Review: “One Piece: East Blue Vol. 1-12” by Eiichiro Oda


A review by Hannah.

One Piece was started in 1997 and is continuing today. There are 81 volumes to date, which is why I’m breaking the manga down into story arcs for the review.

Luffy D. Monkey ate the Gomu (Rubber) Gomu Fruit as a child. The good news is now his entire body is rubber. The bad news is that he sinks like a hammer whenever he is in water. Luffy has a dream to be the future Pirate King and he is just getting his crew together. This story arc covers the gathering of the first five crew members and a ship to sail them onto the Grand Line.

Pirate Hunter Zoro Roronoa, creator of the Santoryuu (Three Sword Style) is the first to be recruited. Then they meet Nami, a cat burglar and talented navigator who hates pirates. Next, they collect Captain Usopp, an accomplished liar and sharpshooter, and their new ship The Merry Go. Finally, they collect Sanji, the chef and “ladies man.” Together they will face Marines, both upstanding and corrupt, other pirates, and Fish Men(an amphibious race of fish/human hybrids).

This is a ridiculous world, full of ridiculous people and ridiculous situations. This is exactly what Eiichiro Oda wanted when he started this epic tale. There is a lot of slapstick humor, tons of puns, and some truly satisfying sucker punches. Paired with the hilarity are moments of profound tragedy. Each crew member has experienced pain and loss, which helps to shape them into the wonderful crew of the future Pirate King that they are. I laughed and cried many times while reading this story arc.

Translation-wise, this is rough. I cringe when I read lines like “Gum Gum Pistol.” I really wish that they had stayed with “Gomu Gomu” or changed it to “Rubber Rubber.” The way they went about it feels half-assed and I don’t appreciate it. Later in the series, it gets better. But for these twelve volumes it’s pretty bad.

The artwork is ridiculous in a good way. Everyone seems to have skinny necks, big heads, and prominent eyes and ears. This does not detract from the story. Because it was created to be ridiculous, I feel that the odd proportions add an extra layer of fun to the story. It’s not always pretty, but it’s effective.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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