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bittman
June 01, 2008, 05:42 AM
Bitts Presents:

One Piece – Chapter 501 Review
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Actually it's hardly newsworthy...

Introduction:
HEY MANGAHELPERS! =D

Long time no see from my standpoint as a reviewer though in retrospect you all most likely forgot my one (1) full metal alchemist review from the distant past. The recent reviewer news inticed me, though I don't particularly care for titles or other e-forum junk, to join the (slowly) growing list of reviewers on Mangahelpers. I've chosen One Piece, despite Sahugani's (awesome) stranglehold upon the subject, to provide both the reader another viewpoint on the topic and as practice for reviewing and writing skills I hope to continue with in other aspects of life. In hindsight, I seem to have been watching Zero Punctuation too much (GOOGLE IT NOW).

Of course, thanks to Basement Scans for their scan, but I'll be the first to admit that I just download whatever I see that doesn't say “Super-low Quality”.

So without any further adieu:

Chapter Breakdown:

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Awww, he's happy....in some sort of masochist way.

The chapter begins with our (read:my) favourite marine, Vice-Admiral Monkey D. Garp, talking to faceless marine #1574 about the final page of the last chapter. Before I continue, I'll need to take a half step back to cover Silvers Rayleigh himself (since he only gets a tiny panel in this chapter and I never reviewed the last chapter...or the 499 preceeding it).

Named obviously after the famous Long John Silvers from Treasure Island, who I remember from it's one hundred remakes, and less possibly after Walter Rayleigh, who invented the fabled El Dorado (also in one hundred and one films/novels/shows), Silvers Rayleigh has quite a reputation in history against that of his character portrayl. As far as literature goes, Long John Silver is possibly one of the most famous fictional pirates of the seven seas and Kubo has not saved the name for something light. The “Dark King” nickname Garp alludes to also seems to have some tie to the 'Silver' name of Treasure Island as a major antagonist and his mutinous leanings. Many writers toy with the balance of good/evil, dark/light, etc. and if Gol D. Roger was the 'Pirate King' then his first mate would be the counter to this. I expect the “Dark King” to be paralleled to Zoro, who has been making his reputation as the Straw-Hats first mate well known lately, in terms of public vs private face of the crew. In respect to Walters Rayleigh, he sounds a bit more like Norad from our days of Jaya and, since we know the...err...Roger pirates(?...god I hope they have a better name) visited the Sky Islands I expect some allusion to this by Robin. More trivially, Silvers was also a cook and the One Piece version likes women so I expect great things from Sanj-... I mean, Silvers Rayleigh. (Want to expand on this a bit more, but I feel I'll have plenty of time in coming chapters...and wall of text already looks like too much to read for me...)

Where was I anyway? Oh right, my favourite, superman-rivaling, tea-drinking, well-aging, randomly-sleeping, Coby-training, cannonball-wielding, Morgan-executor-failing marine (say it aloud now). Grampa Garp receives his report of Silvers Rayleigh with some astonishment, but an instant recognition of the very personality of one of his long-time enemies (as Garp vs Roger was apparantly famous). It has been noted by many that is interesting that Garp does not want others to know about Rayleighs captivity, I don't want to join the 'bad-guys-always-fuck-up-unloseable-oppurtunities' bandwagon just yet based very simply on his last line of this chapter.

“Two Legends” is a prelude to the end of the chapter, but just on Rayleigh himself, I'd imagine that if all the newbies (minus, as always, Luffy) on the island know of the infamous Rayleigh and I can expect that, if the World Government attacked/captured/executed this Legend the Whitebeard Pirates may not be the only thing to fear. I feel Rayleigh may have the fame to pull together, whether he wants it or not, many pirate crews who were formed from the very legend of Gol. D. Roger and perhaps strike an uprising scaled slightly less than that of Roger's execution. As for the “Two legends” and its implications, I'll come back to this at the end of the chapter.


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There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard.

Back to the real action of our favourite crew and it appears the auctioning begins with the three trades of note (snorlax, dewgong, mewtwo) placed till last. The slave trade is a common theme in the pirate/seafaring genre of drama (and real life colonialism, but let's not go there) and is usually portrayed as an 'under-the-table' trade. However, nothing in One Piece is subtle and the slave market becomes an event worthy of a stage, a crowd and Doflamingo's insignia. No, stop. It's not “like” his sign, it is to the freaking pixel. Just when you thought the archipeligo was crowded, along comes a(nother) Shichibukai in the guise of a slave trade house. I'm not going to delve too much into this because only two things will happen regarding this: 1) Doflamingo is the major enemy of this arc who or 2) Doflamingo will earn the ire of the strawhats, if only unconciously. Though this seems like something I should spend time on, I will if I get more of a whif other than one slave trade house and 2 strong rookie captains...wait, that's actually quite a lot...

