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sahugani
January 26, 2008, 08:16 PM
Sahugani’s One Piece Review 486

http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/6514/acesfirebyhyrohikucq5.jpg (http://hyrohiku.deviantart.com/art/Ace-s-fire-70854575)
i've wanted to use this for so long and now that we have confirmation on Ace, it is time

Hello all. As it is every week (pretty much) the new chapter is here and I am exited to delve into my analysis. It was a serious pain in the ass yesterday to run into server trouble on RAW day, but everything is back to normal today (except the little quirks that have been around since a bit before the events yesterday). Anyways, as we all acknowledged, last week’s chapter was epic on a scale we rarely see in the series that puts it on the same tier as Merry’s funeral. Luckily though, due to Oda’s style, the epicness of last week takes nothing away from the greatness of this week. On a final note that I nearly forgot to mention, if I’m not mistaken this is roughly the one year anniversary of the start of the Thriller Bark arc (within a week). It was a year ago this week that we first saw Brooke. The pics in this review come from the IOPC scanlation of the chapter and the title pic is a piece made by hyrohiku (http://hyrohiku.deviantart.com/) over at DeviantArt, so be sure to stop by there later for his gallery.


The Defeated

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Moria will have a hard time on a ship that small

The chapter starts by distancing us from the events of last week by instead of checking on the Strawhats, we see what Absalom and Hogback are up to. They have taken out a small ship and have Moria on board with them. Thanks to Absalom’s invisibility, they were able to hide their presence and escape successfully. It was thought that part of Kuma’s assignment was to ensure the safety of Moria so that the Shichibukai could regain his strength and maintain his post. However, the fact that Moria is now with these two means that Kuma had instead left his fellow warlord on the island. Judging from the fact that Luffy never kills his enemies, Kuma (and likely the World Government as well) probably assumed that Moria would be alright if left on Thriller Bark. He could simply be left to recover on his own ship. After all, while the Shichibukai are employed by the World Government, all but Kuma prefer to exist as their own entities and would be both angered and shamed if they were to be treated by the Marine HQ doctors. As for how Hogback and Absalom snuck such a large person as Moria out of the battlefield, the battle with Kuma provided an excellent distraction not to mention the fact that at the end of the battle nearly everyone was unconscious, so there was ample opportunity. Absalom’s invisibility and strength would make it simple to sneak his boss out under those conditions.


Flame’s Fate

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He'll be back

In addition to seeing Moria’s fate, this scene also is used to show what happened to Ace. It was clear that Ace’s defeat was the key to Blackbeard’s rise to power, so the Whitebeard Second Commander had to be announced as either dead or captured in order to establish Blackbeard’s reputation. As Ace is announced as merely captured and not dead, I’m actually glad it was revealed in this way. I am disappointed that I didn’t get to see a dramatic scene where Luffy learns Ace’s fate, but in hindsight, that would have really only been the better way of announcing it if the announcement was death (even if that death is a false report). Since there is still quite a long ways to go in the story, it is still important to keep the Strawhat plotline separate from the global events we get sneak peaks to at the end of each major arc. The Strawhats are coming far in the World Government’s eyes, but they are still a secondary concern compared to the struggle of the three great powers. While the upcoming pirates can show their strength by taking on individual members of this trinity, it is still far too early to bury them in the middle of this war. If Ace’s death or capture had been made into a big deal in front of Luffy, it would imply there is unfinished business and would lead into an Ace rescue arc. That would not be a good turn for the story at this point. It is better to keep the matter of Ace’s defeat as a secondary matter. This way, even if Luffy hears about it later through the newspaper, it won’t be a major plot point for the main storyline and so it will likely be brushed aside. Luffy cares about his brother, but he trusts in his brother’s strength and doesn’t want to interfere in Ace’s choice of Life path. Although the matter is not critical to Luffy’s plotline, it is a huge deal for the world at large. Although the balance of the three Great Powers has been disrupted by Luffy taking on Shichibukai and Enies Lobby, the events surrounding Blackbeard’s appointment are both a huge benefit to the Shichibukai and a huge blow to the Yonkou. With this shift of power, the Government can begin an offensive to bring about the end of the Pirate Age. Being that in the final chapter of Ace’s battle, the incident was referred to as the trigger for some world changing event, I doubt that the World Government will let this opportunity slip through their fingers. The next time we return to this side plot, it may be in the middle of a war against the Yonkou and more of the main forces on each side will come to light such as Akainu and/or Kaidou.


