s capability of being victorious in battle, the nature of the enemies on this island make the situation more complicated for Luffy. Unlike Luffy’s other enemies who took a bit too much pride in their power and status to even comprehend losing in battle, Moria and his subordinates are significantly more underhanded. Absalom hid his weapons and himself from his enemy’s sight and Perona used her power to completely cripple a person’s will to fight before dealing any actual blows. Like those two commanders, Moria cannot be expected to simply submit to a fair fight with Luffy. As Luffy is an idiot, Zoro reluctantly admits that the captain is very likely to fall into one of the shichibukai’s traps and won’t beat Moria by the time the sun rises. The only hope for survival is for the crew to return Luffy’s shadow to him so that the time limit is lifted and Luffy can make Moria release the other shadows. Even if this means it will be too late for Zoro and Sanji’s shadows to be returned in time, they are willing to risk their lives for their captain and crew.


The Trio’s Limit

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this makes me glad Luffy has Nami to navigate

It’s been a while since the time limit of morning has been brought up as a concern, but after Zoro’s speech, the reality of the matter finally starts to sink in for the crew. Even Sanji, one of the team’s monster trio that fears nothing, is starting to come to grips with the fact that his death might be coming in the next couple hours. The only comfort that can be offered to reduce the chances of the death by sunlight is the thick fog surrounding the island. That fog is the main reason Brooke has been able to exist shadowless for five years and is one of the reasons he could not leave the Triangle to search for Laboon. This implies that its thickness is enough to block out the sun quite effectively. However, even though it offers pretty good protection, it cannot be guaranteed and so there is still cause for Sanji, Zoro and Luffy to worry. All of a sudden, the island starts to shake violently as Thriller bark has entered a new ocean current due to Oz’s previous tampering with the rudder and the ship is taken out of the Triangle’s fog.


7th Member

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we all saw this coming

As we return to see Moria’s shadow finally reconnect to its master, we see the long awaited meeting between Moria and Kuma, the two oversized members of the Shichibukai. After a few pleasantries that reveal a bit more of Kuma’s personality (I’ll come back to those in a different section), the Tyrant reveals that his main reason for coming was exactly what most of us thought it would be (a rare moment of Oda predictability). Blackbeard has been instated as Crocodile’s replacement in the Shichibukai. It has apparently become well known worldwide by now and Kuma correctly assumed that due to Moria’s seclusion in the fog, he would be one of the few who had not heard. While Kuma does not directly state the reason for Blackbeard’s appointment, we can assume that it was the result of turning in Ace’s bounty. While Shichibukai are generally supposed to be instated after carving out a name for themselves with a high bounty, Teach was allowed to join immediately before even getting ranked with a bounty for his victory. This just goes to show the immense value the World Government has placed on the defeat and/or capture of Fire Fist Ace. In the wake of Enies Lobby and the revealing of the Strawhats as the true destroyers of Crocodile and Baroque works, the public opinion of the World Government likely took a plummet as their top ranks were overpowered by a mere pirate crew. By publicly appointing the man who took out Whitebeard’s Second Division Commander, Fire Fist Ace, they prove to the masses that they do indeed still have the strength to “protect them from the evils of piracy.”


Concern

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WTF!?!? He has no pupils

After divulging this world changing news, Kuma reveals that there was a second reason why he came. Apparently, given that the Strawhats were last seen in Water 7 on route to Mermaid Island, Kuma deduced that chances were good that they would run into Moria. The World Government has become concerned that the Strawhats might take out another Shichibukai. While they were able to temporarily sweep Luffy’s defeat of Crocodile under the rug, after the Strawhats took down Enies Lobby, their strength could not be considered a one time fluke. They have not only demonstrated their capability in taking on the World Government, but also show absolutely no fear in doing so. This makes them very nervous should the crew again cross paths with a Shichibukai. If they won once again, it might consider them alongside Dragon’s revolutionaries as one of the biggest threats to their regime. Even if the Strawhat’s goal is not to fight the Government directly like Dragon, defeating two Shichibukai, the entire CP9, and a number of marine captains makes the Government look weak as I said in the last section.


Kuma’s Mystery

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whew!!!

While I was initially very sad when Kuma announced his second reason for coming to Thriller Bark, my joy returned instantly when he said that he rejected the Government’s order. Thanks to this, I can maintain my previous claim of Kuma’s personality being the most moral of the Shichibukai by far. Due to the fact that Moria says Kuma is the only one to obey the Government fully, it seems extremely odd that he would reject a command (though it greatly pleases me). The best explanation I can come up with stems from my maintained profile of him as a moral person. My best guess is that his reason is due to Luffy’s relationship to Ace. While in nearly every case, Kuma will obey the Government’s order without question, his religious and moral character makes him object to the idea of fighting a man whose brother just {assumedly} died. In any case, he decided to at least tell Moria about the Government’s order and will stick around to observe. I’m guessing that following Moria’s defeat, Kuma himself will deliver the sad news about Ace to Luffy. The reason Oda didn’t have Kuma mention it to Moria was so that the emotional closure about the Banero Island fight could be saved for the most fitting character to hear it first.


