View Full Version : Haruka's One Piece Review: Chapter 537

March 30, 2009, 05:35 AM

I’m finally back. After missing two reviews, I plan to really make it up to you by posting three chapter reviews in this post. But I notice that the current chapter can easily overpower the previous events, which may then put it in an indifferent status. With that, I will focus more on this chapter. Nevertheless, I’ll include some specks of space-worthy issues illustrated in Chapters 535 and 536. I don’t want those stuff to go to waste, do I? ^__^


This is the newest corner in my review. Like what the name suggests, this corner will discuss about the previous accounts that take place in the last chapter. I won’t spend large space for this though, nor write about it regularly. This section is exclusive for my missed reviews. I will feature only the best/most important part on the said chapter, then I’ll proceed to my regular reviewing. Since I missed two chapters, I will spend some spaces for it.

Chapter 535: Friends

Maybe I get carried away by his promising improvement and overestimate him. Heck, I don’t even think that the Chief’s a real pro whereas Luffy is still a rookie. His defeat is similar to his fight with Crocodile and Enel. He faces two opponents who possess higher amount of strength than him, leading him to taste defeat. I guess his downfall is necessary not only to add intensity to this arc but more importantly, to teach him a lesson. He needs to grow up – like how he acquires his maturity from those battles. He is then sent to Level 5. Contrary to previous prison levels, Level 5 is freezing cold. It appears like a stupendous fridge is inserted in its interiors. You can some of these prisoners, who are big-time pirates get frozen. Perhaps the climate here is just beyond the freezing point, capable of putting those reaaaally strong pirates like a frozen ice cream. I wonder if Chopper can endure this. Anyway, Luffy is sent here. He doesn’t even feel the coldness due to the excruciating poison. With Chief Magellan’s conclusion about his condition, it looks like Luffy is in a tighter pinch. But if there were a good thing that their fight established, it would be the Chief’s respect for the Strawhat Captain’s determination and strength.

Chapter 536: The Freezing Hell

One of the most moving moments in One Piece (I hope the anime can pull the same amount of drama as the series does). The stress, the fatigue, the coldness, and the wounds have affected Bon-chan so immensely that he can no longer fight decently. Before he even frees Luffy from his cell, he is already drenched in blood. Then he gets surrounded by larger number of wolves. The fight becomes much crucial since he HAS to beat them all of them and protect Luffy at the same time. His triumph over these crazy creatures is extremely necessary since he is only several steps away from the possible location of Iva-san. Luffy on the other hand manages to get on his feet and wield his own Haki to beat them in a matter of seconds. I like how this moment is drawn in panels. The shadow, the close-up shots, the blood, the expression…. Though fighting a bunch of wolves is a bit silly, the way these two demonstrate their heroism and friendship is really moving. Oh wait. Another character appears. A new one. A mysterious one. A whimsical one. Is this snow queen/butler looking stranger the Okama Queen? If he is the infamous Iva-san then he must have worked such a miracle on his physique. Clearly, he is no longer that curly-haired shadow we saw back then. But if he/she is a new character, then his/her contributions in this story are intriguing. Perhaps the next chapter will showcase the two gaining consciousness and that stranger revealing his/her role in the arc. He/she is either a villain or an ally. But hopefully, he/she is the latter one; the two can’t afford to have another enemy, eh?


After the muscle-building Brooke and the machine-inventing Franky, the entire Strawhats are once again featured on the cover, enjoying the Hanami. The first two pages are similar to this, only that they are riding a very innovative interpretation of Dumbo. I really enjoy looking at them in colors, especially in the manga, but I start to yearn for a feature that will present sufficient justice to the front cover. The past covers showcase the other Strawhats doing random stuff – just having fun with privileged animals. I repeat: they are just doing random stuff and this clearly doesn’t give us a breath of fresh air. I have nothing against it, but perhaps, it would be better to see them doing more important things…. Like…. what they’re actually doing in the islands Kuma sent them off to…. Oda-sensei has proven that he can vividly narrate a story without those balloon thingies. That in spite of the lack of conversation, a character can still demonstrate his/her actions with (readable) gestures and facial expressions. Rather than seeing the Strawhats already achieve their goals in that islands (i.e. Usopp learning the skill behind Heracles-kun’s attack and Robin finding out them mystery behind that bridge) at the end of this arc, it’s waaaay more remarkable to follow them reach their aims in all actuality. I mean, it would be appalling if we see them at the end of this arc all gathered and pimped, without witnessing how they actually transcend. But maybe Oda-sensei has plans for them ---- which explains the absence of the Strawhats for the past several chapters. Perhaps he’ll showcase them in a different fashion after a zillion of chapters.

