Archived One Piece ARC Analysis by dailyfiber

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  1. DoFlamingoDaCannibal

    DoFlamingoDaCannibal

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    One Piece Arc Analysis by dailyfiber from Apforums
    Foosha to Syrup
    The first thing the reader is shown is the execution of Gold Roger. It is something every One Piece fan is familiar with, and I feel it does a great job of setting both the adventurous tone and state of the world that One Piece is in. One Piece’s world is in its great age of piracy, and the pirates are after Roger’s fabled treasure.

    The story begins properly in Foosha Village. We can obviously see the influence Shanks’ crew have on Luffy, and we see that he’s determined and ambitious, but at the same time a little naive about the realities of being a pirate. Meanwhile the Red Hair Pirates are constantly seen with smiles on their faces, partying and having a great time, so we grow to like them pretty much immediately.

    Shanks is a good natured guy, himself. After all, he’s on good terms with pretty much everybody, like Makino, and even mayor Woop Slap says he’s a good guy. He’s able to laugh off his confrontation with Higuma, showing that he’s not petty, and cleans up the mess himself, which makes us like him and by extension his crew even more. I want to mention something I noticed here. While Higuma’s being an ass, we’re shown two different panels of Luffy eating the Gomu Gomu no Mi.

    This may seem minor, but it blows my mind every single time I see it. At no point in the future while reading the story will we be we left wondering where Luffy got his powers from, or what exactly those powers entail. We’ve already seen it, all while doing the business of the plot in the bar. The stuff we see in Foosha Village is usually relegated to future flashbacks in most stories, but I’m glad One Piece begins with all of this. It gives the early chapters a better pacing to them, as a lot of questions we might have had about Luffy as a character, his motivations, or what he can do are put to rest.

    Ultimately Shanks will end up saving Luffy after Luffy confronts Higuma about the earlier scene in the bar. Shanks speech about how he’ll laugh off little things, but won’t stand for anyone hurting his friends is great, and it emphasizes one of the core themes of One Piece as a whole which is friendship. It’s also great to see Lucky Roo and Benn Beckman beat up the bandits. They are Pirates, after all, and we need to see them getting serious, especially after they were insulted before.

    At the end of the day Foosha Village serves to complete all the major things a story needs in its setup, but it does it in a very memorable manner. One thing I’ve loved about One Piece is how some of the most iconic moments of the entire series come from the very first Chapter. We won’t get the significance of Shanks’ haki yet, but him getting his arm bitten off and passing on the hat to a tearful Luffy are great and memorable story moments, ingrained in the hearts of every One Piece fan. The first chapter basically helps us understand Luffy more as a character, and establishes Shanks as both mentor to look up to, but also a goal to surpass for him. It also sets the tone for the story to come. Themes of friendship, adventure, and ambition.

    Now that Luffy’s grown up, he ends up getting sucked into a whirlpool ultimately to meet Coby. It just shows how naive and carefree he is, even in dangerous situations. Coby’s role in this part of the story is basically exposition. He gives more information about what becoming the Pirate King means, and that One Piece is Roger’s lost treasure. Coby also talks about how astronomically low Luffy’s chances are, and how every Pirate is pretty much after the treasure. One of East Blue’s aspects is basically build up for the Grand Line and how tough it’s going to be, and what challenges await there. So we need to hear Coby say this stuff because it gives the goal of becoming Pirate King some grounding. The Grand Line is given an ominous air as it's referred to as the “Pirates’ Graveyard”.

    Early East Blue is light and simple from a storytelling perspective. We’re still learning about these characters so we need confrontations and storylines that aren’t too intense. Still, I feel that the strength of East Blue really falls upon the fact that Luffy as a character is easily digestible. We get a good idea of his character and what his goals are, and more importantly why. Because we don’t have to focus on these things, the story is free to set up its world and the other characters Luffy will eventually meet. This is sort of minor but I love how Luffy beats Alvida only after Coby tells her off, he didn’t lift a finger before. Luffy will definitely fight for people he likes who show some courage for their goals, but may not necessarily have the ability to see them carried out. We see a similar thing happen with Usopp later on, but it shows us more about Luffy and how he supports people he cares about.

    Once we get into Shells Town it’s mentioned that Luffy should get himself a navigator. The fact that Luffy’s crew is undermanned is a recurring aspect of East Blue, and one that the story will tackle by the time they head out for the Grand Line. We came here so Luffy could recruit Zoro, and Zoro comes across as a pretty sinister guy at first. After all, we already know he’s a pirate hunter from Alvida and Coby, who both referred to him as demonic. The scene with Zoro, Helmeppo, and the rice balls is great. It lets us know that Helmeppo is a jackass for crushing a poor little girl’s rice balls into the dirt, and that Zoro’s ultimately a good guy for eating them even in that state, just to make the girl happy. It’s at this point that Luffy starts to like Zoro, and it’s the same for the reader.

    Zoro’s flashback with Kuina gives his character and motivations some more depth. He made a promise with her that one of them would become the best swordsman, but because she died he lost his rival, the girl he wanted to surpass. Zoro’s use of three swords makes him very unique, and I don’t think I know of any character in any other story who uses three swords. I find his use of swords makes for a great contrast with Luffy's punches. Having said that, I would expect the first crewmember to contrast with Luffy greatly, but surprisingly Zoro is fairly similar to Luffy character wise. They’re determined, have similar values, interests in fighting, and even their dreams are similar. They’re somewhat simple minded, but have pure hearts.

    Helmeppo and his dad were jackasses, but it’s nice to be shown Marines who are ultimately good guys. Morality in One Piece is certainly not black and white. Coby following through with his dream of becoming a Marine is a fairly minor thing story wise as we just met this guy, but it’s the first instance of a very important recurring aspect of the story.

    I’ve talked about this in another thread but I might as well point this out here. One of my favorite aspects of One Piece is how the Straw Hats are somewhat atypical as characters. Most protagonists in stories go through conflict, meet people, then are changed and developed by that conflict and those people. With the Straw Hats, it always seems to be reversed. It's the people they meet, because of the situations they get into, that end up being the ones who change. Coby here is a great example. As of the story right now, Coby becoming a Marine is not a major deal, but it’s the fact that he was able to get the courage through Luffy to both tell off Alvida and become a Marine that’s important. This trend happens frequently throughout One Piece, and it’s immensely satisfying to see it every time. It’s also the primary way Luffy gets people onto his crew in the first place.

    Next up is the Buggy Arc, and it’s the first real conflict the Straw Hats get into. Some Buggy Pirates talk about Nami, and we are shown both her cunning because she tricked them, and her skills at predicting the weather. There’s a nice recurring theme during the arc of treasure and what that word truly means to an individual, which ties into what it means to be a pirate. Luffy tells Nami his hat is his treasure, which just helps her and the reader understand a bit more what Luffy’s character is about. He’s not after gold, so he’s after something more meaningful--adventure.

