Capriccio (One Piece #30) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Capriccio
Series: One Piece #30
Arc: Skypiea #7
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 207
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Shandian Rhythm”

“Maxim”

“Conis”

“Pirate Luffy vs. Kami Eneru”

“Floating”

“Deathpiea”

“Desire”

“On the Front Line of Rescuing Love”

“Sorry”

“Capriccio”

To save her own skin, Nami convinces Eneru to take her with him. They leave for the golden ship, leaving the defeated combatants to their fate. After Luffy escapes from the giant snake, and learns what Eneru has done to his crew, he goes to meet Skypiea’s god in battle. Although initially confident that he can beat Luffy, Eneru soon finds that he is no match for the Straw Hat captain: Luffy’s rubber body makes him immune to all of Eneru’s lighting attacks. Rather than fight, Eneru traps Luffy in a prison of gold and throws him overboard, expecting the gold’s weight to keep him away. Eneru sets sail and prepares to destroy the island in the sky. He is briefly impeded in his efforts by the remaining Straw Hats, Usopp and Sanji, giving the inhabitants of Angel Island, who have learned of Eneru’s plans, time to evacuate.

My Thoughts:

Muuuuuch better. All of the cannon fodder have been expended so now we get Kami Eneru fighting against whoever opposes him. Which comes down to the Straw Hat Pirates. Eneru and Luffy have a tussle and beat the snot out of each other with the balance of the fight being like a teeter totter, first one then the other is winning. Eneru wipes the deck with the rest of the Straw Hats.

Eneru’s plan to destroy the sky island like he did his own sky island doesn’t make any rational sense. I get that he wants to leave and go be powerful down on the world beneath, but why destroy everything? Because he’s a psycho bitch, that’s why. He’s the very definition of power run amuck. Whoever his mother was did a terrible job. And his father? Should have spanked him. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that Eneru is very powerful and has had no check upon his power to this point.

The volume ends with the plan to destroy the island entering its final phase. While I know that Luffy and Crew are going to defeat Eneru, part of me hopes that he gets away mostly unscathed just so he can run into some other more powerful Pirate Lord and REALLY get his ass handed to him. Eneru needs to die and he needs to die painfully and gruesomely.

I actually want to read the next volume now. Which was not the case after the last couple and that is a really nice change.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Asterix and the Cauldron (Asterix #13) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix and the Cauldron
Series: Asterix #13
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The story introduces Chief Whosemoralsarelastix, the chief of a neighboring Gaulish village: a miser who often does business with the Romans. When the Romans levy new taxes, Whosemoralsarelastix asks the people of Asterix’s village to guard a cauldron full of sestertii, ostensibly to keep the money away from the imminent visit of the Roman tax collectors. Despite Asterix keeping watch, the cauldron is stolen during the night, whereupon the strict laws of the Gauls demand that Asterix be banished until he has atoned for his negligence. Obelix immediately “banishes” himself to accompany Asterix, until they find money to refill the cauldron and repay Whosemoralsarelastix.

Asterix and Obelix engage in many futile attempts to earn back the money: questioning the Romans at Compendium (only to start a riot when the Romans know nothing about the theft), attacking the pirates in the belief that they stole the money (after the pirates have converted their ship into a restaurant), selling boars (at a ridiculously low price), prize fighting (only to win worthless statuettes), acting (foiled when Obelix insults the audience and ruins the company), gambling on a chariot race (only to lose their money on false information), and even trying to rob a bank (which is empty of money after the recent tax increases). With little else to gain or lose, they take the cauldron back to Whosemoralsarelastix’s village, Asterix hoping to save the village’s honour by clarifying that he alone is responsible for the loss. En route they rob a Roman tax collector of sufficient money to fill the cauldron; and Asterix catches an onion-like scent on the coins, recalling that the cauldron had previously been used for cooking onion soup, and thus proving that these are the very coins seized from Asterix’s care.

At Whosemoralsarelastix’s village, on a high cliff at the coast, Asterix confronts Whosemoralsarelastix with the onion-smelling money, having correctly guessed that Whosemoralsarelastix stole back his own money in the hope that Asterix, to repay the supposed debt, would reimburse him. Here, Asterix and Whosemoralsarelastix duel with their swords (Asterix having exhausted the magic potion granting him superior strength), while Obelix repels Whosemoralsarelastix’s followers. When Whosemoralsarelastix wins the duel and prepares to kill Asterix, a section of the cliff beneath his feet suddenly gives way, and the cauldron falls toward the ocean while Whosemoralsarelastix hangs above. Asterix then rescues Whosemoralsarelastix and re-unites with Obelix, with whom he returns home.