Tied Up

So the Vice Chief is all tied up in the weapons area…. Spending his spare time reminiscing and ranting over the silly but effective plot the well-known Okama used against him. The amount of his power is still ambiguous, but according to the subtle description of Buggy and Mr.3, this guy is a total force that everyone should all be worried about. And based on that idea, Bon-chan has no chance of defeating a powerful Vice Chief like him…. So the best way to bring down this dude is to use the most formidable weapon known to mankind…. A beautiful, voluptuous babe…. Perhaps Bon-chan gets this idea from his fight with Sanji-kun and just like him, Vice Chief Hannyabal falls to the category of heart-eyed swooner who immediately becomes docile at the sight of a gorgeous lady. I once thought that he only showed his nonsensical side through constant expression of his ambitions and occasional bashings against Chief Magellan. I got this impression when he stayed protected against Hancock-virus – like his ambition is an effective vaccine against the Shichibukai’s infectious charms. He was the only one who didn’t get swoon-y when Hancock turned on her charm to persuade Chief Magellan and to stop the inmates from their disrespectful admiration. As it turned out, my impression got wrong. He may be unaffected from Hancock’s beauty, but not from Nami’s…. So the Vice Chief goes for the youthful ones. He prefers bubbly, perky, sexy, cute girls over vibrant, nature, hot, beautiful women. And what I really like about Bon-chan’s trick is that it’s so ---- Nami. You can see the real her doing the same thing. Oh yeah, she has done that to many male characters and it always worked! Apparently, it proves effective on Vice Chief Hannyabal too, leaving him quite displeased from realizing that kawaii-chan is not real and that he is tricked by the Okama.

Since he is kept in the weapons storage and is helpless with his state, he has to wait for unsuspecting gaolers to open the room and untie him. Once he is freed, the gaolers can easily track Bon-chan and make a more massive search for him in Level 5. But…. Will they really find him? The gaolers might ask the random prisoners whom Bon-chan consulted about Iva-san’s whereabout. The most recent one can just point them out in that thick forest. Since that area is known as the wolf unit’s den, they can just assume that the poor Bon-chan is consumed by these crazy creatures. And with his Mane Mane no Mi, he can easily sneak out right under their noses. So really…. Finding him is extremely difficult. On an entirely different note, the illustration of Vice Chief Hannyabal being tied up means that he is a Paramecia (if he’s a devil fruit user too). A person who belongs to Logia group can easily dissolve himself into particular element and getting freed from that knot is a piece of cake whereas a character from the Zoan clan can turn himself into a specific animal model and his transformation will destroy the rope.

The Missing Pieces

A brief illustration of Impel Down key officers is shown after the real Vice Chief Hannyabal’s whereabouts is revealed. The “locked room” that Chief Magellan mentions then is in fact the comfort room in his office. The usage of his devil fruit power has put him in a stressful bowel activity. Perhaps he really behaves this way after enormous “consumption” or “application” of anything poison-related. The cutie patootie, Saldeath is having problems regarding the keys. The prison havoc that once took place in Level 2, Beast Hell has also caused intense clutter in the key system. On the other hand, Sadie-chan and the rest of the equally cute and snotty demon guards are still bewildered about Bon-chan’s location…. And they are looking at the wrong direction. Due to Chief Magellan’s successful interruption to Luffy’s plans and Vice Chief Hannyabal’s “strict” surveillance to his accomplices, this hot gaoler assumes that the Okama is just lurking somewhere in Level 3, Starvation Hell. There haven’t been any vivid reports about him so he’s most likely in Level 3. Despite the gaolers’ glitches and stresses, everything seems back to normal. I can’t say this is permanent, though. It feels like another crazy stunt is going to take place – either it comes from Luffy’s unbelievable antics or from Whitebeards’ shit.

Okama Oasis

After his moving heroism and wild amazement with Luffy’s Haki, Bon-chan finally gains consciousness, not in cell nor in hell, but rather in a place he can call a true Okama paradise. Contrary to the belief of Level 5 inmates and gaolers, demonings away is just a total myth. The mysterious disappearances of some prisoners are caused by their discovery of this Las Vegas-ish bar filled with free, fun, flamboyant feshemales (a new term for characters so confusing that you can’t identify if their true females or just shemales ^__^). This cabaret is hidden somewhere – a place really tough to spot. It is actually located in Level 5.5, meaning it is in the middle of Level 5 and Level 6…. Hmmmm, so there really is a place beneath Level 5, huh. To keep its passage subdued, the sewers is the only possible way where you can reach it. As soon as a prisoner gets through it, he’ll reach the “road that can’t exist” which refers to the secret place only the New-kamas know. This is perhaps the clearest explanation we can get from the bizarre disappearances of the prisoners; they never break out of Freezing Hell, yet they just vanish. Unfortunately for the gaolers, they cannot discover that there is a secret party place in this gloomy gaol since the Vigilant Snails don’t work there. The reason this area is such a hit, well aside from obviously gaining a sort of freedom from all the watchful and the wrathful system of Impel Down, is that it is packed with people enraptured by their effeminate nature. Either they turn Okama from staying with a bunch of notorious dudes (a running gag in prisons) or they are just true-blue Okamas.

