CHAPTER 530: FROM HELL TO HELL
Whew. I’m finally done from catching up with my review “backlogs” and I now head to reviewing the latest chapter of One Piece. My post is late, but I do hope you still appreciate my review.
Now it’s Usopp’s turn to feature his solo adventure. Unlike Luffy who basks at the pleasure of the breeze while riding a huge Atlas, he focuses on improving his physical skill with this Kung Fu Grasshopper, which reminds me of the same greeny insect in the movie Kung Fu Panda. The ambience that you get in this special cover is also similar to that film. I guess we just have to wait for the other Strawhats to showcase the kind of vacation they head to.
Getting Back and Getting Wild
These prisoners are on fire. Well, after being locked up for who knows how long has it been, then finding gods of salvation who will redeem them from the pits of hell and finally gaining their much-awaited freedom, the inmates will definitely go berserk with joy. It’s the time for them to get back at the gaolers who torture them…. Really, it’s like “The Longest Yard” déjà vu. Since these poor gaolers don’t have any proper means to discipline these rampaging monkeys, the confusion in Level Two grows bigger and crazier. The beasts who dominate in this Level are even absent, scared of their ramen-speaking boss which just got out from his territory. While this confusion drives the gaolers nuts, the freedom that the inmates are having may not last longer. Remember that these jailbreak league members belong to the same tier with Mr. 3, someone who can be beaten easily –given the corrective means and sufficient strength. In fact, a Level 2 mutant will be enough to silence them. The challenge only lies on how fast will the gaolers respond to this havoc.
On the other hand…. If there were a success that the leaders of Jailbreak League built, it was pinning Luffy as the mastermind of this chaos. Clearly, their members give their immeasurable thanks to Buggy, an indication that it’s the red-nosed Captain who sets them free. But it is Luffy who does the biggest destruction in Level Two, so all the attention is centered to him. And the gaolers continue to observe and analyze his actions in the Monitor Room, along with the idea that he has some hidden dark agenda for suddenly rampaging in this tightly-secured Level. It’s really time for them to take actions and show what they’re made of, otherwise the reputation they deeply care about will instantly collapse.
Perhaps it’s Garp’s doing that the gaolers uncover Luffy’s ulterior motive in charging and destroying Impel Down. Or maybe, it’s thanks to Kuma’s partly-factual report about the Thriller Bark incident that Sengoku grasps the Monkeys’ family background. But no matter, the tightness of the security established in Ace’s cell will be doubled and the gaolers who watch over him will then start anticipating the Strawhat’s arrival. And that means bigger trouble for Luffy. It’ll be quite understandable if the security team won’t inform Ace about his younger brother’s crazy stunt; that will create panic and disrupt the former’s silence. However, if Ace will learn about Luffy’s intention in risking himself just to save him, it’s most likely that his correspondent will be Hancock (well, if that is Vice Admiral Momonga will give them privacy). In any case, it’s quadruple trouble for Luffy. He’s currently in Level Three – just two floors away from Ace’s location (three if he’s in the rumored level), the gaolers are completely aware of his presence and his gaols, they will start to take actions to stop him and capture him, and it’ll be harder to reach Ace given that tighter security is going to be presented to him. So how the heck is he going to pull this off?
On the other hand, Sengoku is almost at his limits. This war against the Whitebeard frenzy drains him little by little and now that another stubborn boy suddenly appears in Impel Down – the same boy who charges at Ennies Lobby and punches a Tenryuubito, mind you – with the threat of freeing the most important prisoner in this great gaol, his distress just gets worse and worse. And while he gets burn out with these hitches, Garp is so freaking proud of his grandson, so happy that he’s made another world-class history! The entire situation, however, gives me the impression that Garp can still bask at his own senbei party. I don’t think Sengoku will send him to Impel Down and capture Luffy himself since the latter’s priority is still the Whitebeard crew. Since Garp’s credentials remain incomparable, he will need his utmost assistance in case the legendary crew starts to show their presence. Besides he can still rely on the gaolers’ magic, especially on Vice Chief Hannibal’s and Chief Magellan’s leadership skills. The only thing that bothers me is that Garp has expressed bits of contemplation as to how his grandson managed to intrude Impel Down without anyone noticing it.
