sahugani's One Piece Review 446

sahugani

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Sahugani’s One Piece Review 446

I love Franky's helmet

I’m back!!! Sorry I didn’t get out a review last week. The basic gist of the situation is that my computer died for a week and my use of the university’s computer lab was severely limited by Presidents Day weekend hours (plus other factors I’d rather not get into). This week though, everything seems to be up and running and so I am pleased to present the chapter review for 446.

Murder by Porcelain

I wonder how many plates were in that house before she arrived

We return once again to Usopp, Nami, and Chopper as they stand at the entrance to the mansion. And as in any spooky mansion in a suspense or horror story, there is a single light that the protagonists can’t help but approach. The light brings them to meet Shindori, the plate-hating gate guardian of the house. Of all the stitched together beings we’ve seen so far, she both lacks a visible number and is the only one that does not mimic some creature of mythology, which I find very significant after viewing the doctor’s goals. Her back story, while humorous due to its effect on her current personality quirk, also is an important clue when it comes to understanding the doctor, but I will explain its relevance later in my analysis.

imo this is what he deserves for abandoning his kabuto

Another interesting aspect of the trio’s reception is that Shindori reveals who may enter the house and who may not as a general rule. Why should Usopp be denied entry and how did Shindori determine who was allowed? I believe the answer to this lies in their meeting and subsequent conversation with Hildon. I believe Hildon acts as an interviewer for Hogback to determine who is fit for Hogback’s interest. He acted as a friendly face that saved the crew from Cerberus and chatted with them in the carriage to feel them out. After abandoning them, he could have easily relayed his analysis to Shindori and she acted accordingly. From looking at the conversation from last chapter, it is not surprising that Nami and Chopper were allowed while Usopp was not. Chopper is obviously an interesting person as a talking reindeer who would also be easily blinded by admiration of the doctor. Nami is allowed for an opposite reason. Her level of perception and intellect could prove problematic since she would have a chance of figuring out what is going on if left to her own devices, so she is allowed in to keep an eye on her. Hildon figures that Usopp on the other hand would be easily disposed of by the island’s creatures and is not interesting enough for experimentation. However, I may just be overanalyzing and the reason for Shindori’s rejection of Usopp stems from a hatred of men as a result of her past.

they are clearly mindless killers

I’ll also take this opportunity to offer some analysis for the zombies of last chapter. While it is extremely simple to deduce that all of the stitched beings on the island were created by Hogback, I believe loyalties to him are a bit more complicated. From the last few chapters I’ve developed the opinion that the zombies from the last chapter are against Hogback and all others are in his service. While most of the non zombie creatures seem to live a carefree life on the island some of these are quite obviously loyal to him. While Hildon and the creatures pulling the carriage showed no fear for the majority of the trip past the creatures, they fled from the graveyard as the zombies were a threat to them. Under normal circumstances, I would assume that they fled because the zombies simply lacked the sense to tell friend from foe, but that was shattered by their cooperation and speech. From that I can only assume that the zombies are enemies of Hogback’s loyal creations and the mythological creatures are his followers or pets.

The Doctor is in

he bears a striking resemblance to the Penguin from Batman

The time has finally come and we have met the legendary surgeon, Doctor Hogback. While his appearance and personality quirks are not quite what I expected, they should be assumed as he is Oda’s creation. While the image of him I had resembled the Dr. Frankenstein from the classic novel, in hindsight, it was unrealistic of me to assume that Oda would give such a major character introduced this early into the arc a serious and reserved personality (especially due to the ridiculousness of this arc so far). In previous arcs, characters of similar importance and setup in the beginning of the arcs are given personality quirks that directly contrast the reputations assumed of them. Smoker the hard-ass marine was shown to be kind and generous to a little girl who dropped her ice cream on him and Iceberg the loved mayor of Water 7 was shown to easily brush off responsibilities he found annoying. In this arc, the standards are even more skewed as we have seen with Oda’s representations of classic symbols of horror and mythology given humorous appearances. Hogback’s extremely odd appearance and personality despite being a famous surgeon do nothing to detract from the connection to his counterpart in classic literature as they are simply Oda’s own way of making that character fit into this world he has created.

you never have to revive anyone if Oda never kills anyone outside of flashbacks

That said, the reasons for Hogback’s life on the island match perfectly with those of Dr. Frankenstein. After mastering the arts of regular medicine, the only mystery left is that of life and death itself. Since the study of creating life from death is considered taboo in the public eye, both decided to enter seclusion for their research. From what I can tell, it seems that the revival of the dead was Hogback’s original intention. As Chopper said, the ability to return loved ones to life after they have passed is a dream many have but lack the ability to do. However, I think the darkness of Hogback’s character and the reason this arc will be huge for Chopper’s character development lies in Hogback’s ambition. It is likely that he succeeded in reviving the dead, thus resulting in the zombies, but that success resulted in more questions for him. If one could revive the dead, one could create a new life from dead flesh. He experimented with his process and used various components to create beings that exceeded the abilities that nature bestowed to their original forms, thus resulting in the various beasts from mythology that are seen on the island. Shindori fits into this theory as she was likely his first success. The story of her rejection makes me believe that she committed suicide and Hogback used her still fresh corpse for his experiment, revived her and let her live with him. The most emotionally compelling villains are those who initially act out of a desire to do good and saving the life of the recently deceased is perfect to create that image of benevolence. That is what brings Chopper over to his way of thinking. After that we will learn of the evil road his ambition led him down. Chopper will learn the dark side of Hogback’s art and will have to decide what kind of doctor he wants to become.

that pudding must be EXTREMELY good

In addition to this foreshadowing, his actions also reveal that he is keeping secrets from the trio and although he believes to be secretive, he makes the fact that he know more quite apparent by talking to himself after denying knowledge of Brooke. As to his connection to the amusing skeleton, it can be assumed that he is somehow related to the theft of Brooke’s shadow, but right now any idea as to the nature of that connection is mere speculation.