Restocked

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Luffy's new outfit accessory for the next arc

When we return to the Strawhats, we find that it is the next day and they had slept for the whole day and night before. This is understandable as not only were they tired from fighting (except Luffy, whose fatigue was removed), but they had spent the entire night roaming around the island fighting, so they had lack of sleep to already. When Luffy complains about his hunger, he is told to eat cheese until Sanji can prepare a real meal. Apparently rather than cook on the ship, the food and cooking supplies are moved to the demolished courtyard since all of the former victims are too happy basking in the sun to leave. While they’re confused by the fact that all their supplies have been returned along with mounds of treasure, they decide its better not to argue the point and simply accept the generosity of whoever did it. Nami saw that it was Perona, who intended to take the Sunny to escape, but she is too happy about her new fortune to explain it to the others.


Shadow’s Memories

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Hell is freezing over

As Nami basks in the golden glow of her newly acquired treasure, she once again becomes the greedy and materialistic woman we all know. She allows Luffy to take a glass bracelet because it isn’t worth much, prompting Usopp to search through the pile for things he would like under the condition that they have no worth to Nami. However, she specifies that the former victims are not allowed to have any of this wealth. Lola agrees since the Strawhats have done more than enough in beating Moria and saving them. In doing this, she calls Nami by the name Namizou, which reveals to the greedy Strawhat that she is in fact the true owner of the warthog zombie from before. Out of affection for the zombie, Nami runs over and hugs her. Lola is confused, but Nami says she’ll explain everything later. She is so happy about reuniting with her new friend (albeit in a different form) that she voluntarily gives her an armful of treasure. Such an act of generosity is almost unprecedented out of her and so Luffy and Usopp both think that she has gone insane. To them, this is like a sign of the apocalypse and they react accordingly.

As suspected, some of the experiences Lola’s shadow had while a zombie were passed to the real body when reunited. However, this was most likely a special case that only a select few shadows would be able to do. I suspect it stems mostly from zombies who even though the shadows were not theirs, still exhibited a true identity of their own and their specific combination of corpse and shadow exhibited traits that defied either Moria’s control or the shadow’s original personality. This makes sense as when the shadows were first entered into the corpses, they were simply exact copies of the original owner’s identity. For most zombies, after time passes, they maintain the shadow’s personality, but their wills are forfeited to Moria’s devil fruit power. However, a select few zombies found some source of strength to rekindle a new will. With will comes the ability to decide and feel on one’s own, which is the basis for an individual’s identity. When Moria separated the shadows from the zombies, these new identities were imprinted on the living shadows. Thus when the shadows returned to their original masters, the traits and memories of these new personalities surface much the same way Oz instinctively asked Sanji for food when Luffy’s shadow was first inserted. Since Oz, Jigoroh, and Dogpen did not have much time to bond the shadows with the zombie bodies, I wouldn’t expect any changes in the Strawhats. This phenomenon would likely only occur for Ryuuma/Brooke, Lola (both versions), and Cindry/the maid we saw. This means my hope from a few chapters ago that Cindry will live on happily through the maid is valid. However, this does not mean that we’ll see the same feats of power from Brooke that we saw from Ryuuma. That strength came from Ryuuma’s body being far superior. I doubt we’d see much if anything change in this case, but due to Ryuuma having the same characteristics as the other two zombies I named, there is a chance.


