One Piece, Vol. 80

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

The Dressrosa arc drags to a conclusion here, featuring many of what we’ve come to accept as typical One Piece cliches. Townspeople pretend to start an angry riot in order to help Luffy and company get away. A noble Marine takes them on only to change his mind and let them go at the last minute because he knows they aren’t really evil. Luffy once again rejects the basic ideas that make up what most of the world thinks of piracy, preferring to create his own definition. And before starting a new arc, we once again get a roundup from around the world of how various people are doing, seeing Rob Lucci of CP9, Buggy and company, Dragon and his revolutionaries, and the marines and Blackbeard pirates. All are there to make us recall that the world is complex and not easy to fit into a bio, and Luffy’s job is to fit it into that box anyway.


Given this is the final time I’ll be talking about Dressrosa, let me once again take the opportunity to talk about what a wasted character Rebecca was. It was always going to be difficult to see her arc because, well, we already had her arc with Vivi, and we love Vivi. So many of the same beats of this arc had also been hit in Alabasta. But Vivi, while she was a stated pacifist, and occasionally would cry, was not set up to be the ‘pretty princess’ quite like Rebecca was. I think the arc may have been helped by showing us Rebecca as a shy, sheltered girl before we saw her as a gladiator, which would at least show us that she was meant to be painfully out of place. The trouble is that Oda can’t help but make her fights look really cool, and thus we react viscerally when the narrative keeps hammering us with “you don’t have to fight anymore, step back and be pretty”. In any case, Rebecca can now be reunited with her father, and I can move on.

The other thing to talk about here is the Straw Hat Pirate Alliance, suggested by many of the pirates who have helped Luffy in Dressrosa, among them Bartolomeo and Cavendish. It’s the next logical step on Luffy’s quest to be the Pirate King, the most important pirate in the world – a fleet of allies. But Luffy is not interested in the logical way to anything, and doesn’t want the responsibility of commanding a fleet of pirates. Honestly, he’s barely interested in commanding his own nakama. It is somewhat awkwardly spelled out in the narration – to Luffy, this is about freedom, not power. That said, he gains his alliance anyway, and they swear to come to his aid if he ever needs it, which will no doubt crop up in the future. Again, we hit a core truth of One Piece – Luffy’s piracy is not everyone else’s, and that’s why his crew love him so much.

And now we prepare to start a new arc, which begins in a truly weird way as only Oda can do, with a floating island that’s actually an elephant, anthropomorphic minks who no doubt will bond quickly with our heroes (heck, Nami is already loaning out her clothes to them), and a cliffhanger as Nami has something horrible to tell us about Sanji. If this leads to a Sanji arc, I’ll be quite happy – I’ve disliked comedy Sanji at times, but serious Sanji can be excellent. One Piece’s flaws are now openly visible every book, but it’s still well worth reading.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind