[Manga Monday] The Oath (One Piece #6) ★★★★☆

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: The Oath
Series: One Piece #6
Arc: East Blue Part 6
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Chapter List:

“Before the Storm”

“An Uninvited Guest”

“The Don’s Offer”

“Steer Clear”

“Storm”

“A Parting of Ways”

“Zoro Overboard”

“The Oath”

“Mackerel Head”

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] For Whom the Bell Tolls (One Piece #5) ★★★★☆

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: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Series: One Piece #5
Arc: East Blue Part 5
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Chapter List:

“After Them!!”

“Captain Kuro, of the Thousand Plans”

“Pirate Crew”

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”

“Usopp’s Pirate Crew

“To the Sea”

“Yosaku and Johnny”

“Sanji”

“Three Tough Cooks”

Django, ordered to kill Kaya after forcing her to write a will favoring Kuro, chases her through the forest; Zoro and Usopp are chasing them. On the shore, Luffy and Kuro fight one-on-one and the Straw Hats prevail. With Usopp the newest addition to the crew and a ship named Going Merry as a parting gift from Kaya, they leave the island. At sea they meet Zoro’s former bounty-hunting partners Johnny and Yosaku, who tell them about a floating restaurant near the Grand Line where the crew might find a cook and (to Zoro’s delight) “Hawk-Eye” Mihawk – the world’s best swordsman – was reportedly sighted. When they arrive, Luffy accidentally damages the restaurant and injures its head chef. In compensation, he agrees to work there for one week. When he sees assistant head chef Sanji give free food to Gin, a starving pirate, he decides to persuade the cook to join his crew.

My Thoughts:

This wrapped up the little adventure of Luffy & Co facing off against the Pirate who wanted to go legit, by faking a will and murdering the girl. Captain Kuro reveals that nobody and nothing is worth his time and everything is simply fodder for him to use to advance himself. This rubs Luffy the wrong way and really winds him up. Luffy defeats Kuro in a typically zany One vs One battle. Of course, Nami has been robbing the pirate ship this whole time, ha!

Usopp officially joins the crew and Luffy is on the lookout for someone to be their chef. Man has got his priorities straight is all I can say. They meet Sanji at a floating restaurant and the book ends with Luffy telling Sanji he wants him to be their cook. During this whole time Sanji and the 2 other cooks have been fighting with a customer and with each other and it made me laugh. It was ridiculous and honestly, it really shouldn’t have worked but some it did. I guess that is part of the mangaka’s magic, he simply makes work something that shouldn’t.

The little standalone pictures between chapters weren’t random images this time. They told the story of what happened to Buggy the Clown after being defeated by Luffy. He chases a little bird to eat it and it runs to its parent, which then chases Buggy and when it tries to eat him, spits him out as being bad food 😀 It was just amazing what Oda could express in Buggy’s facial expression and no words.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Black Cat Pirates (One Piece #4) ★★★★☆

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: Black Cat Pirates
Series: One Piece #4
Arc: East Blue Part 4
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 211
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Chapter List:

“True Lies”

“Crescent Moon”

“Uphill Battle”

“Backfire”

“Truth”

“Cruel Fortune”

“The Creeping Cat”

“A Humble Servant”

“The Steep Slope”

Usopp fails to convince the villagers of the impending pirate invasion, but when he decides to prevent the raiding party from reaching them he is joined by the Straw Hat Pirates. They spend the night in preparation, planning to stop the Black Cat Pirates on the coast. However, they pick the wrong side of the village to protect; when they realize their mistake, they have to hurry to reach the other coast. The fight goes well, although they are unprepared and greatly outnumbered. Kuro, angered by the raiding party’s delay, appears on the battlefield; so does Kaya, in a futile attempt to negotiate a compromise.

My Thoughts:

Oh I enjoyed this. Luffy’s a stoner if there ever was one, without actually being a stoner. He’s dumb but not stupid and can be quite intelligent when he chooses to be. He also typifies the Ideal of One Man against the World, and winning. I really like that ideal and I suspect it is a big part of why this manga appeals to me. Plus, the humor is just absolutely whacko and right up my alley. Much like the comments section on 4 or 5 blogs I’m involved with, you just never know where the manga-ka Oda is going to go but when he does, I laugh out loud.

This was on the track of being a 5star read because it was so light and fluffy and funny. The the sick girl Kaya got involved. There was some serious eye rolling happening on my part when she tries to appeal to Kuro, her butler slash pirate captain, and his “better nature”. There was also multiples “Question & Answer” pages which really disrupted the flow of the story. While they were between chapters, they were inane enough that it made me wonder if the manga-ka made them up, because if they were real questions, then the questioners were outright pathetic.

Finally, I just don’t care for the character Usopp. I don’t like his character and I don’t like his artwork. The “big lipped” look has never appealed to me and kind of makes me cringe. I remember my first introduction to that style of character was from the Tenchi in Tokyo anime and I’ve never yet gotten to like it.

