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Posts Tagged ‘Oda Eiichiro’

One Piece 599

October 6, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Oda takes cover page requests now? People of the internet, this must be used for the greater good.

This flashback involving Hancock really seems like the last time we’ll see her for a long while. If that is indeed the case, her last appearance aptly showcases her blind love and her hilarious misunderstandings. She may not have fit in with the crew, but she was a tremendously enjoyable arc character.

Cover story, please

I’m inclined to believe that the claim of a 400 million Beli bounty is just as fake as this would-be Luffy is. We’ve seen no hint of such a number anywhere, let alone confirmation. Furthermore, a 100 million Beli increase seems incredibly low for everything that has taken place since Enies Lobby. It could be true, but I’d be disappointed if it was.

Luffy’s small demonstration of his Haki is an acceptable amount of suave, but it mustn’t go too much further than this. It was the fact that Luffy has been so lovable and carefree in most of his adventures that made the times when he got serious so impactful. If Luffy is now always calm and collected, there won’t be an appropriate sense of importance when the plot moves towards a climactic revelation or fight.

New Franky is… bad. Honestly, I like the idea of one of the crew members being huge compared to the others, especially considering the giants and “large humans” we’ve seen in other crews in the series, but these new modifications are far too outlandish, even for Franky. At this rate, he might as well just turn himself into the Strawhats’ ship.

… actually, that isn’t a terrible idea. Franky is too weird for the crew, and yet his position is a vital one. Turn him into the ship, and he remains integral, but he won’t take focus away from the rest of the crew.

Where is your hair?!

The conversation between Robin and Franky about Brook brings up another interesting potential twist, and one that I would support: Brook should leave the crew. I like his personality, I like his humor, and his backstory is acceptable (if not great). However, unlike the rest of the crew, his dream is already directly attainable. If he is already so successful as to be able to hold a world tour, there’s no reason he couldn’t travel to Laboon right now. Seriously speaking, I don’t believe Brook leaving is even a possibility, considering the emphasis the series places on unity (and being “nakama”) and just how long we’ve waited to get a musician, but I miss the 5- and 7-person crews we had earlier in the series. Perhaps this long-winded idea only serves to reaffirm that Brook being a famous rock star was a bad writing choice, because of how it crosses over with Brook’s primary objective.

In stark contrast to the last paragraph: Chopper is still adorable. That is all.

The Marines are inept enough to focus all their resources on the fake Straw Hats. This could be seen as a necessity for the real crew to escape quickly, but given how strong everyone must be now, I’m sure they could still escape even with the Marines right on them. Demeaning the Marines like this is rather unnecessary.

Zoro’s reintroduction is the most satisfying moment of the last two chapters. He hasn’t lost his terrible sense of direction, he’s incredibly powerful, he made a dramatic statement, he provided a funny scene, and he has a seemingly specific and important new quirk: a scar over his left eye, contrary to the color spread in the last chapter, when it was on his right. This is an admitted mistake from Oda, who has since said that it is intended to be over Zoro’s left eye (and will continue to be, going forward). I’m tremendously curious as to how something as seemingly innocuous as which eye is scarred matters enough to make a public admission of error.

Even setup chapters can't contain how badass Zoro is

Final Flash: Still no reunion. As a setup chapter, this one is perhaps more enjoyable than the last, if only because we’re this much closer to finally moving on with the plot. This chapter also provided more interesting material for theorizing. Overall, though, it seems quite obvious that Oda has deliberately set up chapter 600 as an important milestone.

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One Piece 598

September 30, 2010 1 comment
[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.

One Piece 597

August 26, 2010 1 comment
[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.

One Piece 596

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Great cover page. Importantly, that’s a grown-up Sabo there, with his gaze averted away from the “camera,” deliberately setting up some suspense as to what he would look like now. Surely, we must meet him at some point.

Nami is following the same pattern as Sanji and Chopper, by forgoing a return to the prearranged meeting point in favor of improving herself. Power-ups for all the crew members are all well and good, but couldn’t we have assumed that they’d be getting one? I’m becoming a little tired of how long it’s taking for the crew to reassemble, and for the plot to progress.

It seems Nami’s upgrade will either be a further improved Clima Tact, or a completely new weather-controlling weapon. Nothing surprising there, but it should be interesting to see the Weather Ball in use.

Now, it’s Brook’s turn for a moment of introspection. This one feels worst of all, since he’s the newest crew member; I don’t need a flashback to remember how/why he joined, no matter how short it is.

Funny regardless of circumstance

Will Brook’s power-up be a new musical ability? That’s the only thing I can assume, given his current predicament. Perhaps the next time we see Brook, he’ll be out of the cage and running away from a group of collapsed onlookers.

Robin’s up next, and her scenario is by far the most interesting and potentially world-shaking. She is set to be the direct link between Luffy and Dragon, which could either force a monumental reunion or simply make huge waves through indirect affiliation.

Franky being mistaken for a gorilla is both apropos and quite funny.

While not quite as huge as Robin’s impending connection to Dragon, Franky’s continued study of Vegapunk is potentially fascinating. Of course, the feeling of importance is tempered slightly by mandatory Franky comedy (which is still hilarious and well worth it, mind you).

Classic Franky

Last up on this week’s whirlwind tour of the crew is Usopp, who is still fat and now learning about Pop Greens, which (from the little information we have on them) seem to fit Usopp’s arsenal nicely.

Final Flash: Only a decent chapter. The comedy was funny, but the perils of having so many main characters have never been more obvious; giving everyone equal exposition simply takes too long.

One Piece 595

August 5, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Absolutely fantastic color page. I anxiously await a poster version.

Law using Bepo as a pillow is adorable.

