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haruka9
September 27, 2008, 03:11 AM
CHAPTER 516: PIRATE EMPRESS BOA HANCOCK

This is definitely not an action-concentrated chapter, but, I have goosebumps while reading this chapter. Surely, this chapter is chunked with information, excitement, speculations, and surprises that reach epic-scale.

We don’t have a cover arc for this chapter, so the CP9 agents take a rest for their feature adventures. But, as an exchange, we see an equally beautiful, colorful cover with the Strawhat pirates. It brings us back when we first meet these adorable characters in their hometowns. This isn’t that creative, but it’s a refreshing way to remind us that the Strawhats have come so far to reach this beyond admirable disposition as individuals, fighters, pirates, and as nakama.


New Found Optimism
http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/7747/firstkt8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Luffy proves his worth as the captain of the Strawhat pirates with his unbent optimism. While he shows us a different side of desperation and sense of solitude in Shabondy, he manages to pull himself together without being cheered up or guided by anyone, which means that his unparallel sense of optimism give him another form of strength. It may not be another form of physical strength however, he vows to beat his unbeatable opponents. The thought of his nakama waiting for him suffices in his lonesome adventure in this strange, fierce island. That alone will be enough for him to beat and survive from this seemingly impossible-to-handle situation ahead (referring to Boa Hancock and Ace’s execution).


In the Middle of Impossible
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It seems that the more we learn of Luffy’s real situation, the more apparent and the tighter his pinches become. His new form of training, running with his hands (to make him stronger) won’t be able to save him from his new hardships. Not only he is chased after vicious women, he is located in an island surrounded by the harshness of Calm Belt. Aside from the culture of Amazon Lily, his location becomes more incomprehensible: (1) he is a hammer; (2) the number of Sea Kings waiting for him to become their meal will be troublesome, especially no one will help him beat these monsters and save him from drowning in case he falls into the sea; (3) he has no sense of navigation; (4) he doesn’t have skills in carpentry; (5) even if he manages to make a decent raft, it will surely be liquidated by the sea monsters. (There are two more incomprehensible ideas for his current disposition but I’ll discuss that later.) For once, I though Margaret will become his ally. The first panels prove this idea, but later, she refuses to become all friendly to this intruder. Attachment to the opposite sex might be one of the unspoken rules of the Kujas, especially that he is branded by her fellow females as “enemy.”


Extension of Haki
http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/7393/fourthbn3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Again, the power of Haki is introduced in this chapter, only this time, its extension is shown. We first saw this Haki from Shanks and Rayleigh who kocked out the weaklings with their “powerful spirit.” From this point of view, we can assume that this Haki comes out from the body and is released to their surroundings and to the targeted opponent. Then, we saw Rayleigh giving exemptions from a Haki attack in the Auction House as the weaker Strawhats did not get knocked out. This will explain that a person who wields Haki can choose a target without affecting others. Now, we see another usage to this “spirit technique.” Margaret can definitely use this Haki by releasing her “spirit” from her body and extending it to her weapon. This means that a Haki wielder can also choose a tool to put his/her Haki on – which will make it a very formidable weapon. This is similar to “Shu,” an advanced Nen technique introduced in Hunter X Hunter where a person’s aura extends it to the object he’s holding. Thus, he makes it like part of his body.


Vice Admiral Momonga
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I forgot to mention back in my last review the suspicion I had with the two ships spotted by the women in Amazon Lily. I thought one of them definitely belonged to Boa Hancock’s while the other must be from a fellow female pirate crew. However, I catch my “speculating guard” down when I realized that the latter is actually a Marine ship. And it’s not mediocre Marine ship – it is led by a Marine Vice Admiral named Momonga, a person, whom I think has the same skill and intellect with Garp. He may not be as strong as Luffy’s grandfather, but being in such position means that you have proven yourself to be worthy of praise and prestige. Besides, a person with a title like Momonga’s should be the right one to visit the ferocious island of Amazon Lily. Being a Vice Admiral that he is, Momonga seems to be unbent with the hostility of the Kuja women. Not that he is an idiot or a braggart individual, but he has enough guts to face these infamous women.


