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haruka9
December 01, 2008, 07:24 AM
CHAPTER 524: NOBODY CAN STOP IT NOW

After seeing the spoiler pictures, I have been yearning to get a hold of the entire chapter. With that being said, I don’t think I’ll prolong my introduction and I’ll just head to reviewing our favorite series.


Lucci's Call
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Just when I thought that it was a Marine officer who tried to inform Spandam about the latest of their hopeless capture of the former CP9 agents, the mystery caller was actually their former, “acting leader,” Rob Lucci. I am quite satisfied to see that he initiates the first move to piss off Spandam rather than the bandage bastard doing his favorite hobby first. Much to Spandam’s dismay, Lucci calls him in the midst of their battle, where his message about them sweeping the Marine soldiers’ faces on the floor is perfectly delivered (Jyabura is in the background). He must have called to inform his former boss that capturing them is utterly pointless, especially if Spandam idiotically sends weaklings to accomplish the mission. Judging by his facial expression, it seems that Lucci even adds really terrifying threats on his report. With that, Lucci once again establishes his devilish charm. He emits such a bad-ass aura whereas Spandam looks like a huge chunk of swollen tomato with a face (Den Den Lucci at his side). Assuming that he’s no longer as thick-headed as he’s once been, Lucci’s call will knock some sense into him. Hopefully, that will stop the Marines and the World Government from wasting their efforts in pursuing them. Lucci also uses the word “former” to introduce himself, which to me, is a powerful word to denote his vow to have a better life. Addressing himself with such means that he completely accepts the failure of his mission without any regrets since he’s enjoying his new life.


Talking Beetle
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To prevent my last review from having insufferable length, I wrote concise explanations about the current whereabouts of the other Strawhats. However, on this review, I don’t think a “concise explanation” will no longer be just, so I’m going to describe the current disposition of the remaining Strawhats one by one.

Usopp lands in the middle of the Green Stone Forest located in Boin Island. He’s about to be consumed by a man-eating monstrous plant and is thankfully saved by Heracles in the nick of time. The name “Heracles” can be connected to two possible roots: (1) Heracles is a character from Greek Mythology who is the son of Zeus and Alcemene. Being regarded as the greatest hero of the Greeks and possessing immense strength, fortitude, and yes, sex appeal, he receives countless romantic devotion from both men and women. In Rome, this Heracles is known as Hercules; (2) the most plausible root of this new character’s name, due to his striking physique, is the Hercules beetle. This is the same beetle that Luffy is so fond of that it puts him in a state of dilemma since it is “apparently” as cool as the legendary One Piece. This Hercules beetle-inspired character seems to be strong, or maybe, he possesses a cunning technique capable of producing strong casualties to its target. I don’t know if it has something to do with Haki or it’s just a quality found in such creatures. But since this is One Piece that we’re talking about, it appears that the former idea is more possible. If such technique reaches even the depths of the Boin Island, then it explains why Heracles(un) is capable of beating the predator-like plant in a single strike. He can be the instrument of Usopp’s transcendence who will introduce him about Haki. The long-nosed Strawhat’s progress will result in the power of his weapon, which will appear similar to Margaret’s capability of incorporating Haki in her weapon. However, as much as I am intrigued with the properties of Haki, I would like to discover a new skill from Heracles. It can be a weapon or an interesting technique that only he can utilize. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like Usopp realizes that the Heracles who just saved him is a relative to the inspiration of his weapon attack (Atlas beetle).


