Saturday, August 26, 2017

One Piece Revisited vol. 14 - Instinct

Something looks weird about Luffy's proportions here, but I'm into the way Mr. 3 and Ms. Goldenweek are drawn in all-green.

We're still on Little Garden, dealing with the giants and their duel. Despite being critically injured by the explosive booze, Dorry goes back out there as if nothing was wrong. And after further interference from Mr. 3 seals the deal, Broggy defeats him.

But see, Broggy knew that something was up with Dorry. However, he also knew that since Dorry was forcing himself to fight, he couldn't dishonor that by pointing it out, or holding back in any way. Dorry wouldn't want to be given pity. Unlike some of the other "muh honor" things in the series, this makes perfect sense to me and I like it a lot.

Really not sure how to feel about Vivi pulling her spinning-knife things out of her nipples, especially when talking about rubbing one out.

Reminds me of Ping Pong the Animation, when Smile and Peco have their climactic match. Peco is supposedly suffering from a knee injury, and before the match Smile is asked if he'll target it or not, can he bring himself to do that to a friend, go after his weak point? Smile responds. "Heroes don't have weak points." It's a great line, full of weight that you'll have to watch the series to understand, but basically he means that Peco is so talented, even if Smile exploits the injury, it won't matter. But if Peco loses because of it, it means he has a weakness, and he isn't a hero. So Smile will play his hardest, just like always, because he's so confident that Peco can rise above the injury and prove himself a "hero".

That's a lot of words about something that isn't One Piece, but I think you get my drift.

This one always made me wince - the knives are going through his hands the hard way, cutting every tendon and bone! He'll be crippled for life! Or at least if this was real life. But since this is One Piece, he'll be wielding a weapon as if nothing was wrong in a few chapters.

However, the fight against the four Baroque Works agents is kind of a mess. Only Luffy and Usopp are mobile (and I remain steadfast in my commitment to not give a crap about Karoo), so they have to deal with multiple opponents while also saving the rest from the death trap. Which is pointlessly complex, btw - Mr. 3 could just encase them in wax straight-up, no need to do this elaborate cake/candelabra setup. I guess it's more sadistic this way?

Based Zoro.

But then you also have Ms. Goldenweek, who has ridiculously broken abilities. It's not even explained if it's a devil fruit or what, but she can just paint on people and change their emotions to the point of making Luffy too apathetic to save his friends, or laugh too hard to do anything. They say it's something like hypnosis, but then how does it work when she just paints it on his back and he doesn't even see it?

I just like the way Mr. 5 provides support, chomping bullets out of the air. Underrated speed and precision there, besides the way he's invulnerable to them.

In the end, it doesn't matter, since Ms. Goldenweek doesn't really try very hard herself, Mr. 3 is a loser hiding behind a strong ability, Mr. 5 is inexplicably weak, and Ms. Valentine is an outright liability. But while it's mostly a gag fight, it still shows the hallmarks of the series. Mr. 5's ability to eat bombs is displayed, and Usopp uses that against him to trick him into swallowing a spicy pellet instead (he's weak to spice, but not explosives? Devil Fruit rules, I guess.) Meanwhile, Ms. Goldenweek's paint is defeated by burning off the clothes it was painted on, and fire also proves to be a counter to Mr. 3's wax. The point is, the fight isn't won simply because the good guys "had more friendship and willpower", they won because they found and exploited the weaknesses of the bad guy's powers.

[Through the Fire and Flames intensifies]

And of course, once Zoro and the others were freed, it's game over. There's a scene where Mr. 3 lure Luffy into the jungle, where he tries to trick him with a bunch of  clones, but Luffy just picks out the real one on the first try, saying it was "instinct" (hence the volume title). Years later we might point this out as a form of Haki, or maybe it's just a throwaway gag. I think it can sort of be both, because the whole point is that Haki isn't like a secret technique that's impossible to replicate until you learn it, it's just a natural evolution of a top-class fighter's abilities. Sure, some hone it to an unnatural degree, but I like to think any time someone gets "in the zone" and anticipates their opponent's movements, that's a mild form of Haki.

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I think there's actually a lot of emotion in this face and line. Broggy knows he should revel in the glory of victory, finally settling a century-old grudge, but he just killed his best friend, and lost his purpose for living. Also, that's about 2 fights a day by my math.

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