Gorgon Splendor
http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/9695/sixthug4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

She is definitely the most beautiful woman in the One Piece world. When I read the part when Margaret told Luffy that Boa Hancock is the most beautiful of all (back in the last chapter), I thought that this “Pirate Empress” must be strongest and the most powerful amongst them since “beauty” in Amazon Lily is measured by one’s strength. I never thought that Margaret also referred her physical beauty. Even I am in awe of her beauty. But the most surprising of them all is that Boa Hancok is the “seventh mystery member” of the Royal Shichibukai. For those of you who read my last review, I speculated that Boa Hancok may either be a member of the Yonkou or a pirate who is just given a title. But I had my emphasis on the former one. But, once again, I catch my “speculating guard” down when she is confirmed to be the Seventh Shichibukai. Frankly, it never came to my mind that she might be sharing the same status. The only redemption I get from being off-guard from my analysis and speculation is the hints I sense in the earlier part of this chapter. Vice-admiral Momonga stated about an agreement respected by the World Government where a visiting force from this organization should keep its distance at least three kilometers away from the island itself. And also, it is conspicuous that a person of such title will visit the women himself. Vice-admirals like Momonga and Garp must be deployed to carry out vital missions. These two hints must mean that the “Pirate Empress” must have association of sorts with the World Government. But then again, the hints that I catch are cleared at the shortest span with Vice Admiral Momonga calling Boa Hancock a Royal Shichibukai.

A random subordinate of Vice Admiral Momonga utters a rumor he’s heard regarding the ability of the Kujas to turn any man/opponent into a stone. This clearly refers to the ability of Gorgon sisters from Greek mythology which turns any person into a stone from a simple glance at her eye. Later, this rumor is confirmed with Boa Hancock turning Momonga’s subordinates into a stone. I guess this is a devil fruit power (might be called Mero Mero no Mi) from the Paramecia group who turns people into stone.

Another notable thing that I want to mention is her sisters: Boa Marigold and Boa Sandersonia. Both of their names, Marigold and Sandersonia, together with Aphelandra are names of flowers. Evaluating their physical appearance, Boa Marigold seems to be a typical Amazon warrior type with her horns and weapon, while Boa Sandersonia’s physique is another adaptation of Gorgon sisters’ classic look (face of a woman but has a hair of real snakes), only this time, her face looks like that of a snake with her sharp almond-shaped eyes and tongue. Since these three females are called Gorgon sisters, let me share some stuff about this famed Greek mythology characters. Gorgon sisters are known to be female monsters with sharp fangs and real-life snakes as their hair and belts. They are Medusa, a mortal, and Stheno and Euryale, who, on the other hand, are both immortals. The three of them have the ability to turn people into a stone with just a stare. But in One Piece, it seems that Boa Hancok has only this ability, assuming that my speculation regarding devil fruit power is accurate. But, we can see if I am mistaken in the following chapters.


The Trigger's Execution
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Finally, we get to see the date and the place of Ace’s controversial execution. It is going to happen in the hometown of the Marine Headquarters named Marineford. Since the World Government is going to execute a big-time pirate, with the anticipation of an attack from the Whitebeards, it is only logical to commence the execution in a place where the defense of the former is at its maximum. Since it is the hometown of Marine Headquarters, it is expectable that their defense will be comprised of high technological weapon system and fighters which have similar strength with the CP9. Of course, the Royal Shichibukai will be present. Bartholomew Kuma, being the most obedient member, will be there, especially that he has to make up with his surprise appearance in Shabondy. Don Quixote DonFlamingo has the opportunity to test and prove his sense of New Age with this imminent war. And Blackbeard might grasp this chance for face off with Edward Newgate, since he now holds an equally prestigious title and no longer needs to hide behind the shadow of his former captain. The responses of the other four members, Mihawk, Jimbei, Moria, and Boa Hancock are still questionable. Though the Pirate Empress rejects the invitation despite the threat of voiding her title, her response can still change regarding the events that will take place in her island and her encounter with Luffy. If she becomes an ally of the latter and learns that he is Ace’s younger brother, she might attend this execution, not as the World Government’s ally, but aid the Whitebeard by helping to save Ace. In addition to that, she doesn’t seem to be threatened with the fact that her disobedience might result to the loss of her title (because her beauty will give way to forgiveness).