Nami is Violated

that cat looks familiar

The scene that threw the spoiler boards into a frenzy. This just goes to prove how perverted Oda is and the rest of us as well because you know you loved it. Despite the dirty aspect of the scene, it does play a significant part in setting up the situation the trio will be in from now on. Nami tells her opinion of Hogback and the mansion to Usopp and Chopper to make them realize that just because they are inside, they are not out of danger. Although she believes that the zombies from the graveyard could be inside too, it is likely that there is a greater danger than them within the mansion in the form of the monsters seen before the zombie encounter. The cat walking down the hallway is proof of this as it connects those creatures (the same cat from the forest, the trees, unicorn, sphinx, centaur, etc) to beings welcome in Hogback’s house. Nami tries to make them understand that they cannot trust anything in this house. This contrasts Chopper’s curiosity and will lead to their later conflicts as Chopper is drawn further from his friends as curiosity leads him to Hogback. This sets up the start of Chopper’s trial of character as he must decide who to trust and what his future will be.

Oda's a cheeky monkey

Alright, you knew it was coming. Time to take a look at how perverted Oda (and all of you are). Oda has gone out of his way to make this scene dirty. The scene offers some good humor through Usopp’s reactions and we get to see Nami’s…uh…characterization…in full force. However, it actually did have a point other than to let us know that he enjoys peeping in bath houses in his free time. Nami’s naked and she’s got an invisible rapist in the room with her. Basically, her nudity helps us understand the character of this invisible man as he prefers to strike when a person is most vulnerable. Apparently this is the same person who caused so much trouble a couple chapters back on the Sunny. Back then I assumed that there was a man and his dog from the nature of the actions and descriptions of a beast and that both were ghosts. Now we have evidence that it is one person and that that person has a physical form because Chopper could smell him. The person wants Nami for his bride, which causes a second potential conflict for the trio as they must defend her from his advances.

i'm ashamed to admit i thought he was kicking her legs open the first time i saw this

I think there is a good chance that this could be one of the major enemies of this arc if not the opponent for Luffy. He has directly stated his desire to cause problems for the Mugiwara crew by attacking and proposing to Nami. His invisibility not only would create an interesting obstacle for a fight, but it also conceals his true form and strength, which I believe to be the most powerful creation of Dr. Hogback and who even with his form revealed will prove strong enough to challenge the Mugiwara captain. Finally, while analyzing this character, I have come to a realization. He may be the reason for the theft of Brooke’s shadow and if he is then it is just one more reason Luffy must kick his ass. There is much similarity between Brooke’s condition and that of the invisible man. Brooke’s body does not reflect light onto the ground to form a shadow or onto a mirror to form a reflection. I believe that this man’s condition is simply a more extreme case where light is not even reflected into people’s eyes. He is likely either stealing shadows to either cure himself or maintain his invisibility. How? I have no idea.

The Heroes Arrive

Luffy has a way of putting fear in their eyes that Usopp lacks

When the trio landed on the island, Oda’s intent was to instill fear into the arc’s central characters as they proceeded deeper into the mysteries of the island. Now that the fearless majority of the crew has landed, Oda is shifting the focus of the island’s dangers. The trio experienced the terrors of the island’s terrible creatures before entering the house to show the readers the danger of the island, but the reactions of the other crew members create an entirely different setting. The point of this is to concentrate all of the island’s terror on the house. Usopp, Nami and Chopper were scared and in peril until they entered the safety of the house. The mansion, though creepy, at least seemed hospitable and safe from monster attacks. By following Nami’s attack with the crew’s landing, Oda effectively flips the notions of danger and safety regarding the house and island surrounding it. From the crew’s reaction to Cerberus and our knowledge of their fearlessness, the dangers of the island are no longer a concern as we know Luffy and the gang can handle them. Simultaneously, Nami’s attack by the invisible man makes the house the place where danger lurks.

i don't envy the dog

The symbolic shifting of threat also sets up the two group’s roles in the story for a while. Since the trio’s humorous fear has turned into the real current danger, they are set as the main protagonists for a while as they are the ones that are in danger still. The remaining crew’s appearance sets their tone for a while as the intermittent comic relief. The development of their story will progress at a much slower rate than the trio as they make short appearances to provide Luffy’s humorous astonishment while the others pick up clues to lead them to the trio. The crew needs to split up so that the situation can be seen from both sides. My prediction for the development of this arc is in two parts. The trio will give us a glimpse of the arc’s major players as Chopper becomes tempted by Hogback and Nami and Usopp try to save him while learning more about Nami’s invisible suitor. For Luffy’s group, their appearance will remain minimal for a while to keep focus on Chopper’s curiosity, but after a while they will run into Brooke and find out about the effect Hogback has had on the island

Overall

I really shouldn’t have to say that I loved the chapter because I’ve loved every chapter Oda has created (except one because it made me look like an idiot after my predictions). I was just glad to meet Hogback this chapter and of course there was Nami’s bath scene which I’m sure didn’t disappoint anyone :grin. The thing I’m looking forward to most though is seeing the interaction between Chopper and Hogback and hope that he’ll get a physical upgrade in addition to the emotional development.

And once again, big thanks to Franky House Edited Manga group for this chapter’s pics.
 

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