Anyway, our original Okama, Bon-chan finds himself in disbelief as soon as he learns of this oasis. Who would have thought that such a place exists? It’s just the polar opposite of Impel Down. But as soon as his floating self comes back to reality, he asks for his friend Luffy.

Inazuma is a She

The bipolar-inspired character that many have anticipated as Iva-san’s new form is actually a different character. She seems to be the right-hand woman of the Okama Queen. Anyway, her name is Inazuma – a person who initially appears as One Piece’s Two Face and a he-looking embodiment of eclecticism. At her left side, she looks like the Snow Queen with Harry Potter scar and at her right, she appears like a butler, with Alucard’s goblet filled with wine/blood, Professor Clover hair, and Don Flamingo shades. I speculate that this chapter will cover her, either taking care of the two or punishing them. And clearly, she becomes their heroine. She may not directly tend the injuries of the two, but she seems like a caring person. I don’t think she’ll play a huge role in this arc though; she is perhaps just the Okama Queen’s personal assistant.

The Queen

Ze perfect way zo introduze ze fabulouz, ztylizh, zealous, and zexy Zalvation Queen iz zo give heerr ze grandezt opening in ze hiztory of One Piece (someone influenced me to use the letter “z” when describing a fabulous and fun character. I’m zorry T__T). Aside from an equally flamboyant character as Bon-chan, Emporio Ivankof or Iva-sama looks like the mangaka’s interpretation of glam rock with lots and lots of One Piece influence. Or maybe he is an illustration of an androgynous rock star – Oda’s way. Or…. He may be the comic/silly version of the band, Kiss. Anyway, his extravagant introduction confirms that the rumors about him being a goner are totally false. Heck, he may as well be the main founder of the Secret Flower Garden – a combination of the children’s famous novel “The Secret Garden” and flower, being the symbolic term for women. There is more to Iva-sama than Okama-ness. I’ll discuss that in The Spectacle section of my review.

Instant Cosmetic Surgery

After his grand opening, a new nameless prisoner butts in, interrupting the party of the newkamas. Unlike the swooning fans of Iva-sama, he holds a personal grudge against the former from turning his royal father into a full-fledged transsexual. The prisoner is under the impression that Iva-sama brainwashed his dad, thus turning him into an Okama. I feel sorry for the guy since he and his dad possess the royal bloodline. However, the truth behind this controversy is that the latter is a closet Okama and he only feels the delight of the freedom of expression during Iva-sama’s reign in Kambakka Kingdom. But thanks to this guy’s revenge we get two glimpses of the miracle the Okama Queen can muster. The first technique he shows is “Death Wink” where he is able to repel the cannon with a mere bat of an eyelash. With this skill, we can say that the Okama Queen is quite strong. That soft batting of an eyelash can muster a force so strong that it can fend off heavy balls of metal (I’m tired of Haki-this and Haki-that so, I’ll just leave it this way ^__^). The second one is more complex, but more subdued. The skill, “Emporio Female Hormones” grants a man to develop estrogen/progesterone in his body, turning him into a real woman. This does not apply physical force, only his devil fruit. Even so, it is an effective weapon against straight men who will crumple in shame after acquiring a new gender. It also mirrors the reason for gaining the reputation as “Miracle Worker.” Boy, the Okama Queen truly works wonders! He can form an instant, flawless cosmetic surgery without putting the “patient” under ultra-flashy ceiling, pointy medical tools, anesthesia, and scar developments.


