A review by Hannah.
One Piece was started in 1997 and is continuing today. There are 81 volumes to date, which is why this series of reviews will be broken up into three volume books. From now on there will be spoilers for what happens in the rest of the series. You have been warned…
Luffy survives the avalanche relatively unscathed, however now he has to carry a sick Nami and a severely injured Sanji up the side of a cliff. They are being followed by Drum Island’s former king, Warpol, and his crew of pirates. At the top of the cliff, Luffy finds Dr. Kureha and her assistant Tony Tony Chopper. Chopper is a blue nosed reindeer who ate the Hito (Human) Hito Fruit. Dr. Kureha gives medicine to Nami, fixes Sanji’s spine, and tells them about Chopper’s tragic back story. After defeating Warpol in battle, Chopper joins the Straw Hats as their much needed doctor.
On the way to Alabasta, the crew learns how Sir Crocodile is taking over the country by being a hero and undermining the trust the people have in the king. They also meet Bon Clay a.k.a. Mr. 2, who can transform into anyone he has seen. The crew devise a plan to counteract his power.
Alabasta is a desert island in the middle of a drought. In Alabasta, we meet Captain Smoker again (vol. 11) and Luffy’s older brother Ace. Ace is a member of White Beard’s crew on a mission of vengeance against Black Beard, who committed the most heinous of pirate crimes. He also ate a devil’s fruit after leaving Luffy a few years ago. After a quick visit, he leaves with a promise that they will meet again on the high seas, then promptly destroys five enemy pirate ships single handedly.
The crew make their way to Yuba, where we learn more about Vivi’s childhood. She was friends with the rebel leader, and now he is being manipulated by Baroque Works into starting a civil war. Will the crew be able to stop the bloodshed before it’s too late?
What’s fun about Luffy is that he has secrets. He is an upfront, honest character, but the more you get to know him, the more you realize you don’t know anything about him. He’s not even hiding anything. He just doesn’t think about the past that much.
On Ace’s back is a tattoo with a symbol that looks like a face over a reversed swastika. This is not a case of an artist being a Nazi. The symbol in question is called a manji. Manji is an ancient Buddhist symbol and is often used on older maps in Japan to indicate the location of a Buddhist temple. Usually this symbol is used in a manga to indicate a bond between an individual and a family/institution. Often times an artist will use these symbols in the manga but any anime that follows will use some other symbol.
These three volumes are a build up. There is plenty of tension, but also plenty of laughs. We get to learn about Chopper, Princess Vivi, and Luffy. It’s a little slower than the other volumes so far, but it shows just how complicated the situation in Alabasta is.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
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