Zoro’s Condition

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if only they knew

As Franky and Luffy arrive bearing Sanji’s supplies and ingredients, we see that Chopper has set up a bed for Zoro in the mansion as well. According to Chopper, this is the worst state he has ever seen Zoro in the entire time they have been in the crew. Even though Chopper was not around during the time after Zoro’s duel with Mihawk, it is still clear that his injuries this time are on a scale much more severe. While the scar Hawkeyes left on Zoro was certainly the most damaging single attack Zoro has ever suffered, it was intended to bring him to the brink of death. Mihawk gave him just enough damage to test his resolve. It was a blow that would have killed almost anyone, so if Zoro died from the wound, Mihawk would know Zoro was indeed an ordinary man. This time, the damage Zoro took on was once again the strength of a Shichibukai, but it was very different in its nature. Moria had indeed intended to kill Luffy and as such came at him with the same brutality. Had Mihawk done the same back then, Zoro would have died undoubtedly. Kuma even said in this case that when combined with the damage Zoro had already taken, there would be no chance for survival. The mere fact that Zoro did survive puts him on a higher tier than either Kuma or Mihawk expected of him. I really hope we get a scene later where we get to see Kuma talk to Mihawk about Zoro.


Witnesses

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Sanji reluctantly knows when Zoro does the right thing

When Chopper mentions the damage to Zoro’s body and how inexplicable it is that this kind of damage could have been possible, the others start voicing their concerns over the illogical things they found upon awaking such as Kuma being gone and Luffy being completely recovered. The Risky brothers from Lola’s crew of victims pop up and reveal that they saw what happened. At this point Sanji takes them aside so they can tell him alone what they saw. He himself saw the first part of it where Zoro risked his life, so he knows there are parts of the story that are better left unsaid to Luffy and the more sensitive members of the crew. After hearing about Kuma’s skill and Zoro absorbing Luffy’s damage, Sanji is even more certain that the rest of the Strawhats should be left uninformed. Zoro is not the type to take pride in his noble deeds like Usopp. He would simply be annoyed or ashamed if news of his deed caused the crew to praise him or feel indebted to him. As I said last review, for him, he was simply doing his duty as the first mate of the Strawhat crew and as a person who cares deeply for his nakama. In addition, the news would only make Luffy feel guilty. Luffy is well accustomed to putting his own health and safety at risk to protect his nakama. If he learned that his current health and Zoro’s current pain were because all the damage he had suffered was transferred to his nakama, it would be devastating. The crew already knows that Luffy puts himself in enough danger for their sakes. It is best to avoid a path that will cause him to further that trend out of guilt. Even if the other crew members found out, they would look at Zoro differently and the truth would eventually come out. The only other crewmate who could be trusted with this information is Robin, who used her ability to hear. Franky, Usopp, and Chopper are too emotional to keep calm after hearing of such a noble act. Nami might be able to keep it a secret as she could understand the reasons for hiding the truth, but it is still best to keep those who know to a minimum.


Age Old Music

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Even Zoro's smiling slightly in his sleep

The party continues as can be expected from any Strawhat victory party. Luffy acts like an idiot and tries to heal Zoro with sake, Franky ends up dancing, and Chopper eats while continuing his treatment of Zoro. At one point, Brooke finds a piano and starts to play. While it seems strange that a piano is there, recall that it is still a fancy mansion (but there is still the issue of how it is still in one piece after the Strawhats’ rampage). He reveals that while he carries a violin, he can play any instrument (though I think he may have issues with horns, flutes, etc). The song he plays is “Binks’ Sake,” which was the same song he was singing when we first met him and apparently was also played quite often by the Red Hair crew while in Luffy’s hometown. According to Robin and Brooke, the song is quite famous among pirates historically. It could be said that the song is a legacy from pirates that existed before the Great Pirate Age. I think of it as a representation of the true pirate lifestyle that crews like the Strawhats and Red Hairs have come to embody. This song ties together the generations of pirates from Brooke’s crew 50 years ago to the crews of Gol D. Roger and Shanks of the previous and present generations to the Strawhats of the upcoming generation.


