sahugani's One Piece Review 459-460

sahugani

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Sahugani’s One Piece Review 459-460


Sanji's got a can of whoopass for Absalom

First of all, I’d like to apologize for my absence lately. First, I took a week off to deal with my final studies and subsequent exams. I intended to do my catching up for that week last weekend, but it seems that I underestimated the amount of time it would take for me to get settled back in at home. Anyways, now I’m back and ready to make up for lost time. As my regular readers can most likely guess, the twist in 459 is a matter I cannot leave ignored and so lets start one of my first multi-chapter reviews. The scans used for this review come from Franky House for 459 and Bludshock&Umbra037 for 460. The title pic is a piece by e1n over at deviantart, so thanks to him for letting me use his artwork again.

459: That Death Isn’t an Apology

Overpowered


Remind me never to make him mad

Now that the present story has been brought back, we now get to see Enel in all his glory. His reasons might not be all that noble, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that by beating up these space pirates he is helping out Spacey and is looking damn cool in the process. These guys don’t even know what hit them as Enel tears throughout their ranks and their ark indiscriminately. I guess we’ll still have to wait a bit for Spacey to turn him into a bleeding heart humanitarian.

Rude Awakening


cheese is a side, not a meal. i feel Luffy's pain

The monster trio is up and having a bit of trouble coming to terms with their current situations. Luffy starts looking around for food and only finds cheese and preservatives (if I’m not mistaken, preservatives often use salt). Zoro copes easiest overall with only an initial self berating for letting this happen to himself. Sanji, while initially the most calm and collected of the three, quickly degenerates to rage as he learns that Nami has been taken. Nothing really surprising in the reactions besides the passing mention that the preserved foods are all that is left. At least this means they’ve got plenty of salt to divvy up between them for their treks across the island to slay zombies.

What Must be Done


the flame of passion ignites

Next, Usopp starts prioritizing as he tries to explain the situation to the uninformed crew. While Usopp correctly says that the two things they cannot leave the island without are Nami and the shadows of Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji, the captain naturally puts the missing food right up there as well. After the whole situation is spread to all parties, a slew of various reactions occur. Obviously, an enraged Sanji dons the flames of passion as he learns that not only was Nami kidnapped, but the kidnapper plans to marry her. There is really no doubt now that Sanji will be the one to face the invisible Jedi beastman and I for one would be disappointed if Oda denies us the pleasure of watching the Black Leg beat some chivalry into the Pervert Commander. Luffy’s reaction to Nami’s marriage is slightly different as he admires the courage of Absalom for intentionally wanting to marry someone as mean as Nami. Usopp and Chopper reflect on how close they were to death standing next to a man they now know is a shichibukai. Zoro, being the awesome first mate that he is, remains objective and focuses on knowing the identities of the zombies who bear the Strawhats’ missing shadows. Luffy’s unquestioned stupidity is one again displayed as he actually feels proud that he was able to tell that the ballerina Hitler swordsman, Jigoroh, was not Zoro. While I was a bit surprised that there was no joke at Sanji’s expense for having a penguin for his zombie, its understandable as his humor for this chapter should stem solely from his single track mind regarding Nami.

Franky’s Question


what else would he be?

After Zoro praises Franky for finding the salt weakness of the zombies, the cyborg reveals to the rest of the crew that the info came from none other than our favorite gentleman skeleton, Brooke. Franky’s reaction to Brooke is just one more example of his emotional habits when it comes to meeting new people. Just like with Luffy, Usopp, and Robin, Franky was hesitant to accept Brooke as a friend and stubbornly refused to trust him upon their first meeting as he now admits to his nakama. Before he could follow Brooke’s plan, he had to know for sure that he could be trusted and so bluntly asked him about his reason for continuing his existence. In Franky’s past, he felt he had lost everything when Tom was taken and he failed in his last stand trying to stop the sea train. His body was broken, but for the sake of atoning for his sin, he rebuilt himself and continued living. He sees a similar situation in Brooke, who has lost not only his nakama, but his original body as well. Since, like Franky, he has decided not to let his weakened body stop him, the cyborg wants to know what dream has given him the resolve to carry on. Just like with the Strawhats, his opinion of Brooke swung 180 to crying after the skeleton opened his heart.

Brooke’s Promise


I LOVE ODA!!!