Uber-Oz

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Franky's robot doesn't look so stupid now does it?

After seeing that the ship has left the protective fog and realizing that their time limit to fight has become much more urgent, it is revealed that Moria has entered a command center built into Oz’s belly. While Oz reacts with Luffy-like wonder, the Strawhats bring up many solid questions on the matter. We can probably assume that Kuma teleported Moria into there since there doesn’t seem to be any other way for him to get into the zombie’s body. While it seems a bit ridiculous at first, this actually has a huge impact on the fight. While Oz bears the strength of both Luffy and the Island destroyer, his idiocy makes him somewhat of a loose cannon. Having Moria within him to direct orders will focus his strength to make intelligent decisions on attacking strategy. Despite this making the fight more interesting in terms of combat difficulty, it seems to be leading to a collapse of the beautiful symbolism of the crew stepping to the plate for their captain. Since Luffy’s target is now inside Oz, it looks like the final battle is going to be Oz/Moria versus either Luffy or the Strawhat crew (in which case we might see Nami rejoin the show of force). While it does make me sad that the Zoro-led team won’t beat Oz without Luffy’s help, at least this offers an opportunity for Luffy to show the full force of his Gear 3.


The Afro Returns

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The world's most lovable bag of bones arrives bearing gifts

With Moria commanding Oz directly and the fog around the island gone, the urgency of beating the zombie is put on a much higher level. Usopp is ordered by Zoro to find a large amount of salt as it is the only proven way to win and they no longer have the time to test alternatives while knocking him around. Moria notices this and has Oz attempt to stop Usopp, but fortunately, Brooke reappears just in the nick of time to save the Strawhat Sniper. In addition, we find out that while the Strawhats have been fighting Oz, Brooke’s apparent disappearance was due to him rushing to get a bunch of salt. While I still think the evidence is highly stacked against Brooke joining the crew, I must admit this is a point in favor of the idea’s fans. While not nearly as epic (and thus not as good a reason for recruitment), it is this arc’s equivalent of Franky saving Robin in Enies Lobby. As for how the fight will proceed now that the salt is acquired, I’m guessing that the Strawhats will section off. While the powerhouses Sanji, Zoro, and later on Luffy keep the Oz/Moria combo busy, Usopp (the sniper), Brooke (the ammo supplier), and Franky (the inventor) will devise and construct a way for Usopp to fire the salt into Oz’s mouth without Moria seeing it coming. Robin and Chopper could join either side.


Overall

In short Oda is the man. With the exception of Sanji’s ridiculously short duel with Absalom, I have not been the least bit disappointed with any chapter of One Piece this arc (and even that chapter I only considered sub-par but still enjoyed). While I was at first fearful that my beautiful image of Kuma was going to be shattered, the character was redeemed and it made my day. Also, the return of Brooke to the story was a pleasant twist that I’m sure will cause the fans of his recruitment once again resurface. With them I will once again have to don the persona of the devil’s advocate unfortunately.

Helltroll
October 13, 2007, 03:59 AM
just as great as ever sahu. i'm also a bit disappointed about sanji "fight" with absalom but i can agree with you in all other terms. keep up the good work and don't rush your bleach review.

edit: michael jackson rulez! XD

Luckas
October 13, 2007, 05:43 AM
Great review Sahugani! It seems you were totally right about Kuma and interesting idea about Kuma teleporting Moria inside Oz, I was just wondering how he went inside him.

nanakawa
October 13, 2007, 09:21 AM
Man, at the last review you *really* called it on Kuma's moral and obedient personality. A simply brilliant deduction and something that I, at least, didn't think was overtly obvious

MDLatqp
October 13, 2007, 12:42 PM
Excellent review, as always :). And dude, great job predicting almost the entire chapter, haha; you got Kuma to a "T" - brilliantly done.

Now, you discuss Moria's extraordinary skill controlling his shadow from such a distance. Since we know that the shadow of a person is sort of like their soul, d'you think it's possible that Moria merely told his doppleganger to go do its own thing? "Hey you! Go distract Luffy. Once you're really deep in the forest, you can come on back." I know it's really a minor point, but just a thought.

With regard to the 'beautiful symbolism' you mentioned, I think it could still come to fruition. The SH crew (minus Luffy) could still pull off the victory over Oz, without that resulting in Moria's defeat. I could see him escaping right before (or right as) Oz is defeated, leaving Luffy to finish him off. Here's hopin'. Then again, some gear 3 action is always cool too, so either way, win-win :).