The pictures between chapters continue to amuse me greatly. This one is Luffy, Zorro and Nami “mecha”nized and stomping through Tokyo. Where does Oda come up with these ideas? I have no idea but I am loving every second of it 😀

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Don’t Get Fooled Again (One Piece #3) ★★★★☆

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: Don’t Get Fooled Again
Series: One Piece #3
Arc: East Blue Part 3
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 211
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Chapter List:

“The Pirate Buggy the Clown”
“Devil Fruit”
“The Way of the Thief””
Townies”
“Strange Creatures”
“The Dread Captain Usopp”
“The Lie Rejecter”
“Lies”
“Captain Kuro’s Plan

Luffy and Buggy fight in a bizarre show of devil-fruit powers until Nami joins the fight and Buggy is defeated by the two (temporary) allies. Leaving with some of Buggy’s treasure, they and Zoro set sail for the hometown of chronic liar Usopp. In search of a large ship, Luffy and his crew visit the mansion of the sickly young Kaya; they are turned away by her overprotective butler, Klahador. Usopp and Luffy later overhear Klahador (who is really the notorious pirate Kuro) and his first mate, Django, plan to kill Kaya so Kuro can inherit her wealth and social status.

My Thoughts:

While this was amusing, it felt extremely “setup’y” for getting another crew member. Nami joins the crew as the navigator but she tells Luffy they need a big ship if they’re going to sail the Grand Line in search of the One Piece. This leads them to Usopp and the beginning of another fight with another pirate.

Obviously, it’s left open to hook you to read the next volume and I do have the next volume handy. It just annoys me that it’s used that way.

What I am rather enjoying is the little bits of art that Oda is including with each chapter heading. It will feature at least one, if not more, of the characters and then some outlandish situation or something just plain ridiculous. I’ve included the one that made me grin the most for this volume:

There are 9 chapters and almost 200 pages but I got to the end and was like “that’s it?” Reading this was as easy as reading one of the 25page Spawn comics. And in One Piece at least the violence is cartoonishly outlandish.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Buggy the Clown (One Piece #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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Buggy the Clown
Series: One Piece #2
Arc: East Blue Part 2
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 211
Words: 8K





Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Luffy begs Nami to become a pirate and his crew’s navigator, but she refuses and uses him as bait to steal the treasure of pirate captain Buggy the Clown. As Luffy and Zoro fight the Buggy Pirates, Buggy is found to have the power of a devil fruit which allows him to separate his body parts at will. With Buggy’s crewmen defeated, Luffy fights him one-on-one. The volume ends with Buggy revealing that he knew Red-haired Shanks, Luffy’s old mentor.

My Thoughts:

For a volume over 200 pages, not much happens. Luffy and Zoro make it to an island that has been taken over by Buggy the Clown and they get captured and fight and that’s about it. There’s a schmaltzy little piece about a dog guarding the store that his master used to own and it made me roll my eyes which is why this volume only gets 4stars.

The character design in One Piece is as unique as that by CLAMP. Once you see it you’ll recognize it as distinctly Oda’s. I’ll probably include some art in a later review. This early in the series just doesn’t seem like it’s quite time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Romance Dawn (One Piece #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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Romance Dawn
Series: One Piece #1
Arc: East Blue Part 1
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 211
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

Seven-year-old Monkey D. Luffy tries to join “Red-Haired” Shanks’ pirate crew, but is rejected as too young. He accidentally eats a devil fruit which causes his body to gain the properties of rubber, but makes him unable to swim. After an ordeal with mountain bandits, Luffy abandons his plan to join Shanks’ crew; instead, he vows to surpass Shanks, build up a crew of his own and become the next king of the pirates. Ten years later Luffy sets out to sea, frees the young Coby from a slave’s life in Alvida’s pirate crew and saves three-sword-wielding bounty hunter Roronoa Zoro from being executed by the Navy. With Zoro Luffy’s first crewman, they set sail for the Grand Line (the sea where the One Piece – the treasure of the last king of the pirates – is supposedly hidden), and meet thief (and expert navigator) Nami.

My Thoughts:

I first started reading One Piece back in 2007. By 2011 I was up to Volume 29 and then Viz, the American company with the english rights, started playing catch up and publishing a volume every month. I couldn’t afford that and neither could the library. So I stopped reading One Piece. Fast forward to 2021 and One Piece is up to Volume 97 this August. Digital manga is now a thing, which is good because my eyes can’t handle the paper copies any more.

I was hesitant to start this series simply because you just never know how much you have changed in 14 years. Apparently, while I have changed, what I find funny hasn’t. This still had me in stitches even while not laughing out loud.

Luffy D Monkey is a supremely confidant young man who isn’t exactly humble but neither is he arrogant. He knows his powers and strengths and his weaknesses. He’s just the kind of main character I like to read about. He’s also insanely silly sometimes 😀

The original english translations use the name Roronoa Zolo instead of Roronoa Zoro. It should have been Zoro, as Zoro is a great swordsman of the 3 sword style (he literally holds and uses the third sword with his mouth) and his goal is to become the world’s greatest swordsman. Just wanted to put that out there in case I ever include a picture and it he’s referenced as Zolo instead of Zoro.

The most important thing to realize as you start this manga is to realize that the manga-ka is deliberately holding a Romantic View of pirates and the pirate life. Just accept it and you’re good to go.

I’ll talk more about other stuff in later volumes. This is enough for now.

Rating: 4 out of 5.