The money itself falls into the ship and possession of the pirates. At Asterix’s village, a celebration is held for the return of the two heroes and the recovery of their honour.

My Thoughts:

Yeah, as soon as the other chieftan walked into the village, it was obvious he was a schemer, scraper and general ne’erdowell. So of course he stole his own money and tricked Asterix into returning even more money to him. Losing it all at the end was about the worst punishment he could get.

And the pirates get a stroke of good luck for once! The first time in 13 stories 😀 They deserved it, hahahahaa.

Otherwise this was the funny adventures of Asterix and Obelix trying to earn money, or in one case steal it from a bank, and failing absolutely miserably. Their strengths and weaknesses are on full display and it’s pretty amusing.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Miss Mapp (Mapp & Lucia #2) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Miss Mapp
Series: Mapp & Lucia #2
Authors: E.F. Benson
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Pages: 312
Words: 90K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Miss Elizabeth Mapp presides over the High Street of the seaside town of Tilling, keeping tabs on all of the gossip, and directing social activity. She competes in bitter rivalry with a neighbor, Godiva Plaistow, over dress-making, and observes the battles over golf and alcohol between Captain Richard Puffin and Major Benjamin Flint. There are further social wars over daylight saving time, bridge games, and the significance of a neighbor being recognised as a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

My Thoughts:

This felt very similar to Queen Lucia, in that a domineering and unsympathetic woman is the lead character and yet manages to amuse us, the readers, instead of making us rise in revolt and guillotine all such monstrosities.

While Mapp doesn’t have the airs of Lucia, she has that rock solid indomitableness of someone sure of their own rightness and superiority to every other person present.

In this story, Lucia isn’t present and the town is a different one altogether. I’m not sure how Mapp & Lucia will come together and even when/if they do, I am not sure how that will go. They’ll either be the greatest of friends presenting a united front against all others, or it will be a dynamite of a meeting with everyone else getting blown up by the meeting of the two titans.

I think the reason I am enjoying these is because the drama is so lowkey and absolutely meaningless to anyone outside of the town. It truly is a tempest in a teacup. I am not invested in who throws the best tea parties or who wears what dress, but I like seeing how people react to such things, because I know I react to such small things in my own life. If there is no drama in our lives, we will create it out of wholeclothe and bemoan it all at the same time. It’s amusing.

Also, keeping things around 300pages is just optimal in my opinion. An occasional big book is ok. Dickens for instance gets a pass. But not every author and not every time. Benson knows this and writes accordingly. I highly approve of his restraint and mastery.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Oratorio (One Piece #29) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Oratorio
Series: One Piece #29
Arc: Skypiea #6
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 231
Words: 10K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Pirate Robin vs. Heavenly Forces Commander Yama”

“Pirate Chopper vs. Vassal Ohm”

“March”

“Suite”

“Concerto”

“Serenade”

“Pirate Zoro vs. Vassal Ohm”

“Play”

“Quintet”

“Oratorio”

“Divina Commedia”

Having had a specific goal for becoming god, and with that goal now in sight, Eneru starts picking off the remaining combatants to complete his plans and ensure his prediction will be accurate. Those who remain (plus Luffy’s snake-captor) are drawn into one big, final brawl. Meanwhile, Nico Robin locates the city of gold, only to find that all the gold is gone. The pieces begin to fall into place, and it is discovered that Eneru plans to destroy everyone who resides in the sky, while escaping to the seas below on his ship made of gold. With the five surviving “contestants” unaware of this, they engage Eneru (the sixth) in battle to see who will be excluded from his prediction. With his mastery over thunder, Eneru reduces the playing field to the promised five, but then decides that none of them is worthy of escaping with him to the blue seas.

My Thoughts:

I made a mistake in my last review. I had stated that volume 28 was the last volume I had originally read in back in ’10, but the truth of the matter is that it was actually volume 29, THIS volume. Just wanted to set the record straight so no one can accuse me of deceiving my adoring public.

This was a bit better in terms of plot because we learn a little bit about the island and “secret history” of the world that Nico Robin is trying to track down. Of course, that is offset by Kami Eneru monologuing in the most confusing way about some sort of god delusion. He’s eaten a gumgum fruit, gotten some really powerful powers and thus thinks he can do whatever he wants. What his ultimate goal is was lost in the babble, if it was even there. He does want to return to the blue sea people, which makes me wonder what he’d do if he ran across one of the more powerful of the 7 Pirate Lords.

Unfortunately, there is still a LOT of pointless and interminable fighting and the artwork for them just makes me skim over it all. After this, everything is completely new to me. Hopefully the manga-ka goes back to his cleaner, simpler artwork. This Skypiea arc has featured so many backgrounds that blend into the characters that blend into all the “action” lines that it’s really hard to see what is actually happening.

Thankfully, he’s still doing little one off pictures between chapters and here’s the one I liked the best for this volume:

Seeing the lion with his pinky up in approved tea drinking fashion just made me grin.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Wyper the Berserker (One Piece #28) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Wyper the Berserker
Series: One Piece #28
Arc: Skypiea #5
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 185
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Wyper the Berserker”

“Dial Battle”

“The Many Souths”

“Pirate Zoro vs. Warrior Braham”

“Pirate Luffy vs. Berserker Wyper”

“Warrior Genbo vs. Heavenly Warriors Commander Yama”

“Pirate Chopper vs. Vassal Gedatsu”

“Pirate Nami and the Weird Knight vs. Heavenly Warriors Subcommanders Hotori and Kotori”

“Warrior Kamakiri vs. Kami Eneru”

With the war’s start, Eneru decides to make a bet: of the eighty-one combatants currently on Skypiea (the Straw Hats, the Shandians, and his own forces), only five will remain in three hours’ time. The Shandians engage Eneru’s forces, the remaining priests fight the Shandians, and the Straw Hats fight whoever is left. After two hours, the number of active combatants dwindles to twenty-five. Luffy mistakes a giant snake’s mouth for a cave.

My Thoughts:

This is just about 180 pages of people fighting each other while screaming how impossible everything the other person is doing. Over and Over and Over again. I am at the point in my life where displays like this don’t do a thing for me. And splitting everyone up so I get to see 3-5 different fights REALLY doesn’t do it for me.

This was the last volume I read back when I was reading One Piece as it was released in english. I can totally understand why I stopped here. Big, flashy and confusing fights simply do not hold my attention. Not anymore. It’s not like I’m going to stop this time but I must admit, Oda-sensei better get off his keister and start telling a story again.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Queen Lucia (Mapp & Lucia #1) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Queen Lucia
Series: Mapp & Lucia #1
Authors: E.F. Benson
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Pages: 317
Words: 86K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Emmeline Lucas is the social queen of Riseholme, presiding over her community and directing their interests in art and culture. A pretentious show-off, La Lucia drops random Italian phrases into her speech, gives concerts to her friends of the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, dabbles in art, and plants Shakespeare-themed flower arrangements in her garden. Her neighbor, devoted faddist Daisy Quantock, has given up her uric-acid-free diet and Christian Science to focus on Indian mysticism, thanks to a mysterious guru who shows up at her door and offers to show her the Way. Lucia must decide how to annex the guru, and turn this into a social success for herself. Daisy then brings in a Russian medium, Princess Popoffski. Lucia has a harder time when opera diva Olga Bracely arrives in Riseholme for a visit, luring away Lucia’s devoted friend Georgie Pillson.

My Thoughts:

There was a distinct lack of Mapp in this book. I’m not really worried about that, as I’m sure whoever Mapp is will show up in later books. But it is annoying to me so I figured I’d vent my spleen before writing anything else.

So Lucia is a prima donna in a small town and rules the roost. She’s the social queen and is used to getting her own way in practically everything. That could be annoying, but Benson provides plenty of foils in the comedic vein so it is amusing rather than annoying.

This story was ALL about the characters. Lucia was just the fulcrum but all of the other main side characters were just as important. From the sham guru to the fake psychic to the very real opera singer to the best friend Georgie Pillson caught in the middle of it all. This is a set of character sketches in various social settings, all of them awkward yet amusing.

I did have to read this in smaller doses instead of all at once, but each story was pretty self-contained so it was easy to read about one instance and then take a break. I am really hoping that whoever Mapp is that I’ll meet her in the next book, because otherwise I’ll be changing the name of this series to “Lucia” and going off on a rant and do a lot of ree’ing like a little baby.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Asterix at the Olympic Games (Asterix #12) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix at the Olympic Games
Series: Asterix #12
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

At the Roman camp of Aquarium near the Gauls’ village, Gluteus Maximus, an athletic Roman legionary, is chosen as one of Rome’s representatives for the upcoming Olympic Games in Greece. Gaius Veriambitius, his centurion, hopes to share in the glory of Olympic victory. While training in the forest, Gluteus Maximus encounters Asterix and Obelix, who unintentionally outdo him at running, then javelin and boxing, thanks to the power of the magic potion. Demoralised, he consigns himself to sweeping the Roman camp instead of training. When Veriambitius asks Vitalstatistix that Gluteus Maximus be left alone, Vitalstatistix decides the Gauls should enter the Olympic Games as well. Veriambitius argues they cannot, as Romans are the only non-Greeks allowed, but Asterix rationalizes that as Gaul is part of the Roman Empire, they are technically Romans (despite their resistance to Roman rule), making them a Gallo-Roman team, demoralising the centurion and his legionary further. The Gauls hold trials that prove inconclusive as everyone is dosed with the magic potion and thus do everything at the same top speed and strength. Eventually, they decide to register only Asterix and Obelix as competitors.

The entire (male) population of the village travels to Olympia (aboard a galley where they have to do the rowing), where Asterix and Obelix register as athletes (with Getafix as their coach) and the others all enjoy a holiday. When Gluteus Maximus and Veriambitius discover that the Gauls have come to compete, they are left in despair (Vitalstatistix telling them “We’re not stopping you entering, it’s just that we’re going to win”), and this despair spreads among all the Roman athletes. They give up training and spend all their time having elaborate parties, washing their uniforms and sweeping the whole area. The scent from their feasts eventually causes the Greek competitors to complain about their own healthy food. Alarmed, the Greeks send a judge to warn the Romans that even if they think drinking will somehow make them better athletes, it will be held against them as all artificial stimulants are forbidden, prompting Veriambitius to tell him about the Gauls’ magic potion. The Gauls are dejected by the news that victory is not as certain as they had expected, but Asterix decides to compete anyway. Obelix, being permanently affected by the potion, now cannot compete and anyway doesn’t quite understand what’s going on – he thinks he’s been dismissed just because he fell into a cauldron and wonders if telling the officials he fell into a regular pot or amphora will change anything.

At the games, Asterix and the Roman athletes are beaten at every turn by the Greeks, causing a dilemma to the Olympic officials. Although their victories prove what they’ve believed all along (that Romans are decadent barbarians and the Greeks are perfect beings), too much success will reflect badly on the country’s reputation, so they announce a special race for just Romans. After the announcement, Asterix and Getafix start talking, very loudly, about a cauldron of magic potion left in an unguarded shed. Eager to win, the other Roman athletes steal the potion that night.

The race begins, and the Roman athletes easily beat Asterix – they all overtake him and cross the finish line simultaneously. After the race, Getafix accuses them of having used magic potion and, when the Romans deny the accusation, Asterix sticks his tongue out at them. When the Romans return the gesture, it is revealed that Getafix had added an extra ingredient to this particular batch of potion and the Romans now have blue tongues from drinking it. They are disqualified, and Asterix is declared the winner.

The Gauls return home for their traditional banquet. Getafix notices Asterix hasn’t brought his Palm of Victory home. Asterix explains he gave it to someone who needed it more: Gluteus Maximus. Gluteus’ apparent victory is shown to have greatly pleased Julius Caesar, who promotes Maximus to centurion and Veriambitius to tribune.

My Thoughts:

Ok, so Goscinny and Uderzo get cute here and put the Gauls in a situation where they can’t use the potion but end up coming out on top anyway. And then to top things off Asterix gives the golden laurel to the romans anyway.

I am guessing this was written and published during some year the Olympics were going on, but I didn’t care enough to go look up any data. I’ve never cared for the Olympics and nothing over the last 20 years has changed my mind. So an Asterix story about them was amusing but nothing more.

In most of these stories there is at least one page that just cracks me up. This time it is Getafix the druid telling Obelix what a well balanced diet is. It really gave this story that half-star bump up:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Overture (One Piece #27) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Overture
Series: One Piece #27
Arc: Skypiea #4
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 187
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Ball Challenge”

“Former Kami vs. Vassal”

“The Village Hidden in the Cloud”

“Ball Dragon”

“Overture”

“Junction”

“Varse”

“Aubade”

“The Anaconda and the Search Team”

Upon entering Skypiea they incite the wrath of Eneru’s four priests. As Luffy and company deal with one of the four, the “captured” crew is forced to fight a second of Eneru’s priests. They are saved by his predecessor, Ganfor, who is only able to make the priest leave after being defeated. Elsewhere, Luffy is able to defeat the first priest, and soon afterward reunites with his crew. After Ganfor is healed, he tells them of a city of gold hidden somewhere in Skypiea. To make themselves rich, the Straw Hats go looking for the gold, only to find themselves in the middle of a war between Eneru and the Shandians, the natives of Skypiea.