    Buggy on the other hand is greedy, petty, destroys villages, and even uses his own crewmembers as shields, which all contrasts Luffy. The first three pirates he fights, Buggy, Kuro, and Don Krieg, serve to basically characterize Luffy by comparing him against what he isn’t. After Ritchie burns the pet store, he offers to give Luffy gold and apologies if he’ll leave him unharmed. Luffy says that apologies won’t bring back Chouchou’s treasure, and angrily tells him he’ll kick his ass. This is notable as it’s the first time in the story we’ve seen adult Luffy get angry, and considering what he’s angry over, it just serves to flesh him out as a character even more. Nami begins to understand Luffy a bit more, too, seeing that he’s different from the pirates she had met before.

    I don’t find Nami too terribly interesting at this stage of the story, but it’s hard to fault her, since a lot of her character is setup. She mentions that she’s trying to save up money to buy a certain village, but right now she comes across as greedily as Buggy does. She also hates Pirates. It’s all great setup that will pay dividends later on, as Nami’s character wouldn’t benefit nearly as much as it does later on if we didn’t touch upon these things here and now. At the very least we are shown that Nami does have a conscience. Her hate for most Pirates is justified, and she doesn’t mind leaving money for the villagers to fix up their village. To a certain extent I feel her immediate role in the story mirrors Coby a little. A normal person placed in the company of two superhumans, but who are generally inept at everything, even feeding themselves. Nami serves to give the reader a normal person’s perspective, she can provide exposition, and the crew will depend on her navigating skills and general expertise. Case in point, later on, she chastises Luffy and Zoro for not being prepared enough to head out for sea or the Grand Line.

    Luffy’s fight with Buggy is interesting, and I like that Luffy fights a Devil Fruit user so early into the story. All the combat up until now has been fairly straightforward, but Luffy’s fight with Buggy shows how crazy these fights can become. In fact they will only get crazier from here on out. It also sets up the world, there are people out there who have Devil Fruit abilities just like Luffy. Luffy also gets angry at Buggy for mentioning Shanks, saying that Shanks is a great pirate and Buggy shouldn’t put himself on the same level. Luffy obviously looks up to Shanks, but it just reinforces themes of what it means to be a Pirate, and gives us a bit more insight into Luffy based on who he considers to be a good pirate or not.

    The next destination is Syrup Village, where Usopp is introduced. He’s a liar and a coward, unlike the characters we’ve met so far, but he means well. Although the story is filled with comedy, Usopp is a primarily comedic character, and plays well off of the other Straw Hats. At Kaya’s mansion, Kuro insults Usopp’s pride and pirates in general, which causes the reader to dislike him pretty much instantly. Usopp though is deeply proud to be the son of a pirate, the pirate Yasopp. Yasopp was actually shown back in the first chapter, he had a bandanna with his name on it. We like the Red Hair Pirates, so when Usopp reveals who his father is and learns who he’s joined up with, we want Usopp to join Luffy, too.

    After Kuro is ousted as a pirate, Usopp tries to warn Kaya and the village but they don’t listen. It’s notable that Usopp’s desire is just to protect the village. It shows a lot about his character, he doesn’t care if people think he’s a liar, or about his reputation, he just wants the people he cares about to be safe. Although Usopp is so afraid his knees shake, he won’t back down from this which proves his courage. That’s why Luffy and Zoro will risk their lives to fight alongside him.

    While Usopp and Nami are battling the first wave of Kuro pirates, we see a little bit of Usopp’s arsenal. Like Zoro’s swords, Usopp’s slingshot and pachinko fit his character perfectly. He just wouldn’t be the same character if he used a gun. Usopp always had an inventive side to his character which shines with his different stars and attacks. Unlike Luffy and Zoro, he’s not physically strong, but he is tactically oriented and beats his opponents in clever ways. It all makes him pretty unique as a character.

    Kuro’s attitude and treatment of his crew contrasts Luffy and Usopp, which fleshes out their characters more. Luffy says Kuro can’t call himself a pirate because he’s not willing to put his life on the line for his goals. He states his dreams are far greater than Kuro’s plans, and that Kuro doesn’t know what a true pirate is supposed to be. This is really what their fight is about, not the stuff involving the village. Luffy’s ambition and conviction to become the Pirate King versus Kuro’s cowardly intentions to quit being a pirate and live a comfortable life. The point is brought home when Luffy says that Kuro, with all his men, is still inferior to Usopp because of the way he thinks. Even though Usopp is a coward on the outside and lacks physical prowess or confidence, he’s fundamentally brave and courageous at heart. It’s this quality and his willingness to put his life on the line for the sake of the people he cares about, despite being afraid, that Luffy fights in place of Usopp. Luffy angrily stated earlier that he would beat anyone who dared to laugh at Usopp. At his heart Usopp is more of a pirate than Kuro will ever be.

    The last straw for Luffy is when Kuro starts to attack his own crew. Furiously, Luffy demands to know what Kuro thinks his crewmembers are. Very few times in the story so far have we seen Luffy become enraged. Almost every time, it involves questionable actions or mentality of enemy pirates, and it helps the reader to better understand the kind of man Luffy is. In this case, we’re led to believe Luffy would never see his beloved crew as pawns the same way Kuro does. Before knocking him out, Luffy lets Kuro, and the reader, know he will never become a pirate like him. While Luffy knocks Kuro out, Usopp takes down Jango with a gunpowder star. In the end, with the help of the Straw Hats, he was able to save Kaya and the other villagers like he wanted.

    The Straw Hats are given a new ship by Merry, and Usopp joins them as a new crewmate. We’re then shown Usopp’s backstory, which gives us the origin of his lies. When his dying mother dismisses his lies as dreams, he retorts that he’s the son of a pirate, so of course he has dreams. Out of sadness, he continued to lie after his mother’s death, hoping that someday his father’s ship would come to pick up his son. It just shows the reader that Usopp was always a dreamer. After spending his years dreaming about grand adventures, Usopp can now go and live out his dreams and those adventures like he’s always wanted to. Having the Going Merry plus Usopp finally makes the Straw Hats feel like a real crew. Fittingly, and notably, it’s at this point that their Jolly Roger is created.

    Baratie
    Next up is the Baratie arc. I absolutely love this arc, mostly because of all the little things it accomplishes in the background. It starts off with the Straw Hats discussing how they need a cook on their ship (also the first time Luffy says he needs a musician). This is the first time, not counting Nami, that the Straw Hats have recruited someone based on immediate necessity. After all, twice now Luffy and Zoro have been in sticky situations where they weren’t able to feed themselves, or didn’t have the proper supplies to.

    Tying into all of this is the introduction of Johnny and Yosaku, two characters from Zoro’s past. This is minor, but I like how Nami diagnoses Yosaku’s condition as scurvy, and then cures him with lime juice. Since One Piece takes place in a fantasy setting, it’s hard to gauge how technologically and culturally sophisticated the world is. Nami referencing scurvy as a problem of the past gives the reader some insight into this issue. It also reinforces the point that they really need someone on the ship who can track their nutrition for a long voyage.

