Monday, August 21, 2017

One Piece Revisited vol. 13 - It's Okay!!!

The only thing interesting about this cover is the way it's set up in panels, instead of the characters just crowding around. But why am I reminded of the Brady Bunch?

Finally, we reach what I'd consider an early "low point" in One Piece. That's not to say it's bad or anything, but compared to the tight, character-oriented arcs before, Whiskey Peak and Little Garden just don't grip me. Maybe it's because we aren't picking up new crew members at the same pace, so the arcs lack that emotional connection that comes with solving a problem for the new member and learning their backstory.

This is an extremely sweet lariat, I must admit. Mr. 5 has a cool ability, but spends most of his time firing booger-bombs. 

But I think it also has to do with the fact that these low-level Baroque Works agents aren't very good villains. Remember what I was talking about last time, the booking? It's hard to take Mr. 5 and Ms. Valentine seriously when all they do is get beat accidentally by Luffy and Zoro, and take out people that Zoro already mopped the floor with. And then Mr. 8 and Ms. Wednesday aren't even villains at all, they're undercover agents. Which brings me to another question - what sort of evil activities do the Frontier Agents of Baroque Works do?

We saw they were trying to kill Laboon, but they talked like it would be food for the village. Is that true? Or did they just want to sell him? I guess they routinely trick pirates into staying at their town and then kill them, but let's be honest - Luffy's crew are an exception among the usual piratical rogues. So it doesn't seem like they do stuff that's that bad, which is good I guess, because otherwise Inngram and Vivi would be kinda morally compromised to have aided their enemy, even if they were doing it to gain information on Crocodile.

Love that ninja-esque way Zoro just zoops into place to split the bullet. Could have been drawn just cutting it with a single straight forward slash, but instead it's this cool pose.

Also in this volume, we're introduced to Ms. All-Sunday, who we'll later know and love as Nico Robin. And unlike Vivi, she does have blood on her hands, which actually does gets properly addressed later. But for now, she's just the sexy mysterious lady who blew up a ship and rides around on a sea turtle. (question - does she actually ride the turtle from island to island? Or is it just like a mini-ship, and her actual vessel is docked around the other side of the island?)

I remember thinking for sure her power was telekinesis or something, but actually it's the ability to sprout hands all over the place. So flipping Luffy's hat off his head is totally possible to do with both, but it's nicely ambiguous thanks to the paneling.

One thing that stands out to me is that after the log poses were introduced, they immediately became about as rare as air molecules. They broke one at the lighthouse and took Crocus' pose instead, Ingram left on his suicide mission with an Eternal Pose to Alabasta, and Ms. All-Sunday offers them another Eternal Pose which Luffy smashes. I don't think I dislike this, there's no reason not create artificial scarcity of items in the world when you don't need to, but it's just a little funny how nobody mentioned them before, but now they're all over the place. I guess you just don't use them at all outside the Grand Line, is the thing.

Scary lighting, with insane eyes.

Dorry and Broggy are a fun duo, and for once someone's unreasonably extravagant sense of honor actually makes total sense. It's like some Valhalla-level biz to be stuck in an unending, evenly-matched duel for 100 years. Also, note that Oda loves vikings, so no wonder he gives that motif to the most honorable, most badass, most fearsome race in the world.

One thing I will say about this arc is that it's certainly not some filler. Several hundred chapters from now, Usopp's admiration for and friendship with these giants will pay off in a big way, and of course Mr. 3 makes a critical re-appearance as well.

Favorite Page:

It's a nice Jurassic jungle, but really I only picked this for the top panel. I don't know whether it's better that Zoro isn't scared of the triceratops, or whether he honestly doesn't know what it is. Maybe he never read Dinotopia, like every other 8 year old boy.

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