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Hi everybody. Sorry this is a bit late. Blame can be placed on Sai_the_Shaman as it so often can be. However, this is quite possibly the most review worthy chapter in a while so there is no way I’d put it off this time. Also, there is something I’d like to make a note of. First of all, since I’ll be back home in NorCal next week with my shitty family computer, I’m unsure if I’ll be able to get a review out next week. I’ll try, but there is a decent chance I won’t. The pics in this review come from Binktopia’s scanlation of the chapter and the title pic is another great piece by Ellinor87 over at DeviantArt, so stop by her page and gallery later.
As we continue with the CP9 cover arc this week, we see that the fight is over and Lucci now stands on top of the beaten and bloodied captain of the Candy pirates. As it can be seen by the disgusted and scared faces of the people behind him, they feel that the CP9 might have gone a bit overboard with the punishment for these pirates. While they likely feel grateful that the guys saved the town from the pirates, no decent human being enjoys the sight of a person being maliciously hurt beyond the point that they can’t fight back. While Lucci still has yet to kill the man, it is clearly apparent that the savage nature of his former life still beats within himself. Although the public nature of this latest action was not fitting with the policy of assassination, he joined the CP9 in the first place for the opportunity to kill and now has a guilty man he has the opportunity to punish how he sees fit. If he kills the man, he’ll be seen as a monster by the townspeople but he’ll be able to fulfill his urge to use death as punishment for criminals. If he shows mercy and lets the guys live, the people will accept his actions as heroic deeds. Although they are currently afraid of him after seeing his savagery in beating the pirate, their fear comes from the thought that if he goes any farther, he might actually kill the guy. Just seeing Lucci show mercy at this point will show the people that he can be trusted to fight for justice without killing. That alone will be a big step in Lucci’s growth, will lead into the CP9 being heroes and eventually take some position to defend the people.
At the end of last week’s chapter, the real Kuma appeared and made Zoro vanish out of thin air just as he had done to Perona. No one present knows how to deal with this latest twist. The Strawhats are very concerned with the issue of where Zoro disappeared to. Rayleigh is concerned because the odds against the Strawhats seem to have just diminished with the addition of a real Shichibukai to the enemy roster. Even the marines present are concerned with the appearance of Kuma since it means the Shichibukai is disobeying the government’s orders. No one expected him to be here and so his presence is a kink in a number of plans. When Franky questions if this is the real Kuma, Nami confirms it by announcing that he used the same technique on Thriller Bark to make Perona disappear. Luffy asks Sentoumaru what is going on while both maneuver around the rampaging Chopper and the fat axeman once again lets his tongue slip. Though he doesn’t know for sure, he knows through rumors that when Kuma uses this technique, the affected individual will fly through the air for three days and nights before returning to the ground. At the end of the three days, the person could land anywhere in the world. The paws basically reject the person’s existence on the world for three days. We can guess that the disappearing for 3 days part of this is accurate but the details are likely false due to both Sentoumaru only knowing the ability through rumors and Kuma not being one to share information about his power in the first place. Given later details in this chapter, I expect that we’ll find out the details of the ability straight from Kuma’s mouth soon.
Ctrl+F+U. If you understand this, you're cool
The story now turns to Usopp, Brooke and Sanji who are directly in between the real Kuma and the PX1 pacifista. Since Sanji here refers to Kuma as the third guys he’s seen with the same face, I guess I have to submit defeat to that little disagreement I had with a few of you readers in the earlier comments you made in my review last week. As Usopp and Sanji question what happened while yelling at Kuma for making Zoro disappear, the pacifista behind them doesn’t hesitate to continue his assault with a mouth laser. To the surprise of all, Kuma accuses the cyborg of getting in the way and makes him disappear just like Zoro. At this point, it is clear that Kuma did not come to help Kizaru take down the Strawhats as he is willing to remove the government’s own weapon. However, given that he just made Zoro disappear and that the Thriller Bark incident left only Zoro able to comprehend and trust him, the Strawhats give little thought to this action and instead continue fleeing. Sentoumaru is not happy with Kuma at this point though and tries yelling at the Shichibukai, but Kuma remains silent. I’ll get more into Kuma’s motivation later, but the basic gist of this action was removing threats that could have killed off the Strawhats. This is a goal that seems at odds with his job as a Shichibukai.