    Johnny then leads the Straw Hats to Baratie. This restaurant on the sea is the first exotic, unique location the Straw Hats go to. So far, they’ve only been to villages. Sanji’s scene with Fullbody just shows us how powerful Sanji is, as well as his reverence towards food and his cordial attitude with women. Although Gin gets kicked out from the Baratie for not having money, he’s given food by Sanji and says it’s the best he’s ever had. Similar to Zoro’s scene with the rice balls, this scene makes Luffy and the reader start to like Sanji, and Luffy decides he will join as his cook.

    Gin leaves only to come back later with his boss. Don Krieg is considered the most powerful pirate in East Blue, yet his ship is in complete shambles. East Blue has all been set up for the Grand Line, but the Baratie arc proves its dangerous reputation. Krieg laughs at the idea of Luffy becoming Pirate King with only a handful of men, when he himself was decimated although he had a fleet of ships and hundreds of men. Furthermore, his entire fleet was destroyed by a single man, Hawk Eyes. Up until Baratie, we had only been told the Grand Line was powerful and dangerous, so now we see the effect it can have for ourselves. Fittingly, Luffy and Zoro both state their willingness to die for the sake of their dreams, showing their conviction.

    All of this is interrupted by Mihawk’s entrance, splitting what’s left of Don Krieg’s enormous ship in half. We’re told that Mihawk is the world’s strongest swordsman, and immediately there are several interesting characteristics about him. By this point, we’ve seen plenty of unique Pirate ships, but Mihawk rides alone on a small raft, without even a crew or unique flag. He’s also got a unique sword, and only tracked down the Krieg Pirates to kill time, implying that the rest of the Grand Line can’t cure his boredom.

    I absolutely love Mihawk’s duel with Zoro. Although Zoro goes all out, Mihawk is able to fend him off easily with a small dagger, which gives us a clear indication of the difference between Zoro and someone who’s at the top. Mihawk, however, is impressed with Zoro’s conviction and his spirit as a swordsman, and defeats him but spares his life. At this point we haven't seen Zoro lose before, and not nearly that badly. Zoro cries out to Luffy, the only time in the series he’s ever cried, that he will become stronger. This is also the very first time he acknowledges Luffy as the Pirate King.

    Zoro internalizes his defeat by Mihawk, and gains resolve because of it. He's given a reality check by fighting the strongest in the world. Notably, it's after this defeat that we get shots of Zoro training and lifting weights. Zoro’s dream up until now has been very abstract. He wants to be the best swordsman, but by itself that goal doesn’t actually mean anything. Losing Kuina, his rival, meant Zoro lost the person he wanted to surpass. Mihawk’s presence in the story as the best swordsman gives Zoro’s dream some much needed tangibility. Once Zoro beats Mihawk, he will have achieved his dream, the same way Luffy will be Pirate King once he finds One Piece.

    Usopp takes the wounded Zoro in pursuit of Nami, who absconded with the Going Merry. This is obviously all setup for the next arc, and wisely allows the rest of this arc to focus on Luffy and Sanji. Sanji’s fight with Pearl shows us his proficiency with kicks, which is unique and a good contrast with the rest of the Straw Hats. I especially like that he uses kicks because, as a cook, he doesn’t want to jeopardize his hands. It also shows how much he looks to Zeff. For the most part, the Straw Hats’ fighting styles compliment their respective personalities perfectly.

    Sanji’s backstory is great, and it gives context to his tense relationship with Zeff we’ve seen all throughout the arc. It also establishes All Blue as a legend all cooks dream about. It’s notable that kid Sanji initially reprimands the other cooks for eating other people’s leftovers, reasoning that they have enough food and they will replenish their supplies shortly. It’s great setup for the lesson he will learn soon enough. Sanji’s ordeal on the rock is unimaginable, and it’s heartbreaking to see him waste away after months without food. Ironically, Zeff points out the absurdity of his having insane amounts of treasure, but not being able to get any food to eat. The point is driven home when we see that Zeff has eaten his own leg to survive. It all gives us insight into why Sanji treats food and being a chef the way he does, and why he’ll never refuse to feed someone who is hungry. There’s also a nice parallel between Zeff losing a leg and saving Sanji, and Shanks losing an arm to save Luffy.

    Don Krieg, like Buggy and Kuro before him, fleshes out Luffy more as a character. Krieg is a cheater, he’s conceited, and his men follow him out of fear more than anything. He also has far more men and ships than Luffy will ever have, as well as having a multitude of weapons in his arsenal. While this does serve to contrast Luffy, it’s less about personality, and more to do with conviction. Even with all of his weapons and the loyalty of many men, Krieg’s great ambitions will never be able to beat Luffy’s conviction. Conviction has been a theme all throughout this arc, and it is the answer to a question Sanji has asked multiple times throughout the arc. By arc’s end, he understands why Luffy and Zoro can charge straight toward their dreams, despite opposition or the chance of death.

    I love the scene with Sanji and the soup. Sanji’s refusal to join Luffy has never been about proving his worth as a chef, despite what he’s been saying. In his heart Sanji really wants to go to the Grand Line, but he feels he can’t due to his debt with Zeff. Zeff on the other hand wants Sanji to go and live out his dreams. The whole thing comes home when Sanji tearfully thanks Zeff for his sacrifices, and Zeff and the rest of the cooks tearfully give him their goodbyes. It just goes to show how Sanji and Zeff truly care for eachother. One of One Piece’s themes is inherited will, and the dreams of people. Although they had the same dream before they met each other, Sanji has definitely inherited Zeff’s will to actually go out and find All Blue.

    Note ; this is NOT my work , all credits goes to dailyfiber from Apforums . I am simply posting this here so more people can be aware of his awesome analysis.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
    Kadis, Takt, Death72 and 9 others like this.
  2. DoFlamingoDaCannibal

    DoFlamingoDaCannibal

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    Arlong Park
    The Arlong Park Arc begins with Luffy, Sanji, and Yosaku on their way to Cocoyashi village. On the way, Yosaku tells us that part of the reason the Grand Line is known as the “Pirates’ Graveyard” is due to the Shichibukai. I love the concept of the Shichibukai, and they’re set up as potential villains since they’re government sanctioned pirates. While part of all of this is to hype the Grand Line, most of it is actually hype for Arlong. We’re told he’s a former crewmate of a Shichibukai, and it gives us the sense that he’s really powerful.