This is the kind of thing that makes Oda legendary. According to Brook’s testimony, he was part of the crew that left Laboon at Reverse Mountain 50 years prior. His continued existence beyond the life spans of his nakama serves the purpose of allowing him to keep his promise to Laboon that he will return. It seems to be the only subject matter the skeleton takes seriously as his speech to Franky is one of the rare occurrences that he refrains from his bone jokes. This is one of those moments in which Oda has magically multiplied the amount of emotional investment the readers put in a character tenfold. Now that Oda has gotten so far into the series, he has made a huge habit of reconnecting the story back to its earlier roots in order to solidify various themes that have been left hanging throughout the story. It started with Oimo and Kaashi’s connection to Brogy and Dori, continued on to reveal more of Luffy’s relatives while the one we already knew about has been ambiguously killed off for the time being, and now has come to bringing back the crew’s first friend on the Grand Line.

Looking Back


i think it may have ruined effect if Oda drew him post-jolly roger

Now that Franky has told Brooke’s true intentions to the Strawhats, the original crew that entered the Grand Line (minus Nami) reveal to the nakama acquired since then that they had met Laboon as the entered the powerful sea. They are pleasantly surprised that the giant whale’s nakama did not flee the Grand line as the rumor had stated. Apparently this crew doesn’t really have storytime with their new members to tell them about their previous adventures. Thy stick with eachother because they are all working towards their own goals that happen to coincide with eachother in the future and they don’t really care about eachother’s pasts (as was first revealed by the fact that no one knew Sanji was born in North Blue).

Clashing Corpses


how the hell does Brooke regrow bone?

While the Strawhat crew discusses Brooke, the skeleton himself is busy fighting Ryuuma. Throughout the fight, he reminisces about his time with Laboon and reveals the truth of why his afro is so important. Now that he has lost his flesh, his afro is the only way Laboon will recognize him, so he must protect it until he can meet his old nakama again. No matter what disadvantage this causes in battle, he cannot afford to let it be lost as even if he does retrieve his shadow and get to meet Laboon again, it is all worthless if he goes unrecognized and his apology goes unheard. Since he does go so far out of his way to protect the afro, he is given a huge disadvantage in his duel with Ryuuma and is thoroughly beaten. From the looks of it, Brooke will never beat Ryuuma. He has tried and failed twice and it is time that he give in and let Zoro handle his shadow.

New Nakama?


i think Luffy just made your case

As expected, the new info about Brooke has gotten everybody psyched up for a new recruitment to the Strawhat crew, even the crew themselves. Luffy rattles off his extensive list of reasons why the skeleton should join; Franky and Chopper burst out in tears as they fall in love with the guy; Usopp overcomes his fear of skeletons as the bond of friendship with Laboon outweighs the emotion of terror; Robin accepts the futility of stopping Luffy’s whims; Zoro starts the shadow hunt early as their quota just went up; and Sanji remains single-mindedly stuck on saving Nami. Overall, the acceptance of Brooke as the newest Strawhat seems obvious at this point.

As my regular readers now though, I’m not so easy to convince that the lovable bag of bones will join the crew. I’ve made too many points in favor of my opinion to reiterate here, so I’ll just go into the ones that apply to this new info. If you look at the dreams of the current roster of Strawhats, there is a definite trend between all of them. They all are made to better themselves and lead them further forward along the Grand Line. Brooke’s dream of returning to Laboon not only lies behind him, but fulfilling it in no way shows his own personal growth. Possible holes that may be poked in this idea are that one of Luffy’s goals is to meet Shanks and that Brooke may develop a new goal along the way that does fit with the forward momentum of a Strawhat’s dream, but these are also refutable. First of all, Luffy’s promise to meet Shanks again is not the primary dream and secondly, it is contingent on him becoming a great pirate first, which is a marker of his growth. Brooke meeting with Laboon again is a feel-good moment, but it doesn’t mark him as being any more matured than when we first met him. As to the second point of him acquiring (or us realizing) a new dream later on that is a personal goal, that would mean putting his promise to Laboon as a lesser goal. Other Strawhats were hesitant to leave because of promises to others, but were then forced to realize that the person they promised would be happier knowing that he/she followed her dreams. This is not the case for Brooke/Laboon just as it was not the case for Vivi/Arabasta. Vivi wanted to go with them, but realized that her love and obligation for her country outweighed her desire to leave with the Strawhats. Similarly, Brooke’s promise to Laboon would take precedent over any personal dreams with the Strawhats.

460: Get Her Back Before Dawn

No Sweat


...damn...

