[Arc Review] Wano (Act One) - The Calm Before the Storm

Discussion in 'One Piece Reviews, Articles & Analysis' started by -Marco-, Nov 10, 2018.

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  1. -Marco-


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    I'd like to extend my thanks to Eiichiro Oda for dividing this arc into acts, re-reading 10-20 chapters at a time is way easier than re-reading 75 like I had to for the WCI review.

    Anyway. Everyone, I have an announcement to make.

    :clapping: :clapping:

    ARC REVIEW - WANO (Act One)

    So Act One of Wano, as far as I can tell, is Chapters 909-924 (The Reverie stuff at the moment is its own thing and at the moment I think it's incomplete, so I'll cover it later. But if anyone wants to cover it, go ahead).

    Arc Summary
    • Nekomamushi goes to visit Marco on Whitebeard's home island. It's revealed that Marco is a doctor, and was the ship's doctor on the Moby Dick. They discuss Weevil, whose mother was supposedly on the same ship as Whitebeard 30-40 years ago.
    • Marco decides not to join Nekomamushi in Wano, saying that he needs to protect the island.
    • The curtain then opens on Wano Country, where Franky, Robin and Usopp are working undercover as a carpenter, salesman and geisha respectively.
    • Kin'emon reveals the shogun's real name to be Kurozumi Orochi. Orochi and his government are said to have the backing of Kaido, and Kin'emon states that any action against them would surely be picked up on by Kaido.
    • We then cut to a scene where Zoro is about to commit seppuku for allegedly robbing a grave and murdering people in the street.
    • These allegations are revealed to be false, and Zoro cuts the execution stand in half (true culprit included), thus blowing his cover.
    • The Whole Cake Island gang then approach Wano, which is revealed to be at the top of a waterfall. On their way up, the ship gets sucked into a whirlpool, and Luffy ends up getting separated from the rest of the crew, and lands in Kuri.
    • Luffy is unsuccessfully ambushed when he arrives. During the ambush, he meets a young girl named O-Tama.
    • Tama has an ability called "Kibidango", which allows her to tame animals with a piece of her pinched-off cheek fat
    • Tama then takes Luffy to her home and feeds him a bowl of rice, the only food in their house. To stave off her hunger, Tama drinks water from the river.
    • Tama's master gets angry at Tama for cooking the rice for an outsider. Tama apologises, and then falls ill - the water she drank is contaminated due to Kaido's factories pouring their waste into it.
    • Tama's master reveals that Tama is waiting for Ace to return to Wano.
    • The person responsible for the failed ambush is revealed to be one of Kaido's headliners, Basil Hawkins.
    • Luffy tells Tama that Ace is dead. She doesn't believe him, and gets upset at him.
    • Tama's master's name is revealed to be Tenguyama Hitetsu, a bladesmith. Hitetsu reveals that most of Wano is a wasteland, except for the Flower Capital, where Orochi resides.
    • Luffy, now in a disguise given to him by Hitetsu, takes Tama with him to find a doctor. He also steals one of Hitetsu's blades, the Nidai Kitetsu.
    • It is revealed that Tama met Ace three years ago, and he promised to take her out to sea once she becomes an "enchanting kunoichi"
    • On their way to the town, they bump into Zoro, who ambushed a group of men trying to mug a woman.
    • Zoro and Luffy then encounter Hawkins, and say they'll "apologise to Kin'emon later" for causing trouble.
    • Luffy and Zoro then fight Hawkins and his subordinates
    • Hawkins' Devil Fruit is revealed to be the "Wara Wara no Mi", and it allows him to transfer damage he's taking onto his subordinates via the use of straw men.
    • A tea house owner named Tsuru then shows up to rescue Luffy and Zoro. The tea house is in a place known as Okobore Town.
    • We meet the tea house's poster girl, Kiku. She's being hit on by a sumo wrestler named Urashima.
    • It is revealed that Bepo and some of the Heart Pirates have located Luffy and Zoro.
    • Tsuru manages to cure Tama of her poisoning through the use of a medicinal herb. Tsuru then feeds Tama.
    • Luffy and Zoro then talk to Tsuru about Wano 20 years ago, when Kozuki Oden was in charge. Tsuru describes the Wano of old as a paradise, that had a large farm that fed all the residents of Kuri.
    • The group are ambushed by Batman, one of Kaido's Gifters and Tama is kidnapped by another Gifter (Gazelle Man). Luffy, Zoro and Kiku, who is revealed to be a samurai, chase after her.
    • Tama is brought to a man named Holdem, who resides in the Bakura District, the home of government officials and pirates. Luffy and co. follow them there.
