People’s Dreams ★★★✬☆

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Title: People’s Dreams
Series: One Piece #24
Arc: Skypiea #1
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 209
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“Stowaway”

“Why the Log Pose Is Dome-Shaped”

“Masira the Salvage King”

“A Walk on the Seafloor”

“Monsters”

“The Giant Novice”

“I Promise Never to Fight in This Town”

“Do Not Dream”

“People’s Dreams”

“Shoujou, the Salvage King of the Seafloor”

Indebted to Luffy for rescuing her, Nico Robin joins the Straw Hat Pirates. An old ship falls from the sky. Rummaging through some of its remains, while dealing with a rival salvaging crew led by the monkey-like Masira, and nearby monstrous sea creatures, the Straw Hats discover the fallen ship has come from Skypiea, an island high in the sky. Unsure of how to reach it, the Straw Hats visit a nearby port on the island of Jaya. There they meet Bellamy, a pirate who looks down on Luffy, and mocks his dreams of becoming Pirate King. Luffy, who had promised Nami not to fight in the town, allows himself to be beaten up and bullied by Bellamy. The Straw Hats then proceed to another part of Jaya to meet a man who might have a lead on how to reach Skypiea. However, they must first get past Masira’s brother Shoujou and his crew.

My Thoughts:

A new adventure, hurray! Now all the crew has to do is actually find this mythological floating island. Should be easy peasy…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Vivi’s Adventure ★★★✬☆

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Title: Vivi’s Adventure
Series: One Piece #23
Arc: Baroque Works #12
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 229
Words: 10K



Synopsis:

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

“Ignition”

“Nightmare”

“Guardian Spirit”

“I Will Defeat You”

“Zero”

“King”

“Some Justice”

“V.I.P.”

“Strategy to Escape the Sand Kingdom”

“Last Waltz”

“Vivi’s Adventure”

The cannon is hidden in the clock tower overlooking the capital city, and the Straw Hat Pirates frantically try to reach it before it is fired. In the final moments the cannon is stopped, Luffy finally defeats Crocodile, and uses the last of his energy to save King Cobra and Nico Robin. Most importantly, it begins to rain, ending the civil war and the drought that caused it. Crocodile and his agents are arrested, and the Straw Hats collapse. Alabasta tends to their wounds and celebrates them as heroes. But as pirates, they are criminals, and are forced to flee the country in secret to avoid arrest. Bon Clay distracts the Marines to allow the Straw Hats to say farewell to Vivi, and they set sail for their next adventure.

My Thoughts:

Alabasta is saved and more importantly, Vivi stays behind as the princess so the crew (and by that I mean me) don’t have to deal with her any more. Thank goodness.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hope!! ★★★★☆

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Title: Hope!!
Series: One Piece #22
Arc: Baroque Works #11
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

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

“1”

“The Leaders”

“4:15 p.m.”

“Hope!!”

“Water Luffy”

“Nico Robin”

“The Royal Mausoleum”

“Crocodile-ish”

“Red”

“The Sand-Sand Band’s Secret Fort”

Despite his agents’ defeats, Crocodile is still confident that his plans to take over the kingdom are nearing fruition. With Alabasta embroiled in a civil war of his own design, Crocodile needs only to destroy both warring parties in one fell swoop to take control of the country. Knowing that a cannon is the most practical way of fulfilling this purpose, Nefertari Vivi and the Straw Hat Pirates try to find its hiding place before it is too late. Meanwhile, Crocodile searches for Pluton, forcing King Cobra to lead him and Nico Robin to an ancient stone called a Ponegliff underneath the castle. But when Nico Robin says the Ponegliff has no information on the Pluton, Crocodile tries to kill her and escape before his cannon is fired. Monkey D. Luffy, having recovered and learned from their previous encounter, engages Crocodile in battle.

My Thoughts:

Now, with LESS Vivi. Oh thank goodness. She and Sir Crocodile have a little dialogue back and forth and I actually found myself agreeing with him simply because I disliked Vivi so much. Ughh, I don’t like being in that position.