    Soon after, we’re shown Arlong and his crew proper. I love the scene in which Arlong bribes Nezumi, a Marine captain. Firstly, it fleshes Arlong out as a character. We’re shown his attitude towards money, and that he can be very cordial with humans even though he despises them. It also gives the arc itself very little hope for Marine intervention. More importantly, though, it shows us that racism is a two way street. Arlong despises humans, but notably, Arlong is far more genial with Nezumi than the other way around. He offers the captain to share a drink, that he will kill anyone who rats him out, and even scolds Hachi for badmouthing him. Nezumi on the other hand says the Fishmen give him the creeps, implying that his uncomfortable attitude during their meeting stems from having to deal with Fishmen, as opposed to their simply being pirates.

    Arlong then decides to throw a feast since his comrade, Nami, has come home. It shows he considers her enough of a crewmate to celebrate upon her return. When Zoro is captured, we’re shown further animosity between human and fishmen. Zoro refers to Arlong as a “half fish mutant”, causing Arlong to go on a tirade about how Fishmen are naturally and divinely superior to humans. At this point Nami’s true allegiance is ambiguous. On the surface she acts like a true member of the Arlong Pirates, taking pride in her betrayal of the Straw Hats. However, she’s shocked when Arlong mentions the death of her mother, and saves Zoro from drowning when he jumps in the sea of his own volition.

    Meanwhile, Usopp’s misadventures cause him to stumble upon a destroyed Gosa village. We’re shown the power of the Fishmen first hand, and Yosaku mentions they’re ten times stronger than the average human. Later, when Arlong comes to terrorize Cocoyashi, we’re shown just what life for people under Arlong’s rule is like. Needless to say, it’s terrible, and feels like they’re not living, they’re simply enduring. Since we were shown what happened to Gosa when they couldn’t pay the tribute, the threat of Cocoyashi being annihilated is very real. While it is a hopeless situation, Nami’s goal is to raise enough money to buy the village from Arlong.

    Her interactions back at Arlong Park give a bit more weight to her struggle. We’ve seen Arlong’s respect toward money and transactions in general, so there’s a bit of hope that Nami’s plan might actually work out. In fact, later on it’s implied that Arlong had full intention of keeping his end of the bargain, until his crew talked him out of it. After she disposes of Usopp, they reiterate their belief that she’s actually one of them. They also show great respect toward her abilities, which consequently allow them to crush a Marine vessel with ease. It makes the situation feel even more hopeless, and that the villagers are completely on their own. It also sets up how powerful Hachi, Kuroobi, and Chew are, since they will go on to fight Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp shortly.

    Nami shows up while the Straw Hats are arguing about whether or not she killed Usopp. It’s notable that Sanji and Zoro’s infamous rivalry actually begins here, all because of Nami. Nami tries to tell them to leave, and tries to get under their skin by telling them she just used them, but it’s completely ineffective against Luffy. Later on, when Nojiko starts to explain Nami’s backstory, Luffy leaves because he’s disinterested. All of this is setup for later, but right now Nami’s backstory gets the focus. Nami’s abilities and interest towards sea charts and navigation are firmly established, as well as her dream of making a map of the world. We’re also shown the kind of family life she has. Although they’re poor, Bellemere does what she can to make her daughters happy. While she does get upset about Nami’s shoplifting, she gets enraged when Nami insinuates they aren’t a real family.

    At first, Nami’s backstory is similar to Sanji’s. Kid Sanji didn’t appreciate the value of food until there was none. Similarly, Kid Nami doesn’t initially appreciate the value of her mom, her family, until it’s taken away from her. Bellemere’s history with saving the girls establishes how much she cares about them, but things only take a turn for the worst when Arlong shows up. The circumstances here are absolutely heartbreaking. The reader got the sense that Bellemere would do whatever she could to make her family, and their happiness, a priority regardless of finances. But now, the lack of money will literally split their family apart. It makes Nami and Bellemere’s earlier argument about their lack of money look meaningless by comparison. Even though she’s in the clear, Bellemere can’t bring herself to say she doesn’t have a family. She tells her girls she’s sorry for not being able to provide for them, but they don’t care. Nami tearfully realizes she doesn’t care about money, all she wants is her mom to be with them.

    I want to point out something I noticed. Kuina dying from falling down stairs, Banchina dying of sickness, and Sanji and Zeff being stranded are all tragic moments. Ultimately, though, they’re all acts of nature. I’m not sure if Oda planned this intentionally, but Nami’s backstory is the very first backstory that involves actual malice, actual evil actions from one person to another. The effects of this cannot be understated. The reader feels extremely sympathetic toward Nami, seeing first hand the horror she’s gone through, and at the same time severe hatred toward Arlong for causing that horror in the first place. While Nami’s backstory is already very shocking, it feels more visceral for the reader since it’s the first time we’ve gotten a backstory like this. It makes Arlong a figurehead for all the suffering Nami has gone through. As a result, this arc feels far more personal than any arc that has come before it.

    The Arlong Arc has always always had a sense of hopelessness, which is primarily due to the idea that the village is completely on their own. No one, not even the marines, can help them. This is magnified for Nami, though, because in order to protect the rest of the village she’s forced to fight completely on her own. She doesn’t want to ask help from anyone, not out of pride, but for fear of them being injured or killed like her mother was. Ultimately, though, Nami’s last ray of hope vanishes like a puff of smoke. The marines, tipped off by Arlong, arrive to steal Nami’s money. Hopeless, all she can do is stab her own tattooed shoulder in resentment, until Luffy shows up.

    Up until now, Luffy has shown little interest in Nami’s situation. All of her attempts to provoke him and get him to leave have failed. It’s only when she tearfully begs him to help her that he yells at the top of his lungs that of course he will. It says a bit about Luffy’s character. For Luffy, what Nami’s been going through isn’t the point, it won’t change her situation. He realizes that he can’t do anything to help her until she’s willing to accept his help. Nami, without any shred of hope left, has to turn to Luffy, since he’s all she’s got left. It’s nice that Luffy lets Nami borrow his treasured hat, since he’s truly fighting for her sake.

    After some initial shenanigans in Arlong Park, culminating with Luffy getting thrown into the sea, the one-on-one duels begin properly. Zoro hasn’t had a proper duel on equal footing with anyone in the series yet. Cabaji was no match for Zoro, and his injuries at the time were more of a handicap than anything. He was then vastly outclassed by Mihawk. Unfortunately, his fight with Hachi ends up being similar to Cabaji. His injuries from the Mihawk fight bring him down closer to Hachi’s level, but his limits aren’t really tested. It’s definitely understandable, since there was no way he could have healed by this point to fight a hypothetically stronger opponent. Having said that, there is a nice theme of how Zoro and Hachi’s swords have different “weight” to them, as Zoro’s internalizing the lessons he’s learned from the Mihawk fight.

    Sanji’s fight with Kuroobi is his first fight as a proper Straw Hat member. It is a fairly tense fight underwater, as Kuroobi has the upper hand and uses radical changes in water pressure to damage Sanji. He has Sanji on the ropes, but makes a misstep when he insinuates Sanji can’t save anybody. After escaping to the surface, Sanji beats Kuroobi before the latter can even make a counter attack. All the while, Kuroobi had mocked Sanji’s ideas of chivalry, but we see how far he’ll go to save a woman in need. This fight is also the first instance of him using named attacks against an opponent.

