How's that for an eye-opener...!
Okay, I couldn't sleep, so I decided I'd take a crack at an One Piece review. I don't think I will be able to keep it up on a weekly basis in so much detail like this, but I'll try. I DO like OP - maybe not as much as Naruto or Bleach - but when the scanlations and translations are great, I have a lot of fun reading the often-zany and action-packed series.
To recap my experience with OP, I started reading it, like Naruto, in the pages of American Shonen Jump when the magazine started coming out at the newstands in 2002. I actually enjoyed OP right from the start, as I adored the opening chapter. I really liked Shanks' crew and how he saved Luffy from Higuma and the mountain bandits. But it has its ups and downs for me, more so than most manga I read.
For example, I loved when Zoro first appeared and assisted Luffy against Captain Morgan. (Zoro is still my favorite character.) I wasn't so crazy about the Buffy arc, but immensely enjoyed the Kuro arc. Then came the Don Krieg arc, which I hated (except for Sanji's flashback). After that was of course the popular Arlong arc, although I have to say I didn't like some parts of the final confrontation. After that, the series was so-so for me until the Alabasta arc, which I still firmly believe is the best arc in OP so far, though Skypiea comes close. You get the idea. I have a love-and-hate relationship with OP. I LOVE the imagination behind the story and the characters. I HATE that the Luffy fights often drag out so long. Honestly, if people thought the Sakura-Chiyo-Sasori battle in Naruto was too long...
But that's neither there nor here. Here goes my analysis of chapter 425, the latest part of this highly popular pirate manga.
Feel free to comment as always!
* * * Gold Knight's Ten Comments on One Piece Chapter 425: Struggle on the Bridge * * *
What, they didn't have to hunt any wild animals for dinner?
1. Barbarians on a Break. I usually comment on the covers first thing in my reviews, mostly to comment on the composition, although in One Piece it's usually a mini-storyline in its own right. Lately, though, Oda seems to have started doing a series of one-shots of how all the Skypiea arc supporting characters are doing these days. Last chapter, it was the girls that we had grown to know from that sky island: Conis, Aisa, and Laki, along with the gigantic snake, Noria, all off in the woods exploring a stretch of the floating island.
This time around we get a glimpse at the Shandian leaders, Wiper and Kamakiri, while they take a lunch break from what seems to be a reconstruction project - I suppose Enel did cause a lot of damage back there. Well, I suppose that they can't all be involved in a thrilling, heart-stopping sidestory like Django, Ace and others. I wonder if we'll be seeing how Enel is doing up in space next. Might he still be trying to reach the moon, thinking it the surface? That would be funny!
Shouldn't they be a little more concerned about the warships?
2. Destruction and Mayhem. Well, onward with the action. We see both Lucci and Luffy obviously worn out and bruised but preparing for another fierce clash, while Enies Lobby is crumbling all around them, thanks to the onslaught of the Navy warships.
The juxtaposition of their personal conflict with the obliteration of an entire island certainly set the tone for the whole chapter. Oda was clearly intending to make his readers worry about whether Luffy and his crewmates could manage to get out of Enies Lobby without having to deal with the Navy. All the while, Luffy's still having to stand against the menace of Rob Lucci, the sole survivor and the strongest member of CP9.
Lucky main protagonists never die.
That, of course, leads to a heightened sense of tension as Luffy's crewmates are watching the Bridge of Hesitation from their newly-acquired ship and waiting for their captain to rejoin them so that they can get out of there before everything gets blown to smithereens.
Talk about being between a hard place and a rock...! Warships on the one side, and Lucci on the other. Luffy has his hands full in this one. That leads us to our next question...
3. How to Get Out of This One...? How will Luffy's crew actually get out of there without being captured or (more likely) bombarded by the Navy? They're completely surrounded. Too bad their Sea Train had already crashed into the Tower of Justice.
I wonder if Yokozuna might still come to their assistance, despite having been fired at in the last chapter. He might have been able to dive into the water without being hurt - after all, he IS a giant frog.
If not, then Kokoro, that loveable ugly mermaid, may have to do some more swimming, dragging everybody along with her... I'm sure that won't be what will happen, though.
DEAD!!! They're all DEAD!!!
4. Mass Slaughter? Assuming that Yokozuna didn't save everybody before the Warships struck the main gate, and everybody died as was implied in this scene, Oda certainly out-did himself in terms of providing drama. If the Galley-la shipwrights (including Paulie, who I once thought would join the Straw Hat crew at some point), Franky's backers, Yokozuna, and the Giants all perished, we just saw a ton of characters go down. That doesn't happen very often.
And that leads me to think it didn't actually happen. That kinda thing is usually forbidden in Shonen manga - makes the kids cry, you see. But I do confess, either way, that I've now come to believe that Franky will be the next crewmate. He's had far too active of a part in the Enies Lobby arc not to be the newest member. So yes, I concede on that point. I still would have preferred somebody like Paulie, because I believe that Luffy's crew had enough "off-beat" characters (like Franky) on it already, but I guess it wasn't meant to be, even if he survived the cannonball. He was still too minor a player in this whole conflict.