One by One
Though Luffy ordered his crew to flee, Brooke decides to help buy Usopp some time to carry Sanji away. Instead, Brooke simply becomes the next person for Kuma to use his vanishing ability on. Upon seeing this, Sanji regains fighting strength and attacks. However, rather than simply make Sanji disappear, Kuma uses his paws to deflect the kick and send the cook rolling on the ground. He likely can’t use both applications of his devil fruit at once. His parry deflection ability is used as a shield and he simply blocks the blow with his hand. The vanish ability seems to require a swing or thrust of his arm since he is not deflecting but applying a very strong repulsive force. He doesn’t use the vanishing technique as a counter attack. He always uses it while face to face with the victim. This is because it is not a technique for battle but rather one for ending a battle. As an honorable man, he feels that people must know when they are about to be hit with this. Similar to Zoro’s dislike of attacks to a man’s back, Kuma feels a match should end with both people facing each other. With Sanji out of the way, Usopp quickly becomes the next victim. As Sanji runs to resume the fight though, he too falls to Kuma’s ability.
As Luffy stares in disbelief at the disappearance of four nakama, Rayleigh continues his duel against Kizaru. Kuma suddenly appears beside Rayleigh and whispers something to him while asking the former Jolly Roger first mate to trust him. Apparently Kuma is having a moral crisis over something and his interference in the current situation is part of his effort to resolve it. I have always believed Kuma to be the embodiment of the noble Shichibukai. While not necessarily a pacifist, he definitely seems to have an aversion to needless bloodshed and a high regard for honor in battle. Since he was once a terrifying pirate known as the Tyrant, I assume that he uses his good deeds towards peace in the name of the Shichibukai as a way to atone for his past atrocities. Given this sort of personality, there are a couple reasons for him to act as he is now though both involve questioning the morality of the World Government’s intentions and actions. One option is that he does not feel right about the Strawhats being killed off. Not only are the Strawhats a positive force in the world but they have also gained respect in Kuma’s eyes due to Zoro’s sacrifice. Though as pirates Kuma likely feels they should at some point be brought to justice, they are too good to deserve the automatic execution that assaulting a Tenryuubito earned them. The other option I like more is that Kuma has been witness to some evil from within the World Government. Being that he is in the government’s employ and direct action would deprive him of a position from which he could do good, he needs outsiders to act in his stead. The Strawhats are the only outsiders he respects enough to trust with the task. This could be the basis of the major conflict this arc, but I see it as a broader goal. His intention here was to keep the Strawhats alive so that they can deal with the World Government’s internal evil later on in the New World. The focus of the current arc will still be the destruction of the racism and aristocracy surrounding Shabondy and Fishman Island. All Kuma did is remove the Strawhats from the World Government’s reach until they had recovered their strength and were able to use the Sunny to continue their journey. With this in mind, I fully expect that the Strawhats will return to either Shabondy or Fishman Island after the three days are up. Though Sentoumaru said he didn’t expect the Strawhats to land back there, Kizaru likely suspects Kuma’s intentions and will wait around for them to return. Before that though, the next chapter or two will likely revolve around Rayleigh and the remaining Supernovae as the government decides what to do now that the main targets have disappeared.