    Lastly, we have Usopp’s fight, which I feel is uniquely important compared to the other two. It’s instrumental in building his character, and at this point we hadn’t seen Usopp really fight against anyone yet, unlike Zoro and Sanji who have had tangible opponents. It’s pathetic to see Usopp try and fabricate signs of a real struggle, even though everyone else is giving it their all, and when he realizes this fact he summons his inner courage. He makes some very poignant statements about how he doesn’t have the right to be on the same ship if he doesn’t fight to the death like the other Straw Hats.

    Usopp has always been a dreamer, but I feel he’s been more in love with the idea of his lies, the implications of them, rather than actually carrying them through in reality. His fight with Chew is the first step of Usopp shedding his former mentality, and becoming someone who’s able to do, rather than just tell. His strength may not lie in physical combat like the others, but his courage is very real, and he’s able to take down Chew with a mix of tactics and misdirection. He reasons that the Straw Hats are able to laugh from the bottom of their hearts because they give it their all. After this fight, he’s proven that he deserves his place with them, to laugh and smile like they do.

    Arlong gives Nami the choice to either side with him, and he’ll spare Cocoyashi, or side with the Straw Hats and choose death. It reiterates Nami’s faith in Luffy just in time for him to be resuscitated, ready to fight Arlong. There is also one thing worth mentioning about the Arlong fight. All throughout this arc, we’ve seen racist attitudes from Fishmen towards humans. Conversely, Zoro, Sanji, and even Usopp have made fun of Fishmen for being Fishmen. Arlong gives Luffy a long diatribe about how his being a Fishman makes him superior to Luffy, but notably not once does Luffy ever reciprocate. While a lot of this can be attributed to Luffy simply being naive, it says a lot about his character. Luffy never once makes fun of Arlong’s race, to him it’s irrelevant. Instead, he calls his abilities and attitude towards crewmates into question.

    All of this culminates when Arlong chases Luffy into Nami’s map room. Arlong is the very first villain we see who genuinely cares for his crew, which we’ve seen multiple times throughout the arc. Despite that, Arlong sincerely believes he’s given Nami a good deal. He’ll feed her, and buy her whatever she desires, because she’s his crewmate. This skewed reasoning does not exist for Luffy. He destroys the map room, Nami’s prison that she never wanted to be in, then destroys Arlong Park, and with it, all of Arlong’s ambition.

    Luffy yells that Nami is his crewmate, which she tearfully accepts. His definition of what a crewmate is and what they mean to him is clearly different than Arlong’s. Earlier, he talked about how he wouldn’t be able to survive if his crew wasn't there to help him. Every arc in East Blue so far has served to show the reader what kind of man Luffy is. In Buggy, we see what treasure means to an individual. In Syrup, we’re shown what courage really is. In Baratie, we’re shown the meaning of true conviction. To wrap all of this up, the Arlong Arc shows us what a crewmate truly is, and what they truly mean to Luffy. It’s the perfect thing to end East Blue with, to send the characters off to the Grand Line.

    After Arlong’s defeated, the reader is treated to the very first party scene to be shown in the series. I absolutely love each and every one of these scenes, just because of how wonderfully they cap off their arcs. After all the struggle the heroes have gone through, and everything they’ve done for the people involved, it’s wonderful to see them celebrate and enjoy themselves. Some much needed rest, and reward for their hard work. During all this, Nami’s tattoo is removed, and replaced with one that she’s picked herself. Her tattoo had always been a representation of Arlong, who took Bellemere from her. It’s fitting that her new one pays homage to Bellmere, Genzo, and Nojiko, her family. Nami says her goodbyes to her village, and sets sail with the Straw Hats. For the first time, she’s setting sail of her own volition, freed and filled with happiness, like she’s always wanted to. With a proper navigator, the Straw Hats are now ready to head for the Grand Line.

    Loguetown
    Loguetown Arc begins with Luffy obtaining his very first bounty. Mihawk shows up to tell Shanks the good news, and this is the first time we see the Red Hairs outside of flashbacks. More than anything, Loguetown is used as a story pivot which caps off the end of East Blue, and starts up the Grand Line. At Loguetown proper, Zoro is introduced to Tashigi. She saves him from being conned out of his sword, and we’re told about the various graded swords. I love the moment when Zoro tosses the cursed Kitetsu in the air. It says a lot about Zoro that he’d put his fate to the test like that.

    Buggy and Alvida showing up to pester Luffy helps to cap off East Blue by bringing back a few villains from that saga. Smoker leaves to deal with the pirates, and on the way we see a scene where a little girl drops her ice cream on his pants. He apologizes and gives her money to buy a bigger ice cream. This is a wonderful, quick scene that gives us insight into the kind of guy Smoker is. He may look scary, but he’s a good man at heart. Morgan was even willing to kill children if they insulted him, but Smoker is certainly not that petty or egotistical.

    I absolutely love Buggy’s attempted execution of Luffy. Luffy yells out to a huge crowd that he will become the Pirate King, and smiles before he’s about to die. This is the first of a few instances to come of Luffy being compared to Roger. Smoker reveals his Devil Fruit, the first Logia to be shown in the series. Smoker rounding up the pirates with ease, as well as nearly capturing Luffy, is very significant in an understated way.

    Up until now the Marines have been shown as largely incompetent, or corrupt. Morgan and Nezumi were highly corrupt Marines. Fullbody was foddered by Sanji, and Purin Purin was defeated by Arlong’s men. We haven’t actually been shown any clear examples of Marines posing a legitimate threat, which is fine for East Blue, but since they’re going to the Grand Line we need to be shown Marines who are capable.

    It also helps the smoothness of the story to show us Luffy struggling to hit a Logia now, which will come into play much later on when he struggles to fight Crocodile properly. It’s notable that, before entering the Grand Line, Luffy’s put up against an opponent he couldn’t possibly hope to beat. Dragon shows up to save Luffy from Smoker, but the significance of this won’t be revealed until much later on. Buggy and Smoker both decide to head for the Grand Line, which just sets all the players into position.

    Earlier, we were given some words attributed to Roger. “That which cannot be stopped: Inherited Will, A Man’s Dream, and the Flow of Time. As long as man continues to seek out the answer to freedom, these things shall never be stopped.” These are all core themes of One Piece. Loguetown sets up exposition and lore, but also perfectly sets up for the direction the story will go. Everything up until now has been setup for the Grand Line, and in support of this, the Straw Hats all reiterate their dreams. Entering it is the true beginning of Luffy’s adventure.
     
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  3. Ashizaki

    Ashizaki

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    More of this please! Loved it! I like his view and I like how he generalizes and includes us, the readers, into the discussion, and which for the most part, was true.
     
