One Piece, Vol. 60

By Eiichiro Oda. Released in Japan by Shueisha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Released in North America by Viz.

I am still a little mindboggled that I get to review a sixtieth volume of a manga that’s been released in North America. Yes, it’s true that without Naruto’s success, I likely wouldn’t be reading this, but honestly without Naruto’s success I wouldn’t be reading ANY Viz manga. This volume wraps up Luffy’s flashback sequence, and then takes us back to dealing with the aftermath of the Marineford debacle.

As with most volumes of One Piece, there’s so much going on that you simply have to stop and focus on a few things that jump out at you. Sabo is an interesting character to add here, especially gives he has an explicit connection to Luffy’s past – *and* he’s the son of noblemen, who once again are shown to be thoroughly corrupt and evil. Sabo is the exception, of course, and his “death” halfway through the volume, unlike Ace’s, feels more like the deaths of One Piece past – i.e., you get the sense we’ll be seeing Sabo again at some point. This does not diminish any of the heartbreak, of course, especially following the disastrous fire which destroys the city.

The flashback now finished, we move back to the fates of those affected by the previous 7-8 volumes. It’s great to see Makino again, who seems to be the closest thing we’re ever going to get to a mother figure for Luffy, and she points out that just because someone is not sobbing on the ground in despair does not mean that they are suffering. And Luffy, who has been feeling that he has lost everything, is reminded of the one thing he still has and that he can still take heart in – the other Straw Hat Pirates. Who we finally *see*, after so many volumes missing. They aren’t reunited yet, no, but we get some nice ‘epilogues’ to their cover page stories, showing them getting Luffy’s mysterious ‘message’ and understanding it.

There is then what amounts to a montage of characters we have known, as Luffy, Jimbei and Rayleigh decide to GO BACK TO THE BATTLEFIELD (a sequence, I note, we are told about but don’t see – very smart, considering how long this arc has gone on) and everyone reacts to this. Highlights include Coby discovering that his screaming at everyone to stop fighting wasn’t just being really loud – he has haki now! Well, he has to keep up with Luffy somehow. Various pirates are off to the New World, including some of the Supernovas and Crocodile. Even Buggy is reunited with his crew. And it’s always wonderful seeing Vivi again.

The back half of this manga is filled with nostalgia, but it’s also pointing the way forward. The next volume will finally wrap things up and get our crew back on their way to adventure – OK, maybe the volume AFTER that – but Oda has built a world so strong that we are content to follow his plots wherever they may meander. Especially if it means we see Ace and Luffy as kids fighting giant bears.

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