A Second Try

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he never gives up does he

Once again Luffy attempts to convince Brooke to join the crew. The skeleton said before that the reason he couldn’t join was because of the fact that his shadow was gone. By that logic, Luffy says that with his newly recovered shadow, there is no reason not to come with them. However, Brooke says he still cannot due to one additional duty he must fulfill. Upon hearing this, Luffy says he knows all about Laboon and relates what happened when he met the whale himself. Although he manages to keep playing the piano, the shock of Luffy’s news still causes him to slow the music’s pace a bit. While he had certainly hoped that Laboon was waiting for him all this time, he did not logically think that the whale would still be there. While he did intend on going to the cape no matter the cost, he more than likely expected Laboon not to be there, which shows just how sad an existence Brooke has been living up till now. He has been living alone for fifty years to fulfill a promise that due to the passage of time has become impossible to fulfill in his mind. I know that many of you think that now that Brooke knows the Strawhats are going back to Laboon, he will join them, but I would not be so quick to assume his recruitment is in the bag. We have all known since the time Brooke told Franky about Laboon that this moment would come where Brooke finds out that the Strawhats know the whale as well. Nothing has changed in the situation except that the long predicted moment has passed. Nothing has changed in my opinion on the matter either. The main thing keeping the Strawhats going is that each of them has a dream. The allure and compelling nature of these dreams is that they are generally considered to be unobtainable due to the level of difficulty or impossibility it carries with it. Unlike the dreams of the Strawhats, Brooke’s dream has been proven to be possible and thus has lost the romanticism of “the unattainable dream.” The thing that gives each character depth and motivation is the fact that they are told their dreams are impossible and they overcome that impossibility. It was the same way for Vivi, whose driving force was to save her nation. The fact that her desire seemed hopeless to all but her and her nakama is what forced her to become strong and push forward. After Crocodile was defeated, her dream was made a reality and all that was left was to maintain the happiness of her people, so she left the crew. Now that Brooke knows Laboon is still at the cape, the air of impossibility has left his dream and all that is left is to make the journey. My main reasons for not believing that Brooke will join are situated in the actual logic of getting Brooke to Laboon (of which going with the Strawhats is the most sure option) but in the fact that he has little or no more potential for character growth. Oda is too good a writer to keep Brooke in the story for the fact that he is likable alone. The fact is that though Brooke may be likable and popular, there is no threat to his dream other than dying before he gets there, which is not enough to maintain a compelling character as part of the main cast.


First Life

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We know Brooke as the skeleton. We don't need to see his full face

To finish off the chapter, we also get a glimpse into Brooke’s memory as he recalls his time with his nakama. He remembers when his crew first met Laboon and though we don’t see his full face, quite a bit is still revealed to us. Apparently the name of his crew was the Rumba pirates and from the looks of it, every member of the crew was a musician. It was Brooke who made the first bond with Laboon out of any member of the crew as he was the one who suggested playing some music for the lost whale. Unlike the Strawhats, whose flashbacks to their former lives (basically childhoods) were marked by pain and the birth of their personal demons, Brooke’s holds no tragedy and is instead a recollection of his happy days and the moment of his greatest joy.


Overall

Once again this was an absolutely wonderful chapter. The post-victory party chapters are always entertaining, but this one gave us the added bonus of Brooke’s flashback, which was the first happy and peaceful chapter ending we’ve had in a while. The chapter also gave us some confirmation on the fates of Hogback, Absalom, Moria, and Ace, which allows us to put them out of our minds for now and concentrate on what is to come. We also got to see Sanji act out of concern for the crew and Zoro specifically by protecting them from information that is better left unsaid. While he does fight with Zoro quite a bit, he knows when the First mate has made the right call and supports Zoro’s decision. The biggest things about the chapter though were surrounding our favorite skeleton. It seems we’ll finally get some confirmation about his joining the crew next week, which is roughly the anniversary of my first review and thus we’ll be getting the news of his joining on the one year anniversary of my first prediction that he won’t.

Imitorar
January 26, 2008, 09:27 PM
Great review, sahugani! I especially liked the point you made about the Straw Hats not being ready yet to get involved in the global conflict between the Three Great Powers, yet Ace's imprisonment still providing development for the global plot-line, which the Straw Hats have yet to enter.

Also, you have provided the ONLY argument against Brook joining that I think holds any validity anymore. I may have to switch back to the anti-Brook-joining side. Though unlike Vivi, Brook's dream isn't actually fulfilled yet. It still has the impossibility of a man who died 50 years ago being able to get through the Grand Line and fulfill an old promise. The fact that Brook's dream means he had to live this long and get through the whole Grand Line does give it some remaining "romance". On the other hand, you're right that this dream doesn't seem to offer many opportunities for development over the course of the fulfillment of this dream, so as of now, I honestly don't have a solid opinion on whether Brook will join. Factors point towards him joining, but your point about the lack of possible development still stands. Good job, sahugani, you weakened my conviction on EITHER side of the Brook Debate. The mark of a great review!