As I analyze this situation and even the previous chapters, I come up with a speculation of Shanks and his crew’s participation with this war. Back then, we saw Shanks risking his status, his crew, and even his life just to meet Edward Newgate so he can warn him regarding Ace. This will lead to two “sub” speculations: (1) he is concerned with the difference of strength between Blackbeard and Ace. Since he already had the taste of the evil powers of the former and failing to stop him from his evil intentions, he felt responsible for letting him live and later, fight with the less strong Ace. (2) the other one is that he is mostly concerned with Ace, not only because he is a kind man, but he must have some personal association with Ace. This association might be a direct one, or a link from being Luffy’s brother, or it can be both. These two speculations can be both correct. With this, I am guessing that he might participate in this war between the World Government and the Whitebeard. After all, it is stated back then that Ace’s execution will trigger an incident beyond epic scale.

On a different side of note, I have another speculation to the very root of Ace’s execution: Shanks and Whitebeard’s meeting. In One Piece, the power is divided and balanced into three: The World Government and the Marines; The Shichibukai; and the four Yonkou. If two of these forces merge, it will result to shaking its equilibrium, meaning if two of these forces form a total alliance, the higher power will be gained more likely by them. In this case, the meeting between Whitebeard and Red-haired threatens the World Government above all else because of this idea. They have no clue behind Shanks’ real intention of visiting Whitebeard. But then again, a meeting between two Yonkous is a threat strong enough for World Government to think that they are forming an alliance (especially with the spread of the idea of New Age). And since Blackbeard captures Ace and thus proves his worth to become a Shichibukai, the World Government now takes this as a chance to warn the Whitebeard pirates and even Shanks that they won’t bend to any threat even if it will result to imbalance of the power.

Ace’s execution is another factor that makes Luffy’s situation incomprehensible. If Boa Hancock becomes his ally and lends help, his decision might be split into two: Will he come to his nakamas who are waiting for him? Or will he aid his dying brother? But then again, it will be more likely that he will prioritize his crew. After all, he is the captain who feels very responsible with the welfare of his nakama and he believes in Ace and his strength so he might leave his brother’s aid the latter’s crew. He doesn’t know about this yet, and I wonder how Luffy will react, especially that Ace’s situation becomes more apparent and graver. And since this will happen within one week, he still has at least six days (the first day of this week is spent on Luffy being held captive and resting in the Kuja’s cage) to decide whether to really aid his brother or not.


The Fairest of Them All
http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/6233/eighthka0.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Like Alvida, Boa Hancock uses her beauty as an excuse to her hostility. Even Momonga’s subordinate, who are once wary of her frightening ability, fall head over heels with her beauty. She uses this to tempt the people to obey her and forgive her, in which, she appears to be always successful. This idea is a reference to Helen in Greek Mythology and Delilah in the Bible whose unparallel beauty has tempted countless men and eventually becomes the instrument to lead them to their downfall. Boa Hancock also uses her goddess-like splendor to mesmerize her opponents, making them vulnerable with her attack. It is only Vice Admiral Momonga who is immune to such attractive technique, but with the price of hurting himself so he can avoid this illusion-like attack. Moreover, he stands firm to wait for her acceptance of the World Government’s command despite her harshness and his loss to his crew.

Ironic, it is, to think that she always manages to be forgiven by the people she wronged while she herself doesn’t seem to forgive others. Her ferocious nature is comparable to the vicious characteristic of snake which attacks any sort of threat with venom. With this, Luffy has to survive not only from the women, who chase after him (and can use Haki) but with the venomous persona of Boa Hancock as well. I can only imagine her weighty reaction once she learns that a male intruder has come to her island, disrespects her people with Luffy shouting at them, and takes Margaret in a deserted place. Aside from her fierceness, Luffy has to fight this Boa Hancock of Shichibukai level and most likely, they are as intimidating as the other members. And if she becomes an ally, I can’t think of any possible way as to how Luffy will manage to form a friendship with her.

Overall:

What I love in this chapter is that it is filled with information, surprises, and excitement that reach epic scale. The controversy that can be found here triggers our speculating prowess and urges us to know more about what will happen next. The unpredictability of One Piece remains unparallel and the more we get surprised, the more we become excited, intrigued, and interested in this series. I also love the idea that Oda features this Amazon Lily arc with a fusion of Greek mythology, snakes, flowers, and other female-associated stories and characters. I can’t wait to know what will happen to Ace and to this war. I also hope we get to see the other Strawhats but it is more likely that we will see more of Luffy and the beautiful Boa Hancock.

True Blade
September 27, 2008, 03:45 PM
Great review! Though I gotta say I guess Sanji's REALLY lucky he didn't end up on this island. He'd be turned to stone in a heartbeat!