Looks comfortable

More importantly, the exact phrasing of the Binktopia translation is interesting. Law says, “I’ll be sure… to steal the proper throne!!!” Now, “proper throne” could still very well be referring to the title of Pirate King, but that’s a peculiar phrase to use in reference to such a position. It seems to me that Law could be referring to something else.

X Drake is alive, well, and terrorizing some poor unsuspecting underling of the highly-anticipated Kaidou.

Still the coolest Zoan

Scratchmen Apoo is fine, too, leaving Jewelry Bonney as the Supernova taken down by Blackbeard.

There she is, no less. She might not have been the least likely target of the 11 (I’d give that title to Apoo), but I’m still fairly surprised to see the sole female put in this position. I’m certainly not calling Oda sexist, but this is an unusual move, especially considering how she’s hinted at having a worthwhile subplot.

Akainu is speaking to Bonney in a very familiar manner. He could just be familiar with her, but his relief at finding her is interesting. Could he be something more than an acquaintance?

I am your father?

Confirmation that Moria survived. That’s good news to me. He may not deserve to be a major recurring villain, but he’s more than worth keeping active in the background. Also of note in this scene, Doflamingo continues to emphasize his independence, and the person he’s talking to is unusually kept out of focus. As with all minor details in One Piece, this could end up meaning nothing, or this hat-wearing government official could later reappear as a hugely important character.

Maybe I was wrong about the whole “coolest Zoan” thing.

Unbearably cute

Hilarious moment as Chopper unintentionally thinks the more offensive part of his thoughts out loud.

To close the chapter, both Chopper and Sanji have finally had their direct power-up routes revealed. Chopper seems to be aiming to further alter his own body, while Sanji is seeking to learn Attack Cuisine, which presumably would support the entire crew. The former is an obvious and highly necessary power-up, but the latter is a little worrying. With every passing arc, Sanji seems to fade further away from being the third component of the “Monster Trio,” instead developing into a behind-the-scenes roleplayer. Attack Cuisine could be used very well, and I’ll certainly trust Oda, but I don’t want Sanji’s role reduced.

Final Flash: Another intriguing chapter that presents several new long-term plot possibilities.

One Piece 594

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Right from the start, we see the Gorousei. This surely will be an important chapter.

Huge news. Blackbeard has already taken out one of the Supernovas.

But which?

Garp and Sengoku both being forced out of their positions brings about a notable change in the World Government, specifically relating to where it stands in the moral gray area in One Piece. Garp and Sengoku have both been portrayed as “good” characters, even if they have opposed some protagonists. The rest of the upper echelons of the World Government are painted as a more traditional antagonizing force. This should prove pivotal going forward.

Aokiji as the next fleet admiral would be the most appropriate of the choices we’ve seen so far.

Smoker is still working behind the scenes to chase after Luffy. I hope for him to feature prominently at some point soon. He’s too good of a character not to.

There’s the long-awaited news: Luffy rang a bell at Marineford 16 times, as a memorial and/or a declaration of war. Stunning.

Furthermore, he got a tattoo! Great touch from Oda.

Focusing on Kid is both appropriate (given the tone of the manga right now) and exciting. He’s positioned to become a fantastic rival to Luffy.

Some kind of force is sucking everything into the air. Assuming this has nothing to do with Blackbeard’s ability, the New World is already a terrifying place.

... what?

Luffy is sending a direct message. His involvement with Rayleigh in doing so makes me wonder if he’s reaching out to more than just his crew, since it seems like there would have been simpler ways to reach only them.

I may never have laughed as loudly at a manga panel as I just have upon seeing Franky.

Super.

No! Basil, don’t kill Brownbeard! His legend must live on!

The end of the chapter shows an island in the New World overflowing with lightning. Very creative design.

Final Flash: Reestablishment of several hugely important characters, introduction to the true terror of the New World, excellent subterfuge within the World Government, and a truly powerful moment from Luffy. Wonderful chapter.

One Piece 593

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Robin continues to be involved in the most intriguing subplot of all the Strawhats. Not only is her connection to Ohara fascinating, but now the Revolutionary Army is revealed to have been out to protect her. Excellent.

Great to see Robin’s confidence in her crew. Thanks largely to her involvement and backstory in it, Enies Lobby still stands out to me as the strongest arc in all of One Piece. Any further storylines that can be derived from her past are more than welcome.

Poor Sanji. His reactions are priceless, though.

Best imagined in the voice of Hiroaki Hirata

Hugely important news being discussed here, even if the audience isn’t being made aware of any details yet. Even finding out that the Revolutionary Army has various “leaders” spread around the world is notable, as is Dragon reaffirming the change in Kuma. Also, Dragon seems to have been drawn to look older than in previous scenes.

Noticeably older

Duval! The Thousand Sunny is perfectly safe in his handsome hands.

Even more focus on the duality of Kuma, as again highlighted here by Shakky mentioning the earlier meeting between the still-human Kuma and Rayleigh. With this much focus on Kuma, a revelation must be forthcoming fairly soon.

In an already stunningly vague chapter, Vivi’s comments stand out the most. What could she possibly be reading about Luffy that would lead her to question whether something is “stylish?”

Crocodile is heading to the New World, and Daz Bones is coming with him. Crocodile’s expression is fantastic; he might still be more evil than good, but it seems he’s regained the fire he once had as a young pirate, the fire that he mentioned back in Alabasta.

Livelier than usual

Closing out the chapter, some more foreshadowing, this time involving Buggy. It’s unusual (and equally intriguing) that his crew would interpret the contents of the paper in a way that Buggy has been hailed as a hero.

Final Flash: What an overwhelmingly forward-looking chapter. Deliberately confusing, but thoroughly fascinating.