Everybody is pretty much kung-fu fighting everybody else and the Navy gets involved helping the Straw Hats pirates and the Loyalists and the Rebels try to reconcile all the while the forces of Baroque Works are causing chaos and destruction AND there is supposed to be a bomb that goes off at 4:30pm which will leave a crater 3miles wide.

Luffy ends up fighting Sir Crocodile AGAIN while everybody else looks for the bomb or the mechanism to set it off. We get a smidgeon of back story on Nico Robin, the infamous Ms All Sunday who while being Sir Crocodiles #1 helper has also helped the Straw Hats in previous volumes. The following picture pretty much sums up the kerfluffle between Crocodile and Luffy.

The volume ends with Luffy and Crocodile having their final showdown and about 30seconds before the big bomb goes off. Oh no, the suspense is KILLING me. Hohohoho….

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Utopia ★★★✬☆

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Title: Utopia
Series: One Piece #21
Arc: Baroque Works #10
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

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

“Stalemate”

“Oh Come My Way Karate”

“2”

“Climate Baton”

“She Who Controls the Weather”

“Tornado Warning”

“Utopia”

“Cutting Steel”

“Mr. Bushido”

Sanji and Mr. 2 Bon Clay exchange blows, until Bon Clay discovers the sea cook’s weakness and he transforms to resemble Nami to distract him. Bon Clay dominates the fight, but Sanji is able to defeat him after exploiting Bon Clay’s vulnerability when he transforms. Nami fights Miss Doublefinger, partner of Mr. 1, and a Devil Fruit user who can create spikes anywhere on her body, during which she struggles with how to use her new Climate Baton weapon. Unfortunately, most of that weapon’s abilities are nothing more than magic tricks. One street further, Zoro battles Mr. 1, who possesses the ability to create blades anywhere on his body. Meanwhile, Vivi reaches Chaka, the acting captain of the royal guard, but before they can stop the fighting, Crocodile and “Ms. All-Sunday” Nico Robin arrive.

My Thoughts:

The fight between Sanji and Mr 2 had me laughing. Mr 2 can make himself look like anybody else and so he chooses Nami’s face to distract Sanji. While it was funny, the actual fight itself dragged on with Sanji and Mr 2 simply kicking at each other. I’m not a huge fan of drawn out fights with limbs and body parts whizzing all over the place with devil-fruit enhanced whizziness.

However! We DO find out why Sir Crocodile has been after the kingdom all along. Drum Roll Please! PLUTON. No idea what that is beyond it is supposed to be a super weapon. And King Cobra doesn’t know where it is. So Sir Crocodiles goal is to get this super weapon and forge a government that not even the world government can stop and thus become tyrant of the world. Pretty ballsy!

There’s more long drawn out fights that I skimmed through and finally got to the end of the volume. Can’t say I cared particularly one way or the other.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Showdown at Alubarna ★★★☆☆

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Title: Showdown at Alubarna
Series: One Piece #20
Arc: Baroque Works #9
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 207
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“30 Million vs. 81 Million”

“Grand Line Level”

“Showdown at Alubarna”

“Alabasta Animal Land”

“Supersonic Duck Quiz”

“Roar”

“Squadron Leader Karoo”

“Moletown Block Four”

“Oh… Is That So?”

“4”

Luffy fights Crocodile; despite many hits, his opponent is unfazed. Crocodile, using his devil-fruit ability to dissolve and reintegrate whatever part of his body Luffy attacks, toys with him until he impales him through the chest with his prosthetic hook and buries him in the sand. The rest of the Straw Hats hurry to intercept the rebel army. They cross the desert on a giant crab, cross the river Sandora and are picked up on the other side by Karoo and his squad of spot-billed ducks. In front of the capital, the high-ranking Baroque Works agents try to intercept Vivi and are lured into the city by disguised Straw Hats. Vivi tries to stop the rebels, but the enraged army storms past her. She flees from Mr. 2, who chases her into the city (where Sanji comes to her rescue). On the other side of the city, Usopp and Chopper battle the agents Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas.

My Thoughts:

This was just ok. Vivi is front and center as somehow she is the only one who can stop the rebels and get the country back on track. Her father, the king, appears to be a puling idiot and the advisors to the king are as dumb as him. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why everyone does what they do. Imagine Luffy without the charisma and twice as stupid.