This somehow brings back memories. Luffy undergoing a highly-secured operation of sorts is similar to how Dr. Kureha tended Sanji after their fight with Wapol. Good thing Iva-sama has a heart of gold, taking care of the suffering Strawhat. Bad thing is, Luffy goes through an extreme medical treatment, constantly screaming his ass out. Hmmmm, I wonder what kind of treatment Iva-sama has put him through. But maybe, it is severely influenced by the poison he acquires from Chief Magellan which provides him excruciating pain. The appearance of the Okama Queen before Bon-chan is something that we should take note of. If Iva-sama is the sole instrument who can cure Luffy, then who the heck is tending him? This can lead to two explanations: (1) Iva-sama must have already attended to the Strawhat prior to Bon-chan’s consciousness. Maybe he did his miracle on this guy using the extension of his medicine-related devil fruit power. Since the poison hasn’t completely subsided, Luffy has to endure the remaining effect of Doku Doku no Mi with nonstop screaming and painful suffering. (2) Iva-sama must have an army of prodigious surgeons who are currently tending him. Perhaps they are treating him with special and extreme medicines and surgery, urging him to scream from pain. But boy, let us all hope that Luffy will come out from that heavily locked cage as the usual Luffy – no extra feminine parts and whimsical cosmetics. But what is truly disturbing here is the length of his medical treatment. He has to undergo this operation for two more days – something Luffy cannot really afford due to his more urgent concerns regarding Ace. Knowing about his friend’s desire to save the Whitebeard Commander, perhaps Bon-chan will do something about this. Either he asks Iva-sama and his entire army of Okama for more gigantic favor or he does the task of rescuing Ace himself. Doing the latter will manifest the extension of his help and much deeper illustration of his sense of friendship. Since he can’t do much regarding Luffy’s health condition, he might have thought that he can make it up by rescuing Ace. On the other hand, the first idea will show the unity of the Okamas and how Iva-sama will lead his extravagant and free New-kamas to charge at Level 6 and free the Whitebeard Commander. This will also grant more power showcase of his devil fruit. Though it appears that Iva-sama is more cautious, the “flower of friendship” that the two show him may be an adequate reason to make a risky move. Nevertheless, Luffy’s mastery of enduring the pain of Doku no Doku no Mi may drive him to ignore all the medical treatment needed for his full recovery and just head to Ace’s prison cell. Bear in mind that this Strawhat has an immense tendency to be stubborn; regardless of Iva-sama and other Okamas’ rationale regarding his condition, he will still do what he wants/needs to do. This idea makes me more certain of Bon-chan’s extension of his help. And if the New-kamas hear about Luffy’s sentiment, perhaps all of them will be moved as well and show their way of “extending their help.”

The Spectacle:http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/9806/thespectacle.jpg

As promised, I will discuss more about Iva-sama who not only creates such a grand opening but also graces The Spectacle of my review. And yeah, he’s my new favorite character. Once you look at him more closely, you can spot some of his similarities with three famous One Piece characters. If Bon-chan likes to pirouette, count in French, and promote the Okama way, Iva-sama on the other hand likes to fool his new-kamas/candy boys with her silly jokes. His admirers regard him like how the Kujas perceive Hancock; they patronize him, support him, adore him, and cheer for him. Hancock takes pride in her beauty and Iva-sama is extremely proud of his Okama-ness. Luffy promotes the idea of “nakama” and the Okama queen has his own version of this mentality: new-kama. Like the Strawhat pirate, he doesn’t judge the others based on their looks, their background, and even their gender. Furthermore, he warmly welcomes everyone especially those who share similar ideals with him. The way he opens this Secret Flower Garden which is practically the mansion of the Okamas manifests his kind-heartedness. He helps those who are in need and inspires them to get what they truly want. I see some specks of discretion in him though. Maybe, that is to protect himself and his new-kama from being harmed. Another spectacular thing about Iva-sama is his openness to gender issues. Discrimination is clearly not part of his vocabulary and being an Okama himself, he completely understands those who are just like him. He knows the hardship of keeping one’s true gender like that former King who then turned Okama. And because he wants to free that King from his pain, he encourages him to be open and just be himself. Hmmmm, the series is getting more “in-touch” with serious society issues.

The Downside: http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/7125/thedownside.jpg

Luffy hasn’t completely recovered from the poison he acquired during his battle with Chief Magellan. It has put him into a pain so extreme that he needs two more days to get his normal condition back. Since the execution will take place in 26 hours, Luffy has to get up and sacrifice his condition if he truly wants to save him. What makes it even worse is he’s going to explore prison level which is supposedly established only as a rumor. The entrance may be exclusive to Chief Magellan and to the other key gaolers. But somehow, I am under the impression that Iva-sama knows about this secret entrance. Anyway, if Luffy is going to enter this exclusive territory, he has to strengthen his arsenal. He needs greater skill to save Ace. I don’t think his elder brother can do much, considering that his condition is even worse than the former. This premise clearly suggests that he’ll need a staggering amount of help. Hmmmm, Bon-chan is not in his best condition yet and even if he uses all the weapons kept within the Secret Flower Garden, he won’t be able to fully contribute to the progress of their tasks. Hopefully Iva-sama and his new-kamas will lend their hand. And they have to do this fast. Since ten hours have passed since the moving side-by-side battle of the two friends, the convoy will arrive after 16 hours. Then Ace will only remain as a legendary Whitebeard Commander. With this, Luffy, Bon-chan, Iva-sama, and the supporting new-kamas have to move really fast to pull this off. But I wonder how they’ll do that.

