One Piece, Vol. 90

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.

One Piece is ninety volumes long over here, in case you missed the title of the review. And it’s been running in Japan for twenty-two years, meaning many parents who started reading it in East Blue are having their kids pick it up with Cake Island. And while Oda tries his best to make everything accessible to casual readers, he really has his work cut out for him with this book, which sees the country’s leaders from all over the land get together for a meeting. The Celestial Dragons will be there… wait, who were they again? And Wapol’s back! … wait, who was he again? Even Oda knows that we can’t really recall everyone in every single volume. As result, not only does each chapter have ‘recap’ panels reminding us who these people are, there’s also an inserted 7-page ‘guidebook’ style entry going into even greater detail. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. Especially since Oda seems to be reintroducing EVERYONE.

Of course, some characters don’t really need reintroduction, either because they’re still relatively new (Rebecca), hard to miss (Princess Shirahoshi), or iconic (Vivi). There’s an amusing scene where they all talk about how much Luffy did for all of them, and more people fall over themselves to talk about what a debt they owe the Straw Hats. Of course, not everyone reintroduced is a good guy. I mentioned Wapol before, though honestly he doesn’t seem that bad anymore, and I think is merely there to face off against Dalton and Kureha. No, I’m talking about the Celestial Dragons, particularly Stelly, the bratty kid who ruined Sabo’s childhood, who is now an even brattier adult. And of course there are the five elderly guys who run everything, who we rarely see but whenever we do it isn’t good. Worst of all, though, is the Dragon who appears riding Bartholomew Kuma like a mount. Sabo won’t take that lying down, and neither will Bonney, who’s infiltrated the party.

That said, it may be a while till we get back to this meeting, as we also have the Straw Hats, who have finally escaped from Big Mom, at least for the moment. Sadly, they’re without Jimbei, who has to stay behind to hold off the enemy, but he does resolve to join them soon, and I think we can safely say he’s a new crew member. And then we go off to the country of Wano, which allows Oda to bring out every single Meiji period cliche that he can. It also allows us to catch up with the cast who’ve been missing for a long, long time. Some are doing what they’ve always done (Franky is a carpenter, Usppp is lying), some are taking on tough new roles (Robin is a geisha), and some are… being executed? Well, at least they try to convince Zoro to commit suicide for the “crimes” he’s committed. It goes about as well as you’d expect.

So we’re kicking off a new arc, and Luffy seems to be once more separated from everyone else after the ship runs aground on the shore of an uncharted desert isle… wait, no, runs aground in Wano Country. What happens next? And when will we get back to Vivi and company?

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