Fishman Island and Hody Jones Retrospective
Hey. I’ll be writing up my thoughts on Bates Motel S3 later on tonight when I’m done, but I just got out of the shower and felt like writing this up. I have been watching the One Piece anime to catch up with my little sister. I read the manga every week and I’m current but I only watch it together with her. Recently we started getting back to it and over the last few weeks we finished the Fishman Island arc, and I thought I’d do a little thoughts column on it. I’m going to put aside my base problems with the animated version of One Piece (poor pacing, typical Toei Animation garbage animation) and just talk about the meat of the story. I haven’t really wrote a blog about it, but One Piece is my most influential series in the world practically. Only Jojo and Gintama are on its level in my heart, I guess, so I’ll try to be more open about this stuff I guess?
After going through Fishman Island again I have to say that I really didn’t appreciate all of the subtleties that made this arc so incredible the first time around. I was just happy to have everyone all together again and was happy to see Jimbei, I didn’t think much of everything else. I saw the New Fishman Pirates and Hody Jones and didn’t think much of them, they were practically fodder to show off the Strawhat’s two years of growth as even after abusing the Energy Steroid none of them even held a candle to their versus counterpart. But Hody Jones as a whole was something very special. In the world of One Piece which has the most dramatically evil villains in practically any fictional medium I can think of, being one of the sickest of the sick is a crowning achievement of vile. Hody was this bad and then some and he served as an incredible foil to the powerful themes of racism and not holding a grudge that Fishman Island preached so powerfully.
That the humans never did anything to him personally or anyone he cared about- that he was a child who was raised on bigotry and learned to hate second hand… That’s a scarily real thing. People will learn by watching the adults in their life and if the adult has prejudice it all too often passes down to their children. The humans indeed caused centuries of slavery, descrimination and segregation to the Fishmen and Mermaids yet by raising them to think only ill of the humans without the possibility for exceptions removed the shred of optimism from Hody. The parallels to not only African American descriminations were there, but there was even a bit of Nazi influence in Hody’s behaviour. He and his crew acted like skinheads and they all abused steroids like they were going out of style, but most strikingly was when they actually donned masks similar to the KKK and actually started tormenting local Human sympathizers. It’s radical things like this that make me appreciate One Piece for tackling such issues without censoring or sugar coating it whatsoever. Yeah, it’s just characters in a fictional setting, but like everything in One Piece it’s a very real issue at the heart of things.
I think the Fisher Tiger flashback was incredibly powerful. The character was tremendously likable, but cutting straight to the chase… his death scene really gives me chills whenever I think about it. It’s just a really sad ending for a life. What’s worst of all is you can totally understand why he thinks and feels the way he does about his death. He, a former slave, would rather die than be saved by a blood transfusion with human blood. The torture he suffered at the hands of the Celestial Dragons was so bad that it devalued his own life to the point where the thought of such blood running through his veins was enough to make him accept death. But the most powerful part of it- and what sets him apart from Arlong and Hody when it comes to hating humans- was that regardless of his prejudice of humans Fisher Tiger DID NOT want this to be passed on to the children. He wanted the truth kept hidden that he chose death over living with human blood thinking it would only inspire even more hatred towards the humans. The fact that this man died with a heart full of burning hatred for humanity yet still having the understanding that not all humans are bad… He died wanting his people to not have to be like him. That’s morbidly depressing.
I’m glad I got to have a more thorough look at Fishman Island. I may write a similar column when I finish Punk Hazard with my sister, but that’ll be weeks away. We don’t watch everyday and stuff. See you guys later when I finish Bates Motel!