We do get to see Team Luffy coming into their own. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the various fights presented (half the time I couldn’t tell what I was looking at), it was obvious that they had gelled as a team and had begun their own climb up the power ladder.

Even Usopp impressed me. I didn’t think that was possible.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rebellion ★★★✬☆

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: Rebellion
Series: One Piece #19
Arc: Baroque Works #8
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 216
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“Battlefront”

“Rainbase, the City of Dreams”

“The Kingdom’s Strongest Warrior”

“Beginning”

“Koza, Leader of the Rebels”

“Rebellion”

“Bananagator”

“Mr. Prince”

“Release”

“Rush

Karoo brings news of Crocodile’s treachery to the king, who decides to attack Rainbase and sends Pell (the country’s strongest soldier) to scout ahead. Smoker awaits the Straw Hats in Rainbase and chases several of them into Crocodile’s casino, where they fall through a trapdoor into a cage. After defeating Pell, Crocodile’s partner Miss All-Sunday captures Vivi and brings her to the casino; Baroque Works’ final plan is set in motion. The king is abducted, and the rebellion supplied with weapons. Mr. 2, impersonating the king, admits stealing the country’s rain. In response, the rebels attack the capital. Crocodile leaves the cage surrounded by his oversized crocodiles, while the room floods with water. Chopper lures Crocodile away from the casino, while Sanji enters it and fights the crocodiles. One of them spits out Mr. 3, and Sanji forces him to open the cage by creating a key. Smoker, aware of Crocodile’s plan, calls for reinforcements while the Straw Hats head for Alubarna. Luffy, however, stays behind to take on the warlord.

My Thoughts:

Vivi didn’t talk as much in this volume so I enjoyed that aspect a LOT more.

Baroque Works finally begin their big plan of destroying Alabastra (I’ll admit, I’m still not clear on the “why” or what Sir Crocodile hopes to accomplish by this) and that gives the Straw Hats a concrete enemy. Luffy is as brash and loudmouthed as he’s ever been and ends up leading the Straw Hats into a trap. Sanji rescues them and everyone but Luffy heads off to the capital to hopefully prevent a fight between citizens of the country. Luffy stays behind to fight Sir Crocodile.

While I had a decent time with this, circumstances going on around me definitely affected my enjoyment. I was doing my federal taxes and it didn’t go well. So maybe this would have been a 4star read at a different time? I don’t know. Life is too full to wait for “the perfect time” to read and sometimes a decent book gets overshadowed. That’s life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ace Arrives ★★★☆☆

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Title: Ace Arrives
Series: One Piece #18
Arc: Baroque Works #7
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 225
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“Oh Come My Way Days”

“Ace Arrives”

“Landing in Alabasta”

“Come On”

“Spiders Café at Eight O’Clock”

“The Green City Erumalu”

“Adventure in the Kingdom of Sand”

“Yuba, the Town of Rebels”

“I Love My Country”

“Operation Utopia”

“Luffy vs. Vivi”

En route to Alabasta, the Straw Hats encounter Baroque Works agent Mr. 2 Bon Clay; naively, he shows them his ability to impersonate the voice, face and body of any person whose face he touches with his right hand. In Alabasta, Luffy goes to find something to eat. He encounters his older brother Portgas D. Ace and Captain Smoker, who chases him through the town. With Ace’s help, Luffy escapes. The top Baroque Works agents meet at a cafe in the desert. From there they are brought to a city, Rainbase, to meet Mr. 0. The Straw Hats cross the desert to the oasis of Yuba, where the rebel army reportedly has its headquarters. They find a ghost town, plagued by sandstorms. Vivi tells a story about herself and her childhood friend, Koza. In Rainbase, Crocodile reveals himself and his master plan to conquer Alabasta to his agents. When Mr. 3 reports his failure to kill Vivi and the Straw Hats, Crocodile feeds him to one of his oversized crocodiles. Although Luffy is discouraged, Vivi’s passion for the cause inspires him to persevere.

