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 ★★★✬☆

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: 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 ★★★☆☆

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: 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 ★★★★✬

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: 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.

Instinct (One Piece #14) ★★★✬☆

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: Instinct
Series: One Piece #14
Arc: Baroque Works #3
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_(1_186)

“Someone’s Out There”

“Deadly Improvisation”

“The Red Ogre Weeps”

“I Knew”

“A Dead Body is Useless”

“Luffy vs. Mr. 3”

“The Tea is Good”

“Candle Champion”

“Instinct”

Baroque Works agents Mr. 3 and Miss Golden Week are on the island in search of the Straw Hats and the bounties on the giants’ heads. With the help of Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine, they rig the giants’ fight. After thousands of draws, Broggy strikes Dorry down and, while weeping over his friend’s body, is captivated by Mr. 3’s wax-creation powers. Zoro, Nami and Vivi are captured and placed on a large candle with a rotating top, designed by Mr. 3 to slowly turn them into wax figures by covering them in vaporized wax. Luffy, Usopp and Vivi’s ostrich-sized duck, Karoo, come to save them. Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine chase Usopp and Karoo, while Luffy fights Mr. 3 and sends him flying into the jungle. However, Luffy is no match for Miss Golden Week and her hypnotic paintings. Joining forces, though, Luffy, Usopp and Karoo destroy the wax structure and free their friends.

My Thoughts:

I was looking at the dates on the inside cover. Oda copyrighted this in 1997. The english copyright wasn’t until 2007. TEN YEARS!!!! What a world the 90’s and early 00’s were. Nowadays the translated books come out a month after the japanese release. 10 years, phhhtttt.

While I was reading this one of the side characters uttered this phrase about a fight they’d been in: “….how could I dishonor him by showing mercy!!?”

A part of me understood the reasoning behind that phrase. But the greater part was disgusted at such pride and selfishness. No, not disgusted, but horrified. Because if you are not willing to show mercy to others, you in turn will not expect mercy nor will you take it when offered. To take mercy means you can accept that you are not good enough, that you have not measured up, that there is a standard to which you have failed to live up to. The attitude on display says “I am good enough!” The problem arises when somebody greater says that you are not good enough and offers you a way to be good enough, you won’t accept it. That gesture of mercy will be tossed away.

The battle at the end is utterly ridiculous. It’s meant to be that way but the badguy, Mr 3 fights with wax and there is nothing serious about a guy who fights with wax. However, it does allow the whole crew (except Sanji) to work as a team and help each other out. This volume ends with Sanji accidentally answering a call meant for Mr 3 and talking to Mr Zero.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] It’s All Right! (One Piece #13) ★★★★☆

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Title: It’s All Right!
Series: One Piece #13
Arc: Baroque Works #2
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

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

“A Question of Duty”

“The Night Isn’t Over”

“The Secret Criminal Organization”

“Luffy vs. Zoro”

“It’s All Right!!!”

“The Course”

“Little Garden of Adventure”

“Big”

“Dorry and Broggy”

Zoro fights the four remaining bounty hunters as a far-greater threat enters the village: the high-ranking Baroque Works agents Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine. Their target is not the Straw Hats but Miss Wednesday, whose true identity is Nefeltari Vivi (princess of the kingdom of Alabasta). Vivi runs for her life; Nami (who had feigned sleep) makes a deal to save Vivi’s life with Mr. 8 – who is actually Igaram, captain of the Alabastan Royal Guard. Nami then forces Zoro to take on the agents. Out of immediate danger, Vivi tells the Straw Hats that Mr. 0 (in charge of Baroque Works) plans to use the organization to overthrow her country and reveals his true identity: Sir Crocodile – like Mihawk, a member of the government-sanctioned Seven Warlords of the Sea pirate group. The Straw Hats agree to bring Vivi to Alabasta. They reach the jungle-covered island of Little Garden, where the giants Dorry and Broggy engage in a hundred-year-long battle.

My Thoughts:

Oda, the manga-ka, makes it really obvious from the get-go just how fragile Baroque Works is. With each paired teir looking down on those below them and despising them, coupled with the secrecy and mystery, everyone but Mr Zero is expendable. Oda also does a fantastic job of showing how Luffy doesn’t take someone fighting against him as a personal insult. He can be fighting someone one minute and then trying to be friends the next. That is quite a seesaw to balance and I’m impressed with how smoothly it happens, time and again.

The rest of the crew gets a very good showing in this volume. Zoro ends up fighting some of the higher up from Baroque Works. Nami gets involved with Princess Vivi and blackmails her to get their help to free her kingdom. Usopp and Sanji get the short end of the stick in regards to the plot but they do make for great foils for the others.

I’ve included the picture below because it perfectly illustrates the characteristics of the 4 crew members. Zoro and Sanji are always trying to one up each other. Nami and Usopp are always trying to stay away from danger. And Oda brings his unique humor to the whole situation. I just laughed at the last panel 🙂

I’ve been including the story arc info in the info block because I find it helps me to focus on the story at hand and not to be wishing I was still reading about the previous line. Luffy and co have moved out of East Blue and having a different name for the arc just helps me keep that straight. It also helps my expectations. I think that will make a bigger difference in future volumes.

We also meet Miss All Sunday, Mr Zero’s counterpart. She makes it clear she holds the crew no personal grudge, which just makes my point about how fragile Baroque Works is. I seem to remember Miss Sunday plays a bigger part in the series than just as Miss Sunday, but I might be mixing her up with another character. Oda isn’t exactly making his female characters super distinctive, unlike say Usopp and Zoro.

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.