Finding their Future
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Brooke appears in the middle of a black ritual done to summon the forces of evil to cast its wrath for the poor tribe’s revenge. While the other Strawhats arrive in a promising area with a promising character/power boost, he comes to this place with the purpose of becoming one of the most remarkable sources of hilarity in this arc. I am no Japanese speaker, but it’s a no-brainer that the inspiration for this village’s name, Harahettania, is the Japanese term for “hungry” or “I’m hungry” – thanks to Luffy’s habitual complaints of being hungry. In the eyes of these Gregorian wannabes, their ritual is 100% effective, thanks to Brooke’s sudden appearance, and they are all betting not their lives, but their souls and their panties, so the funny musician would grant their wish. Yes, his presence serves as THE hope for the villagers, but really…. Brooke’s appearance in this poverty-stricken land is just a comical attempt to show the villagers that the “devil” they summon is actually the mirror to their future: if they continue to get hungry, they will all look like the “devil” they call forth…. Bones…. And if they just go on exerting their effort to such rituals, instead of finding logical and constructive means to improve their lives, then they will all end up as bony as Brooke.


A Missing Piece
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After scenes of pure laughter from the Gregorian fanatics and their future appearance portrayed by Brooke, the chapter shifts to a more serious side. I didn’t expect that Kuma’s Nikyu Nikyu technique can even reach the premises of the “four seas.” Anyway, Robin comes to Tequila Wolf, the place where all the “rejects” are dumped into. This place completely reeks of “conspiracy,” from the 700-year old construction of the bridge to the identities of the workers. Since this controversial project has started 700 years ago, it clearly strikes remnants of the equally controversial Blank Century. This unfinished piece of construction might be one of the surviving clues left by the void history aside from Poneglyph and other fragments of the past. The workers may be clueless about the reason behind their utterly horrendous project, but with Robin’s prowess of deduction, concise foreword of the bridge’s history courtesy of Mr. Jean Bart look-alike, and her aforementioned entrance to the world of slavery, she might pick up decent clues along the way. Hopefully, her handcuffs are not made of kairoseki, otherwise the dangers of getting the same fate of the slaves who passed out from over-work is closer.

Another conspiracy that we can pick up in her location is the identities of the workers. Mr. Jean Bart look-alike, who seems to be the head of this project, states that the “slaves” are either criminals, who, instead of being locked up in Impel Down end up as an abused work horse or unlucky people from the opposition force. While it appears that they are chosen randomly, the selection process for the bridge’s workers is rather “suspicious.” Even if both of them (the criminals and the “mutineers” – the term I refer to the people who oppose the World Government) are perceived by the world at large as “menace,” they do not stand as “threat” big enough to intimidate the World Government. With this, they are then forcefully recruited as workers of this building project since they are weak and idiotic – the type who won’t uncover the secrets behind this bridge despite working there for several years. Besides, if they die in the process, nobody would even care since they are “rejects” in the first place.

The third controversy lies on the primary purpose for the foundation of the bridge. Mr. Jean Bart look-alike says that it is to connect different islands. The context of this idea varies in two ways: (1) the bridge might be built to link different islands within the premises of East Blue; (2) or, it might be constructed to connect all the four seas – North Blue, South Blue, East Blue, and West Blue. If he refers to the second thought then it means that the result of this project will represent the symbol of the World Government. Therefore, the completion of this bridge is the establishment of its absolute reign.


A Tanuki Treasure
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Aside from Robin who reaches the farthest destination, Chopper lands in a place outside the Grand Line territory. I have no idea about the connection between Torino (the Italian term of Turin, a city in Italy) and its most distinguishable feature (the domination of birds over humans). However, the “planet-of-the-apes vibe” in this island is recognizable – the difference is that it’s the giant flock of birds which indulge in the privilege of their pedestal instead of the apes acting quite bossy over humans. Their domination becomes apparent due to the island’s design, where the nest levels built on massive trunk might imply the hierarchy of these birds. With this, the uppermost “layer” must be occupied by their king. Chopper on the other hand comes back to his casual form, suffering from the effects of his Monster Point. He’s unable to escape from the hostility of the birds then falls in the hands of a hungry flab who mistakes him as a ‘tanuki.” His features being misinterpreted as a “tanuki” rather than a reindeer has been a running gag since his first appearance. However, since one of the flab guys notices the uniqueness of the “tanuki” they want to stew, Chopper will hopefully be saved. These ethnic-looking flabbers might be his new alliance.

One thing I notice about Torino Island is the kind of treasure it provides. Since birds dominate here and settles at the highest point of the island, people might regard them as their “rulers” or their “gods.” With that, anything they drop is regarded as the island’s treasure like a blessing bestowed by the gods. Since Chopper falls from the nest of the fanciful birds who would beg to wear Margaret’s handmade frills, he is regarded by the saving flab chap as “treasure.” Thus his buddy immediately suggests that they should make a tanuki stew from the “treasure” given by their feathery gods after learning Chopper’s background.


So Crazy, So Unlikely
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I guess one of the most surprising outcomes of Kuma’s “assistance” in Shabondy fight is Zoro’s destination. I never anticipated that he would in fact, reach the place as Perona did. This solves the mystery of Perona’s whereabouts – a ghastly ruin in Kuraigana Island where she can enjoy her supaaaah bizarre dreams…. Er, alone. During her nonsensical ranting, she finds herself with an unexpected company, someone who comes from her enemy’s group. Zoro doesn’t know about this yet as he unconsciously land in the midst of the ruin. Well, knowing him, he might just be in the middle of his undisturbed sleep or maybe, he still suffers from the damage he took from Luffy’s pain and from his most recent battle against the Pacifista. He is then tended by Perona out of her kindness (-assuming there is any) but takes his swords in exchange, to ascertain her victory and her safety in case a battle occurs between them. Poor Zoro, thinking that Kuma’s instant teleportation service turns him in an instant goner, then immediately stressing out after realizing that he is indeed alive…. Besides, being covered in bandages just makes him look like the instant resurrection of his opponent Ryuuma – horohorohorohoro. Since he is the firstmate of the crew who assumes the leadership role during the captain’s absence, he has many things to worry about: (1) his wounds; (2) his nakamas’ disposition; (3) his departure on Kuraigana Island; (4) how to gather the crew; (5) how to aid Luffy in case he learns of Ace’s execution and deduces that his captain is going to save his brother first; (6) last but not the least, Perona. However, since the horohoro girl is unsatisfied with Kuma’s fulfillment of her supaaaah bizarre dream, she might form an alliance with him with strict conditions. She will give his swords in exchange of helping her escape from the island. When this happens, they will make one of the most unlikely team in the history of One Piece; Zoro is a headstrong dude whereas Perona is a spoiled brat. This might just turn into a comical piece, but I am curious to see how they will pull it off. And, at the hype of the speculation regarding the tenth member of the Strawhats, another candidate for their nakama appears: er, Perona???? Yeah, I know it seems crazy but since this girl has a tendency to lend her aid on the winning side, she might attach herself to the Strawhats. One thing’s for sure though, she will become Zoro’s unexpected ally in his adventure.


Fading
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After a short recollection of the Strawhats’ lonesome journey in various places, a decent preview of Luffy’s sneaky Marine ride is shown. It looks like he’s doing specially well, being served with a hundred-kilogram delight five times a day with a lovely girl eager to share a “teen-ish” type of romance with him. Sadly, this light-hearted vision is just a surface. The truth is, Luffy is deeply worried about Ace as shown in two panels where he spends his free time looking at his elder brother’s fading vivre card. This is the only thing he can do at this moment – to keep track at that piece of paper which represents Ace’s real condition is to hold on to his hope that he will make it on time. As long as there is a part left on that vivre card, Luffy can still save his brother. It doesn’t seem like he’s worried about the forces he might be up against though. On the other hand, Hancock is beaming with sappiness and joy as she secretly gazes and fanices about her object of affection, who, unfortunately is still clueless about the “dilemma” she’s been going through. Thanks to her Mero Mero attacks, she manages to keep the soldiers away from peeking at her door. With this, suspicions about her are minimized.


The World Government's Red Carpet
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To show that they, too, have their own aces up their sleeves, the Marines gather all the powerful icons at the Marineford. Hina, Smoker and Tashigi, Ao Kiji, Kizaru, the clef-chinned, crescent moon-shaped giant, T-bone (maybe), and the other bunch of nameless Marine officials look all ready to kick the Whitebeards’ asses. While Sengoku appears to be anxiously contemplating on his opponents’ next move, Akainu is apparently the only missing piece in this puzzle. Perhaps, he will be shown when this epic finally starts. This gathering displays the determination of the Marines and the World Government to dominate the seas. Even if there are many pirates who want to take advantage of this “epic” and attack them, it will still be difficult to bring them down. The “already featured” Marine icons like Ao Kiji and Kizaru have proven that they have tough skills stored in their arsenal – tough enough to beat Luffy in a whim and to effortlessly defeat four infamous Supernovae. The other nameless characters look promising as well. With this, the Whitebeards have to give their best shot if they want to take Ace back and avenge him.


Gathering the Most Unlikely Characters
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While the assembly of the Marine forces looks cool and organized, the gathering of the Royal Shichibukai on the other hand appears spontaneous and muddled: Donflamingo looks arrogant while staring at a piece of paper; Teach, being a typical “D” that he is, enjoys the feast served on the table; Moria seems to have recovered from his fight and manages to redeem himself by trying to look bad-ass; Kuma appears as quiet as ever; and Mihawk is just the coolest among them. The other officials however, do not seem to mind the messy vision before them. Nevertheless the soldiers standing around them seem petrified and constipated while facing five of them because really…. The sight of these members gathering all at the same time, fighting with the same goal is just beyond anyone’s imagination. If I’m going to borrow the word from this chapter, it’s “unthinkable.” Each of them has proven their strength in various ways. We are clueless as to how exactly they gain such position but with the abilities they’ve shown so far, it is apparent that they’re worthy of the title. Being former pirates and being perceived as people with remarkable strength, they have been utterly proud of themselves. They are fearless and arrogant, completely believing that they can bring down any opposing forces. With this, they won’t just let anyone boast around them nor order them. This is the first side of the “unthinkable.” The other side of this description screams “conspiracy” or “suspicion.” To regard each other as allies is unthinkable; this is the best opportunity for them to show off their real strength – to gain higher power and get bigger glory…. Of course, they wouldn’t let even a fellow Shichibukai overshadow them. For all we know, they might showcase a power showdown amongst each other during Ace’s execution. Rather than sticking with their original goal, each might come up with their own personal objectives at the midst of battle. Donflamingo is the number one candidate for it. Since he seems to be a total show-off, it is very unlikely that he doesn’t give even a drop of concern against the World Government’s purpose for setting a war against the Whitebeards. What he truly wants is to find the most suitable people to live in this New Pirate Age by fighting against them. Moria, looking like someone who doesn’t grasp the idea of “team,” would just think of his welfare. Yeah, he might display his power for several moments to redeem himself, but when he sees that his current situation puts him in a tight pinch, he’ll most likely be the first one to run off and save his ass. On the other hand, Teach really needs to appear in such epic because this is his chance to gain the power that he’s been yearning for. We know Kuma has his own set of rules which makes him unpredictable. As for Mihawk…. Uhmmmmm, I have no idea what’s going on his mind.


Meaningless Request
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I feel really sorry for Ace; the sight of him being beat up, locked up, and desperate is utterly heart-breaking. Anyway, it is revealed that Garp’s purpose for his surprising visit is to have some “pep talk” with Ace. This Marine Vice-Admiral cares about him and holds him as grandson. However, Ace is not really pleased with the situation. Since it is his grandfather that he is talking to, he thinks that the latter would understand the reason behind his request. Of course, Garp refuses because such act is pointless. Ace’s “request” to end his life lies on two meanings: (1) to save his crewmates from suffering from any sort of casualty; (2) to redeem himself from falling into shame. The first idea denotes to his last attempt to protect his nakama. If he dies, there wouldn’t be any point for the Whitebeard to fight. Because he knows that the Marines prepare their strongest forces for this imminent battle, he realizes that some of his nakama might sacrifice their lives with a meaningless goal; he fails to accomplish or complete his responsibility (to defeat Teach), so he is not worth of risking their lives for. The second thought describes his redemption from shame. His failure to bring down Teach and to avenge his fallen nakama is such a huge humiliation to himself. Ace is the legendary commander of the second division of the Whitebeard pirates and he sees his debacle intolerable. Since his honor is disgraced, he thinks that the only way to get back even an ounce of it is to end his life. This is also a reference to how Luffy describes him. The Strawhat captain contends that Ace doesn’t want to be rescued or even worried about because that might imply that he is weak. It’s just humiliating for someone renowned as a strong fighter. And because Teach beat him, that only means that he is weaker. In Ace’s eyes, it is quite shameful to realize that he is not strong enough to fulfill his responsibility and beat his opponent.

Garp on the other hand contends a spot-on statement. The Marines and the World Government have truly angered the strongest man in One Piece. Albeit he grants his grandson’s request, it will still prove pointless because the Whitebeards have decided to avenge him. No matter what happens to Ace, this crew will risk everything to show them that messing with them is their biggest mistake.

The Spectacle:http://img353.imageshack.us/img353/6835/spectacleas6.jpg

While the previous chapter contains “the bests” and “the mosts,” this one screams “unthinkable.” Each of the stories stuffed in this chapter suits the description: the plants which Usopp encounters are “unthinkable” because they feed on humans; the “tanuki’s” ability to speak is “unthinkable” in they eyes of this ethnic-looking flabby duo; the black ritual turning out to be “real” appears “unthinkable” for the surprised Gregorian wannabes because their devil-summoning assembly looks like just a gamble; the bridge being under construction for the last 700 years is quite “unthinkable” for Robin – this might turn out to be a clue that the Blank Century has left; Zoro and Perona teaming up is highly unthinkable; Luffy’s attempt to save Ace seems “unthinkable” especially if it is just Hancock who will most likely help him achieve his goal; the gathering of the Shichibukai and the thought of them fighting with the same objective are utterly unthinkable; even Ace’s request is “unthinkable.” Okay, this might be overuse of the word, but I truly want to emphasize how the description stated at the last page of this chapter perfectly fits all the situations established here. It’s like the word “unthinkable” is its theme.

The gatherings of the Shichibukai and the Marine officials are truly the spectacle that everyone is excited to see. The tension in this epic battle just becomes more palpable.

The Downside:http://img353.imageshack.us/img353/1963/downsidewt7.jpg

The biggest conflicts set here are Ace’s feeling of weakness and humiliation and the looming battle serving as the consequences of his failure. Since he shares some characteristics with Luffy and possesses the will of “D,” he doesn’t seem like a weak-minded guy who falters after failure. However, this failure does not offer second chances; it isn’t the kind where he can use it as a turning point to start over. As he completely seizes the weight of this realization, he sinks into desperation and humiliation like the time where Luffy falters because he can’t save his nakama. Aside from that, it doesn’t seem like Ace knows how to begin his life again when he is saved because he already views himself as an unworthy member of the Whitebeard crew. So, he chooses the path of death instead because everything appears so pointless to him. If Garp grants his wish, at least, Ace will find a piece of redemption until the end. Such thought is utterly heart-wrenching.

Final Notes:http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/9472/finalnotesof0.jpg


Another amazing chapter. The remaining Strawhats finally reveal their location. Since their adventures happened three days ago, I guess there are already progresses established in their dispositions. It can be a character development or power boost…. Or it can be both. Nami, Franky, and Robin definitely land in their ideal places; they can nourish their sense of individuality and their dream since they arrive at places which fortes are related to their passion. The other Strawhats seem to reach random islands, but hopefully they will also nurture their characters and their abilities through some crazy stunts. Alliance is also one of the most promising developments that we can expect from them: we already know that Luffy has his Hancock; Nami might form a student-teacher type of alliance with the anxious geezer who seems very knowledgeable in weather and other various bizarre weather-providing equipment; Franky meets his new back-up dancers; Usopp will most likely ally with Heracles, the relative of the model for his new attack; Chopper might convince that funky flabbers to just keep him instead of turning him into a festive stew; Brooke, well, he finally gathers a set of hungry believers who is willing to show him as many undergarments as he wants. The two craziest (possible) alliance established in this arc is Zoro and Perona, and Sanji and a bunch of pink-loving trannies whose cosmetic surgeries have gone totally wrong. There might be lots of exchange of nags between Zoro and Perona with both of their tendencies to be hasty and stubborn. Sanji might continue to run away from those okama, but the possibility of learning something helpful from them is always present – but expect loads of laughter from these characters, fellow fans. I am utterly excited to see the development in this looming war between the Whitebeard and the Marines and the Royal Shichibukai. And hopefully we get to see more of Ace and the other Supernovae as well. And yeah, Den Den Lucci is so cool.

Blue Eyes
December 01, 2008, 08:45 AM
I simply love your reviews. Hehe, i registered myself here, just to give some resonance.

I can just agree with everything you said about this amazing chapter! Well done!

Kaiser Will
December 01, 2008, 01:02 PM
Congratulations haruka, your reviews are just awesome and very intriguing!
I love your interpretation on Robin story, she has found a key for the Blank century! Maybe this cause samething big in the world!
Anyway you describe perfectly the situation of the Shichi: unthinkable, it's really unlikely that this man with their won different goals would fight together, that's samething that I really wanna see!

And you wrote the right interpretaion of Ace feelings, for being weak for not fullfiling his duty to avenge him nakama, and after that make them fight for him, as you say a meaningless fight.
Your review its just phenomenal!
Becoming a assiduous reader!

Dr. Vegapunk
December 02, 2008, 12:23 AM
What a brilliant review haruka, your style of reviewing is genius at best, you've taken all aspects and positions of the starwhats, and provided relative outcomes to the story, your use of vocabularly truly pulled me into your thought process and gave me several angles on each dilemma that the Mugiwaras now face. I must say, I cant wait for your next review!!!

I love your Siggy, its my most favorite part on Hunter X Hunter, TAKE THE KING DOWN!!!!! You should definitely do reviews for HXH sometime.

haruka9
December 02, 2008, 12:56 AM
Blue Eyes: Wow. Thank you for that. And yeah....

:woo :party :beer Welcome Blue Eyes :beer :party :woo

You'll definitely enjoy being a member here. ^__^

Kaiser Will: Thank you very much :dance. I do believe that that bridge will put Robin into a major contemplation process while working with the slaves. I guess it's as meaningful as the Poneglyphs. The Shichibukai's fight in this war is one of the things that I am truly excited about. Their "alliance" is completely unlikely.

Dr. Vegapunk: Thank you so much ^__^. I am glad to know that my careful usage of vocabulary and my style of putting my thoughts into words have delivered my message properly. Thanks again. About my signature. That is one of my favorite panels in Hunter X Hunter's current arc. I actually have loads of favorite, but I decide to just use that as my signature. About the reviews.... Well, I actually did. I wrote a full length, "diagnostic recollection" of the Chimera Ant arc. It's like an "introduction" to my HXH chapter reviews. Then I did reviews on chapters 283, 284, 285. All of which (chapter reviews and the "introduction") are stored in Manga Reviews section. I stopped writing its chapter reviews though; I couldn't find any spare time to do so.

fallou
December 02, 2008, 01:43 AM
Well, I really had to put on a comment here,cause you're review's great. It's well written and it kind of helps make everything that's happening in OP much clearer in my head. Thx and keep it up