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View Full Version : Review Haruka's One Piece Review: Chapters 522 and 523



haruka9
November 21, 2008, 03:13 AM
Phew. It’s nice to be back after being shut from the e-world. I have been dying to return to this special little corner of One Piece, but my internet connection got all screwed up so I wasn't able to post my Chapter 522 review. Yes, I made last chapter’s review. I managed to finish it before my internet connection spoiled my excitement. But finally, I’m back. Since I don’t want to waste my effort from writing last chapter’s review, I’ll just combine it with the current one.


CHAPTER 522: A FATAL DISEASE

Another blast from this chapter…. This brings us to our weekly habit of discussion and sharing about the latest and the hottest developments in One Piece Universe. I had a preview of this chapter’s contents due to the release of spoilers. Even if I already knew what to expect, I still find myself amazed and surprised. I bet many of you share similar reactions.


Zoan Fight
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The World Government finally makes their move to capture their former employees to make sure that they won’t crash their organization. With that, they send average-looking Marine soldiers, a Marine captain, and direct employees of the World Government who can be identified with their posh business suit. And now that the former CP9 agents realize the beauty of the horizon and seize the promise of second chances, they turn into their Zoan forms, eager to protect their homeland. Their sense of protection is a monumental showcase of their development. This means that they have finally learned the essence of protecting people and their land, not just to maintain the peace, but to preserve the value and the bond that they have towards them. Even if we haven’t seen their expressions yet, their Zoan shadows can tell us that they are ready to go all out to protect their homeland. I don’t think these former CP9 agents would let anyone beat their asses again, now that they have something profound that they wish to keep. The difference of this vow from Ennies Lobby is that their old job pushes them to establish a “power showdown” to carry out their mission. But now that they want to start a new life in their homeland, they will nurture their strength for the sake of protection.


Luffy's Harem
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From being their source of entertainment, Luffy becomes the super idol of the Kuja women. A huge festivity is being given as a tribute to his heroism and to properly welcome him. They make up with their hostility by serving him the island’s best meal, “Penne Gorgonzola with Sea King.” In addition to that, they join him with his usual habit of sticking chopsticks to his nose and mouth which put most of them into a grand feast of hilarity. This is mostly a comic relief and a casual account that takes place after a huge fight. However, much to his dismay, his new set of fangirls put him into food discomfort. Of course, he will always prefer food over women, causing him to get away from his poke-freak fans and run into Margaret’s assistance. It seems that Luffy can’t handle too much love from his harem.


Shocking Revelation
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Luffy finally learns the real status of her new ally. Since he always remains ignorant about the universe’s current affairs, he finds Nyon’s news utterly surprising. His initial reaction impresses on her actual strength – the possibility of Hancock possessing a power comparable to Crocodile’s or Mihawk’s and the infamous reputation she has established throughout the world. Luffy’s shock mirrors his perception to this island’s empress. Because she appears before him as a nasty leader turning into a soft, sensitive woman, he perceives her as someone who just intimidates others so she can cover up her scary past. She couldn’t possibly hold a power frightening enough to catch the World Government’s attention, could she?

Through Grandma Nyon’s short narration of her early life as a pirate, we catch a small glimpse of the groundwork she established to gain the title of Shichibukai. We don’t know her exact age when she started sailing as a pirate, yet it sounds like she was quite young to be given such a prestigious title. In One Piece universe, a young individual who has gained notorious popularity is someone who should be looked out for. Take the case of Robin for example. She was eight back then when she earned a bounty worth 79,000,000 beli. Not that her physical strength measured her bounty’s worth but there was something about her that threatened the foundation of the World Government. And if Robin appeared as a frightening force in the eyes of the Gorousei, then it only meant that people should be very cautious of her. Hancock has a similar background. Clearly, she didn’t become popular as early as Robin, but according to Grandma Nyon, she gained the title when she’s still very young. The old lady impresses this fact as something very impressive, that leads me to think that Hancock already possesses fearsome strength even at a very young age. Followed by a supporting idea which tells that she earns 80,000,000 beli at a “single campaign,” this can mean that she strikes and defeats a powerful enemy during her very first adventure as a pirate. Her reputation as a pirate might be considered amateurish, but her strength can be on par with a pro’s. Because of her promising career as a notorious pirate, the World Government already offers her the title even before she expands her piracy. It seems that this world organization doesn’t necessarily wait for a pirate to nurture her reputation. As long as it perceives her as someone worthy of the title, it already offers her a bunch of alluring privileges. Aside from that, it can become more beneficial on the World Government’s part because they can establish an alliance with the infamous Kuja tribe. If a strong Kuja warrior becomes a Shichibukai, then the organization can get exclusion from the tribe’s hostility and threats.


Grave
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This is the panel that I’ve been waiting for. I wondered how he would react to such a crucial matter. Even if he had a sort of prefigure of Ace’s real situation at Thriller Bark (Lola telling that Ace is dying), he didn’t seem to doubt his older brother’s disposition because he completely believed in him. He didn’t waver from his faith in the latter because he knew that Ace was powerful enough to beat any enemy who would stand in his way. But now that he learns that there isn’t much hope left for Ace, his expression turns grave, pausing from sipping his tea as the seriousness of the situation sinks in him. He initially receives the news in denial which urges him to confirm about this “Ace” putting into execution. In his point of view, there’s no such person who can possibly beat his elder brother, a pirate belonging to the top tier of fighters. Luffy immediately takes note of the person responsible for Ace’s lethal defeat as soon as Grandma Nyon validates the news. He does this to signify his imminent revenge for his elder brother, thinking that he will beat Blackbeard’s ass for the latter. Furthermore, this is a manifestation of his realization that Ace got in such an enormous trouble along his way, a lesson that he should take note of. It’s a crucial realization since he is about to embark on the harsher side of Grand Line, where his life will be in constant danger especially if he acts carelessly.

After undergoing into denial stage, Luffy falls into the state of panic and confusion. He just surpasses a wrath that separates him from his nakama, and now, it appears that the situation gets worse. Of all the time in the world where he can hear this news, he receives it in a moment where he can’t do much. He is in the middle of Calm Belt and all of his nakama are nowhere in sight. The only thing that presents him with valuable information to find them is the small piece of paper which can trace Rayleigh’s whereabouts.


Giant Agitator
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The mystery behind the gigantic sea whirlpool in Ennies Lobby is finally solved, thanks to Grandma Nyon’s brilliant explanation. It turns out that Impel Down and Marineford, being two of the biggest and the most important Marine stations in the entire Grandline, possess similar sea current with Ennies Lobby’s. The triangular sea current connects these three major Marine Headquarters, where Marine officials riding their battleships will easily gain access to these mighty fortresses. With the technological establishments that the Marines have been catering, thanks to Dr. Vegapunk’s brilliance, the Marines is able to advance their system by placing a gigantic “washing machine agitator” in the middle. Battleships trying to enter the fortress are no longer required to deal with the inconveniences of the sea. Furthermore, they can capture any pirate crews stupid enough to pass by the premises of these mighty quarters.

We readers are blessed for getting a clear illustration of the headquarters’ location and this map certainly exudes brilliance. By analyzing the map more carefully, you’ll notice that Impel Down, Ennies Lobby, and Marineford are strategically placed in such position to put their targets in deadlock. The first major Marine headquarter that a certain pirate crew, the Foxy Pirates for example, will encounter is Ennies Lobby. If they are captured by thousands of Marine soldiers and Cipher Pol agents, they will be temporarily kept within the premises of Ennies Lobby. Then, Foxy, Porche, Hamburg, and the rest of their members will be led to Impel Down, the biggest and the scariest prison that locks up big-time pirates and criminals eternally. If they are tough enough to beat the soldiers in Ennies Lobby and are able to break their kairoseki handcuffs, they will remain trapped because of the sea whirlpool beneath them. They’ll be easily sucked in there, like specks of crap in toilet bowl. Impel Down on the other hand is placed in the middle of Calm Belt – a living hell for a devil fruit user like Foxy. Even if he uses his Noro Noro Beam to slow down the movements of Sea Kings, the lack of current will stop him from fleeing smoothly. If he makes a wrong turn, he will get drowned, and even when Porche dives and saves him, she will most likely get eaten by sea monsters. On the other hand….. if the Foxy pirates escapes from Ennies Lobby and is able to arrive at Shabondy in perfect piece, then Foxy and the his 502 members will have to face the might of the Marineford in case they do something stupid to call their attention. If they are indeed caught and held captive in Marineford, then there is no way they can go further since the stupendous Red Line will block their way.

These Marine headquarters are comparable to a filter, sorting out the pirates from the weakest to the toughest. Since its sea whirlpool is cleverly placed in the middle, any prisoners who somehow managed to break out from their kairoseki jail can still be trapped just by activating their own version of washing machine agitator. And only the Marines have control over this whirlpool, meaning they can cross within the premises of this “triangle” without inconvenience.


Captain vs. Brother
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Another epic twist in this arc. Prior to Grandma Nyon’s information about Ace, I have been anticipating Luffy’s moves in case he hears the news. I can’t make a decent speculation of that due to my divided opinion. He can either save Ace first before embarking to this pending underwater adventure or head straight to Fishman Island and just hope for the best for his elder brother. But never did I expect that he would be torn between two important people…. That he has to choose between his dying elder brother or his missing nakama. He receives this news at the most crucial moment. He hasn’t even found a single nakama yet another valuable person’s life is in jeopardy. His decision, that involves all the people he treasures, defines the maturity he acquires throughout the series. He actually chooses Ace, determined to save him even before the execution takes place. His reminiscence of their meeting in Alabasta, when Ace said that having a clumsy brother makes him worried, influences Luffy’s decision. Even if he strongly believes in his elder brother and is aware that the latter will get mad if Luffy sticks his nose in Ace’s business, he still vows to save him first…. Because this time, it is Luffy who is worried about his “messed-up” elder brother. And it’s natural for a worried sibling to take actions to ensure his safety. Having faith in Ace can no longer stop him from worrying, especially if he knows that it might be the end for the dying pirate. His decision also involves on Luffy’s concept of damage. Since Ace is the one who has acquired the worst damage, he prefers to save him first, since he believes that his nakama might be somewhere safer. Judging on the condition of Ace’s vivre card, he cannot afford any delay. If he gathers his nakama first, it might be too late to save Ace; he might die since there is only a quarter of burnt paper left in the said vivre card. Besides, Luffy has also responsibility as a brother. He cannot just abandon it just because they are both grown-ups and are strong. Even if he now leads a pirate crew, he can still save some time to ascertain his elder brother’s safety, just like the time when Ace checked him in Alabasta.


Rookie's Resolve
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Luffy being compared into an ant who charges in the midst of a gigantic hurricane is no exaggeration. Despite the staggering improvement that Luffy has made, he is still a rookie. Compared to Edward Newgate and his division commanders, he is only a newbie filled with promising talents. Contrary to most of the characters’ perception about him, that he is a man possessing monstrous strength, Luffy will just look like a pathetic rookie in the eyes of a veteran pirate like Newgate. He can bash this rookie without suffering from any sort of superiority complex because the Whitebeard Captain has strength to support his pride. With this point of view, I guess Luffy really needs a super power-up to catch up with this “New World” vibe. What I mean by this is that he needs to perfect Gears Two and Three without undergoing extreme fatigue, to the point of immobility, as a payment for instant power boost. If he can’t manage to lessen the casualties brought by his “Gear” utilization, then entering Impel Down will be pointless. He will be nothing but a tiny figure standing motionless and lessening his life span where the big-timers like Edward Newgate will take care of the “goal” for him. Even if he can trust Newgate because he’s Ace’s captain, it will still hurt him as a sibling since he can’t save his dying brother despite risking everything he has.


Heart Problem
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Hancock’s mysterious illness is just another point to Luffy list of misfortune. After learning of Ace’s execution and finding a spark of hope from Grandma Nyon’s short lecture, he then finds out that his ultimate source of hope is suffering from an unknown disease. Even the lady with a bread-shaped cheek (forgot her name), who seems to be the village’s doctor, is clueless as to what kind of lethal condition has Hancock fallen into. She deduces it as a heart problem since the empress is constantly holding her chest, saying “the pain” and constantly refusing to eat because it doesn’t seem like any comfort food can cure her indescribable agony. Being a knowledgeable woman that she is, Grandma Nyon immediately recognizes this baffling disease. Pained heart, lack of appetite, and the deaths of Hancock’s predecessors are some of the symptoms of this lethal “virus.” Thankfully, the old lady has survived this by fleeing the island, and with that, whether she takes the same preventive measures as Grandma Nyon had, there is still hope for the weakening state of Hebihime-sama.


Love Struck
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While the two gargantuan sisters panic over Hancock’s lethal virus, he still asks for a small talk (with big favors) with her. Surprisingly she gathers all her strength and immediately stands up at the thought of Luffy wanting to see her. And once again, he manages to spin the fortune wheel and hits the jackpot. She finally learns his shocking family background and understands the seriousness of the pinch he is in, resulting in full agreement to accompany the hero in his big quest to save his elder brother at the dreaded Impel Down. Apparently, this dismays the two sisters because of the trauma the three of them has undergone in Holy Land. Being in the same place again will eventually put them into psychological stress and inevitable recollection of their painful memories. While Luffy looks abusive in the eyes of the younger sisters, Hancock doesn’t mind risking herself and the stability of her psychology just to follow the road he’s taking. All her emotional disturbance and firmness in their safety seem to vanish in an instant. And once again, Grandma Nyon loads information to the sisters and even to us readers about the truth of her condition and the surprising changes that Hancock displays. Why, is the stone-hearted Hebihime-sama suddenly turns into a docile and considerate woman? Uhmmmm, it is because the Amazon Empress has fallen into an utterly alarming condition called “lovesickness.” It’s funny how Hancock falls in love with possibly the most clueless man in One Piece. Luffy may not even understand such matters of the heart and may be oblivious with what encompasses romance. I love the expression of the three; its hilarity is a sure winner. Grandma Nyon’s closing line in this chapter, “Love is always a hurricane” is an educational piece of love which explains that….. love hits you so strongly that you can never find a way to escape from it. Like a hurricane hitting a village, you remain trapped in the midst of its craziness and just hope that it goes away by itself. Hancock’s gestures – feeling a twinge in her heart, lack of appetite, and sudden joy with the thought of being with Luffy – are cute and typical manifestations of a teenage girl in love. The metaphor behind the two previous empresses’ deaths is the girl’s vulnerability to love. She doesn’t know what else to do but give in to this hurricane-like feelings and just fall in love – that might be the thought in these empresses’ mind and since they possess no clue about romance, they end up “dying.” I might be thinking too much, but that’s the logic I see from there. I love how Oda expresses the stereotypes of teenage love in utterly hilarious way.

The Spectacle:http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/6686/spectacleuc6.jpg

This chapter is stuffed with helpful information, thanks to Grandma Nyon’s concise lecture about the ways of the World Government and the clever politics it has established. The map just shouts “cunningness” where a simple, cartoon-ish bird’s eye view of the three Marine Headquarters is shown and it provides more educational pieces regarding its advancements just to trap pirates and other threatening forces. Grandma Nyon’s metaphorical explanation to Luffy in regards with his plan to save Ace is so excellent that it befits well to his current status as a fighter and as a pirate. Though the “old bean lady” initially appears as a comic relief in this side arc, the development she has catered here is very undeniable. Being Luffy’s source of information regarding Ace’s current condition and showing brilliant deductions about the world outside her home are major character boost.

The Downside:http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/952/downsideeq8.jpg

Once again, One Piece showcases flawlessness in this chapter. I don’t have any complaints despite Oda’s decision to enclose his chapter with an arresting picture of humor. So, I’ll just discuss the “featured” conflict just like I always do. I would have put this issue in my “spectacle” section because it screams “greatness and progress,” especially on Luffy’s part, but since it deals with his inner thoughts more, I decide to just discuss it here.

Luffy’s decision to save Ace. Before he officially announces that he’ll save first, a beautiful panel showing all of his nakama and a meaningful reminiscence of Ace are shown. This is done to present visual reflections of his, involving his identity as a captain and nakama and as a sibling. Will he choose to find his nakama first and head to Impel Down together or save his dying brother first despite his uncertainties regarding their conditions? His inner conflict is tougher than before because someone’s future will be at risk if he doesn’t decide correctly. This “captain vs. sibling” conflict encompasses his development as an individual – not as a nakama or as a fighter like we’ve witnessed in previous chapters. Whatever path he chooses, a valuable side will suffer: he chooses his nakama…..and Ace will likely perish; he decides to save Ace…. and his nakama will continue to wander with emotional emptiness. That is why he needs to support his decision with strong sense of responsibility, strength, and even emotional endurance to carry all of his burden.

Final Notes: http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/9496/finalnotesek6.jpg

Amazing chapter indeed! I really admire Luffy’s expression when he learns of Ace’s execution. Hancock falling in love with Luffy is a hilarious twist in this chapter and I can’t help but wonder how he’ll respond once he realizes that he has become the gorgeous empress’s love interest. Grandma Nyon also showcases her strong points, making this chapter better. I apologize, once again, for this late post. I should have done it after the chapter’s official release but my internet connection screwed my plan. Well, this chapter review is long enough but I hope your eyes haven’t given up yet for another one (just beloooow this section).


CHAPTER 523: HELL

Chapter 523. I finally catch up with the latest chapter which is surprisingly released earlier than I expected.


Bandaged Bastard
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At last, Spandam makes his debut in the cover story nook….. but it isn’t as epic as he wants it to be, since his first appearance displays his usual bastard self, with bandages covering almost his entire body – the result of a well-deserved punishment given by dear Robin. It’s a miracle that he survives that lethal Hana Hana clutch, yet it seems that it will require a long process of healing before he can start pissing people off again. Despite his condition, he is given an unknown call, which is probably related to the progress in regards with CP9’s capture. I doubt that they’ll get beaten, especially that the soldiers sent to seize them look as pathetic as Spandam. I’m not sure if he is capable enough to even lift a finger and receive the call. I bet he’ll start berating the poor agent first before moving his head, then he’ll begin complaining about his condition, thinking that a “civilized” man like him should just be hanging out at his office while insulting the inferior beings around him. Hopefully next chapter we receive a decent message from that “mystery caller” and I strongly suspect that we’ll see another episode of Spandam’s endless ranting.


Love Talk
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With the aid of Grandma Nyon’s powerful knowledge, she convinces the (now) confused Hancock that her decision to go with Luffy is very appropriate. That will also save her from “dying” from lovesickness since he is accompanying the man she loves and at the same time, she’ll be able to save the island with her Shichibukai status being secured. With Grandma Nyon’s comment regarding the previous empresses, it seems that they died not from “lovesickness” itself, but from depression – caused by unbearable sadness and miserable distance that separated them from their men. It weakened them because they chose their arrogance over their happiness. They may have been able to prove their worth as leaders but they experienced loneliness as its price. By explaining this, the old lady has assured that following her heart will give her contentment without losing her worth as the island’s leader. However, her instincts can be taken as a prelude to what will make of her once she steps in the grounds of Holy Land. It can result to the revelation to her former master’s identity since the Tenryuubito are making such a big fuss over Luffy’s previous attack to Chalros. It’s normal that they will demand tighter security from the upper authority, leading to Hancock crossing paths with the nobles again. Since she is not yet emotionally healed from her childhood trauma, that event might put her in distress, or worse, to immobility.


At Last
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After few pieces of goofiness, laughter, gratitude and farewell, Hancock finally embarks with the patient Vice Admiral Momonga who rather looks pissed while eating his Sea King meal. She establishes strict conditions before anything else to ensure the completion of her mission as a Shichibukai and her secret goal as uhm, Luffy’s lover. One of this is boarding the Marine ship alone. With the exception of her pet snake, which I think has its own unique power, Hancock chooses to leave her crew in the island with her younger sisters’ temporary leadership. I can’t figure out any solid explanation for this though. However, if I am going to squeeze, even a faint rationale from my speculation prowess, it would be because of her refusal to fight. Back then, she made it firm that she didn’t have any intention of participating in the war against Whitebeard despite the vice admiral’s threat of removing her status as Shichibukai. She only had a change of heart because she falls in love with Luffy, but that doesn’t change the fact that she doesn’t have any interest whatsoever, in regards with the aforementioned “big event.” Her mere appearance in Marineford already indicates her obedience in World Government’s orders – that is, if I’m going to adopt her line of thinking. Since she shows hints of disloyalty within her character, it is most likely that she will just stay in the Marine Headquarters or in Holy Land to ascertain Luffy’s success in his goal. After that, she’ll probably flee from the headquarters in the midst of chaos using her devil fruit power, haki, and of course, her seductive physique. She doesn’t seem to need assistance of her crew with such objectivity since presenting the Kujas before the World Government might denote that Hancock is indeed ready for battle. (*Somehow, I feel sorry for Momonga).

Her second condition concerns Luffy’s request. It appears a bit odd as to why on Earth would Hancock wish to go to Impel Down herself. Since it appears that the mighty prison even scares the Shichibukai members themselves, no one bothers to enter the said place except for high ranking Marines and several officials who manage to get permission from the big bosses. Thankfully, Sengoku is too busy with Whitebeard to inquire her true purpose so she immediately gets her wish granted. The only problem here is that her request has certain condition as well, where she needs to stay inside Impel Down at a specific period of time. With this, it means that Luffy has to carry-out an all-out brawling in order to save Ace. Besides, there is a chance that Hancock will no longer be present when he completes his mission given that she is in time restraint…. Unless she will “risk it all” to help the man she loves, he has to find his brother in the depths of this immense prison as quickly as possible, otherwise everything will prove futile. And yeah, though the word “cautious” is not included in Luffy’s vocabulary, he has to at least ponder Hancock’s situation since she can be of danger once he screws up.


The Last One
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After the funny scenes in Amazon Lily and a quick peek in Marine battleship, the action shifts to Sengoku, who seems to be the absorber of all the stresses the world is going through. He finally learns of Hancock’s “participation” in their much-awaited war against Whitebeard and much to his relief, that report leaves him to only one remaining Shichibukai who requires more sugar-coated persuasion from the Marines. Jinbei, currently shown in a shadow-ish fashion, looks like a fat seal who knows how to manage his curls. His primary intention for unexpected rampage in the Holy Land remains as mysterious as his real physique and the only thing certain about him is that he is not in the mood to receive any sort of courtship from the bosses. He is even thick enough to endure the threat involving the stability of his status. I can’t even guess his motive in doing so, but it appears that he has a very strong purpose to support his actions. And to add more spice to this controversy, he is kept somewhere in prison – Impel Down perhaps? Anyway, if Jinbei is indeed in Impel Down and remains up to the period when Luffy reaches it, then the circumstances involving their contact inside the prison are highly plausible. If this turns accurate, then there is also chance that two Shichibukai members will be in Impel Down all at the same time. I can already see all the possibilities as to how Luffy and Jinbei’s meeting will turn out.

On the other hand, I’m surprised to learn that Mihawk receives World Government order with obedience (assuming that the “only one left” that Sengoku refers to is in fact Jinbei). Among all the Shichibukai members, he appears to be the most uncooperative one. But then again, his “cooperation” does not necessarily indicate that he is willing to (actually) fight against Whitebeard. His situation can be similar with Hancock’s, just appearing in Marineford just so he can reason out that he “participates” in this execution.


The Legend's Sneaky Move
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Before I talk about this chapter, I want to make a quick discussion about the latest about Kizaru. The admiral completes his mission with a huge arrest of 500 pirates present in Shabondy Island. This partial report leaves many speculations to us since it doesn’t specify who among the known pirates fall in Kizaru’s might. We don’t know about the current conditions of the Supernovae – if they are included in those “500 pirates” or they somehow manage to escape from being captured. The four captains, Urogue, Drake, Apoo, and Hawkins seem to fall under the first category. As much as I hate to think about it, but they seem to be all beat up from fighting Kizaru (heck, they didn’t have much chance to showcase the scope of their devil fruit powers). The admiral himself might have captured them after Sentoumaru’s call or might have left the Pacifista to do the honor of imprisoning these rookies. However, I admit that this idea is quite debatable since the four captains appear to possess incredible powers – strong enough to withstand even Kizaru’s and Pacifista’s attacks. Bege and Bonney on the other hand, have the highest chances to escape from Kizaru’s fleet since their priority is immediate escape to implement maximum safety rather than a brief period of settlement in the island to ensure the best strategy for the situation. KIdd and Law have the highest chances of surviving from the fight against the Pacifista since they are more than capable of beating the human weapon. Both of them promise a huge deal strength, adding higher chances for their victory. And they didn’t even bump into Admiral Kizaru. Besides, their character developments are too important to just end it there, meaning their short alliance with the Strawhats is just a prelude to an epic event after entering New World. Anyway, the list of possibilities regarding this partial report is endless.

The real deal in this section is Whitebeard’s victory against the Marine’s 23 battleships, where all of which are defeated by a sole ship. It’s the mother ship though, so it is just natural that Moby Dick is capable of sinking numerous naval forces without suffering too much casualty. What is more frightening about this is that Newgate didn’t even give any Marine soldier a chance to tell his superior about the situation. The unknown Marine official only reports the outcome of the pirates’ move and all the crucial matters that should be reported (such as their current location, the direction they’re heading to, etc) are sunk together with their fallen soldiers. Since Whitebeard pirates are divided into several divisions, the whereabouts of the other ships are still unknown. This raises tension inside Sengoku’s office; the possibility of a surprise attack is so high that he can’t afford to lose his guard even for an instant. To add insult to the injury the other “pirate crews” in the New World are already on their move as well. These crews might be Newgate’s subordinates, but then again, it can be other pirate crews who take advantage to the situation. Well, since it is quite obvious that Newgate’s goal is to save his second division commander, it is only logical to tighten the security in Impel Down because there is a chance that Moby Dick is heading its way there.


Real Hell
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My god, Ace is almost giving up. From his condition, it doesn’t seem like he’s “THE” Ace who is legendary in the entire One Piece Universe. I can’t understand how a strong man like him would be beaten up that badly. Garp’s comment, though it sounds like his usual “Luffy-ish” remarks (which means idiotic/stupid remarks, by the way), displays a great deal of concern towards Ace. I don’t know their real relationship, given that the latter has a different surname, but since he is treated as Luffy’s elder brother (even if outside the “Monkey” family), it is more likely that the vice admiral trained him and took care of him as well. The meeting between these two famous icons is very short, but it still meets its purpose: it showcases the bonds between the two and reveals Ace’s actual disposition. We still don’t know Garp’s true motive in visiting his “grandson” but I doubt that he will set him free since he also has obligations as a Marine officer to fulfill. Maybe he takes some time in the midst of tension to give Ace some “pep-talk.” Garp, despite being a famous idiot, can be unpredictable as well. In Water 7, he showed his grandfatherly love towards Luffy by visiting him, punching him, letting them continue their adventure. Yet, all of a sudden, he made another astounding appearance, only that time he was there to arrest the pirate to showcase his sense of responsibility as a Marine Vice Admiral. This can also be manifested in this encounter, though I cannot predict Garp’s next move.


Priceless
http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/1462/sixteenthlc2.jpg

We finally get to see the current locations of the Strawhats!!!! Yaaay! Nami is currently in Weatheria, a part of Sky Island and the center of Meteorology. Her part in this chapter is very concise yet Oda manages to introduce interesting feats in this place. I’m sure, the island’s “knot system” sparks everyone’s interest, and most definitely it will stimulate Nami’s curiosity since Weatheria caters and specializes in weather-oriented reports. Gigantic mindmills and weather balloons spread throughout the island are its most distinguishable traits. Franky’s disposition is also revealed in this chapter and he doesn’t get any sign of trouble except for some clothes issues. Since he is dressed like a beach dude ready to surf “whenever and wherever,” he has to deal with the island’s freezing climate without perceiving himself as a disgraceful pervert. Among the revelations of the Strawhats’ status in this chapter, Franky’s location, the “Karakuri Island” strikes my curiosity the most. According to a resident, Karakuri Island is the home of the “genius” that is strongly suggested to be Dr. Vegapunk, the celebrated scientist and genius in World Government. From the looks of it, this island showcases the most advanced equipment in the entire OP universe. Its futuristic theme is recognizable, especially with the appearance of the cyborg pet as the opening of Franky’s show. Even the geezer refers this island as “Future Kingdom Barjimoa” where the title implies that its culture and its products are what to be seen in the future. It even suggests that most of Dr. Vegapunk’s inventions are inspired by this island’s artifacts…. Hmmmm, it doesn’t feel like this scientist is as genius as what he seems. Sanji also makes a surprising appearance in this chapter, and he has done such an excellent job to end this chapter with his priceless facial expression. It’s so ironic that he ends up being the one who is chased by many swooning fans where he is usually the guy who drools over women’s appeal. Well, it’s not like the people in Kambakka Kingdom don’t have their own appeal at all …. It’s just that there is absolutely nothing to swoon over from them. Poor Sanji. His supposedly adventure in heaven turns out to be a journey in hell. Kambakka Kingdom is in fact, the land of “lady boys” where its pinkness motivates every guy to act like real women. Much to his dismay, these transvestites look scarier than Gecko Moria.

The Spectacle:http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/826/spectacle2zu5.jpg

Wow. This chapter is packed with many “best’s” and “mosts.” The chapter opens and ends with such winning pieces of hilarity. Most of the events that take place in Amazon Lily display Oda’s sense of humor. Even Hancock shows her silly side when she turns so “conscious” and “blushy” after “their eyes met” and reiterates the opening of the “she has come” volume – only that it looks funny this time. I bet everyone laugh their hearts out upon seeing Sanji’s terrified face. It seems that his mini arc is more of a comic relief rather a character boost. But seriously, I think Nami and Franky land at the best/most appropriate place to transcend themselves as dreamers and fighters. The characteristics of their locations perfectly suit their interests, thus it will enhance their skills further.

Another thing that I want to impress in this section is the balance that Oda establishes in this chapter. It’s utterly admirable because he manages to crowd many pieces of glee and silliness without overpowering its numerous portions of seriousness and conflicts. He balances these two elements in a graceful manner, making it such a well-made chapter. The transition of the events, staring from a silly scene, then heading into a stern situation, and ending it with a hilarious panel is also well-crafted. I really like how Oda pulls this off. So amazing. Swoon swoon….

The Downside: http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/8812/downside2au5.jpg

The most intense conflict featured in this chapter is Ace’s disposition. He looks pretty beat-up, much to the point where hopelessness creeps his faint smile. Although he’s shown in just two panels, the graveness of his situation is so apparent that you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. I am also concerned with 500 pirates who were seized by Kizaru. For sure, some of them are simpletons where their unwillingly participation with the mass arrest is just meretricious so Sengoku will be more pissed with the impact of hundreds of prisoners lining up for eternal incarceration. Hopefully, none of the Supernovae are captured (since none of them are mentioned in the report. Basically, a reporter should include an icon as important as a Supernova in crucial reports, so there is a chance that they weren’t captured. But this is just me being strongly subjective in regards of the Supernovae’s status because I like them all). Jinbei is also a very essential being who should be taken note of. He has started to make a quick appearance, which means that his official introduction will only be few chapters away. Last, but absolutely not the least, the Whitebeard pirates have already started to move. They make an outstanding victory by sinking 23 battleships all done by their Moby Dick. To heighten the tension, Newgate’s whereabouts is unknown. How will the Marines deal with his sneaky tactics?

Final Notes: http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/8571/finalnotes2dh1.jpg

A superb chapter indeed. I have lots of things to talk about but I’ll save that for my next review – if that is, such talk is suitable for that chapter. Anyway, I’m glad I’m back in the circulation again and I certainly don’t want to be left-out with the hottest things in One Piece universe. I remember reading an SBS series (from a forgotten volume number) where a fan asks Oda if there will be romance among the characters in One Piece. Our favorite mangaka teasingly tells that the characters are in love with adventure. But I guess, Hancock’s love problems answer that question. So yeah, romance is finally shown in One Piece – Oda style.

Yabe
November 21, 2008, 09:17 AM
Very good review, Haruka :kkthumbs
I totally love the humourous touch you've put a lot in this review :amuse

You've focused in details on all interesting parts and I also agree with most of them. Oda's revelations have been like 10x far beyond my predicting skills in these two chapters. I still can't get over the love issue but knowing Oda has far better things in his imagination I guess there's no need to fear then (hopefully).

Anyway, great review for double chapters! :clap2

Sarmad
November 21, 2008, 02:48 PM
hey haruka! Fantastic review! i really love your reviews, since they are so well thought and entertaining :)

I'd like to add a thought to the upcoming conflict between the WG and Whitebeard.
I think that there is a high possibility that Shanks and Dragon could be planning on assisting Whitebeard on his mission to save his nakama.
I don't think that Shanks would bring his whole crew with him, but since he had a personal interest in the issue of "Ace hunting blackbeard", he should be one of the guys to have a part in the upcoming war. And since Dragon is "the revolutionary's leader", he may take a chance on making a full force attack on the WG. Since we still don't know dragon's relationship, if there even is one, to Ace, there might be another reason for him to participate in the war.
So i don't think that the unkown reporting Marine was just talking about pirates running wild but also big tiers who're on their way to bring down the HQ of the marines.

haruka9
November 23, 2008, 06:02 AM
Paradoxe: I remember that you posted a comment here. I wonder why it was erased. anyway, thank you very much.

Yabe: Thank you very much for appreciating my review and even editing my title post. It's also surprising to see Hancock falling in love with Luffy. I didn't expect that Oda wouldn't introduce romance among the characters. However, he showcases it without letting One Piece's theme suffer. At least that love thing is shown in a humorous way for consistency purposes.

Sarmad: Thank you very much. I'm glad that you are entertained by my review. I am trying my best to make my review more informative and more entertaining. It's nice to learn that my efforts are finally paying off. I also think that Shanks will be present during Ace's execution. He has shown a huge deal of concern towards Ace's fight against Blackbeard. Being a good man that he is, he might do something to stop Blackbeard from spreading his darkness. Or, if his goal does not lie on the latter's defeat, then it must be for Ace's safety.

Goji
November 24, 2008, 09:14 AM
Congrats Haruka on the nice review! Think your reviews are one of the best ones out there. :amuse
I love to read all the extra things you bring to this chapter through your review. Like the fact you talk about the rookies and what might of happened to them, while in the manga there's only one line about the 500 arrested pirates. Great to hear you speculate and to hear your opinion. You're doing a fine job. Keep up the good work! ^_^
[hr]
Oh, almost forgot: I also agree with Sarmad on the fact that Shanks will probably also make some kind of appearance in the upcoming brawl. And yes, isn't this the opportunity Dragon has been waiting for? He may attack the WG right after the WB fight. Give it the finishing blow, right when it's down. Can't wait to find out what's gonna happen next! :p

haruka9
November 24, 2008, 10:55 PM
Thank you very much Goji. I'm happy to hear your compliments ^__^. Anyway, I agree with you and Sarmad about Shanks's appearance on this war against World Government. He showed great efforts to express his concern for Ace on Whitebeard's ship. Dragon might make an appearance as well (he and his group of revolutionaries) and he might be the last surprise guest in that war. His purpose might be related on Ace's welfare or maybe for the goal of his revolutionary. Since the World Government has its focus set on Whitebeard, this is the best time to catch them off guard. This is the best opportunity for Dragon to strike the government, especially if he;s aiming for its downfall.

Kaiser Will
November 25, 2008, 09:52 AM
Wow, very good review! You explain the facts very nice and gave them a possible continuation for the next chapter.
And the love, in Oda-style, is very funny! Oh, Hancock in love is so cute.
Oda must hate Sanji! And his face was indeed priceless.
And Jinbei in ID, I really want him helping Luffy for what WG did with him!

Goji
November 25, 2008, 10:31 AM
I also hope Jinbei's going to be one of those shichibukai who in the end have respect for Luffy. Would be great if he'd help out in the whole 'ID-situation'.

About Dragon; I know I said it would be the perfect opportunity for Dragon to also make his move against the WG, but I still somehow feel/think it's too soon for him to be involved in the story. But who knows... with Oda you never know! :nuts

Sarmad
November 25, 2008, 04:52 PM
Yeah, Dragon's involvement might be too early. But i don't know. It feels like the perfect opportunity.
Dragon might also "just" send part of the revolutionary forces, since they battle on many fronts.

But it's weird, isn't it!? As though WB is on the winning side! But my gut feeling still tells me that the World goverment will somehow spread the One piece Universe with their absolute justice, after the big war.
They must've planned or prepared some scenario or just something.

Goji
November 25, 2008, 05:50 PM
Guess this whole battle is a pivotal point of how the flow of the entire manga will go in the future. For now it seems like WB is going to/is having the upper hand here, but just as you think Sarmad, I can't believe the WG would want to fight WB without having something planned on how to defeat him...

If WB doesn't get any help from the other yonkou or even other pirates I don't think he'll win this one. Not if he's up against the Marine HQ + Shichibukai... I think Blackbeard will be Whitebeards nemesis. The Whitebeard Pirates will fall in this battle, that's my prediction! :P But don't ask me what will happen to the One Piece world after that... >_<

If Luffy succeeds in freeing his brother, and Whitebeard is defeated, what will Ace do? Maybe he'll team up with his lil' bro to take on The New World as part of his crew? Wouldn't that be cool? xD

Now that my explanation is a jumble already, I'll throw these in as well: I think only 4 Shichibukai will take part in the fighting, or I should say, will take part in the fighting on the WG's side. 'Cause how things are going now: Jinbei won't fight with WG, Hancock also doesn't want to fight alongside the WG (she'd rather stay alongside Luffy), and Mihawk will probably just take a neutral position (=>don't know why I think that, just a hunch). So that only leaves the other 4, and I don't know if Moria is gonna be of much help 'cause he's probably still pretty beaten up, plus he lost almost all of his shadows when he was defeated on TB.

lol, written a lot! I should start with my own reviews! O_O

haruka9
November 25, 2008, 11:10 PM
Kaiser Will: Thank you very much ^__^. Just like you, I hope that Jinbei will become Luffy's ally. He might not be someone willing to risk his life for the Strawhat captain, but at least they're riding the same boat. That itself will help Luffy a lot. It would also become an amazing twist since Jinbei was first viewed as the next major villain for this underwater island.

Sarmad: I guess we are all hoping that Whitebeard will win. And with lots of potential allies coming in this war, the chance of Whitebeard's victory is getting higher. However, the leaders of the World Government are no fool. Sengoku and the Gorousei, being the witnesses of the old Pirate Age, must have prepared unbelievable things to decently fight against the strongest man in One Piece Universe. With the massive appearance of the Pacifista, I can't help but think that these will be one of the major front liners in this war.

Goji: Dragon is very unpredictable. He just appears out of nowhere and vanishes all of a sudden. And I definitely agree with your thought in regards with this war being the pivotal point of the series. Whatever the outcome of this inevitable war would be, there are major changes that would happen, both in the characters and in the events around Grand Line. If Whitebeard indeed dies in this battle, then it would signify that the Old Age of Pirates is finally over since he is the last remnant of Roger's reign.