Sunday, July 23, 2017

One Piece Revisited vol. 5 - For Whom the Bell Tolls

The whole crew's on the cover again, along with the other supporting characters from this arc. It's only fair, since last volume was the villains. But wait, where's Merry!?

Luffy is still fighting Kuro, who is obviously a step up from Buggy when it comes to combat ability. For one thing, he's faster than frick, probably the only character to out-speed Luffy until CP9. For instance, observe this very good sequence here:

I didn't know Luffy's arm, when out-stretched, provided that sort of stability, but whatever. Maybe it's just happening really fast.

Kuro further explains his plan via flashback, revealing how he slaughtered a ship full of marines save for one, then hypnotized one of his crewmembers into believing he was Captain Kuro, and left the lone survivor to claim the bounty. They don't use any names, but you can tell from the artwork that the lone marine was Axe-hand Morgan! Well, I guess he wasn't called that until Kuro cut off his hand and stuff. But it's a neat bit of continuity, and explains how someone as corrupt as Morgan even got his position - riding off the prestige of a bounty he didn't earn.

Django takes a lot of attacks to the balls/ass, now that I think of it. Having a shovel stuck up your buttcrack would hurt like hell, yo

After Kuro is defeated, Usopp bids a tearful goodbye to his little gang. In true One Piece fashion, they decide not to tell the villagers they were all in terrible danger, so as not to spoil anyone's peace of mind. This means Usopp and Luffy and the rest get no reward, but the satisfaction of a job well done.

Nobody cries pretty in One Piece. It's always just a big snotty, sobby mess.

Belay that, they do get a reward. Finally, a ship! It's designed by Kaya's butler Merry, so it's named the Going Merry. Or in the English version, Merry Go. Why change it? I have no idea. When these translations were being done, 4kids had the anime license, and Viz was basically just following their lead. As a result, Zoro became Zolo (Still a cool name, but why further obfuscate the reference? It's not like Zorro isn't public domain.) and some other things changed pointlessly. I think you can make a case for translating Japanese names and terms, but if you really cared about that, it should be Captain Black, not Captain Kuro. The only explanation I can think of is that in Japanese, you refer to ships with the suffix "-go". Like how people get -san or -chan, that sort of thing. Did the 4kids translator seriously just read "Merry-go" and know less about the language than I do, and think that was the damn name of the ship??? It's sadly possible, given the shocking lack of care 4kids put into their localization.

Luffy is canonically a terrible artist, and I love it. Meanwhile, Usopp is a fairly talented artist, carpenter, handyman, and general jack-of-all-trades, in addition to being a crack marksman. It's because of his utility that he's avoided being the Krillin of the series, doomed to constant failure and mockery.

We're also introduced to Sanji and his floating restaurant, The Baratie, this volume. But since the next few volumes will be all about the chef with the curly brow, we'll leave him for later.

Oda's cartoony faces never fail to entertain. Patty looks like someone out of Aladdin.

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Get dunked on.
The title of this volume is a reference to the move Luffy uses to take out Kuro, the Gum-Gum Bell. Basically it's just a super headbutt, but DAMN do I like that impact. I like how Luffy has a few signature moves, but he mixes up his finishers. They come in two basic types - either he throws a limb out to stretch for extra reach, or he stretches out a limb back and lets the recoil snap it forward for massive damage. The former is what you see from every stretchy dude ever (Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man, etc) but I very rarely see anybody use the latter. Creativity in movesets is something One Piece excels at.

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