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  4. Nico Robin

    Nico Robin Wanted Cracker

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    This is great!
     
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  5. luckyroo20

    luckyroo20

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    Who names themselves Daily Fiber....lol
     
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  6. luffydzoro

    luffydzoro

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    This is a great post can't wait to read these for all the other arcs.
     
  7. Walreyn

    Walreyn

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    nice thread i'll be looking forward for the others
     
  8. MysticLeviathan

    MysticLeviathan

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    Now I can shit rest easy after reading dailyfiber's analysis :D
     
  9. hussien2011

    hussien2011

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  10. mt chill

    mt chill

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    Looking forward to more arcs in the future
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  11. Tango

    Tango

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    Nice share :yaaa:

    i always feel that One Piece is not your typical adventure or fighting Manga, this thread convince me once again that One Piece is one of the greatest Manga you've ever read! :)
     
  12. DoFlamingoDaCannibal

    DoFlamingoDaCannibal

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    Reverse Mountain and Whiskey Peak Arcs

    As a story, One Piece is unique in just how much emphasis is placed on its geography. Most other stories don’t put as much weight on where the protagonists physically are in relation to the world. The Straw Hats’ actual location in the story, however, has importance and significance, partly because Luffy’s goal is inextricably tied to the world. Crocus tells us the most likely theory is One Piece being on Raftel, so presumably once Luffy reaches Raftel he will become the Pirate King. While we may not know where exactly the Straw Hats are on the Grand Line at any given point, the fact that the world’s geography is so firmly established goes a long way toward magnifying One Piece’s adventurous feel and tone. It also serves as a way to pull the reader deeper into the world.

    The Reverse Mountain Arc, more than anything else, does a great job of explaining a good deal of the questions readers may have about the rules of this world. Though it is short, I feel this is the Arc’s primary function. It begins during a raging storm, and Nami telling us about Reverse Mountain. Zoro asks why they couldn’t just head directly south and enter the Grand Line through the Calm Belt, as opposed to entering southwest through Reverse Mountain. The storm then suddenly stops, and Zoro gets his answer. The Calm Belt being infested with gigantic, monstrous Sea Kings, as well as having no wind to make use of for sailing, make the Calm Belt both a death sentence and a barrier.

    Back in the storm, we’re told about the mechanics of Reverse Mountain. It’s notable that Reverse Mountain is the first of several strange, geographical phenomenon we will witness as the story unfolds. The raging storm and an action sequence involving the broken rudder make for a great, intense moment to kick off the Straw Hats finally entering the Grand Line, at last. Their achievement is rewarded immediately by being swallowed up by Laboon. After Crocus appears, Laboon starts his routine of bashing his head against the Red Line. Laboon is a massive whale, his size rivals some of the huge Sea Kings we just saw. Yet this tremendous beast ramming the Red Line doesn’t even do anything to it. We already saw how tall the Red Line was, so this just gives us a sense of how incredibly tough it is, too.

    Up until now the Grand Line has constantly been referred to ominously as a graveyard and a dangerous place. Crocus tells us the reason for that, because the seasons, climates, currents, and winds couldn’t be any more chaotic. Common sense doesn’t work on this ocean, and even a compass is useless. We’re introduced to the Log Pose and the mechanics of how it works, and the concept that all paths will eventually converge into Raftel. Luffy’s fight with Laboon and supplanting the Rumbar Pirates’ promise to him with his own is a great way to give us some emotional connection to this arc and Laboon. This will come into play much, much later on when Brook shows up. It’s weird for Luffy to pick a fight with Laboon and draw his mark on his head, but it’s his way of making sure Laboon won’t hurt himself anymore, and to show that they’re friends. Luffy’s methods may be unorthodox, but ultimately he cares.

    Our Baroque Works members’ appearance in this arc sets them up as bad guys, and leads us directly into the next arc. It’s very fitting that, as Luffy’s grand Grand Line adventure takes its first step, Crocus says that the Straw Hats might be the pirates he and Roger have been waiting for. With a better understanding of the chaotic nature of the Grand Line, and a path set, it’s time for Luffy to prove Crocus’s prediction for true.

    Since the crazy conditions of the Grand Line’s climate were just established, it’s fitting that Whiskey Peak Arc should begin with Nami being played for a fool by the weather. She took her eyes off the Log Pose for only a few moments, but it was enough to change their heading entirely. It just goes to show the reader that the Grand Line is just as crazy as we’ve been led to believe. Whiskey Peak is an island with what looks to us like huge cacti. It’s notable that the first island in the Grand Line should be something that is visually unique, as all the islands we’ve been to up until now have been fairly standard. The spines on the mountains actually being grave sites is a nice twist.

    The Straw Hats all get played for suckers by Whiskey Peak’s residents, and it’s revealed that they are all members of Baroque Works. Zoro already knows this, and outsmarted them by faking being passed out. Then he proceeds to defeat them all. It makes sense for Zoro to test out his new swords, and we’re given an introduction to both of their unique qualities. Since he won’t be fighting again until Alabasta, it’s also nice to see Zoro kick some ass during this arc. After all, this event is what earns him his first bounty. Since it’s not mentioned here, we can also assume his wounds have healed since the Arlong Arc.

    Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine show up to cause some chaos. They’re implied to be a cut above the other Baroque Works members we’ve seen so far, and they reveal that Miss Wednesday is actually Vivi, the princess of Alabasta, which as of now we know nothing about. Nami enlists the Straw Hats to her aid, and Igaram tells her the organization’s structure, and that any number agent of 5 or above is abnormally strong. Hilariously, Luffy’s idiotic misunderstanding of Zoro’s actions leads to a short fight that seriously overshadows Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine’s performances. They were quickly set up to be very strong, but Luffy and Zoro don’t have too much trouble swatting them aside. During the entirety of East Blue Saga, people have mentioned just how monstrously tough the Straw Hats are. Considering how easily they dispatched number agents, this trend continues on the Grand Line as we see just how powerful Luffy and Zoro are for being rookie pirates.

    After Nami abruptly ends their stupid fight, Vivi tells us about who she is and what her circumstances are. She and Igaram infiltrated Baroque Works to discover the truth behind its role in instigating Alabasta’s revolutionaries to rebel. Vivi lets it slip that Baroque Works is led by Crocodile, one of the Shichibukai. Since the only other Shichibukai we’re familiar with is Mihawk, this gives Crocodile a fairly foreboding feeling. After dispatching of Igaram, Robin is introduced. She’s vague and mysterious, and her true allegiance and intentions are definitely unclear. She tries to give them a safe and direct way to Alabasta, but Luffy will have none of it. Both due to his character and role as captain, he won’t let anyone else decide their route even if it means danger.

    More than anything, the ultimate purpose of the Whiskey Peak Arc is to reveal Vivi’s true character, as well as to set up Baroque Works and its organization. Ultimately, this is all setup for a huge saga that will envelop the next three arcs. Crocodile is hyped as a member of the Shichibukai with a former bounty four times that of Arlong. With a very deadly opponent, a legion of dangerous underlings, and a country that hangs in the balance of it all, the Straw Hats head toward Little Garden, unaware of the extent of the danger they’re about to face.