this makes Kuma my favorite Shichibukai (even cooler than Mihawk)
Following Kuma’s discussion with Rayleigh, Kizaru inquires Kuma as to what is going on, but the Shichibukai uses official language to explain that he has no intention of answering the admiral. The Strawhats though are still ignorant of the apparent good intentions Kuma has for them and continue attacking. Luffy goes gear 2 as a direct challenge to him, but he ignores the captain for now and instead appears before the fleeing Nami and Franky. As Franky attacks, he once again neglects to immediately use the vanishing ability and instead waits until Franky’s offensive is over. Luffy dashes to help them but is too late as Kuma deflects his punch and then proceeds to make both Franky and Nami disappear. The Strawhat captain continues to get more frustrated and more emotional as his crew keeps disappearing but in his wearied state, Kuma is too fast for him and every attack ends in Luffy rolling on the ground. Kuma then goes after the next group of Strawhats and moves over to Robin and Chopper’s location. As the rampaging Chopper raises his arm to attack Kuma, the Shichibukai moves faster and vanishes the giant reindeer. He then turns to Robin, who tries to run away but is caught up to immediately and vanished with a hand to her face. At this point, Luffy’s entire crew has disappeared and he has apparently given up hope. This is without a doubt the low point in Luffy’s entire life. He had to stand and watch helplessly as his entire crew was taken from him before his very eyes. The most depressing part of it is that he felt that he could do nothing to stop it. As Luffy cries for his own worthlessness, Kizaru contemplates the political ramifications of Kuma’s interference since the Strawhats were supposed to be killed. Rayleigh on the other hand silently tries to figure out if he should have trusted Kuma. If he is to believe the Shichibukai, he can trust that all the Strawhats will be safe and Kuma’s actions were vital to let them continue their journey. The flip side though is that while he focused on Kizaru, he let Kuma end the Strawhat pirates without raising a hand to stop him. In the end though, Trusting Kuma is the only chance he has at this point of believing that the Strawhats will be alright and so he’ll foce himself to trust the Shichibukai’s word. Finally, Kuma walks up to Luffy and announces that the will never meet again before vanishing him too. This final statement can be interpreted to mean “I have done all I can for you.” He seems to trust that by saving them here, they will eventually find their way to help his goal on their own. He cannot offer any more assistance to them as he has not saved them from a government ordered death sentence twice. He expects that either his punishment for these deeds will be his own death or will at least be severe enough so that he can no longer be allowed the opportunity of interacting with the Strawhat crew. He offers no apology to Luffy for the anguish his actions have caused since doing so would only validate Kizaru’s suspicions that these actions were to save the pirates. Once the Strawhats fall though, I’m guessing that Zoro’s unique view of Kuma’s version of mercy will allow him to comprehend the Shichibukai’s actions and will improve the crew’s view of the man.
bwahahaha!!! What is Oda thinking now?
As I said, I expect Oda to not go directly to three days later and instead focus on others such as Rayleigh and the Supernovae. This will mostly be about dealing with the marines now that he main targets are gone. I’m still undecided on whether or not I believe Rayleigh or the Supernovae will be arrested or not. I think it is likely that at least Rayleigh won’t be so that he can continue work on the Sunny in preparation for the Strawhats’ return. As for the Supernovae, I expect a more varied result as some may evade capture, some might escape, and some may be caught. I do have a thought for once the Strawhats return though. I said I expect them all to land nearby since Kuma wants them to continue journeying, but I expect them to land in different places and remain separate for a while. Once the Strawhats fall back down, keeping them on separate groves for a time would give Oda a supreme opportunity to focus on Luffy’s first real depressive state as he deals with emotions of perceived solitude and helplessness for the first time. The Supernovae, though not acting as the true allies I wanted them to be at the start of the arc, could act as temporary partners for the scattered Strawhats. I at least expect Luffy to have some time alone with Kidd as the two captains help each other and gain respect for one another. As I’ve said from the very beginning, I also fully expect some interaction between Robin and Drake as the two discuss the truth behind Vegapunk’s role in the World Government. Also very likely is Chopper temporarily allying with Law. The furry beast theme of Law’s crew along with the possibility of Trafalgar actually being a doctor allows our Strawhat reindeer a chance for development and possibly some enhanced use of his monster point. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Oda will cleanly pair up each Strawhat with a supernova since I expect some to be captured and it is likely that at least a couple of the Strawhats will meet back up quickly. Other than the three I already mentioned though, any remaining pairings with a supernova would have a lesser meaning and would likely be more comical in nature (I hope to laugh at a Brooke and Apoo pairing).
This chapter was pure Oda unpredictability through and through. Given all the focus on Zoro whenever Kuma is involved and the unknown nature of Kuma’s vanish ability, last chapter led us to believe something way different. For me, the best thing about the chapter is that it reinforced the idea of Kuma being the noble warrior among the Shichibukai who is willing to reject his superiors for a cause he feels to be morally right. Ever since I have first analyzed Kuma’s character on Thriller Bark, this is the type of man I believed him to be and am so happy that Oda continues to characterize him as such. Also, the disappearance of the Strawhats for a couple chapters allows us to view more fully the stories of the awesome characters Oda has introduced for this arc such as Rayleigh, Caimie, Law, and Drake, all of whom have great potential for development in the arc. On a final note, this twist has finally given me an opportunity to return to ally theories for the Supernovae, which I deeply enjoy.