Anyway, even though Franky's look here is one of pure shock, I have a strong feeling that it will be replaced by an expression of relief at some point as he finds out everybody's alive. Before then, I'm sure he'll have already decided to join Luffy's crew, as part of his atonement to them for treating Usopp so cruelly.
There's your lesson for the day, kids... don't get "busted" by the Navy.
5. We're All Bugs to Them! Seriously, no wonder Robin was so shaken at the mention of the Buster Call back when Aojiki first appeared. Yes, we already saw the flashback of how her precious home of Ohara was destroyed by the Navy, along with all her friends. But man, Enies Lobby was a government-endorsed island. If the Navy went all-out even on their own territory, then I sure as heck wouldn't want my home to be hit by them.
I found it interesting how Nami questioned if people really died so easily. Having been through all that she's been - seeing her own mother being killed at gunpoint by Arlong - along with her townspeople being terrorized by the Fish People, she should have known the answer already. I suppose she was just stunned by the firepower of the Navy, and her mind was just beginning to register that their allies had apparently all been slaughtered - but still, that was an odd comment coming from her. Robin's response was just like her, though. Indeed, the indiscrimination of the Buster Call was definitely not to the favor of Luffy's crew this day.
Uh, Franky? Luffy still hasn't forgived YOU yet...
6. C'mon Already! Though I know Franky didn't mean it this way, I totally agree with him that Luffy needs to just beat Lucci and GET out of there. I mean, he's already been battling with the leopard man since Chapter 409! Seriously, just how many times can a body, even a rubber one, take the force of a Shigan and survive? There are moments while I read the series where I have to suspend my beliefs for a longer while than I'd like, and this is a prime example of that.
Just for once, I'd like to see a Luffy battle finish as quickly as a battle normally takes for either Nami, Zoro, or Sanji.
Anyway, Franky has some nerve to say that Luffy should get out of there or he wouldn't "forgive" him. Franky and his Family are the reason they're all in this mess in the first place. If his dismantlers hadn't mugged Usopp and beaten him up, who knows - well, it may not have changed the fact that Robin would have allowed herself to be taken by CP9, but I still have a feeling things wouldn't have gotten so crazy.
7. Blow for Blow. Okay, back to the aforementioned Luffy vs Lucci battle currently in progress. We see Luffy doing some more of his trademark moves, and then we witness some amazing dodging techniques by both opponents. First, Lucci does his zig-zagging flying 'Kamisori' movement in order to dodge Luffy's punch, and then counter with a blow of his own.
That blow is then deftly avoided by Luffy sidestepping it, leaving a trail of steam in his wake once again. Seems like Luffy's 'Gear' mode's pretty good as a defensive method, too.
And then we have Luffy and Lucci squaring off, putting their respective strengths to the test. Luffy takes Lucci's punch with his palm without flinching, which is certainly an impressive feat. It's almost like watching another boxing match, though, only the opponent is much, much stronger than Foxy this time. Hah.
Can't we all just be friends?
8. Out with the Old, In with the New. Ehhh? If my memory serves me correctly... didn't Luffy use the 'Jet Pistol' on Lucci ALREADY in Chapter 418? Ah, yeah, he did.
If that wasn't going to work on Lucci's body while he was still in "human" form, then Luffy must have just been hoping to wear him down here. I wasn't surprised at all that Lucci was able to recover quickly and counter with something new - the Rokushiki Ultimate Attack: Six Bullet King. Tsk tsk. I think Lucci won that one.
I suppose Luffy's always been more about brute power than brains, but he sure should have tried something new himself.
9. Gift of Foresight? Heh, when Chopper mentioned that Luffy seemed to always sense who he would have to fight in order to save everybody else, I got this image in my head of him sitting in his cabin, happily scrutinizing a crystal ball.
Well, I suppose that's Luffy's biggest contribution to the crew, though. He did say once, to Arlong, that the reason he was the ship's captain was because he could protect everybody with his strength. I suppose that would include being able to know instinctively who to target in order to do that the best he could... so it stands to reason he'd know that Lucci would have been a deadly threat to his crew's safety. Powerhouses know their own, after all...
Heeeere they come...
10. To Fight Or Be Blown Up? Once again Oda reminds the readers at the end of the chapter that Luffy and Lucci are fighting in a very perilious situation, what with all the Warships surrounding them. And this time, now the Navy knows where they are!
Looks like, at least, the battle is finally closing to an end - either that, or it'll be the end of these two!
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars. Drama-filled chapter. A little more repetitive action than I would have liked, though. But I was glad that the Warships was drawing in closer, adding a little more excitement.
Predictions: Luffy defeats Lucci next chapter, I think. And the Warships start firing.
Credits: Thanks to Harrmd's scanlation, the images of which I used for this review. Be sure to download his work - he includes some very fine colored pages of older chapters!
Hope you enjoyed, and looking forward to seeing what you think!
Comment away, or suffer smelling Luffy's foot! :O