|A cool, if generic cover. But since this volume is kind of between arcs, I guess it makes sense.|
Luffy finishes up his fight with Buggy, but first we get a bit of backstory. See, Buggy was on the same ship as Shanks when they were young, and developed a rivalry. Now, this is revealed later to actually be Gold Roger's ship, which retroactively raises Buggy's credit. Sure, Luffy punks him pretty badly in this fight, but the tough old bastard will show up multiple times in the future, despite being relatively trash-tier when it comes to power. But this raises some questions about why Roger's crew would be so unfamiliar with Devil Fruits, when they're about as rare as air molecules on the Grand Line. Or why Buggy is unfamiliar with Luffy's hat, despite it being Shanks trademark, and previously Roger's. Not quite a plothole, but a little inconsistent characterization given further developments.
|it's the South in our world, anyway. Oh, and check that guy with the cool goatee! He'll show up again in like 500 chapters. I'm not even kidding.|
We also get to the bit about Luffy freaking out when his hat is damaged, which thankfully doesn't really crop up again after this. It's important to establish early, but not rely on such a simple "berserk button". Ed's constant bitch-fits when attention is drawn to his short stature in FMA got annoying, as did people riling Josuke up with comments about his hair.
|There was a Fairy Tail character who carried a sock around his neck. This sock was super-precious to him, and he had an emotional breakdown when someone destroyed it. This was all established and executed in a single chapter, and it was impossible to tell if it was a joke or a sincere attempt at generating pathos. This is why Fairy Tail sucks.|
After defeating Buggy and doing the classic "run out of town by the people you saved because they don't understand the situation, but in reality some of them know the truth and are thankful, but only pretended to be mad, and you knew this but ran anyway, so everybody can save face in an extremely Japanese way" routine, Nami drops some world-building exposition. I think the OP world is very clever in the way it creates a natural reason for everybody to get funneled into a single route towards finding that final island. But we'll get to that later when the Log Poses are brought into play.
|Gaimon's story is actually some body-horror shit, huh. Stuck in a box for 20 years, your limbs atrophied in place like one of those square melons. Yeesh.|
The next island introduces Usopp, who's one of the best characters in the whole manga. He's the Krillin of the series - never able to hang with the big dogs when it comes to combat, and always the first to suggest chickening out, but somehow he's always there when it counts. Usopp will be the lowkey MVP of so many arcs, it's crazy.
|Also, pay attention to what this man says. All of his boasts and tall tales come true, eventually. He's a prophet, not a liar!|
Anyway, this arc is about one Captain Kuro's clever plan to fake his own death, then ingratiate himself to some rich girl, before killing her and benefiting from her will. And ironically, the only person who could warn anyone is Usopp, who's cried wolf too many times for anybody to believe him.
|Straight-up Michael Jackson with Stephen Tyler's face|
|Astute readers will note that tangerines are Nami's favorite food, not apples, but ah well.|