Anyone who knows almost anything about me should be aware that One Piece is just about (if not) my greatest influence in practically everything I do. Until now I usually follow it along every few months until there’s a gap of chapters where I will sit and binge, but it’s time for that to change and add more content to my website in the process. Now I’m not exactly a NEET per se but a huge amount of time is spent looking like I am one, so with all that free time I figured maybe I should start to watch more anime and take notes to further myself with critical thinking and analysis. Start watching more shows and really think about what I’m seeing, why the characters behave the way they do, and then turn them into reviews. I’m going to be following One Piece weekly now and will write a review on it each week. To catch us up, this is a sort of condensed MEGA-REVIEW of chapters 812-820.

Massive Spoilers A-Hoy!

 

As the cast of One Piece keeps getting larger and the Strawhat Pirates consisting of 9 men(…?) not including the all but certain inclusion of Jimbei, you may wonder how equilibrium is brought to giving each of the lead characters time to shine. Surprisingly Oda juggles the massive cast in a way that everyone always seems to get some time in the spotlight… This time for this next upcoming arc it’s finally Sanji’s turn… Or should I say Sanji Vinsmoke’s.

Yes, they’re actually exposing more about Sanji’s enigmatic past that was never really touched on before… but his backstory was always vague as it was so this didn’t come out of left field. It was never explained why Sanji was a on the ship that ended up with him meeting his destiny ala Chef Zeff, but now we have a clearer picture. It’s been revealed that Sanji is the third son of a prestigious family of assassins, the Vinsmoke family. His dialogue and what little has been revealed show that Sanji obviously ran away from home and wanted to get so far away that he even fled from North Blue to East Blue… Fans of One Piece know that’s a giant deal, especially for a kid to undertake alone.

Sanji’s character development has always been very simple. I love him deeply as a character because he’s not just your cliché anime pervert- he’s a gigantic exaggeration of the anime pervert to the point where him losing massive amounts of blood from pervy nosebleeds became an actual life-threatening plot point. But despite his silliness with the ladies he has a strict code of honor and chivalry that no one else in the main cast shares. Sanji’s got an interesting duality to his character that makes him appealing despite the generic archetype he falls into. Plus it’s not like he’s a harem protagonist who accidentally falls and gropes someone while all the females want his dick, he’s endearing because his perversion leads to him constantly being manipulated and failing in all of his advances. But regardless of all this, the decision to expand on who he is as a character and why he came to East Blue to begin with is really exciting. I only hope Zoro’s past gets expanded upon sometime, too though. He hasn’t had any gigantic, dramatic character moments ever since he begged Dracule Mihawk to train him.

The setting is currently one of the stranger islands in all of One Piece thus far… And that’s saying something. The island of Zou is a gigantic elephant. No, really, it’s a gigantic elephant named Zunishia that travels the seas for over one thousand years and a society of beast people, ‘Minks’, have built a civilization upon its back. Holy hell that’s creative.

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The humor with these Minks is pretty funny to me, they have some running jokes involving skinship and for the dog Minks a desire to chew on Brook’s bones that are played real well. I also hate how there’s no romance in One Piece sometimes, as Chopper doesn’t really meet any cute reindeer girls everyday and this is his best chance… Sorry little buddy.

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Drama starts up pretty quickly as Yonkou Big Mom’s allies Pekoms and more interestingly Capone “Gang” Bege arrive to abduct Sanji. Capone has one of the single most interesting Devil Fruits to me in all of One Piece so I’m REALLY happy to see him appear again and his involvement with Big Mom is curious to say the least.

For those unaware, Capone ate the Castle Fruit allowing him to turn the inside of his body into a literal castle. Capone is then able to shrink whatever he touches and let it inside of his body. He basically shrinks his entire crew and they live inside him and operate cannons that he can shoot off inside of him, or suddenly shoot a couple hundred men outside of him on horseback with rifle, seriously, Capone’s fruit is one of my favorites.

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I liked how he tricked Caeser, it showed that he’s not only powerful but cunning as well for coming up with such a simple trick. By the end of his involvement he’s invited Sanji to… Sanji’s own wedding. Sanji’s dad agreed to marry him to Big Mom’s as of yet unseen 35th daughter and in order to settle things Sanji leaves the crew with seemingly no intention to return.