As expected, Enel has come out of his little brawl with the space pirates completely unscathed and has left their entire base in ruins with the scraps of their ship and the charred flesh of their beaten bodies. All in all, not really all that much to say about the cover arc page this week as it simply shows us the aftermath that was obviously inevitable. Enel is just too good.

Baseless Belief


someone tell Luffy that gullible isn't in the dictionary

After having decided to get Brooke’s shadow back in addition to their own, the matter of actually carrying that plan out is brought up. Zoro points out that locating their specific zombies on an island this size is a huge task and Chopper is concerned with the idea that they even stand a chance against the might of Oz, Luffy’s zombie. Luffy ignores both matters and points out that the old man who first told them about Moria said that if he is beaten, all the shadows will return. While Luffy has no real basis to trust the old man, it is something that makes sense. Since all the shadows are linked to the corpses through Moria’s power, if he is beaten, the things affected by his power would then be dissolved. We’ve seen similar events happen before as the rain fell at Crocodile’s defeat since he was no longer holding it back with his sand’s dryness. It certainly would be a much quicker way to save the multitude of shadowless people on the island if they could have their shadows returned by defeating one man than having the Strawhats go on a Zombie hunt with salt.

Team 1: Beat the Boss


if i had a nickel for every time Luffy has said that...

The seven remaining crew members are divided into three groups to accomplish various tasks on the island. Luffy’s group is going to go beat up Moria so that they can get everyone’s shadows back (in addition to the stolen food). Robin decides that the most pressing matter is beating Moria, so she and Chopper (who is basically a leftover with no inclination to go with any group in particular) plan to accompany Luffy. Lately, Hogback has spent a lot more time around Moria, so by going with Luffy, Chopper is put on the route to his doctor to doctor fight as well. Luffy will quite obviously be sidetracked and end up facing Oz later on down the road. This leaves Robin on her own down the path to Moria. While I doubt she would be able to beat a shichibukai on her own, she may have the task of keeping him busy until Luffy has a shot to both get away from Oz for a second and take Moria out in a single blow.

Team 2: Wedding Crashers


and the flame grows hotter

Luffy leaves Sanji in charge of saving Nami, to which he enthusiastically accepts as he has donned the “flames of passion” to some extent throughout pretty much the entire chapter. His rage is only amplified when Usopp informs him that Absalom saw Nami naked in the bath. It is decided that Usopp will join him in this task as he feels responsible for her being taken. This is quite a landmark moment as Usopp is volunteering to put himself in danger openly. Ever since his re-recruitment, Usopp has shown a drastic change in his personality and growth. As for what can be predicted from this team, Sanji will obviously be going all out against Absalom in what looks to be his most epic battle yet. Usopp will likely be charged with getting Nami out of there and will have to face a few zombies in order to get through. He may end up in a bit of a brawl with Hildon, who is headed there himself and with his flight, may present a challenge to the Strawhat sniper.

Team 3: Saving a Skeleton


the day Zoro gets his new sword is getting closer

The final team is that of Zoro and Franky, who plan to go check up on Brooke. Franky’s new friendship is something he won’t abandon and wants to make sure he is alright after dueling his zombie. Zoro is mainly interested because he heard Brooke’s zombie is a legendary samurai and wants to see how good he is. More than any other fight, Zoro’s fight with Ryuuma has been the most obvious for a long time, so I’m sticking with that as my prediction for Zoro’s fate. As for Franky, after finding Brooke and leaving Ryuuma to Zoro, he’ll probably go off with the skeleton to do some behind the scenes work that will either aid in the fight against Moria or Oz. As much as I REALLY want Franky to get his own final battle, at this point, it looks like a slim chance.

The Battle’s Limit


food is a powerful motivator

After the teams are divided and Usopp hands out sacks of what I can assume is salt, he points out a matter vital for the lives of Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji. Even though there are forests on this island for shade, there is no guaranteed protection from the sunlight once it hits dawn the next day. This means that the shadow matter has to be dealt with by sunrise or hope is lost. This is somewhat confusing for me as I thought that the fog of the Triangle prevented direct sunlight and that’s why Brooke was able to survive there. I also assumed this to be the truth or else Moria’s zombie forces would shrink fast on account of the real bodies dying as soon as daybreak hit them. Anyways, Luffy misinterprets this deadline as needing to get their food back by dawn. After this everyone just stops acting serious and decides to go (except Sanji, who likely didn’t hear a word Usopp said on account of his flames of passion).

