Review: “One Piece: Skypiea vol. 31-33” by Eiichiro Oda

Review:

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…

Eneru is trying to destroy the Sky Islands, in search of the endless Vearth. Vearth is what the Sky Islanders call earth or as we call “dirt.” There is only one person who can stop him and that is Luffy. Eneru has the power of lightning and mantra. Luffy is made of rubber and is a bit of an air head. Eneru never really had a chance.

There is a flashback about why the Shandians are fighting the Sky Islanders. Basically, they come from the island Jaya. The Knock Up Stream sent the Shandians into the air, ringing a giant golden bell all the way. The bell alerted the Sky Islanders, and they found the biggest collections of Vearth anyone on the Cloud Sea had ever seen. The Kami at the time quickly took over the island, kicked the altitude sickened Shandians out, and turned the former Jaya Island into Upper Yard. There has been war ever since.

The crew leaves Skypeia while running away from the natives in true pirate fashion. They had retrieved a bunch of gold from the ruins and thought that the natives would be angry with them for this. That’s not true, the natives haven’t assigned a worth to gold. It’s just shiny and yellow, apparently.

The Straw Hats land back in the Blue Sea. They meet another pirate crew and take part in the Davy Back Fight. This fight takes place in three rounds. A boat race, a ball game of sorts, and a brawl between the captains. The winner of each round gets to take a crew member of the opposing crew as their new crew. Cheating abounds and the crew lose Chopper in the first round. But they get him back in the second. Volume 33 leaves off with Luffy facing the other captain in a boxing match, declaring that he will win even if it kills him.

Overall I have always found the Skypiea arc to be kind of pointless and too coincidental for my taste. They only show up because Luffy is self centered and wanted to go up there. Then they just so happen to arrive at the same time that Eneru is putting the finishing touches on his “destroy everything” plan, and the civil war that has been raging for 200 years happens to kindof involve this guy they met a few days ago. Most of the other story arcs are entwined with the crew in a way that makes the what happens seem very important. This arc is more about setting things up for the future.

This is my last review of the One Piece arcs. If I haven’t convinced you of the great and wonderful adventure that is One Piece, then you are losing out. If you feel that it is too intimidating (it’s been around for twenty years), all I can say is that the effort is worth it. Watching these characters grow stronger and closer over the years has been a true delight.

A few things that you will miss if you do not continue the story: Robin’s secret and terrible past, Luffy’s family, a cyborg, a living skeleton, zombies,the crew gets separated, Amazons, the biggest war between marines and pirates that the world has ever seen, Zoro cutting a ship in half, Sanji flying, Nami manipulating weather, Ussop using killer plants, Chopper’s monster form, Robin summoning giant legs to crush everything in her path, and Luffy changing gears.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Overall series rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain” by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

A review by Courtney.

I bought Volume 1 of Mockingbird when I saw the cover of issue 8 had Mockingbird wearing a shirt proclaiming, “ask me about my feminist agenda.” I decided this was a comic book I needed to start reading and I needed to catch up, because I really wanted to read issue 8. I had previously read and enjoyed the Mockingbird one shot, which was released about a year ago, so I was hopeful this was a comic I was going to enjoy.

Mockingbird (also known as Bobbi Morse, and Agent 19), starts with our heroine in a Shield medical center, going in for her regular exam. We learn Nick Fury injected her with Super Soldier Serum and Infinity formula to save her life.  Bobbi is now considered high risk and the doctors of Shield are taking precautions and keeping a close eye on her. She is given a beeper and must come into the doctor’s office whenever they page her. Bobbi is shown in the doctor’s office in a variety of different clothes and we learn that the progressing issues are her adventures and this explains the different clothes. Bobbi is a multifaceted spy who does excel at kicking butt, but she also loves math and science and is incredibly snarky. Bobbi’s adventures revolve around saving people, and sometimes those people are her exes, whom she still has good relationships with.

This comic is told from Mockingbird’s perspective; which I love and thought was incredibly smart because it allowed me to get in her head. Bobbi is the sarcastic, witty, intelligent, strong woman I want to be when I grow up. It’s not often when I can identify with superheroines, but Bobbi is so confident, that you can’t help but want to be like her. I had also initially underestimated how funny this comic was going to be, but I was literally laughing out loud reading this book. The art was great, with a number of visually awesome action sequences, I have no idea how they were conceived because there is a lot that happens very quickly. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comics with a strong female lead, because honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this. I was going to add this comic to my pull list, but as of this writing Mockingbird has been cancelled, so go buy all 8 issues while you can!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “One Piece: Baroque Works Vol.13-15” by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece: Baroque Works Vol.13-15 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. From now on there will be spoilers for what happens in the rest of the series. You have been warned…

When last we left our newly minted Straw Hat pirates, they had been tricked by Mr. 9 and Ms. Wednesday, of the criminal organization Baroque Works, into going to an island of bounty hunters. After throwing a party and getting the crew blackout drunk, only Zoro has retained his senses. He decides to test his new blade against all the bounty hunters. During the ensuing battle, an incredible secret about Ms. Wednesday comes to light. She is actually Princess Vivi of Alabasta and she needs the Straw Hat crew to help her save her kingdom from Mr. Zero, leader of Baroque Works, a.k.a. Sir Crocodile, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.

After an encounter with the mysterious and powerful Ms. All Sunday, partner to Mr. Zero, the crew will travel to Little Garden, a prehistoric island where two giants are dueling to the death. There they have their second run in with some of Baroque Works’ top agents and Nami contracts a deadly virus. The next stop is Drum Island in order to find a doctor to cure Nami.

Character dynamics really come into play during these volumes. Sanji and Zoro are rivals who antagonize each other just by existing. Nami is a tyrant who rules the crew with an iron fist. Luffy and Usopp are best friends on a grand adventure. It’s really fun to see how relationships are forming on the tiny Merry Go.

Zoro is the king of drama and impulsive decisions. When trapped, his brilliant idea to keep fighting is to cut off his feet. When that doesn’t work (duh) he chooses a dramatic pose to die in. Sanji is the king of flakiness and snark. He finds a strange building made of wax, decides to break in, and drink tea, while he’s supposed to be searching for his missing crew. Later he answers a phone call from Mr. Zero and during the conversation, gets a hit put out on the one who should have answered the phone (Mr. Three).

The illustration’s eyes, ears, and hands are still slightly too large for the bodies and their torsos are too long. It doesn’t detract from the story or get in the way of the action. What I love about the artwork throughout the series is that it evolves with the characters. As the characters grow stronger, they begin to fill out more. Any change to their appearance is part of the journey.

Some of the translation is better. “Gum Gum” is still a thing and it continues to make me cringe. Luckily it is saved by Princess Vivi calling Zoro “Mr. Bushido.” in the anime she calls him “Bushido-san.” Bushido means way of the warrior and san is a gender neutral title. The translation is transitioning from direct translations to adaptive translations. Puns and jokes make more sense.

In the manga, Zoro’s name is spelled with an L (Zolo). In Japanese Rs and Ls are interchangeable because they are the same letter. I chose to spell his name with an R for two reasons. The first reason is that One Piece merchandise with Romaji (the English spelling of Japanese words) spell his name with an R. The second reason is that Zoro is the agreed upon spelling of his name among fans.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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