And boo! Brooke for Mugiwara '07!! lol

Oh, and what about Cerberus? People have TOTALLY forgotten him (them?)! Brooke AND Cerberus for Mugiwara '07!!! He'd make such a perfect pet...

sahugani
October 13, 2007, 01:09 PM
Thanks everyone!!! :D

regarding Kuma's personality, i was afraid that my analysis last week set a bit of a high standard and i'd be disappointed, but Oda came through and granted us the Kuma i thought he'd be. since the shichibukai is made of former pirates (who are generally known to be selfish) its clear from the start that each has different motives in joining the organization and acts differently within it. given the personalities we had already been shown, i knew before this arc that there would be one moral soldier of justice but couldn't decide between Kuma and Jimbei (a whale shark merman screams pacifist). while i'm still kind of hoping Jimbei will be a pacifist, the i'm hoping the final unrevealed member rivals Mihawk as a badass

@MDLatqp - i think you could be right about the doppelganer not being directly controlled, but as you said, its really just a minor point that won't have much bearing on anything

i can't decide which is better - having Zoro's team beat Oz or witness the beauty of Gear 3. i guess the biggest problem with the first option is that since Moria's battle strength is far inferior to not only Luffy's other enemies but to Oz himself, Luffy's final defeat of Moria would pale in comparison. In that case i'm gonna have to go with Luffy using Gear 3

As for the recruits, i guess we'll see who's right when this arc comes to a close. as i said last week though, if Brooke didn't join and instead took command of Thriller Bark, he'd have a ship that Laboon could actually board, which is a wonderful thought. Also, while it still seems unlikely, i would still really love for Cerberus to join the Strawhats as a pet

Monimonika
October 13, 2007, 04:15 PM
Hi sahugani,

I really enjoy reading your One Piece reviews and usually just lurked around. Unfortunately, I registered here to give you some (to you) bad news. I'm fluent in Japanese and read the raw scans for OP, so I know what I'm talking about here.

The translated part where you interpret Kuma is saying that he did not accept the order to help Moria take down the Strawhats, is wrong (or maybe interpreted wrongly).

Here is what the two blurbs actually say on the raw scan page #15 (in romaji):

Kuma: Houkoku no tsuide da...
Kuma: Nanimo souiu shirei wo uketa wake dewanai.

Translation:
Kuma: It's just in addition to the report...
Kuma: It's not that I was actually given that sort of order.

I'm still trying to figure out a good translation of "tsuide" (secondary, additional, along with, etc.), but it's not that Kuma refused an order. He wasn't explicitly given an official order.

Sorry if this damages your image of Kuma to a certain degree.

sahugani
October 13, 2007, 04:27 PM
thanks for that

while it is somewhat depressing that he didn't refuse a direct order, i don't think it disproves my image of his overall character. he still chose to act as a mere observer to the events of Thriller Bark rather than take on the Strawhats. while he does accept any order given by the government, it doesn't mean that his reluctance to fight the Strawhats is merely because there was no order. he showed himself capable of deciding punishment without official orders when he used his power on the deserter Perona. If he applied the same standard to the Strawhats, he'd have used his power to take down this enormous threat to the government starting with Nami since even without orders that is the official job of the Shichibukai. the fact that he didn't means that he has some other intrest in refraining from the fight that outwheighs that duty

Cloud_821
October 14, 2007, 01:26 AM
Chiming in to say I love your One Piece reviews, sahugani. I happen to share your opinion about Brooke, but until the past couple of chapters, I has baffled as to how Oda was going to deal with him after the arc. However, I think the Kuma is the perfect solution, as he can (potentially) teleport Brooke back the beginning of the Grand Line to see Laboon again. Thoughts?

sahugani
October 14, 2007, 01:37 AM
while it does seem theoretically possible, the fact remains that Kuma is still a Shichibukai. even if he does not stand in the way of the Strawhats, he is still not in the business of actively aiding pirates. i still like the idea of Brooke taking command of Thriller Bark after it is purged of zombies and his crew will be the people who until now had their shadows stolen and were hiding on the island (plus Laboon later on as the whale can fit within the walls of the ship).

Imitorar
October 14, 2007, 01:28 PM
He could teleport Brook and the ship, possibly. So Brook would have Thriller Bark AND Laboon. Maybe Luffy could ask Kuma to as a favor to Brook, and Kuma will grant it because Luffy just lost Ace. That would fit with your opinion on Kuma's personality, wouldn't it? And then Kuma would feel that he had paid his emotional debt towards Luffy and let him go, but tell him that he won't do so again.

sahugani
October 14, 2007, 02:32 PM
well i mean its not so much that he feels in debt to Luffy but that he doesn't feel morally justified in attacking a man who just lost his brother. as i said before, while he has chosen not to hinder Luffy's progress for the time being, he is still an obediant soldier of the World Government and would not actively lend aid to a pirate. i think his only interaction with Luffy will be after Moria is beaten and he arrives to tell Luffy about Ace before teleporting himself and Moria away

and as an aside, i finally finished my Bleach quad!!! now it will just be a bit longer before i can format and post it