    • Law finds out Luffy has arrived in Wano and rushes out to stop him, worried that Luffy will cause trouble.
    • Holdem then tries to take some of Tama's Kibidango by pinching her cheek with pliers.
    • Urashima, who is fighting in Bakura Town, then makes another advance for Kiku. In a rejection of his advances, Kiku slices off his topknot.
    • Luffy then challenges Urashima to a sumo match and wins convincingly. The moment he wins, he calls for the boss of the town, Holdem (or Holpig, if we listen to Luffy)
    • Luffy rescues Tama. Tama tells Luffy that Holdem pinched her cheeks to try get Kibidango. Angered, Luffy knocks Holdem out with a Red Hawk.
    • Tama tames one of Kaido's gifters, a horse gifter named Speed, with her Kibidango. Luffy, Zoro, Kiku and Tama then leave the Bakura District with a large cart of food in tow, headed for Okobore Town.
    • Tama says to herself that Luffy reminds her of Ace
    • Law and Hawkins begin to scuffle.
    • We find out that the Holdem incident has been reported to Jack via Hawkins' Den Den Mushi.
    • Zoro whisks Law away mid-fight, much to Law's annoyance.
    • Further to Law's annoyance, he finds out the group's plan to feed Okobore Town, something which he says will gather too much attention from the wrong people.
    • Luffy and co then feed the people of Okobore Town. Luffy promises to make Wano a country where people can eat their fill everyday - a promise that a certain someone made to Tama three years ago...
    • Luffy then goes to meet the ghosts of Wano at Oden Castle. Tama heads home on her horse.
    • The gang head to Oden Castle, to find the graves of Kin'emon, Kanjuro, Raizo, Oden and Momonosuke
    • Zoro gets lost on the way to the castle, even though all he has to do is sit still
    • We find out Kiku knows Kin'emon, Raizo and Momonosuke
    • Luffy reunites with Sanji and co.
    • Kin'emon explains to the group that he, Momo, Raizo, Kiku and Kanjuro have all travelled forward 20 years to come and save Wano from Kaido and Orochi, who killed Oden.
    • They were able to travel forward in time through the ability of Oden's wife, Lady Toki, aka the Girl who Leapt Through Time. The people of Wano believe that Kin'emon and co died 20 years ago.
    • They plan to attack the heads of Wano in two weeks' time at the Fire Festival at Onagashima.
    • Kin'emon then explains finer details of the plan, and provides disguises for Sanji's group.
    • A samurai who is drinking in the place Robin is working at then says that Orochi is afraid of the ghosts of Wano coming back - apparently Lady Toki prophecised that nine samurai would appear in 20 years to take his head.
    • We then meet Shinobu, a veteran kunoichi (whose outfit it very different to the kunoichi outfit given to Nami)
    • A samurai named Shutenmaru then raids Okobore Town for the food Luffy gave them
    • Jack arrives, and Shutenmaru challenges him to a duel
    • An ominous figure is seen looming in the sky. That figure is revealed to be Kaido, in his dragon form. He's looking for Luffy and Law.
    • Luffy heads to Okobore Town to defend them from Kaido. Law reluctantly follows.
    • Kin'emon then heads off to look for his wife, Tsuru
    • A drunken Kaido tries to recruit Shutenmaru to his crew
    • Hawkins tells Kaido that Luffy and Law are hiding at Oden Castle - it's a bluff, but one that inadvertently turns out to be correct.
    • Kaido attacks Oden Castle with his dragon breath.
    • Angered, Luffy attacks Kaido.
    • We find out Kaido attacked Tama and Speed on their way home.
    • Kaido then reverts to his human form to fight Luffy in Gear 4th. Luffy gets one-shotted.
    • Law tries to rescue Luffy, but is stopped by Hawkins, who shoots a nail made of Seastone at him.
    • It is revealed that Seastone originated in Wano, and only the master craftsmen of Wano can refine it to a small size.
    • Kaido instructs his subordinates to throw a seemingly unconscious Luffy into a cell. Luffy knocks them out with Conqueror's Haki.
    • We find out that Eustass Kidd and Oden are/were both capable of using Conqueror's Haki.
    • Kaido returns home to drink, deciding to catch Law another time.
    • Kin'emon arrives in Okobore town, and sees Shutenmaru - who he then reveals to be Ashura Douji, a legendary samurai from Wano's past
    • We find out most of the alliance members in Oden Castle were saved from Kaido's attack by Shinobu and Sanji.
    • Inuarashi arrives with his crew to treat a critically injured Tama
    • News of Luffy's capture spreads to Franky, Robin, Usopp and Zoro
    • Luffy is escorted to Kaido's labour camp, where Kaido hopes to break his spirit.
    • He is thrown into a cell where Eustass Kidd is also being held.
    • Act One ends with the two pirates recognising each other.

