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One Piece 597

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Now that is a manly cover page.

Zoro is asking Mihawk to teach him? “Asking” might not be strong enough, even; Zoro is “begging” Mihawk, the man he intends to defeat, to teach him. I’m thoroughly disappointed. Yes, it shows that Zoro is mature enough to put aside his own ego for the sake of his crew, but what now of his fierce ambition to become the world’s greatest swordsman? Zoro has always shown maturity when necessary (such as his stance on Usopp as they arrived at Water 7), so this doesn’t introduce any new positive side of his personality, but instead waters down his character.

An unfortunate sight

As if the impending four-week break wasn’t enough, the revelation of Luffy’s tattoo confirms a timeskip, and it’s more major than anticipated: Two years. I trust Oda to exceed my expectations more than I trust any other mangaka, but I’ve also never seen a shonen timeskip that didn’t seem like the gratuitous and easy alternative to proper storytelling.

Jinbei provides yet another reminder that Fishman Island is coming up soon, just as it has been for years. I’ve long been excited to get there, but after this long of a wait, some of the novelty has worn off. Still, if it’s the next major arc, I’ll be pleased.

Hancock remains completely adorable. Switching from love-clouded to furious only accentuates how fun she is to read when she’s fawning over Luffy.

Too cute

Luffy will be training his Haki directly under the tutelage of Rayleigh. Not a bad teacher, the right-hand man of the Pirate King. That said, I hope Oda does justice to his own characters; as Rayleigh explains the Haki with the “color of observation,” I shudder at the prospect of Luffy knowing Mantra, as that just wouldn’t suit him. Obviously, Luffy must learn the “color of armaments” Haki, since it seems that the entire point of introducing Haki was to find a way for Luffy to be able to harm Logia users. Hopefully, Luffy learning Haki won’t terribly devalue past characters like CP9, since one of the major strengths of One Piece has always been a lack of clear, linear progression in enemy strength. If ultimately we’re able to explain away enemy strength differences based on increasing Haki ability, I’ll be disappointed.

Fortunately, Rayleigh suggests that Haki users gravitate towards one “color,” meaning that Luffy could still end up reasonable after all this training.

Final Flash: In four weeks, we’ll have spent two years. The interim will be both frustrating and exciting.

  1. Mario
    August 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    This chapter was indeed disappointing. I agree that it is frustrating to have Zolo train under Mihawk, who happens to be his ultimate goal, thereby putting aside his ambitions for Luffy. What happened to his introduction early on, where he said to Luffy he wouldn’t let him obstruct his ambitions otherwise he would have him commit harakiri? Granted, he will become stronger that way, but showing his fighting style to his opponent before their battle? Big blunder instead. His only way of beating Mihawk will be gaining a new skill while keeping it secret from his trainer, like Naruto completed the Rasenshuriken unbeknownst to Fukasaku.
    For some reason the idea of Luffy training under Rayleigh to learn Haki annoys me. That’s probably because i’ve gotten used to Luffy figuring new abilities all by himself. It is the first time the crew will have to be taught a new skill rather than find it out themselves (might not apply to Chopper, Franky or Brook in this case, who do not have a tutor. Chopper and Franky will probably think something up after research, although it will be original. Brook is not presented to have some sort of trainer.). I at least hope that the characters will create original moves during training rather than settling for taught ones.
    These following four weeks sure seem like two years without having One Piece to read. I hope that the first chapters after the timeskip are not about flashbacks of each Strawhat’s training. That will really put out the excitement of waiting for the next release.
    On a side note, does this training arc show that the Strawhats are the weakest among the Supernova crews? All other crews went immediately in the new world and seem to be fairing pretty well. They even managed to end the glorious legend of Brownbeard! Jewerly Boney was just unlucky having to face off with Blackbeard from the start. I was expecting Oda to have the Strawhats enter the new world and have their powers progress as they travel.

    Let’s hope for a typical good chapter next month.

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