MDLatqp
January 27, 2008, 12:15 AM
Another great review dude, rock on. As usual, thanks for all your hard work.

I hafta say though, with regard to your argument against Brooke joining the crew, I had some musings about one of your points. You've hinged a lot on the fact that Brooke's dream, to reunite with Laboon, is possible/definable/etc., i.e. B & L are both still alive, and so really only need to meet up. And while yes, that does seem a bit more superficially possible than some of the others dreams of the Mugiwara's, I think it's worth noting that getting B to L might be a bit harder said than done.
While it's not totally outside the realm of possibility, it would be rather difficult for Brooke to go backwards along the Grand Line. I know he can run on water, but could he run all the way back to the beginning? I suppose if he found an eternal pose he might not get lost, and maybe he could borrow/steal/find/stow away upon/etc a ship too, but I just think it's a mistake to assume his dream is completely 'in the bag' at this point. I might contend that he can merely see a definite path to it...
...and in that same vein, so can some of the other members of the Mugiwara's; Luffy, for example. All he needs to do is get to the end of the Grand Line (haha). In some ways, it's an identical dream to Brooke's; going from point A to point B and overcoming whatever/whoever gets in the way.
So to sum up, I guess it's just my pro-Brooke-biased argument for him joining up.
Any thoughts?

Oh P.S. I know I didn't at all address your points about Brooke's lack of potential character development and such, but I'm not really sure how I weigh in on that issue so, lol, I just skipped responding to it.

Again, no matter who's right, another great job. Thanks again man.

jelly
January 27, 2008, 12:30 AM
I fully agree with your analysis and think that Brooke won't be a part of the main Straw Hat Pirates but he will always be in the Straw Hat Pirates. He will be like 1st division captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and he would use Thriller Bark as his ship. The remnants of the old pirate crew would be his crew members and due to the vast size of Thriller Bark he would be able to journey with Laboon forever and forever.

sahugani
January 27, 2008, 01:02 AM
@Imitorar - haha! it makes me feel good that my words carried so much power. those on my side of the fence on this issue have been pretty overwhelmingly outnumbered for quite a while, so even if you're uncertain at this point, its nice to know my logic is being listened to and understood. in any case, it looks like the entire debate will be brought to a close next week, so if there was ever a time to read spoilers this is it (although this also means a fake spoiler should probably be expected as well)

@MDLatqp - nice to see you here again. as for your breakdown of my reasoning, nice job but i guess i should have been more specific in my analysis. what i meant to say was that unlike the Strawhats there is nothing actually related to the dream standing in his way. each of the Strawhats has a dream and there are challenges to the journey that directly challenge the ability for that dream to come true and are not limited to the difficulty of the journey itself. these range from Usopp's own fear getting in the way of his becoming a brave warrior to those who mock Luffy's strength and confidence that he'll become Pirate King to the uncertainty of the mere existance of Sanji's All Blue. there is no way that i can see for Oda to create obsticles for Brooke that directly challenge his dream the way the current Strawhats do

as for how Brooke would get back to Laboon there are plenty of possibilities. we know from the fact that Zeff spent a year in the Grand Line and left that it is in fact possible to leave or go back through it. for Brooke's case specifically, he now has Thriller Bark itself (which i'm hoping is his next vessel as even Laboon could fit in it) as well as his old crew's ship which can be easily repaired with supplies from Thriller Bark and help from the former victims. whichever ship he takes, the former victims are now without a ship or purpose in life and could easily crew the chosen ship. as for how he'd find his way back, Moria was a Shichibukai and collected treasure from hundreds of pirates. he likely has quite a few eternal poses stocked up. if there is not a suitable one among the mound of perona's treasure left on the Sunny, the eternal poses might have been kept seperate from the normal treasure and are thus still on the island.
[hr]
@jelly - haha! its always nice to hear support from others on my side of the fence.

Splat
January 27, 2008, 09:58 AM
First off, great review as always sahu. I also have to agree with you about brooke, i never really thought that he would join the crew. However, i was looking back through old chapters the other day and i found this http://www.onemanga.com/One_Piece/435/013/ check out luffys line in the middle there. If oda has been planning brooke for that long it gives a lot of weight to the argument that brooke will join, what do you think?

sahugani
January 27, 2008, 11:35 AM
well i think in that case, it was just setup for the Thriller Bark in the form of some pretty direct foreshadowing. it sets up the start of the arc to make us think "holy shit! Luffy's dream just came true. Hell is freezing over. What other scary and inexplicable stuff will happen this arc?"

in reference to the fact that Brooke was a character Oda planned on since we first met Laboon, i think its more than possible to think of supporting characters that far ahead. since Oda didn't plan on the series being stretched out this long back then, his idea for Brooke was just a good idea for a character and an arc that he decided to set up a bit early with Laboon. the series then got longer and he simply had to put off the introduction of this great supporting character. the span of time that Oda had planned the introduction of Brooke is not a sign of Brookes importance, but a sign of how much Oda himself liked the character (a feeling we can all sympathize with)

igotthegoods
January 28, 2008, 01:49 AM
great review, of course :)

BUT, why must you make such convincing arguments against brooke joining the crew? damn, you! :shakefist :XD

you are correct that likable is not always equal to compelling, but i like likable and i like brooke! (repetitive enough for you? :XD)

Mooncrow
January 28, 2008, 04:01 PM
Brilliant as always Sahu. From the beginning, I have agreed with you that Brooke is unlikely to join the crew. At this point, the only possibility of him joining would be if he has some other dream that he originally came to the Grand Line for; it wouldn't be the first time the Strawhats have revived a dream that was thought ended^^ However, the likely ending is that Brooke gives them his violin and asks Luffy to pass it on to their real musician or something along those lines.

One more question I hope to see answered next chapter; what happened to Yubashiri's hilt?

sahugani
January 28, 2008, 04:47 PM
@igotthegoods - :sweat sorry about that. i like Brooke too, but unfortunately i don't see this recruitment happening

@Mooncrow - that is a possibility i guess, but i can't see Oda creating a new dream to overshadow the one that was built up over the course of his introductory arc. to suddenly introduce a new concept that has had zero development at this point as the reason for traveling with the Strawhats is just not right and i can't believe Oda would attempt it. As for the other question, i've wondered the exact same thing since Zoro's victory over Ryuuma. i think the most likely case is that he laid it to rest along with Ryuuma's corpse as a sign of respect to both (let a swordsman retire with a sword in his hand and let the sword retire in the hands of a swordsman)

bebekhappy
January 29, 2008, 06:25 PM
What an awesome review as always Sahu...

From the beginning Brook was introduced as musician i always believed that he could EASILY joined the crew after Luffy give him his shadow back, and i'm even more convinced after knowing his relation with Laboon. But then after reading your review and your reason for against it, i started to have a little doubt with my own opinion ( i really blame you for this:p),

"Unlike the dreams of the Strawhats, Brooke’s dream has been proven to be possible and thus has lost the romanticism of “the unattainable dream.” The thing that gives each character depth and motivation is the fact that they are told their dreams are impossible and they overcome that impossibility"

I really like this one...awesome :clap

But i'm still curious to why this guy want to set sail from the beginning...he was a real pirate, unlike the other SH crew (well Robin and Nami was but it's not something they really wanted to do), what motive he had to become a pirate 50 years ago before he met Laboon, however i still think he still wanted to continue his life as a pirate if he found a worthy nakamas like he had in the past, plus it'll be better for him if he intend to go on adventure with SH to pay his debt to Luffy for bring his shadow back and told him that the nakama he left 50 years ago still waiting for him.
altough about the part about retrieving his shadow i pretty much like Zoro to involved with since he's the one who beat Ryuuma and i think it'd add a little depth to this character later if Zoro do this (now that i think of it, i really hope to this happen :smile-big)

Highseas7
February 05, 2008, 09:53 PM
wow Again my mind is blown away be your insight kid!!!