One Piece, Vol. 78

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

My last review of One Piece was, for me, quite negative, as I was getting very weary of Dressrosa. That hasn’t changed one bit with this new volume, unfortunately, and we’re still here. I am going to make a concerted effort not to bring up Rebecca, despite my teeth grinding so much during the “you are a pretty princess who must not fight” scenes I may need to see the dentist. Instead, let’s be positive and focus on the fun things going on in this arc. And there are fun things, because even when Oda is getting more sexist by the volume and rehashing things we’ve seen before, he can still introduce crazy stuff that makes you grin, or even show us a kid wearing a Bartholomew Kuma T-shirt.

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The cover, showing off the Straw Hats (+ Law), reminds us that the main cast may have gotten a bit too unwieldy, given that Oda now has to write out half the Straw Hats in order to not overburden an already overburdened arc. That said, it does allow those who are remaining to have moments to shine. Zoro has done “beyond the impossible” so many times that you’d think it would be old hat by now, but no, it’s always fun, mostly as every time you’re reminded what a complete lunatic he can be when he’s in battle mode. If the enemy needs to be stopped but is much too far away, just have yourself hurled at the enemy. If he shapeshifts too fast to kill his real body, just cut everything so fast he doesn’t have time to get away. And oh yes, use haki to make sure your swords won’t even get scratched. When Zoro isn’t sleeping or getting lost, he’s there to be super cool, and he achieves that here.

Then there’s Luffy, who gets to battle the real Doflamingo at long last, in what is hopefully the climax of this arc. The timeskip has helped to mature Luffy, even if (like the rest of the cast) he can backslide at any time for comedy reasons. True, his reasoning for going all out against Doflamingo is still somewhat simplistic – you made my friends cry, you made my friends mad. But honestly, that’s a good enough reason to begin with, and if anyone deserves to be punched into next week, it’s Doflamingo, who sets up one last deathtrap to kill everyone on the island for the lulz. Flashbacks show that if you tell a young boy filled with rage and fury that he is better than everyone else and give him whatever he wants, bad things will ensue. Luffy is the opposite of this, even though he is also filled with rage and fury here. Abuse of power is the main enemy in One Piece, be it pirates, marines, World Government, or what have you. If you do it, Luffy is here to kick your ass.

So there are many things to like here, but again, I will be very, very glad to see the back of this arc. I believe that in the next volume I finally achieve this.

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