Like I said in Haruka's review, I don't think that kuma will be punished, or if he is, it won't be harsh (assuming he stays a shichi)
1. the WG needs him: both for research on pacifistas, and to also help fight off Whitebeard
2. It seems very hard to actually get removed from the shichi. considering that crocodile, doflamingo and moria are/were all involved in some sort of illicit activity after their appointment.It seeoms that crocodile only got booted out for dealing with the ancient texts( a major crime) and starting a rebellion against a member of the WG (a major crime), while getting caught red-handed.
3. it seems that the WG doesn't really care what the shichi do on their off time, I seriously doubt that they would have wanted mihawk chasing off after some nobody like krieg, or having moria essentially trap people in the florion triangle for eternity (they knew people were disappearing in the triangle, I assume that they knew moria was in the triangle, and they knew his abilities, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't put 2 and 2 together).
while they seem to turn a blind eye to doflamingos human auctions, most likely do to some combination of tenryuubito interest and him being a shichi
4. if worse comes to worse, kuma could (I'm assuming he doesn't have some sort of "truth programming" here) lie his ass off, especially since only he knows where they are right now. he could always say that he sent them somewhere that there was no way to survive.
Wow! Nice analysis on Kuma, now that you point it out, I can see how noble of a character he represents. His actions make me wonder what the WG is going to do about it, and also what the Tenryubito will do now that the Marines have failed them. Should be some really world-changing stuff coming up soon, what do you think?
@shoe - good points about Kuma not getting removed as a Shichibukai. my thought is that they would not even consider just removing him as Shichibukai. he knows too much and he is increasingly becoming a troublemaker in their eyes. as you point out though, in the current situation, the loss of a Shichibukai would be damaging to both their military strength and the moral of the forces. what will likely happen is that he will be sent directly into battle against Whitebeard. the government's intention will be to keep him as far away from the Strawhat situation as they can since that is seemingly the only matter he has been causing problems with multiple times. he'll still do his job against Whitebeard and so that is where they will send him and keep him there to prevent him from getting any more chances to help these pirates he is sympathetic to
@ninjaa - we know that some world changing stuff will happen soo with Ace's execution and the Whitebeard war. however, i think that for the most part, the rest of this arc will deal primarily with the aftermath of the Kizaru/pacifista/Kuma raid and the destruction of the aristocrasy in Shabondy and Fishman island. the world changing stuff is on the horizon, but it will stay there at least through the end of this arc
Nice review as always Sahu. So much for this being the Jaya arc of the New World. By the time we get to Fishman Island, it'll just be like a "HI!" and then leave type of arc. The only I will not enjoy in these next few weeks will be the huge brooding/emo attitude that will come from the straw hats. Bring out your rooster heads (Sasuke reference), your My Chemical Romance albums, and you eyeliner (guyliner for the boys), It's emo time.
Really was a great chapter this last week and now the story is preety much wide open for anything to happen
preety much agree with all you said
found this chapter quite action packed and seriously anything can happen from wb vs shichi starting that arc
or law or kid
unlikly but he may not skip 3 days but he migt at the end of the next chapter give us a glimps of where everyone is wether its in groups or alone
Oda done well to open up the story but it does seem fishman island arc may not be that far important, but im sure oda can keep these sort of chapters up as long as he doesn't try rush the story
I can't remember how many times after reading an OP chapter i wait for you to post your review...especially for this super awesome chapter.
while others in another discussion trying to figure out where the SH teleported or whom they'll meet and how they gonna be power up after this defeat, which i kinda agree with the idea if Kuma considered SH wasn't strong enough to face an admiral class enemy he'll just sent them to meet Dr.Vegapunk for this reason...by power up i don't mean by lame thing like training, but simply to gain knowledge about their own power, like how to use your DF to its full potential, tuning up Franky's cyborg body, Clima Tact and even Ussop's weapon.
But your "Supernovae teaming up with scattered SH" is something that i think will really fit in this situation, since we don't really know what happened with all the supernovae.