Final Notes:http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/1912/finalnotes.jpg

Luffy has once said that he needed ten nakamas to complete his legendary Strawhat crew. He only needs one more and many of us have been speculating about the tenth member. I were going to contribute to this tenth member discussion, my vote would be for Bon-chan. I really want him to become part of the crew. After all this Impel Down fiasco, he will either join the new-kamas in Secret Garden Party, go back to Kambakka Kingdom, or be invited by Luffy and join him in their adventure. Of course, I want it to be the latter. As far as his credentials are concerned, he is perfectly qualified to become a Strawhat Pirate. His sense of friendship has already proved that. Well, he doesn’t use the word yet, but “friends” is already a solid implication of that, right? His heroism is utterly worthy of credit and praise. Just imagine how hard he tried to save Luffy and find Iva-sama for his friend’s sake. He has to explore the Freezing Hell half-naked, fight the crazy wolf-unit, which by the way, has the ability to even scare off the monsters in Beast Hell, almost gets devoured by them, and with Luffy’s condition, I bet he’s going to help him achieve his goal. This moving showmanship of friendship can mostly be seen in other Strawhats and clearly, Bon-chan possesses similar qualities with them. Oh yeah, he has his idiotic, silly, and whimsical side too. I do hope he becomes part of this crew.

March 30, 2009, 10:51 AM
Luffy has once said that he needed ten nakamas to complete his legendary Strawhat crew. He only needs one more and many of us have been speculating about the tenth member.
well I'm sorry that I didn't have the time to read through everything not to mention commenting, but this point is quite a disputed one: Luffy wanted 10 nakama, that's true. BUT he respectivly Oda did never count himself in there. proof for that? the official chapter titles when we saw someone joining i.e. Zoro's is "the first crewmember" (chapter 6) and more important brooks was "the 8th" (chapter 489). and while the numbers inbetween still seem a little bit confused as some still didn't get theirs it naturally doesn't influence any joining theory as long as it's not built upon "the last one has to be ..."

just wanted to mention it, sry if that sounds ... umm ... dumb or anything.

March 30, 2009, 02:44 PM
Definitely not dumb, there's serious confusion around this issue. I just want to point out that Nico Robin was referred to as the seventh in the anime. Then, two nakama later they're at eight in the manga. If I had to guess after looking through the titles, I'd say that the animators screwed it up thinking that Luffy counted as a member, same as me. If that's true, they are still two members short of the preconceived ten.

I love the reviews, very well thought out.

March 30, 2009, 11:37 PM
Akainu: Thank you for clarifying that issue. Looks like I get caught up in the number confusion as well. You're right. Luffy needs ten more nakama. And he is clearly not part of that ten. According to his crew's membership, this will be the order of the Strawhats: (1) Zoro; (2) Nami; (3) Usopp; (4) Sanji; (5) Chopper; (6) Robin; (7) Franky; (8) Brooke. That means he needs two more - only if he would follow what he said back then.

Phase: Thank you for mentioning about its anime. I remember the episode where it featured Nico Robin's recruitment. It said that she's the "seventh one." With that, the audience gets confused about the number/order of the crew.

I'm really sorry for putting confusing ideas in my review. Thank you for correcting my mistakes ^__^.

Robotic Red
April 07, 2009, 08:56 AM
I was thinking that Ivankof is Oda's tribute to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Ivankof is Dr. Frank N. Furter!

"I'm a transvestite! From transsexual Transylvania!"

April 07, 2009, 01:13 PM
I was thinking that Ivankof is Oda's tribute to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Ivankof is Dr. Frank N. Furter!

"I'm a transvestite! From transsexual Transylvania!"

your not the only one i was thinking how the hell did Tim Curry get into anime he was told he could do western animation only

April 23, 2009, 09:32 AM
Definitely not dumb, there's serious confusion around this issue. I just want to point out that Nico Robin was referred to as the seventh in the anime. Then, two nakama later they're at eight in the manga. If I had to guess after looking through the titles, I'd say that the animators screwed it up thinking that Luffy counted as a member, same as me. If that's true, they are still two members short of the preconceived ten.

I love the reviews, very well thought out.

Probably they included ship Going Marry as Nakama :) also