My Thoughts:

This was an action packed volume. At the same time I am feeling rather blah about the overall story that is introduced for the first time here. I was ok with Luffy and the Straw Hats going to Magical Island Land and trying to find treasure, but now we’re dealing with a 400 year old war between 3 factions and that gets split into a 3way war 6years before the Crew arrives. I fully understand why I stopped reading this series as it came out back in 2010. For whatever reason, I cannot immerse myself into the overall story arc as of yet.

As I was reading this, even I realized I was being really picky for no good reason that I could discern. I think my problem is that this arc is repeating the whole shonen’esque cliché that we’ve already seen in the previous “Princess Vivi (who I hate and wish was dead) Arc”. Luffy and Crew are going to fight the underlings, win or lose in very creative ways and then Luffy and Kami Eneru are going to fight and somehow the old Kami is going to be involved and the Straw Hat pirates will go back down to the Grand Line. I hope I am wrong because I want an interesting story, not just a shonen power up duel-fest.

I’ve read enough manga, finished and unfinished, to see a pattern that all to many manga-ka fall into. It is easier to draw fights and power up sequences than it is to tell a good story. That’s what happened with Hunter X Hunter. It started with a really fun story and eventually devolved into a multi-volume fight and then went on indefinite hiatus. While I know that One Piece isn’t going to go on hiatus, I want the storytelling to stay in the forefront. Luffy is a great and hilarious character and he has gathered an extraordinary crew and I would like to see the manga-ka really use his imagination with them instead of falling back on tropes.

With all that complaining, as is my wont, I realize you might be wondering WHY this still got 4 stars? That is because even the battle between 2 of the Kami’s underlings and the Straw Hat Pirates was very inventive. I have to give Oda-sensei credit, when it comes to making up fight scenarios, that man has got a really weird imagination that works perfectly for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Asterix & the Chieftain’s Shield (Asterix #11) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix & the Chieftain’s Shield
Series: Asterix #11
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The book begins with Vercingetorix conceding defeat to Julius Caesar. His surrendered weapons remain at Caesar’s chair for several hours, until a Roman archer steals Vercingetorix’s famous shield, which he loses in a game of dice to another legionary, who then loses it to a drunken centurion, in return for the centurion not reporting him for a military offence. The centurion himself uses the shield to pay for a jar of wine at a nearby Gaulish inn; later, the shield is given by the innkeeper to a survivor of the Battle of Alesia.

Following this prologue, Chief Vitalstatistix is made helpless by a sore liver, a consequence of overeating and drinking at his last banquet. Having demonstrated this, and temporarily eased the chief’s pain, the druid Getafix sends Vitalstatistix to a hydrotherapeutic center in Arverne to be cured, with Asterix and Obelix (and Dogmatix) as his escort. On the way, they stop at various inns, where the heavy food revives the chief’s sickness. At Arverne, the Gauls initially remain together; but because Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix are in no need of special diets, they feast on wild boar and beer while everyone else eats “boiled vegetables”. When other patients complain, Vitalstatistix sends Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix to Gergovia.

Along the way, the Gauls are offended by Roman envoy Noxius Vapus, and vanquish his guards. In the aftermath, Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix befriend the local tavern-keeper Winesanspirix, who retains them thereafter as guests. When Noxius Vapus makes his report to Caesar in Rome, Caesar plans a triumph on Vercingetorix’s shield to “show them who’s boss”, and orders Vapus to search Arverne for it. When the initial investigations fail, the Romans send a spy, Legionary Pusillanimus; but on drinking too much wine at Winesanspirix’s tavern, the latter discloses Caesar’s plan and reveals his own knowledge of the shield’s history, whereupon Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix set off in search of the shield themselves. To that end, they interrogate the archer, Lucius Circumbendibus, who now owns a wheel manufacturing business; the second legionary, Marcus Carniverus, who worked at a health resort before opening a restaurant; and the drunken Centurion Crapulus. Vapus and his men in turn search in vain for both the shield and Asterix and Obelix, as a running gag dirtying themselves with charcoal dust while searching the coal heaps belonging to Winesanspirix and their neighbors.

The search eventually leads the two Gauls back to Winesanspirix, to whom Crapulus had given the shield in the prologue. Upon the protagonists’ reunion with him, Winesanspirix confesses having given the shield to a dispirited Gaulish warrior, who is thereupon identified with the arrival of a newly cured and much slimmer Vitalstatistix. Vitalstatistix reveals he had the shield the whole time and it is the very one he is always carried upon. Upon Caesar’s arrival at Gergovia, Asterix and the locals organize a triumph in which Vitalstatistix is carried on Vercingetorix’s shield. Caesar then deports Vapus and his troops to Numidia, and Caesar promotes Centurion Crapulus to command of the garrison of Gergovia, and Legionary Pusillanimus to Centurion, on the grounds that they are the only “clean” legionaries present (despite both being visibly drunk). The Gauls return to their village (Vitalstatistix regaining his customary weight at the inns visited earlier in the story) to celebrate; but Vitalstatistix is forced into abstinence from the latter by his wife Impedimenta.

My Thoughts:

Hmm, this one was hard to get enthused about. The word plays seemed even worse than normal (or I just might be reaching the end of what I’ll accept anymore), the plot was utter nonsense (not bonkers funny, but just nonsense) and no pirates were sunk.

This felt very dated, ie going to a health farm to lose weight. This was originally done in ’68 and that kind of thing was way more prevalent then. It would have been like if Asterix and Obelix had made jokes about 8track tapes or something. It didn’t help that the Chief was pretty much forced to do this by his wife and that the Druid wouldn’t keep fixing him up. He was a middle aged man trying to still act like a 20 year old and it hit home, and not in a nice comfy way either!

With all of that complaining, this was still a good riotous story. Julius Caesaer wants a shield to hold a Triumph with and Asterix and Obelix have to find the shield first to prevent that from happening. So of course their Chief has the shield all along, sigh. While no pirates were sunk, plenty of romans were biffed and bammed and ol Julius Caesar himself shows up only to slink away when the boys parade their chief Vitalstatistix on the shield.

I was amused the whole time but just barely and if I feel this same way for the next book, I’m going to take it as a sign that I need to take a break. There can be too much of a good thing and my refined literary palate can only take so much cleansing after all.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Adventure on Kami’s Island (One Piece #26) ★★★★☆

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Title: Adventure on Kami’s Island
Series: One Piece #26
Arc: Skypiea #3
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“High in the Sky”

“Heaven’s Gate”

“Angel Beach”

“Dial Power”

“Heaven’s Judgment”

“Class-2 Criminals”

“Trial”

“SOS”

“Adventure on Kami’s Island”

“Satori, Vassal of the Forest of no Return”

The Straw Hats successfully reach the cloud harboring Skypiea, and soon after their arrival meet some of its inhabitants: a hostile group of apparently primitive natives, and a friendlier people of the more civilized town of Angel Island. While the rest of Straw Hats mingle with them, learning of the town’s history, and enjoying its unique technology, the ship’s navigator Nami explores the endless sea of clouds. She finds Skypiea, but learns that the Straw Hats have been labeled as trespassers and will be dealt with accordingly. Although able to fend off an initial arrest attempt, their ship, and some of the crew, is taken away by Eneru, the current god of all that lies atop the cloud. Free, but wishing to reunite with their friends, Luffy, Sanji, and Usopp enter Skypiea, Eneru’s domain.

My Thoughts:

Now that the crew are in Skypiea, of course things aren’t easy. First they’re tricked into trespassing, then they’re supposed to be punished and so of course a whole lot of fighting is going to happen. They run into some guy who takes out Luffy, Zoro and Sanji with one punch, and he appears to be some sort of psycho as well, so of course we know he’s going to be prominently featured.

We also get some old guy dressed up in armor and flying around on a polka-dotted pegasus and it’s hinted that he’s the former ruler of Skypiea, so my guess is this story arc will be about the Straw Hats defeating the false ruler and putting the nice ruler back on the throne. Hmmmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?

In a previous review Misaki mentioned that Luffy seemed to like to choose the impossible option whenever it was available and we get a prime example of that in this volume. He’s told there’s a forbidden forest and anyone who goes there will be punished so of course he wants to go there. And what’s funnier, ALL of his friends know what he’s thinking. Check it out:

Remember, this reads right to left.

Rating: 4 out of 5.