Okay, this panel is quite juicy in terms of speculation. Another revelation of the history is shown, and this time, it’s Sengoku who shares his sentiment in regards with the matter of the past. It looks like Impel Down is not as hardcore as we think – or at least 20 years ago. It’s the time when a controversial flying pirate called “Kinjishi Pirate” managed to escape the walls of Impel Down. It’s not stated though, as to how they actually did it but the gaol was able to redeem its reputation by learning a lesson from it, since no one was able to follow the footsteps of this Kinjishi Pirates after. Perhaps the gaolers have tightened their security and have instilled new system of security that was far more effective than what they implemented prior to this controversial escape. But the things that are truly catchy in this incident are the pirate crew itself and the period where they made such a history. Perhaps the most remarkable event in One Piece that occurred 20 years ago is the bombardment of the Ohara Island, where its destruction is rooted at the sudden arrival of its famous archeologists. No one knows where and what exactly they’ve been through but their struggles against the Marines is quite palpable. It could be a coincidence; Nico Olvia’s group and the Kinjishi Pirates might be two entirely different stories. Or, these two groups might actually be related. In fact they could just be one team. Perhaps this Kinjishi Pirates was composed of archeologists from different parts of the globe (but most of them were from Ohara) or some of its members were residents of Ohara. It could be Saul was the head of the Marines who pursued their crew and that was when he learned about the crimes the World Government has hidden for the longest time.
If my first speculation turns more accurate (about the Ohara scholars and the Kinjishi Pirates being two separate groups and had to relation whatsoever) then this Kinjishi Pirates might be related to that group featured in the tenth movie of One Piece. I only watched its trailers and reiterated it. The trailer starts with Garp and Sengoku on the scene, conversing about a man from a distant past. Even Shanks knows him. Then Luffy says something about “Kinjishi” which literally means “golden lion” and throughout this clip, the name Gol D. Lion is emphasized. Is he an iconic leader? Is his crew named Kinjishi Pirates? Perhaps he is, given the hints are shown clearly. The idea that One Piece’s tenth movie is partly written by Oda-sensei himself brings loads of buzz that this is cannon. It’s not yet confirmed though. However, if this turns out to be cannon, then we can tie these missing pieces by watching the movie. Or maybe we can olve this puzzle faster in case the story of the Kinjishi Pirates is first revealed in the manga itself. It’s highly likely, especially when I think about Sengoku and Garp’s conversation about Gol D. Lion sprouting out of nowhere after many years. Besides Luffy addresses him as “kinjishi” so perhaps this is the same crew who first escapes Impel Down successfully and it is led by Gol D. Lion.
So the three-man team is down to Level 3 and that confirms my idea that Buggy and Mr.3’s plan to escape will eventually back fire. Much to their dismay, the environment of this area is too much, especially for Mr.3 who starts to sweat and like a candle given that his devil fruit power gives him candle-like nature. Perhaps he will be the one to suffer the most if his unintentional settlement goes longer. The unusually high temperature of Level 3, most commonly known as “Starvation Hell” comes from the steam of the immense inferno in Level 4. And sometimes, the steam is even more torturous than the fire itself since it drains you little by little. It’s like a very sticky leech who sucks the water in your body, and the more sweat you produce due to its scorching air, the more likely you end up getting dehydrated. Furthermore the inmates of Level 3 are given just a tiny plate of food to revive their energy and small amount of water to replenish them. I guess this explains why this area is very quiet when Luffy and the others fall down; the inmates no longer have the energy to move or even speak. Mr. 3 is right. You wouldn’t believe that the jailers here belong to the “above-average fighters” category. They already lose their spunk and strength to carry on.
Who would have thought that the commander of the big, bulky, scary Blugoris is a tiny, adorable cutie? This commander, Impel Down’s Chief Guard, is named Saldeath. I cannot express any possible allusion to this new character except some resemblances with Reborn from the shounen manga of the same title. Their size and their childlike physique are very similar. If there are differences you can spot on them, except on their roles in the stories (Reborn is a protagonist while Saldeath appears to be one of the villains of the arc), it’s the images that these cuties emit. While Reborn looks like a mafia member, Saldeath is like a cartoon version of Sherlock Homes. That suit, that sleek coat, and that hat surely look detective-ish and wings, horns, and trident are added to his over-all appearance to fit him in this Impel Down arc. I can’t tell if he can wield formidable force but this Blugori commander might fall into “small but terrible” category. However, he claims to be “gentler” compared to the four demon guards dominating the floors below Level 3. Perhaps there is limit to the terror that Saldeath can show. Even so, the manner of his speaking clearly exudes confidence and authority – essential characteristics that make him worthy of a great position.