    O-Tama - A Key Player in the Arc?

    Aside from being our new favourite younger sister (apologies to my actual younger sister, but she's not going to read this so it's fine), Tama's Kibidango ability is one that has the potential to be pivotal in this arc. Wano is a land filled with a lot of peculiar creatures, and even more peculiar SMILE users. So far, it seems she has the ability to bring both under her control. Is it a Devil Fruit? Or is it an ability she was born with? Either way, a pseudo-Conqueror's Haki that works on both animals and Kaido's Gifters is one that definitely has the potential to help big bro Luffy. The problem is, Kaido's crew know about her and have already shown interest... It's up to the alliance to keep our cute imouto-chan safe.

    Luffy and Zoro - A Recipe for Disaster


    They say that birds of a feather flock together. And these two birds are certainly of the same feather, that feather being "we don't know how to follow a plan". We've known for 21 years that these two are simple-minded (to put it nicely), and that without adult supervision they're bound to get themselves killed, or worse, expelled. That old trait of theirs has come back to bite at the wrong moment.

    Let's summarise each of their actions in this arc.

    • Arrived
    • Ate an 8-year old girls entire food supply, leading to her getting poisoned
    • Attacked one of Kaido's underlings
    • Attacked another of Kaido's underlings
    • Stole the shogun's food
    • Blew any chance of going undercover
    • Picked a fight with the biggest dragon in the woods and lost
    • Got captured by the enemy
    • Got himself the seppuku penalty
    • Killed the witnesses to his execution
    • Attacked strangers for booze
    • Attacked one of Kaido's underlings
    • Facilitated his captain (a captain who he often lectures for being careless and/or immature) in stealing from the shogun, blowing his cover in the process
    • Managed to get separated from his crew when all he had to do to not get separated was sit still
    I feel sorry for Law, but then again he was warned and chose to go on...

    Kaido - The Strongest Dragon Alive


    It's confirmed: Kaido is strong. And I mean really strong. As in, Luffy beating him 1v1 isn't going to happen. Luffy and Law beating him 2v1 is incredibly unlikely. Luffy, Law and Kidd together would struggle. He stood there and took Luffy's best shots, only to sigh with disappointment and then one-shot him with no effort. Big Mom was monstrous enough, but as she herself said, Kaido is a completely different beast. The only way to take him down is to find and expose a weakness. My personal prediction is that his drinking habit will be a big weakness (definitely not speaking from personal experience... definitely not), but it's too early to say.

    What's Next?

    Wano's arc structure is unique in that Oda's presenting it to us like a play, with very clear and defined acts. After a very quick Google search, I found a system that they use in various forms of Japanese theatre, including Kabuki theatre (which I saw people taking about in the Chapter thread) called "jō-ha-kyu". Plays are divided into five parts. Generally, the first act is the "jō", which is relatively slow-paced and serves to introduce the main characters in the play. The "ha" is usually acts 2-4, and this is where the pace picks up. There's usually a moment of drama at the end of act 3, and a battle at the end of either act 2 or 4. Act 5, the "kyu", is a fast ending that serves to wrap everything up. Obviously, he may not follow this structure exactly. He may not even be following it at all. The fact the end of Act One is called "ha", and it has a "ha" style twist in it (Luffy going to prison) is slightly subversive, even if it's not that big a deal. What is interesting though, is that what we've had so far comes under the "slow beginning" section of the play, which means that it's only going to get more hectic from here.

    EDIT: Looking back, I also noticed there were curtains and the lady in the mask playing shamisen in Chapter 909 when we arrive at Wano, and at the end of 924 when the first act of the Wano Arc comes to a close. This adds a little credence to the theatre-style method of storytelling that Oda's using.



    It's been a wild ride so far, and in my opinion, it's living up to the hype.

    How do you guys feel about Wano so far? Leave your thoughts below!
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