"I at least expect Luffy to have some time alone with Kidd as the two captains help each other and gain respect for one another" i'm with you on this...it'd be hundred times better than Goku + Piccolo pairing for the first time in DB (but i personally think that Luffy + Kidd would be like Goku + Freeza since i see kid was so much like Freeza , but it never happens anyway)
@MAX_COLA_POWER! - it has turned out that i was wrong about my initial prediction of this being an arc reminiscent of Jaya/Skypiea, but it has turned out even better in my opinion. as for the SH depression you apparently dislike, i on the other hand welcome it. there is a world of difference between an emotional chapter in a character's life and the character actually being emo. the first is a necessary thing for most well written characters and especially those who are generally upbeat and carefree. the character faces despair and must search inward to find some truth in his journey that brings him back to the light and when he does, he is stronger than before. this is not to be confused with becoming emo, which is the conscious determination to stay miserable despite all the happiness that life offers you along the way.
@neomaster121 - as you said, Oda has really set up a situation where anything can happen at this point. he could follow any number of side plots from the Strawhats to the people on Shabondy to the combatants in the global conflict. i'm inclined to belive we'll get a few small looks into the multiple non-Strawhat side plots along with an overview of the war with Whitebeard finally starting and how it is rocking the global community. we'll get back to the Strawhats at the end of next chapter at the earliest, end of the third chapter from now at the latest.
@bebekhappy - I don't think Kuma's actions here had too much do do with comparing their strength to Kizaru's or Vegapunk's. even he admitted to Rayleigh that he was unsure of his own actions being the right call. it was more a matter of desperation and the Strawhats being the only shot he had at eventually resolving his crisis. him saving them here was more about giving them a chance to move forward, which they would not get if Kizaru and the pacifista hunted them down for three days. it is true that Luffy is likely not strong enough yet to face an admiral or Vegapunk, which Kuma knows. that is why sending them into the heart of the New World as a shortcut would be more deadly than their current situation as there are more such people there waiting. his best bet is to send them right back to Shabondy where Rayleigh can help them and hope that the government assumes he sent them to the New World.
to expand on the statement that i still don't believe Luffy to be at Kizaru's level (even if he exploits the weaknesses of the pika pika no mi i pointed out in my previous review), it just goes to support the idea that in order to win, the Strawhats MUST cooperate with the supernovae. Luffy can prove his own solo strength against Admiral Akainu (or Smoker) in a New World arc, but for now, a combo with Kidd to take down Kizaru would be unique, entertaining, and plausible. i'm in full agreement wit you that a pairing of Luffy and Kidd would be one of the greatest rival partnerships ever. i'd personally also say the same for Robin and Drake, who lack the Luffy/Kidd pair's potential for battle destruction but make up for it in the greatest union of minds ever to figure out the secrets of the World Government
You're right Sahu. Even though I may dislike what may happen to the gang, it has to happen in order for them to be even stronger, and not by training either. I just said all of that because I'm just picky and don't wanna see them outside of their usual, cheerful personalities. I bow to your Godly knowledge*bows*<<<see? bowing, as do many, if not all of the users here^^.
Well, at first I was a little disappointed that this wouldn't be a Zoro arc. (He's my favorite Strawhat after all), but Oda doesn't make these twists for no reason. There's no doubt in my mind that it will come together fantastically.
As for recent events... I think we're gonna see some introspection from good ol' Luffy. Losing his entire crew is devestating to him, and if he traces it back, it was his recklessness that ultimately brought this fate upon his crew. Obviously the rest of the crew won't hold it against him, but time alone may give him a chance to comprehend just what being in the New World really means. It's rare we see anything but "Rah rah let's kick some ass" from Luffy, so it should be interesting!
Also, I didn't think of the possibility you brought up of some Strawhat + Supernovae interaction now that they're seperated, and I must say, I really like the idea. Nothing says character development like being out of your usual element, and hanging out with new people. Also... Brooke and Apoo, BONE-afied musical hilarity! Yohohohoho!
Though... "Whoever he poofs goes flying for 3 days and 3 nights" + "it'll take 3 days to coat the ship man!" = wait... a little TOO convenient! Wonder what'll happen to The Dark King. I mean... he's been left in a pretty crappy situation!
Back to the forums for the while.. Very nice review, but I won't reply on it since the 514th chapter is already out, so it's kinda out of relevance now. It sure is very nice seeing all of the popularity the OP forums have lately, both in the discussions and in the many reviews here, by many people. I'm thinking of making a special review tomorrow, but i'll see if I have enough time.
Anyways, awesome work as always, and I'm looking forward to the current chapter's review, which will probably be shorter than usually..