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One Piece 598

[scanlation by Binktopia]

It’s been too long, old friend.

Excellent Jump cover. Right away, we get to see one of the character redesigns, in the form of a huge scar on Luffy’s chest.

Beautiful color selections (as always) in the opening color pages. Particularly amusing is Luffy’s dismissal of Hancock’s marriage plans, and particularly notable is that Luffy mastered everything Rayleigh had to offer in half a year less time than needed.

The color cover page reveals all the redesigns, so let’s go over them:

Luffy: Aside from the scar, not much has changed. We can’t see if he still has the tattoo.
Zoro: I hope he’s closing his eye to accentuate the scar; one one-eyed character is enough in the crew. The slightly longer hair is a nice touch.
Nami: Long hair will take a while to get used to, honestly. It looks good, but short hair represented her character better. Perhaps she has matured.
Usopp: He’s thin again, and his hair is longer. Nothing unexpected.
Sanji: His hair is covering the other eye?! That’s priceless. I could live without the facial hair, though.
Chopper: Still adorable.
Robin: Her facial features are more defined, giving her even more striking looks compared to other One Piece women. Good choice.
Franky: … he’s huge. Where’s the hair?
Brook: 2 years turned him into a glam rocker, apparently. I’d say that’s weird, but it’s a talking skeleton with an afro. This is par for the course.

Of all the Supernovas, the narration specifically mentions Kid and Drake. Kid is understandable, but Drake wasn’t in focus nearly as much as Law. Whether or not it’s a deliberate hint, I think this is a further sign that Drake bears some serious importance to future plot.

Brook becoming a world-renowned rock star is a bit much. By design, Brook is more comic relief than serious crew member, but any extent to which his place in the crew (and in the series) has been legitimized is entirely because of his serious plot (Laboon). Pandering too much to his comic side makes him feel more out of place in the crew than ever.

I do want a Sharkuitar, though

So much for Sanji having a scar or facial deformity or any kind of unique feature on his left eye. Oda’s nonchalance in switching Sanji’s hair parting is the perfect kind of character redesign. Also, I’m glad Sanji’s taste for women hasn’t changed.

The new Fleet Admiral is already shaking things up, by switching the locations of G1 and Marine HQ. I wonder about the explanation, though; if the emphasis of moving the HQ was to put it closer to the Yonkou, that could have been done anytime. To our knowledge, there hasn’t been any plot point involving the Yonkou that would have triggered this move. Perhaps the barkeep is an unreliable narrator, and the move relates more to the pirates from the first half of the Grand Line. This could even be a reaction to Luffy’s actions at Marineford.

Please tell me the fake Straw Hat Pirates are in line for a cover story.

Not that she’s in any trouble here, obviously, but thinking back to Jaya, Nami has bad luck in bars.

Usopp’s brief demonstration of his Pop Greens is exciting. His fights have so much more potential for variety now. Meanwhile, his claim that he’s grown stronger and more confident is worrying. This could just be a lie, or it could be false bravado in the face of a weak opponent, but if Usopp really is brave, that would mean that the single most important change in his life happened off-screen, and that would be unacceptable.

Interesting "confirmation" there

Zoro was first to return? He better have had some help getting there. I don’t think I can accept Zoro having a sense of direction.

Not enough time to learn to wink?

Robin wouldn’t really feel right without someone chasing after her, would she?

Like Usopp, Chopper can’t tell the fake crew from his own nakama. He is too cute.

I, uh, have to point out that where and how fake-Robin is holding that cucumber looks a bit… well…

I agree with Chopper.

How incompetent are Robin’s potential captors that they could fall for these fakes? That’s laughable.

Luffy’s response to this “threat” in the next chapter will be a key sign of how his character has changed, if at all. Will he rampage like old, immature Luffy, or will he expand on the maturity and restraint he showed in the face of Bellamy’s men assaulting him at the aforementioned bar in Jaya?

Final Flash: Not much to go on. Some of the redesigns are good, some are great, and some are slightly disappointing. There wasn’t much plot, either. It’s fantastic to have One Piece back, but long hair and new clothes aren’t what we’ve waited a month for. Hopefully, the good stuff (reunion, finally heading to Fishman Island) starts next week.

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  1. October 1, 2010 at 2:01 am

    so yeah the chapter’s out.

    I totally love the way Oda came up with the fake Straw Hat Crew. That was a stroke of complete genius. The fakes supposedly recruiting people around would inevitably draw attention to the fact that the real Straw Hats are in fact getting back together at Sabaody. not to mention, i love the fact that they showed how the straw hat crew is getting so much infamy that people actually pretend to be them. The fact that the fake luffy is acting like one of the tenryuubito and nobody tries to stand up to him shows so much how feared his name has become. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Luffy’s bounty is.

    As for the character designs, I love Sanji’s left eyebrow and i can totally see why he used to hide it. Nami looks good with long hair, and everyone pretty much changed a lot except for Luffy and Chopper.

    Sure, not much has happened, but i still believe this chapter was particularly interesting, it was more of a set-up chapter than anything, and i can’t wait for what the rest of the arc has in store for us.

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