Prior to the grand arrival of the Blugori Commander, Luffy, the Jailbreak League leaders, and even the Sphinx get captured by a kairoseki-made net. The apprehension is the manifestation of the gaolers’ speedy response to all the destruction that took place in Level 2. Hmmmm, looks like everyone is prepared to capture an escapee despite Impel Down’s 20-year peace and order, huh. In fact, the behavior of the gaolers show that they’re only waiting for the right time to bring down the net and capture the escapees; they only make their appearance after they apprehend Luffy and the others, with their combat skills and weapons ready. As for Luffy, well, he doesn’t seem to be troubled with Buggy and Mr.3’s revelation that they never have plans to stick with him until the end. His primary concern is Ace and I bet he’s already thankful for the (little) help that the two give him. But first, he has to find a way to escape from that steel-hard net.
Since everyone is preoccupied with the sudden appearance of the infamous Strawhat in Impel Down, the geezer-looking Sphinx is forgotten. But it is thanks to him that they all manage to get out of it when he wakes up and starts another extemporaneous act of his. As expected, Luffy provides all the front-line attack against the apprehending forces in Level 3. It would have been easier if the two back him up, but the two finally commence their plan to escape while all the gaolers put their attention to the rampaging Strawhat. I guess it’s too early to say that the leaders of Jailbreak League fall into another unfortunate account. But how will the two pull it off if every gaoler has doubled their guard? Like what Mr. 3 says, the staircase leading to Level 1 is covered with the anticipatory authorities. They can be outnumbered and battered if they charge there recklessly. And clearly, resting in Level 3 should not be an option. Since their situation is a double-edged sword and they do not have parallel strength with Luffy’s, all that they can do is to utilize their cleverness to the fullest. If they fail on this, they might as well go back to their prison cells on their own or perhaps, they might look for the strong and spirited Luffy….. and the situation of the two will once again, be a double-edged sword.
Bon-chan is in the house!!!! This ballet-loving, appearance-duplicating, okama-supporting friend of Luffy’s remains energetic and untarnished, despite the sweltering heat that covers the entire floor. And even the minimal supply of food and water doesn’t spoil his habit of counting in French and performing whimsical song and dance numbers. But now that he makes his appearance at the last page of this chapter, I can’t help but think that Mr. 2 (Bon Clay-sama) will also join the wacky gang of the two. If not, he might look for his old friend and give the latter the assistance he needs – just like the heroism he showed during the end of Alabasta Arc for the sake of their everlasting friendship. Despite Mr. 3’s disgust towards Bon Clay’s bizarre antics and Buggy’s shocked impression to him, it is undeniable that the two will need him. He’s the strongest among them, plus his copying skills will be quite helpful. The key to his prison cell is perhaps as reachable as the ones in Level Two so freeing him is going to be easy.
This chapter is filled with excitement and controversy. The Kinjishi Pirates that Sengoku mentions is something that really triggers my speculation prowess and curiosity. The Level 2 jailers might not experience the luxury of the limelight but the havoc that they will create will cause more ruckuses in the already-rowdy Impel Down. And above all, Mr. 2’s presence in this chapter creates more intensity in this arc. I am excited to see his contribution to this arc – the fun, the action, the heroism, the weirdness…. All of it. I am not suspending the idea that Buggy and Mr. 3will just leave him in his cell, and pretend that they don’t meet him. And when that happens, I bet Mr. 2 will start to make negotiations regarding his freedom and his possible contributions to the success of their plans. Hopefully Buggy and Mr. 3 will consider all the things that Bon Clay can do and invite him to their expanding Jailbreak League.
