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Title: The Oath
Series: One Piece #6
Arc: East Blue Part 6
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
“Before the Storm”
“An Uninvited Guest”
“The Don’s Offer”
“A Parting of Ways”
Luffy is a kitchen assistant and waiter until the torn-up flagship of Pirate Commodore Don Krieg lays anchor next to the floating restaurant and a half-starved Krieg, leaning on Gin, staggers inside. He begs for food, which Sanji provides without hesitation. When Krieg’s strength is restored he reverts to his normal self, demanding ownership of the restaurant and food for his 100 men. Nami leaves with the Merry Go, and Mihawk arrives. The master swordsman followed Krieg from the Grand Line, where he had wiped out his entire fleet. Zoro challenges him to a duel and, despite his best efforts, is defeated. After the fight, Usopp, Johnny, and Yosaku take Zoro aboard the bounty hunters’ boat and set sail to follow Nami. Luffy is left behind to pay his debt to the restaurant by defeating Krieg and his men.
For whatever reason, this felt like a more “serious” volume than the previous ones. I think that comes down to the fact that we realize just how “under-powered” everyone that Luffy and Co have met so far are in comparison to the people they are going to meet on the Grand Line. We meet Mihawk Dracule, the world’s greatest swordsman and my goodness, he is a veritable god of ability. He destroys a whole fleet of ships with just a sword for goodness sake.
We also get an explanation for why this arc is called East Blue. The world is divided by the Red Line and the Grand Line and various sections get called their designation. So Luffy and Co are in the East Blue quadrant, which Mihawk assures them is the easiest quadrant to live in. Zoro faces off against Mihawk and is so easily defeated that it is stunning. Mainly because we’ve seen how Zoro just rolls over anyone he’s come up against so far. It’s classic shonen but I hope that Oda can do better and tell a good story along with the shonen components. Once a series goes strictly shonen, it tends to become rather dull and uninteresting. I’ve experienced that with two other series, Hunter X Hunter and Reborn!.
Overall, I am glad to see something a little more serious from Oda, as it shows he has a deeper understanding of writing and has the ooomph to pull it off. Silly and Zany are good but it does need to be leavened and this volume felt just right in that regards.