One of the most interesting things in this chapter to me was Margaret bringing up Haki. She isn't even on Boa Hancock's ship, so she's not one of the strongest warriors of the island, yet she utilizes Haki pretty regularly it seems. It's just odd to me since the only times we've seen Haki used so far are from Shanks, Rayleigh, and Luffy, though not purposely. Does that mean the warriors on this island are all above and beyond that of the average old world pirate?

haruka9
September 28, 2008, 04:16 AM
I agree with you regarding Sanji. He will be this "slave of love" like hes always been and he might even turn into stone right after he sees Boa Hancock ^__^!

Margaret's Haki comes as such a surprise. I never thought that she can wield such abilty. So far, we've seen this technique from veterans like Shanks and Rayleigh and as for Luffy, we can consider him as a very skilled fighter - explains that he, too can use it. And you're right, she seems to be a regular girl in Amazon Lily yet she can use Haki like it's just a piece of cake. That will make us wonder how strong the women in Boa Hancock's crew are. But maybe, the idea of a regular Kuja wielding Haki mirrors the result of the training they have undergone since their birth. Well, if someone has been going into training to become a warrior, it's no surprise that even an average person can do Haki.

MAX_COLA_POWER!
September 28, 2008, 11:18 AM
When Hancock meets Luffy, and if they fight, wouldn't that make Luffy like Usopp vs. Perona? Luffy's a goofy kid who thirsts for adventure. He doesn't have any impure thoughts at all, or any kind of thoughts for that matter^^;;. Luffy will be immune to Hancock's powers, and it would be interesting if she falls for him like Alvida, because he was the first person to strike her.

haruka9
September 28, 2008, 09:37 PM
It will become a hilarious fight once Hancock realizes that Luffy is immune to her beauty. I remember Luffy's disgusted reaction back when Alvida was explaining her unparallel beauty to the people of Lougetown. I guess his reaction will be the same regarding Hancock. On the other hand, Hancock is very intimidating, especially that she is Shichibukai, we can assume that her strength deserves such title. (But then again, she might have seduced the people in the World Government so such title would be given to her) In any case, like you said, it would be similar to Usopp's fight with Perona.... I can already imagine the hilarious scenes that Oda will pull up to mix with the action in the next chapters....

Mr.Popo
September 29, 2008, 09:04 AM
I don't think Luffy is that innocent and pure: http://www.onemanga.com/One_Piece/213/19/.
His words about his balls point that futher up: http://www.onemanga.com/One_Piece/515/08/.

But he isn't that much attracted by beauty than others: http://www.onemanga.com/One_Piece/98/06/.

So i'm not sure what will happen.
Someone else said he might be more interessted in Boa Hancock's skull snake, than in her beauty.

And a fight between Luffy and Boa is not that obvious either. Why should Boa Hancock fight against Luffy, when she has a whole island full of amazon warriors?

MAX_COLA_POWER!
September 29, 2008, 09:15 AM
Well, in Luffy's defense, that WAS an actual Nami attack, so you never know how deadly those are. Also, if Hancock wants to fight Luffy by herself, then her followers will have to obey her, since they worship her so much. They are warriors after all, they have to follow some kind of warrior code of honor.

Mr.Popo
September 29, 2008, 10:10 AM
Also, if Hancock wants to fight Luffy by herself, then her followers will have to obey her, since they worship her so much.Of course.
But what i meant: Boa Hancock seems to be unwilling to fight, i mean it could ruin her beauty or is just troublesome. I think there needs to be some serious offence from Luffy to make her actually fight herself.

haruka9
September 29, 2008, 11:31 PM
@max_cola_power: I guess, whatever Hancock says will be seen as a command for the Kuja warriors. They worship her and look up to her, so what she says will probably be taken seriously by them. Besides, they not only seem to adore her, they also appear to be quite intimidated by her.

@Mr. Popo: I remember Luffy's reaction when Mr. 2 copied Nami's appearance and flashed her breasts. And he seems to identify beuty from women, though he doesn't share so much perverted thoughts like Sanji's. He doesn't appear to be the type who will kneel just because of beauty. I consider your thought of Hancock unwillingness to fight Luffy. If she trusts her subordinates; strength enough to finish the task of beating Luffy, well, she might not move a finger to find him. But, if she looks at him as as a large threat to their culture and finds him unbeatable by her warriors, then we might see her fighting him