    --- Double Post Merged, Aug 11, 2014, Original Post Date: Aug 10, 2014 ---


    Little Garden ARC


    Little Garden Arc begins with the Straw Hats and Vivi marveling at how uncharted and mysterious the island is. With thick, dense jungle and volcanoes exploding in the distance, Little Garden makes for a pretty interesting island for the Straw Hats to explore, which fires Luffy up immediately. Vivi decides to tag along with him, which is good because she’s basically a new character at this point. Since she’s been outed as a princess, everything we’ve seen about Miss Wednesday is wiped clean and we need to form a new understanding of her character. This gives us a chance to spend some time with her and learn a little more about who she is.

    After they stumble upon a dinosaur, Vivi reveals the reason as to why Little Garden can have a prehistoric climate. The Grand Line’s chaotic, unstable atmosphere is really just a storytelling device used by Oda to accomplish two things. Firstly, it’s a great way to build and give depth to One Piece’s world, and pull the reader into it. The second is that it becomes the reasoning for why the Straw Hats can go to exotic and unique locations again and again, sometimes ones that are completely different from where they were just one arc before. It allows the reader to reconcile some of the crazier settings in One Piece, because we know the Grand Line’s conditions can give birth to such diverse locations in the first place.

    Little Garden represents one such extreme that exists on the Grand Line, an island in which time stopped, trapped back in the age of dinosaurs. Dorry and Brogy are introduced to us as well, the first Giants to appear in the story. Dorry gives Luffy and Vivi a little exposition on Giants and their beliefs, before the volcano erupts and it’s time for him to fight Brogy again. It’s good for the reader to see them fight now, as we see that they’re both evenly matched despite constantly aiming for killing blows. Usopp becomes enamored by their prideful, warrior’s fight, and resolves to visit Elbaf one day. I love the impression that their fight impacts upon him. Out of all the Straw Hats so far, Usopp’s dream has always been the most abstract, and didn’t have any tangibility, which reflected on the nature of his character. While it’s still a bit vague, at least we have a better idea of what he means when he says he wants to be a brave warrior of the sea. It just shows that Usopp is growing up, and gradually becoming the kind of man he's always wanted to be.

    After the fight results in another tie, Dorry succumbs to an explosive placed in the rum he was given by the Straw Hats. The reader is then introduced to Mr. 3, and the reveal that Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine are on Little Garden as well. They serve as the primary source of conflict during this arc, which is fitting since we won't see Baroque Works again until Alabasta proper. It’s notable that the three are all Devil Fruit users, as in East Blue the only enemies who had eaten them were Buggy and Smoker. On the Grand Line, though, Devil Fruit users are a much more common occurrence, and seeing more and more of them lets us know that they’re not rare on this sea in the same way they were back in East Blue.

    Luffy’s exclamation to Dorry that his duel’s validity has been voided, since it was interfered with by a third party, falls on deaf ears. It lets Luffy and the reader build up resentment for the culprit responsible, and allows Vivi to learn a little bit more about the kind of guy Luffy is. Since we saw they were evenly matched before, when Dorry loses to Broggy we know it was due to Mr. 3’s discrete influence. After capturing Zoro, Nami, Vivi, and Broggy, Mr. 3 subjects them to his Candle Service Set, intending to turn them into wax sculptures for the sake of his art.

    The Service Set, to me, accomplishes two things. First, a few times this arc, Mr. 3 has referred to himself as a master planner and chastised Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine for not acting like true professionals. Ironically, when Mr. 3 actually gets Zoro, Nami, and Vivi in a position of vulnerability, instead of killing them straight like a professional should, he elects to use a frivolous method fueled by his own ego. To me, this is subtle priming to contrast with Crocodile later on. Mr. 3 may be cunning, but Crocodile is even more cunning and an even better planner, and wouldn’t resort to such a flippant methods to achieve his goals. Ultimately, Crocodile is a true professional.

    Secondly, trapped in a position where he’s about to die, it gives Zoro another moment to show us both his spirit and resolve. He’d rather cut off his own legs and attempt to fight down to his last breath, rather than do nothing but wait for certain death. Furthermore, he’s got the conviction to win. This is the critical thing that Mr. 3 lacks, the spirit required to win. His boss, however, has this in abundance, which we will see later on. Inspired by Zoro’s display of spirit, Vivi realizes that she has to have the resolve to never give up, and bravely tells Zoro she’ll fight as well.

    This is really, really important. As I said earlier, Miss Wednesday as a character has been completely discarded. In her place is the princess of Alabasta, Vivi, who is basically a new character to us. One of the most important things Little Garden and Drum Kingdom do is build up Vivi as a character. As she learns more about the Straw Hats, we learn more about her. If we had gone straight to Alabasta after Whiskey Peak, it would be really hard to care about Vivi or her struggles at all. Instead, Oda uses this arc and the next to flesh out Vivi’s character, and let the reader build up a connection and attachment to her.

    Luffy’s unable to get his friends out of their crisis due to enemy interference. Ultimately, Usopp gets his chance to shine as he outplays the Baroque Works members and burns the Service Set, freeing his friends. We were shown several times that Luffy couldn’t solve this situation with brute force alone, so it’s great that Usopp’s cleverness and ingenuity ultimately wins the day. Mr. 3 retreats into the forest and tries to confuse Luffy with wax duplicates, but his plans and cunning lose out to Luffy’s instinct. Sanji happens to stumble upon Mr. 3’s wax hideout, and poses as him to trick Crocodile into thinking the Straw Hats are dead. While it’s his only real moment this arc, it does show his quick wit and cleverness to be able put two and two together immediately from just one Den Den Mushi call, and more importantly capitalize on it. He’s able to beat an Eternal Pose to Alabasta out of the Unluckies that were sent there, and later on he’s the only Straw Hat Crocodile doesn’t initially know about.

    As the Straw Hats are getting ready to leave, Zoro and Sanji try to settle their hunting contest. The fact that they both tied is an obvious parallel to Dorry and Broggy’s similar contest from 100 years ago. We’ve seen Zoro and Sanji argue before, but Little Garden is when their infamous rivalry is firmly cemented. Poignantly, Dorry and Brogy sacrifice the durability of their weapons in order to clear a path for Luffy and the crew. The Straw Hats set sail for Alabasta, but unknown to them Smoker intercepted Sanji’s call with Crocodile, and he’s on his way there too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
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  13. Spike Spiegel

    Spike Spiegel

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    Awesome idea
     
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  14. DoFlamingoDaCannibal

    DoFlamingoDaCannibal

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    Drum Kingdom ARC

    Due to Sanji’s actions in the previous arc, Crocodile thinks the Straw Hats are dead. This allows the Drum Kingdom Arc to be free of Baroque Works interference, which makes the arc feel distinctly isolated, and gives the reader a breather before we head to Alabasta in earnest. It begins with Nami suffering from an extremely high fever. Vivi tells us that most pirates who enter the Grand Line will succumb to fever sooner or later, due to the abnormal climate. Any one of the Straw Hats could have suffered from a potentially fatal fever, but the fact that it’s Nami makes this tense situation feel even more hopeless. After all, Nami’s the only one on the ship with any medical or navigational expertise. I love how Sanji lets us know that malnutrition couldn’t be the problem, and that even his healthy food won’t be enough to cure her condition. It makes the Straw Hats feel totally helpless, as none of them can help Nami, and her being out of commission puts them all at risk. All of this is great setup for the Straw Hats needing to find a doctor.

    If things weren’t bad enough, Vivi discovers that Alabasta has recently entered a critical stage in its revolution. So far, there hasn’t been much direct pressure on the Straw Hats to get to Alabasta as fast as possible. Vivi’s goal was just to get back there alive in order to warn her people about Baroque Works, but now every delay will cost her the lives of her people. Since we didn’t know anything about Alabasta before, this urgency gives Vivi’s struggle a bit more weight in the eyes of the reader. We understand a bit more of her character, and bond with her more, especially when she prioritizes Nami getting better as opposed to heading directly to Alabasta at the fastest speed. It just goes to show how she trusts in the Straw Hats, and they in turn reciprocate her trust with respect.

    Unfortunately Wapol and his cronies show up to mess with the Straw Hats. He serves as the villain for this arc so it’s good that he, along with his Baku Baku no Mi, are set up now instead of later. After he’s dealt with, Vivi tells us about the Grand Line’s island types, and that the abundance of snow means they’re headed for a Winter Island. The Grand Line’s unpredictable and chaotic climate is due to all the different types of islands with their own distinct climates, which is wonderfully demonstrated with the snowy Drum Kingdom. It’s notable as the first place the Straw Hats go to with its own unique culture, due to both the inherent climate and the fauna that live there, like Hiking Bears and Lapahn, most likely native to the region.

    Dalton tells the Straw Hats that the only doctor in the country, Kureha, lives in a castle on the top of a mountain. They can’t afford to wait for her to come down, so Luffy decides to climb up to where she lives, and Sanji comes with him. With them gone, Dalton tells Vivi and Usopp that the country was recently ravaged by only five pirates, Blackbeard and his crew. Dalton speculates that the event was actually a positive thing, because Wapol was a terrible king who brought suffering to the people, and now his reign is ended. Vivi becomes enraged when she’s told that he fled immediately, instead of trying to mount a resistance. Her anger toward his cowardly actions feels more visceral for us since we know her own country is itself in the midst of crisis.

    Dr. Kureha then shows up to a neighboring village. The scene in which she treats the young boy, then takes whatever she wants as repayment, establishes both her character and medical expertise, and gives her abilities credibility. Dalton then learns that Wapol’s landed on the island, so he rushes off to confront him. He reveals his Devil Fruit, the first ever Zoan to be shown in the series. Drum Kingdom is renowned for its medical knowledge, and since Wapol forced all the country’s doctors to be on his side, Dalton’s not able to damage him propery.

    Like Little Garden before it, Drum Kingdom is used to further characterize Vivi before we get to Alabasta. She gets a lot of screen time just like on Little Garden, and her character contrasts with Wapol to indirectly flesh her out more. Wapol is royalty, but he treats his country like a buffet table crossed with a playground. He’s a selfish coward, and does not feel the slightest regard for his people, but he’s extremely conceited due to his nobility. The Baku Baku no Mi is the absolute perfect ability to match Wapol’s gluttonous, spoiled character. In this regard, Vivi has almost the exact opposite characteristics. She’s brave, selfless, and very much cares about her people and her friends. She also never once patronizes others due to being royalty, and feels heavily burdened by the sad status of her country. This difference in their characters is notably illustrated later on in a flashback, when Wapol strikes Kid Vivi but fails to provoke her. The incident could have caused conflict between both countries, but her handling of the situation shows how she put her country before herself even as a child.

    Meanwhile, Sanji and Luffy get to chit-chat while they climb up the mountain. It’s nice to see them bond a little, and while he doesn't do much, I'm glad Sanji is given some much needed focus this arc. Whiskey Peak and Little Garden both had Zoro in the spotlight, with Sanji in the background, so I’m glad this is reversed for Drum Kingdom. It’s fitting, too, since due to his nature he’d want to come along to make sure Nami is safe. Unfortunately, he’s seriously injured by an avalanche that the Lapahns cause. In the bitterly cold wind, Luffy is forced to climb the Drum Rockies on his own, carrying his unconscious crewmates. It’s one of many moments in the series where the reader sees how far Luffy will go through tremendous adversity for the sake of his crew.

    Once inside the castle, Nami awakes and Dr. Kureha checks her condition. I absolutely love how Dr. Kureha diagnoses her condition as Kestia, it links this arc to the previous one as she got it venturing through Little Garden. They’re interrupted by Luffy and Sanji chasing down Chopper, causing him to reveal his Devil Fruit. It’s also established that Dr. Kureha taught him everything she knew about medicine. The reader has already seen twice the effectiveness of Dr. Kureha’s expertise, so Chopper’s abilities as a doctor will never come into question since we know he’s been properly trained.

    Nami makes small talk with Chopper and tries to get him to join the crew, but he won’t have any of it. His mistrust and hostility toward humans is established, and Dr. Kureha tells us about his loneliness and inability to find companions ever since birth. Chopper’s backstory begins with us learning a bit more about Hiriluk. He’s a quack doctor whose attempts at curing patients fail miserably, but he sincerely means well. Upon finding a dying Chopper, he takes him back to his home and treats him, leaving out food for him. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see a presumably hungry Chopper crying into his bread, having been shown kindness by another for the first time in his life.

    Hiriluk tells Chopper the tale of a thief whose fatal disease was cured from stumbling upon beautiful cherry blossoms. He says a Pirate Flag is a symbol of unwavering conviction, and he will stand behind it against all diseases. When Hiriluk discovers he has a fatal disease, Chopper's naivete causes him to go out to find a mushroom he mistakenly believes will be the cure. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the contrary, but Hiriluk eats it as a gesture to his friend. Wapol baits Hiriluk to the castle to kill him, under the pretense that the country’s doctors are sick, but Hiriluk doesn’t have any time left anyway. Hiriluk dies after reiterating his belief the country’s citizens will be saved, and that his death would not be in vain. In the present, Wapol shows up to finally nail the Straw Hats once and for all. He makes the mistake of attacking Hiriluk’s flag, which angers Luffy. Again the true meaning of a pirate flag is reinforced, Luffy says it means unwavering conviction, something a fake pirate like Wapol could never understand. