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View Full Version : Review Haruka's One Piece Review: Chapter 531



haruka9
February 07, 2009, 10:41 AM
CHAPTER 531: LEVEL THREE, THE STARVATION HELL

…. Finally manage to go back to reviewing on a regular basis. But before I start my chapter review for this one, let me just share my idea about a certain matter which occurred last chapter…. This is about Sengoku’s brief statement in regard’s with Kuma’s report. During his conversation with Garp, he voiced out his disappointment to Kuma since he expected that the latter actually eliminated the entire Strawhat crew. This made me into pondering on Kuma’s surprising appearance at Shabondy Archipelago. Perhaps Kuma was ordered to “eliminate” the Strawhats to make up for his mission debacle at Thriller Bark. Back then, the Gorusei asked him to annihilate all of them to prevent any living evidence from spreading the news about Gecko Moria’s downfall. However, it was thanks to Zoro’s admirable resolve that Kuma came back to his superiors empty handed. And because the Strawhats made another record-breaking brawling at Shabondy, Kuma’s “boss” (could be Sengoku or the Gorusei), saw it as an opportunity to complete that mission. So Kuma was sent there to disclose his unfinished business with the Strawhats and “eliminate” them. Prior to the release of last chapter, “From Hell to Hell,” I had the impression that Kuma went there on his own terms…. That he wanted to help the Strawhats to avoid their gigantic battle against the Pacifistas, Sentoumaru, and Kizaru without making it look apparent (he needed to remain unpredictable and mysterious to make his status more secured). But I changed my mind after learning of Sengoku’s disappointment.

Moving on to my real review….


http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1108/firstrp4.jpg

Chopper remains cute and cuddly while he gets busy with his paper craft. That crab who holds his art reminds me of Scissors, famous for his speed and “ero power.” The friend of Eyelashes, he helped the Strawhats reach Alubarna by carrying them at his gigantic shell. Interestingly enough, Chopper is holding scissors in this picture.


Biker Chick
http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/7047/secondve9.jpg

Another interesting character appears on this chapter. This time, it’s the feisty-looking Chief Guard who rather looks like a biker chick, adored by guys who want their woman to wear black leather clothes while whipping their submissive behinds as she basks at the prerogative of being dominant (if you get my drift….). Her name is Sadi-chan and she is quite pleased for her sadistic nature (perhaps “Sadi” is derived from “sadism?”) Her horns and trident follow the “hell theme” of this arc, her candle earrings are interesting, but really…. Her spiky outfit makes her look like a member of Kidd Pirates. Thanks to the suffix “chan,” her sadistic, dominant, rough, and tough image is toned down. And what’s with the Koala?

Anyway, her torturous nature is something we should look out for. Since she takes pride of her sadistic side, she must be an expert when it comes to bloody combats. I have to admit it’s too early to predict her real strength; for all we know, she’s a devil fruit user too. But we can at least anticipate that her fighting style incorporate torturous antics that will make her victim fall into painful submission. The Koala, on the other hand, is either her pet or another chief guard who is yet to make his official appearance.


Surprise Visitor
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So Chief Magellan actually chose to respond over Hancock’s wishes than his subordinates’ call for assistance. After Vice Chief Hannibal’s grand (and funny) introduction to the Pirate Empress, the inmates who are locked in the same level as Ace start to show their boisterous admiration for her unparallel beauty. However, their reaction towards the prison chiefs’ presence is in fact the opposite. These people are classified as top fighters and have gained immense infamy in their respective ways, so having the audacity to express their disgust and addressing him disrespectfully are all natural. The noise they create is something that can be seen in an actual prison, where inmates make such a huge deal upon seeing a person from the “outside world.”

And so, Hancock and Ace finally meet. His question manifests his bewilderment in regards with her purpose. While it’s no surprise that he is visited by his iconic grandfather, the presence of a Shichibukai and the desire to meet him, are rather, unthinkable. Yes, he is treated as the “trigger” of an incident gigantic enough to shake the records of history, yet there must be something that a Shichibukai like herself would go into the fiery pits of Impel Down for him. This is why Ace first asks her about her purpose…. Then finds himself surprised after realizing that Hancock wishes to depart already. This Shichibukai must be nuts.

But Ace and the other nameless prisoners are not the only ones who meet the infamous beauty. Crocodile and Jimbei are also there, the people who used to share similar status as hers. Jimbei expresses his disgust towards Hancock’s response to the World Government’s call. To him, only a person of pure greed will fight the Whitebeard – unable to uphold the true sense of justice just so she can secure her Shichibukai status. While this justice-fighting fishman questions her sense of honor, Crocodile remains silent. He is perhaps, too busy contemplating to say anything.


Poisonous Attack
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The prisoners keep on giving him names while they animatedly praise the Empress’s beauty. Hancock already expresses her “fear” towards the “degenerates’” continuous adoration over her majestic physique. And Chief Magellan finally explodes on anger, his patience vanishing. As a result, he brings his frightening Doku Doku beast to life, brings it in action, and attacks the poor inmate mercilessly. This beast is a three-headed dragon, bursting with poisonous bubbles. One of the astounded prisoners addresses it as “freaking hydra” and once again, a mythical creature is introduced. The first Doku Doku technique that Chief Magellan shows us is his venomous interpretation of Hyrda, a terrifying mythical monster of Greek origin. Famous for serpentine body, numerous heads, poisonous breath, and resistance to any sort of attack, Hydra is one of the 12 Labors of Heracles. Although Chief Magellan’s hydra has only three heads (who knows, maybe the chief can even multiply its number depending on his liking), it promises such a frightening power. Aside from that, he shows his authority and power over these inmates as he changes his mood from a Hancock-swooning fanboy into a fearsome Impel Down leader. I guess this is just a tiny portion of what Domino mentioned few chapters ago. One thing that stands out for me though is Hydra’s ability to get passed the cells. Aren’t those made of kairoseki? Or maybe, the prison cells are not entirely made of the famous sea stone – that there are other components incorporated to it to make it much impregnable. If that’s the case, then that explains why Luffy, Buggy, and Mr. 3 didn’t feel weak when they were captured by the net.


His Emotional Response
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I was smiling when I read the part where Hancock told Ace about Luffy’s presence in Impel Down (forgive me; it is quite seldom that my speculations get right ^__^ and congratulations to those who thought the same ^__^). As soon as I realized that she will be accompanied by Vice Admiral Momonga and the rest, I knew that she would be talking to Ace in code. Since her brief visit to Ace’s cell is mainly to serve as his correspondent, she needs to conceal her real message into something that Ace can only decipher. So Hancock wittingly uses the brothers’ closeness to tell that Luffy is there to save him. I really like Ace’s “stoned” expression as soon as he learns about his younger brother’s disposition. It is something that you can see from a very caring sibling. And it even looks like Jimbei knows him. From Ace’s sharing of his personal life, perhaps this fishman has a grasp of what Luffy is like. And knowing that the former has a good character judgment, perhaps he can help Luffy when he and his crew finally embark on Fishman Island. But before that happens, the Strawhat has to beat all the odds to make his elder brother safe. On the other hand, Jimbei’s remark regarding Luffy’s intrusion to Impel Down is not a form of degradation to the latter’s way of thinking. In fact, you can find sense of concern and even tad of admiration from his comment. It is truly dangerous for the Strawhat Kid to charge at this gaol amidst the chaos and danger and carry on alone, and yet, it is extremely impressive that he is willing to do all of this just to save Ace.


Reunion
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This panel makes me overjoyed (I’m really sorry. This is one of the raaaare moments when my speculation turns accurate). Mr. 2 is finally out of his cage and what’s make it more amazing is that he goes out to meet his old friend. He initially appears before Luffy as Zoro to imply that he is someone the latter knows. With that, bewilderment and bickering will be avoided. As soon as “Mane Mane Zoro” starts pirouetting like a crazy ballerina, Luffy instantly realizes that the person before him is not his firstmate. Their teary reunion is something that we should expect from them, especially when their friendship was tested for a few times (during the Alabasta fight and when Hina tried to apprehend them). Because Mr. 2 has been residing in Impel Down for quite some time, he gathered many pieces of information about the interiors of Impel Down. His knowledge in this crazy labyrinth will help Luffy find his way to his brother’s location without getting lost. (He badly needs this since his poor sense of direction is next to Zoro’s.) Furthermore, the Strawhat Captain will no longer need to exert so much effort since Mr. 2 is ready to back him up with his strong combat skills. What makes this even more exhilarating is Mr. 2 Bon Clay’s desire to meet someone – an inmate whose location is similar to Ace’s. And the person who is closest to possibility, I think, is Crocodile. While there is a chance that this mystery inmate is someone different – someone who hasn’t appeared on the series yet, it’s highly plausible that this prisoner is his former boss since he’s the only one (we know) that had connections with Bon Clay.

His appearance and his joyful cooperation with Luffy are the result of his successful persuasion. Buggy and Mr. 3 must be really intent of declining any possibility of his membership to their league despite Mr. 2’s future contributions. But maybe, he’s able to talk to them and convince them. Nevertheless the two must have freed him so they take advantage of Mr. 2’s loud fights…. If the gaolers focus their attention to Luffy and Bon Clay, they will be able to successfully sneak out.

The Spectacle:http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/861/thespectacleoj9.jpg

This chapter gives me long period of laughter and smile. All the humor inserted here makes my stomach hurt from laughing. Vice Chief Hannibals’ ambitious wants, his occasional cooperation with the inmates in giving Chief Magellan rude names, and his party-ish introduction to Hancock are extremely hilarious. But seriously, Ace’s realization of Luffy’s presence in the great gaol is utterly powerful. His stoned expression truly manifests his feelings upon learning that Luffy has risked the smoothness of their bond just so he can assure that his elder brother is safe. He is worried and scared, and maybe even angry that his imprisonment not only puts his crew into further danger, but his younger sibling has also taken such a greater height for his sake. I remember his conversation with his grandfather. He looked like he came into terms that his death would pave way to his Captain’s achievement of the title Pirate King and the safety of his crew. He settled with such thought but still found himself disturbed and concerned about Garp’s anticipation of the gigantic battle between the Marines and the Whitebeards. But in reality, it doesn’t stop there. The chagrin that he feels towards himself might grow bigger. His failure and his inability to fulfill his responsibility have also affected the person he deeply cares about. Just imagine what he’ll feel when Luffy is apprehended and gets tortured because of him.

The Downside:http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/7003/thedownsideik6.jpg

The “spectacle” in this chapter turns out to be a conflict as well. Learning about Luffy’s presence and his goal in charging at Impel Down will put him into another emotional stress. Ace is locked and restrained in a small corner of his cell while Luffy puts his hardest to save him. He’s already troubled from failing to complete his mission and later, tarnishing the name of the Whitebeard crew. And to make it worse, he cannot do anything to stop and even help his younger brother from falling into the gloomy pits of Impel Down. How he’ll cope with his inner conflicts will test his true strength. We already spotted his thinning resolve when Garp visited him. Hopefully, Ace will regain everything that he lost during his imprisonment and will start to show his real strength as the story progresses.

Final Notes:http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/2728/finalnotesyt0.jpg


And so Buggy and Mr. 3 are out of the picture. But I do believe that it’s not the “end” for them. Perhaps we’ll meet them again when they reach the result of their conniving plans. The same thing goes for the result of the inmates’ wildness. On the other hand, Ace shows another remarkable character development in this chapter. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s manifested in just a single panel, yet you can find the entire message there. Things just get more exciting, more intensifying, and more thrilling as this arc progresses. There will be more fresh characters will pop out and new interesting things will be featured in Impel Down. Luffy and Bon Clay’s reunion is a breath of fresh air. I guess we’ll see more of them as they go deeper into Levels 4 and 5. I can’t wait to see their adventure.

Blue Eyes
February 08, 2009, 05:43 PM
Wow. You spent quite a time to work through the last month of releases. Thank you! :)

Edit: I posted this to give you fast resonance, even before i read the threads. To be honest, i posted only because i was amazed at how fast you got the reviews done and to say thanks. Now i finished my dvd, and i read what you wrote.

This time i have to say "thank you" again, but with a different meaning. This "thank you" goes to the sheer depth of what you wrote. It is amazing. Let alone your thoughts about the Basilisk and Mr. 3, are far more than i ever read about these chapters in weeks of apforums and other places.

So let me say: Thank you, for your excellent work! :-)

haruka9
February 12, 2009, 10:26 AM
Wow. Thank you for that comment. It is deeply moving for someone like me to receive such a comment like yours, Blue Eyes. As a reviewer, it gives me boost and it encourages me to do better and work harder ^__^

AllezFlex
February 12, 2009, 06:13 PM
The one-piece reviews are the sole reason for me, that i registered on Mangahelpers. Just to support the reviewers, for giving us every week there terrific reviews. Wich are far more in depth then those posts on the discussion topic.
Wich are most of the time nothing more then random shouts about something they thought of. There are a few who try to go in depth but their voice is quickly drowned by the mass ^^.

Long story short, keep up the good work ;)
I enjoy reading the reviews.