Demon’s Perch


He needs a figurehead to be his special seat

While the Strawhats are setting off, Oz has decided to go exploring and ends up climbing all the way up the mast. After looking out around him, he realizes that the island is actually a ship and thus decides to become Pirate King using this ship. If Thriller Bark had a figurehead, I’m sure Oz would have sat on it and called it his special seat. He continues to rattle off symptom after symptom of his Luffy personality. Moria and his commanders are realizing the huge flaw in using Luffy’s shadow for Oz. Even before his death, his strength was enough to take a slew of islands. Now with a shadow that asserts its independence and its dream, the island conqueror is reborn (albeit in a more humorous personality).

Hildon’s Warning


this arc is filled with amusing enemies

As Moria plans his future, Hildon flies in and interrupts to say that the Strawhats are on the move. He informs them that Brooke not only suggested to go wake up the monster trio, but also told them how to purify zombies, which terrifies Hogback as the purification ruins his creations. He is scared that they might purify the general zombies, which are his greatest works next to Oz. Unfortunately, all the general zombies have been gathered in one place to attend Absalom’s wedding. Hildon is also reminded that Absalom asked Hogback for permission to use his dance hall for the reception, which gets a great comic moment from the mad doctor. Hildon is commanded to stop the ceremony, but apparently, he is in Absalom’s employ, so he can’t object.

Perona’s Role


can anyone beat her?

After Hogback fails in dealing with Hildon, Perona volunteers her services in stopping the Strawhats using her ghosts. From the looks of it, Perona’s method seems unbeatable, so she is probably the most reliable member of Moria’s three commanders. After she leaves, both Moria and Hogback seem convinced that the situation is fully under control. Moria is bored cause he just wants to play with Oz and Hogback uses the opportunity to request having power over the zombies just under Absalom. He is somewhat frustrated with the treatment he gets from the zombies as the only one who serves him directly is Cindry and she cryptically insults him constantly. As he is likely the opponent for Chopper but seems to lack strength (and courage) himself, by having power over the zombies, he’ll have a way to fight the enraged reindeer. I just hope Chopper’s fight is damn good.

Taking Care of Business


now the flames of passion make him the Ghost Rider

The Strawhats are on the move ad tossing zombies aside as they go. Luffy and Sanji’s teams are traveling together for now up the stairs to the tower. While an enraged Luffy and Sanji pound through every zombie they see, Robin, Chopper, and Usopp are able to simply follow behind without fighting or using salt. Similarly, Zoro and Franky are dealing just as much damage as they travel the lower path. Franky even offers for Zoro to call him bro, but apparently, Chopper is the only one to adopt that name for him. According to the little map, Luffy and Sanji are headed to the dance hall, but unfortunately for Sanji, it looks like they will be getting there an hour too early to run into Absalom at the reception. Zoro and Franky’s path leads to Perona’s room, which connects via the garden to Hogback’s lab, where Zoro and Franky can find Brooke.

Down and Out


Usopp may need a change of shorts

When Usopp, Robin, and Chopper finally catch up to Luffy and Sanji, they find that both fighters have been taken down by Perona’s ghosts and then pinned by the zombies. After Robin explains the ghosts to Usopp, they save their companions and run. Unfortunately, Usopp and Sanji fall victim to Oz, who crushes the staircase and brings those two down with him. The two land next to Zoro and Franky, who are trying to figure out what the new wall they see is made of before being told it is Luffy’s zombie. Luckily, the Sanji team fell together, so all of the original three teams are intact and the only change is that Sanji’s team is now traveling with Zoro’s team instead of Luffy’s. This actually works out somewhat for Sanji even if he doesn’t know it. As I mentioned, if he continued with Luffy, he would have arrived at and passed the dance hall an hour before the reception took place, now that he has moved to a new location, he may be able to interrupt the ceremony itself in a true Sanji entrance. As for what will happen in the immediate future as Oz now block’s the routes of both Zoro and Sanji’s teams, I’d guess that Oz will either not notice their presence or start talking to them in Luffy’s friendly manner. In any case, Oz won’t fight them.

Overall

Well I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single One Piece fan who is disappointed with this arc after the latest events. While I’m uncertain as to whether or not Oda planned to introduce Laboon’s nakama way back then, I’m really glad he did as he has just made one of the most lovable characters in the series history even more lovable with that twist. Beyond that, I’m wondering how long Oda will keep the flames of passion of Sanji before it gets old.
 
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