How will Luffy save Ace if everyone is tailing his movements and is trying to restrain him? He’s already spotted by the surveillance personnel and what makes it worse is that the gaolers have already uncovered his motive. With that, everyone will anticipate his movements and tighten their security to stop him from fulfilling his goal. That means more Blugoris, more kairoseki nets, more chief guards, and more new characters. I’m afraid Luffy will be forced to use his Gear Third if worse comes to worst and that, like what I said before, will cause him health problems. Since Buggy and Mr. 3 are out of the picture and are beginning their adventure with possibly Mr. 2, he has to make it on his own and deduce the next step by himself. That includes finding the right entrance to Level 4.
Luffy’s situation brings me into contemplating on Hancock’s current whereabouts. Chief Magellan made the impression last chapter that he would bring Hancock, Vice Admiral Momonga, and the rest of the top gaolers to Ace’s location by hanging up. But that doesn’t confirm if he actually does it. If, by chance, they remain in Level Four and Luffy manages to get there, Hancock and her apple of the eye will cross paths once again. And that means that the Strawhat Captain will finally encounter the two biggest bosses of Impel Down and at the same time, pretend that he hasn’t met the female Shichibukai yet. But how will Hancock help him?
Hancock’s current location is not yet confirmed and I’m not even sure if she’ll eventually meet Luffy in the scenario I pictured earlier. But one way or another, Hancock will assist her beloved so he can accomplish his goals safely. Mr. 2’s striking comeback, on the other hand, verifies the idea that this arc is also a special feature of the villains of the past and their present contributions to the adventure of the future Pirate King. Let’s have a quick recap: We meet Buggy in Level 1; Mr. 3 makes his appearance in Level 2; Bon Clay reappears in Level 3…. Does that mean we’ll encounter Mr. 1 Das Bones in Level 4?
On the other hand, I notice some patterns in this special Impel Down side arc. If my calculation is right, it takes two chapters to complete the account of the featured Level in Impel Down. For example Chapters 526 and 527 cover Level 1 (the Crimson Hell) and Chapter 528 and 529 cover Level 2 (Beast Hell). I also notice that at the end of the second chapter of the Prison Level’s double-feature, Luffy plunges into a new floor in Impel Down. To be more specific, let me explain it this way. Prison Level One is shown at Chapters 526 and 527. Since Chapter 527 (entitled “Crimson Hell”) is considered as the “second” chapter of this double-feature, Luffy plunges into a huge hole and enters Level Two. The same thing applies at the accounts that take place in Level 2. If the pattern will be applied to Levels Three, Four and Five then it will turn out like this: Chapters 530 and 531 will cover Level 3 (a.k.a Starvation Hell) and at the end of Chapter 531, Luffy will enter Level 4; Chapters 532 and 533 will cover Level 4, and at the last page of Chapter 533, Luffy will start to embark on Level 5; Chapter 534 and 535 will feature Level 5. But bear in mind that this idea is based on the pattern I notice from the past four chapters. The chances of this turning accurate lie on the application of the same pattern. (I’m not suspending the idea that this pattern will be broken since the tension and the controversy arise further as Luffy plunges deeper in Impel Down. It can be that a specific issue is given more emphasis than his adventure to save Ace, thus delaying his progress in a certain Prison Level).
This notion also brings me into thinking that the result of Admiral Kizaru’s massive arrest in Shabondy Archipelado will be revealed in this special Impel Down side arc – just a few chapters away. Their reappearance will depend on the level of their strength. For example the first four Supernovae that Kizaru fought (Basil Hawkins, Scratchmen Apoo, X Drake, and Urogue) are worth over 100,000,000 belli, so they might be imprisoned in Level 5 (assuming that they are indeed captured by Kizaru and let’s first set aside the idea of the rumored level ^__^). If the pattern I mention above applies in the next few arcs, then these four Captains may appear in Chapter 535. Or they may make their comeback at Chapter 536. This will also tell us about the status of Kidd and Law. Were they captured as well? Or did they manage to escape from the might of the Pacifista? Their dispositions will be revealed when Luffy goes to Level 5 (which I think will the most exciting chapter); they’re too important to be ignored in this account. He might meet them somewhere in Level 5, restrained in a prison cell in case they’re indeed captured. And if they are absent in this feature, then that means that these two big timers have beaten the Pacifista and are somewhere safe.