My Thoughts:

It was cool being introduced to Luffy’s older brother Ace, who is supporting a pirate captain named White Beard. Ace is pretty strong stuff even besides his devil fruit powers. He’s not around very long but it’s evident he’s being introduced now to make the fight between him and Luffy that much greater whenever it occurs. Now we just need Luffy’s Dad and Mom to show up, preferably as Ultra-Powerful world government Agents and voila, more family drama than you can shake a stick at. Of course, I’d be really pissed if that is what actually happens.

Vivi is really getting on my nerves now. She interferes multiple times with how the Crew do what they need to and causes things to be twice as hard. She forbids them from fighting with the rebels and acts like she can just wave her hand and make peace. She is the epitome of a spoiled child who has had everything handed to her her entire life. Thankfully Luffy tells her what she needs to hear, that Sir Crocodile is the real enemy, not the rebels, and that HE, Luffy, is going to beat the ever-living daylights out of Crocodile even if she doesn’t “like” violence as a solution.

There was more Vivi than Ace overall though, so while I enjoyed this volume, it left a slightly off taste in my mouth by the end. Boooooo!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hiruluk’s Cherry Blossoms ★★★★☆

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Title: Hiruluk’s Cherry Blossoms
Series: One Piece #17
Arc: Baroque Works #6
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 207
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“Battle to Defend the Kingdom”

“Frauds”

“Unbreakable”

“Rumble!!”

“Royal Drum Crown 7-Shot Tin Tyrant Cannon”

“The Skies of Drum”

“Full Moon”

“Hiruluk’s Cherry Blossoms”

“To Alabasta”

“Sir Crocodile, the Pirate”

Luffy, Sanji and Chopper fight Wapol and his henchmen, Chess and Kuromarimo. Wapol uses his devil-fruit power to become a cannon-armed house and fuses his men into the two-headed, four-armed Chessmarimo. Sanji’s back aches, keeping him from fighting. Chopper takes a drug he calls Rumble Ball, and defeats Chessmarimo. Wapol sneaks into the castle and chases Nami. Luffy catches up to them as Wapol attempts to open the weapon storage. Unable to do so because Nami has taken his key, Wapol retreats to his cannon at the top of the castle. The cannon does not work, and Luffy sends him flying off the island. Luffy tries to persuade Chopper to join the crew, and the reindeer finally agrees. With a doctor aboard, the crew continues its journey to Alabasta.

My Thoughts:

Another solid entry in this manga series. I feel like I’ve really made the right choice in making One Piece my #MangaMonday destination.

Part of my enjoyment is that the manga-ka believes in his characters and as such, not only invites us the readers to believe in them, but drags us along kicking and screaming, MAKING us believe in them. Which is completely necessary, for if you read these with a jaundiced and jaded view, you’ll see nothing but manipulative emotional panels, pointless powerups and insane craziness. Oda realizes that for this to work, the reader must be involved willingly in the suspension of belief. He also realizes that he has to give his readers a good story to grease the wheels of unbelief, so to speak. It’s a bit of give and take and I think you have to come to this series expecting to do some “giving”. If you can’t do that, I am not sure this series would work for you.

This volume wraps up the Snow Island story arc and the Alabasta arc can begin in earnest. I am hoping Princess Vivi can start being a contributing member now, as so far she’s really pretty useless in terms of skill set. I don’t necessarily want her to be an overpowered fighting machine, but Nami isn’t but her skill as a thief and navigator offset that completely. As a character, Vivi has some growth to do if she’s going to be interesting in the long term.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Carrying On His Will ★★★★✬

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Title: Carrying On His Will
Series: One Piece #16
Arc: Baroque Works #5
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 189
Words: 9K





Synopsis:

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

“Avalanche”

“The Summit”

“Enter Tony Tony Chopper”

“The Castle of Snow”

“Quack Doctor”

“Skull and Cherry Blossoms”

“Clumsy”

“Snowy Tale”

“Carrying on His Will”

Luffy carries Nami, and later Sanji as well, uphill and over a steep stone wall to bring them to Doctor Kureha. Everyone recovers quickly under her care and that of her blue-nosed pet reindeer, Chopper, who can think, speak and assume human appearance since eating a devil fruit. Kureha tells Nami about Chopper’s difficult past, and Luffy decides to take him with them. Wapol arrives at the castle, intent on reclaiming his former home. In a flashback, Chopper meets the quack doctor Hiruluk and spends a year in his care. When Hiruluk is dying of an illness, he chases Chopper away to spare him the sight. Chopper, learning about Hiruluk’s reason for chasing him, goes on a dangerous journey to find a poisonous mushroom to cure him. Impressed with the reindeer’s compassion, before he dies Hiruluk arranges for Kureha to teach Chopper medicine.

My Thoughts:

Yep, this had all the feelz. Even while I know that the manga-ka is doing it deliberately and trying to manipulate the feelings of his readers, it still gets me.

Luffy and Sanji are taking Nami to the doctor, only to face avalanches, giant killer snowboarding rabbits and then the doctor herself. Thankfully, Nami is saved but we’re introduced to Chopper, a reindeer that ate the human-human fruit and so has human characteristics, as well as apparently 3 different forms.

Walpole and Luffy confront each other and then the manga-ka fades to black and tells the backstory of Chopper. With all the attention you know he’s going to end up on the crew. It’s also where all the feelz come into the picture. There is also some backstory to Vivi and the kingdom of Alabasta and the world government and rebels.

Overall, we find out a lot of “little bits” about the world we’re reading and about some of the characters. The volume ends with the flashback fading to the presend and Luffy headbutting King Wapole. So you know the next volume is going to be an epic fight amongst gum-gum fruit powered people 😀

Chopper is definitely going to be just as humorous as the rest of the crew. In this picture is the first meeting between him and Nami. He’s so funny! and remember, it reads from right to left.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Straight Ahead!!! ★★★★☆

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: Straight Ahead!!!
Series: One Piece #15
Arc: Baroque Works #4
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 213
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

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

“Snail-o-phone”

“Pirate Pride”

“Straight Ahead!!!”

“Maximum Speed”

“Wapol of Tin”

“See?”

“Adventure in a Nameless Country”

“Dr. Kureha”

“Lapins”

“A Man Named Dalton”

Sanji, drinking tea in Mr. 3’s hideout, receives a call from Mr. 0. Pretending to be the agent, he convinces the warlord that he killed Vivi and her companions. Messengers arrive during the conversation; Sanji defeats them and takes their eternal pose compass, intended for Mr. 3. Although Broggy is still grieving his fellow giant’s apparent death, after a century of battle his axe had become dull and Dorry is only unconscious. Using the eternal pose, the crew can continue their journey. However, Nami falls ill and the crew must find a doctor. After a hostile encounter with the pirates of the omnivorous Wapol, they arrive at a snow-covered island. The only physician there, who lives in a castle on a mountain, is said to be a 140-year-old witch. Sanji and Luffy, carrying Nami on his back, face the island’s dangerous wildlife and bring their friend to medical care and Wapol reinstates himself as king of the country.

My Thoughts:

Another thoroughly enjoyable volume. Luffy and Crew get off the giant island but Nami gets sick, so instead of heading straight for Vivi’s kingdom, they have to find an island with a doctor. In the process they run afoul of some pirates and a guy named Wapol. The Straw Hats find an island but there is only one doctor so Luffy and Sanji go after her. The pirates from before land on the island and it turns out the leader of the pirates was the former king of the island. The book ends with an avalanche about to engulf everybody.

My only gripe with this volume was that there were a lot more 2 page spreads than in previous books. It’s not a problem when you’re reading a paper copy, but when you’re reading a digital copy, and only view one page at a time, it’s annoying. In previous volumes there’s only been 1 or 2 of them, but this time I think I counted 5+. You really lose the “big picture” when you can’t view it (easily that is) as one page like it was meant to be.

Storywise, I am liking what Oda-san is doing. Baroque Works is staying in the background and not hogging the “Evil Person of the Issue” spotlight. They are still the big menace but there are enough other powerful pirates out there so that the adventures get split between them. It is striking the right balance between adventures that last just a couple of chapters and ones that cover multiple volumes. What Oda-san seems to be doing is keeping readers on the edge of their seats (or firmly ensconced on the couches, cough, cough, cough) with the smaller stories but providing a stabilizing influence by having Baroque Works give an over-arching framework. It is completely working for me!

Rating: 4 out of 5.