While Disco Stu sells off D-grade humans, the action returns to Sanji and Handsome- I mean Duval, and an awesome list carved directly from Oda's imagination. Minkmen? Gimli son of Loin? Orochimaru? Awesome. I doubt we'll see all of these, but we have already covered half the list (longarms = Apoo, NOT NAMED AFTER SIMPSONS, btw if you forgot). Also, I'd like to bring your attention to the top of the page where it states “Non-World Government Countries”. Now whenever you write, remember stuff like that because it's called 'forethought'. A frightening concept that shows a writer knows where things are going. I'd imagine this will all relate to the list of “differently classified species” (like the fishmen). Also, this brings back the image of a backflashback of our marine friend Saul. To be from a non-World Government country and to rise to vice-admiral is no mean feat. That he betrayed the marines after hearing Nico Olivia's story should be taken alongside a mountain of salt rather than the grain which it might have been.

The plot continues with everyone moving to grove 1, even Zoro which is probably the biggest coincidence in the history of One Piece. Zoro. Right direction. I cannot possibly put them in the same sentence without a big fat “NOT GOING IN THE” between them. As an unusual mix of strawhats (I say this because it lacks 80% of the comedy brigade) arrive at the slave house in time to see a gay clown taunt them from behind the cover of Tenryuubito, exploding rings and (probably) a Shichibukai. Before I move on, I'm putting this small comment out there that Camie may become a strawhat only if Hacchi and Papagg do also. Hacchi would be the “asset” and the strawhats would get the much needed weakling which Usopp no longer fills (pity). Also, a talking starfish would only leave the strawhats without a time-traveller, esper, alien and god though another series may already have coverage on them.


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Where did the pirate-thief girl go?

The strawhats venture inside with Nami's love of friends overriding her love of money. Obviously brainwashed Nami very much acts with the voice of reason that Luffy would have if his brain wasn't the size of Luxembourg on a 1x1cm scaled map of the world. If Zoro wasn't first mate, Nami would be first (fe)mate without a doubt. Unfortunately, Zoro beats Nami to the punch by being “better, faster, longer, stronger” and by actually being the first-mate in order of appearance (ignoring the weird first anime episode). He lacks awesome female parts however, but it's probably better that way according to the large (read: elephant > moon) amount of ZoroxNami doujins that I have heard of but would obviously never read myself.

Continuing along the beaten track, Nami estimates her treasure haul from Moria to be about 4 million Choppers, Sanji gloats about the sex he's not getting and the word “proportions” is said in Oda's attempt to keep it G-rated when it doesn't concern Nami. Inside, we get another soliloquy from Kidd, who looks like Super Saiyan Frieza after walking through a goth clothing store, and I must say Luffy's rival in bounty is a lot better informed. To recognise Strawhats from lesser bounties shows a sense of knowledge of the world the rest of the Strawhats seem without (besides Robin and her hard-on for history). Both Law and Kidd with their Doflamingo-esque avatars being inside the Slave House he, implicitly, owns is a useful plot tool. I can see Kidd bidding on the giant (who I actually think might become something to the story in the way the giants were last time) and Law bidding on the mermaid for differing reasons. It's also quite possible the Tenryuubito will place a bet on Camie, however I expect Kidd or Law to furiously bet on Rayleigh or simply take the entire crowd hostage to get him. Though Luffy needs Rayleigh, if they throw any money at Camie they will only have enough to buy Rayleigh if he stays unrecognised (which is as doubtful as the Flying Spaghetti Monster considering he has been placed last by Oda).


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My mother always said you don't always get everything you ask for. Fucking Santa Claus.

As usual for this arc, the shocks continue to come away from the ever watchful (read: as oblivious as sin) Strawhats as flyers are distributed on the streets in an extreme statement against the growth of trees as any I've ever seen. Fire Fist Ace's execution is announced with all pirates instantly recognising the impending war between Whitebeard and the World Government. Though the strawhats are often put as a more tightly knit gang, any respectable (not evil/ruthless/savetheirownskin) pirate crew will rescue one of their own when they're in trouble. Ace being caught was one thing, but typically holding a pirate that influential is proof enough of power. But the World Government (I'm shortening this to WG from now on so my wordcount doesn't make me feel like I wasted 2 hours of my life), in enticing the largest individual crew in all the grand line to challenge it directly is attempting to both show it's undeniable might and crush, what is most likely, the largest thorn in their side if you forget the unforgettable Monkey D. who wasn't in this chapter.

Backtracking to the “Two Legends” comment, Garp was obviously alluding to their impending battle with Whitebeard and the crew thereof. People hypothesised Dragon, but I doubt he's as much a “Legend” as a “Freedom Fighter”, “Massive pain-in-the-ass” and sometimes “Daddy” when wind blows his hair around. Whitebeard is probably the greatest living legend of the pirate era with Rayleigh probably coming 2nd in the close race which, from our knowledge thus far, only consists of Rayleigh and Whitebeard. Our once-Buddhist/Nazi-sign-flagged beardiness has been stated as “The Strongest Man Alive” by Oda's handy flashcards, and though Dragon is “The Most Dangerous Man Alive”, people will be a whole lot more impressed if the strongman is actually defeated. I expect all admirals and many vice-admirals will get some screentime, however I feel the timing between Blackbeard's initiation and the “pick-a-fight with your biggest enemy” day is almost too close to not display a link. “Blackbeard vs Whitebeard” - it has a Hollywood Ring to it hey?

Main Chapter Points:

Doflamingo's sign (or variations) on the Slave Trade House, Law Pirates, Kidd Pirates
Auction format of slave trade and Camie's “rough estimation” of 70mil versus StrawHats estimated 200mil
Possible largest Marine vs Pirate showdown of recent times
Sanji smoking three cigarettes at once = hardcore


Chapter Rating:
Plot:
Plot was awesome, but it felt too full of nothing around the middle between the Sanji-Duval interaction and meaningless shots of other Strawhats saying “Hurry!”. Nevertheless, the chapter did an awesome job since I've seen 1million (early estimation) posts concerning Whitebeard/Ace/Blackbeard/WG/Garp already. For me, nothing of interest other than start, end and the contrast between the flashy auction and cruel imprisonment.

7/10
Art:
Though I'm not a conissuer of art, I do read a lot of manga. The chapter was overly busy with images and though my quality was not “High” or “SUPER AWESOME”, there was too much cluster in the chapter and thick lines in the background where white space might have made it a bit more viewable. Auction House was on a double, but after seeing Shabondy Park it just seems second rate. On the other hand, still amazed Oda can make original character designs after 500 chapters let alone draw a gay clown so believably.

5/10
Overall:
Maybe my standards of One Piece are too high. It was an awesome chapter, but it's still no “It's only a ship called Going Merry, but I can still make you cry for it” chapter.

6/10

Predictions:
There's been mention of a 'Save Ace' arc, but unless he's being executed on the Holy Land itself (which I actually don't think will happen), the Straw Hats won't be able to do a thing. I do think Ace will escape, but I don't think it will be directly because of the Strawhats. Rather, the Tenryuubito (and nearby marines), and possibly Doflamingo, will be the major villians of this arc. It's possible Garp may become a major player in this arc also and we know Kuma and Sengokou are in the Holy Land. It seems too good an oppurtunity for an admiral to turn up, but also too good an oppurtunity to not put Luffy up as pirate king (i.e. leader of all pirates).

As for the next chapter, I expect all the bidding to be done by the end, but somehow I think one of the 'yet-to-arrives' will do something unexpected (read: Luffy's stupidity). Whatever happens, this seems to be a good oppurtunity to show up Kidd and/or Law so I expect one of them to making a scene probably with bidding on Rayleigh or something along those lines.

One thing I can predict though: I'll be seeing Drake's chin in my nightmares.

Raysen_ht
June 01, 2008, 07:57 AM
good job man!! very funny (4mil choppers!! LOL)! ill come back later to comment properly

Helltroll
June 01, 2008, 09:05 AM
A great and very funny review. Your abalysis of the chapter is good and your review contrats good with sahuganis. I'm looking forward to more.

Splat
June 01, 2008, 09:11 AM
nice review, there's definitely room for your style alongside sahugani, and more one piece related stuff to read every week is always a plus :D

i agree that the auction house has to have something to do with doflamingo, but i also think that that general jolly roger design might have some other significance in the pirate world. so far ace has been shown with 2 versions of it, and law and kidd both have one. i think it may have some kind of meaning in terms of the new age.

i don't even want to guess at what is going to happen at the auction house, there's so many thing sthat could happen and it's almost guaranteeable that oda will come up with something that noone thought of.

thanks again for the review, i'll look forward to reading again next week

bittman
June 01, 2008, 06:05 PM
@Raysen: Thanks~

@Helltroll: Thanks~~~

@Splat: Thanks and yeah. Sahugani compared the jolly roger designs of Doflamingo, the Slave House and Law in his review. Though it appears the Slave Trade house has a nose, to me the slash across the Jolly Roger is the ultimate sign of Doflamingo which is why I only put Law and Kidd as "-esque" and not "fo sure". If he doesn't turn up, he'll just at least add a reason for the Strawhats to not like him (but since when have they gotten along with a Shichibukai?)