Things aren’t going to be so simple though, as things have started piling up on the Strawhats. I’m actually slightly concerned about how much is happening in One Piece right now, but knowing that Oda has done this for ages I have faith that he’ll pull through. To sum it up, here’s the current agenda of the Strawhat Pirates.

  1. Defeat Captain Jack at Zou
  2. Find the 4 Road Poneglyphs which will guide them to Raftel and presumably the One Piece
  3. Infiltrate Big Mom’s tea party and defeat her, saving Sanji (and hopefully Jimbei will join at this part as he’s already on his way to Big Mom to break off relations with her)
  4. Find Marco the Phoenix and the surviving remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates at the request of the Minks and Samurai to bolster their alliance’s power
  5. Go to the Wano Kingdom to dethrone the current Shogun and defeat the Yonkou, Kaidou

Christ that’s a lot that’s going on. Not to mention Blackbeard’s currently about to start war with Revolutionary Dragon… The thing that amazes me is how One Piece can have such a gigantic scale yet never seeming to collapse in on itself despite the signs that in all probability it REALLY should. But it never has… it’s astonishing.

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Luffy gets introduced to Law’s entire crew in a very humorous way that made fun of how all but two of them aren’t named characters and are all generic. I love how Oda was able to save himself some time yet make such a good joke about it.

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The big twist during the Zou arc thus far is the ongoing drama with the Samurai and the Minks. The reveal was wonderful and made the start up of the arc even more touching in retrospect. In a show of brutality very gruesome for One Piece, current antagonist Jack had literally crucified most of the island’s Minks and tortured them for days on end seeking the Ninja Raizou, before finally leaving Zou and understanding that they did not know his whereabouts.

Except they did. The entire island willingly got crucified and tortured and reduced to bloody messes of what formerly resembled Minks to protect Raizou from being found. The reveal made me practically drop my jaw because of how insane that one detail changed everything. Incredibly well done.

Now with the amusing ninja Raizou in tow, the other Samurai characters lay the groundwork for the upcoming arcs and explain about how their country is controlled by an evil Shogun who partnered with Kaidou for unknown reasons and establish that if the Strawhats are going to have to fight Kaidou anyway they may as well do it while the iron is hot and with the Mink/Samurai alliance’s help. There was an exceptional scene where the young Samurai lord Momo begs Luffy to help him, only for Luffy to decline until the child phrased it in that he wants to defeat Kaidou himself but is unable to do so. Luffy wanted confirmation that the child wasn’t just projecting his troubles onto others and instead that from the bottom of his heart he wants to fight but can’t. God I love Luffy.

At the current chapter it seems to crew is going to split in half for the upcoming arc- something I’ve noticed Oda do a lot more as One Piece goes on for understandable reasons. A lot happens on every island so when the crew is 9 people strong it gets easier to write a bunch of events across the island that a split up group can tackle easier. It’s fun and works rather nicely and gives a sense that the Strawhats are more organized and have an actual agenda these days despite Luffy’s inability for the subtleties of practically anything. Half of them are about to go and rescue Sanji and defeat Big Mom, while the others are presumably going to go and find Marco and the Whitebeart Pirate survivors. I say presumably because it hasn’t been made clear yet.

I can’t wait to see Marco again. He was a fun character during the War of the Best, and apparently there was an insane second war during the two years timeskip he was a part of. The Payback War occurred when the survivors of the Whitebeard Pirates, an entire 15 Fleets of the strongest caliber of pirates, attempted to kill Blackbeard and his 10 person crew. We aren’t told what happened to them except that Marco lost… horribly. So damn badly that this War was what led Blackbeard to taking Whitebeard’s place as Yonkou. Yikes…

I feel that One Piece is continuing its roller-coaster of stakes rocketing higher and higher, and all of these are interesting plot threads even if I have no damn idea how Oda is going to juggle them all at once. I’m going to end this review on the note of me being utterly clueless yet thoroughly impressed.

Also the Whale is Franky’s best hair style to date

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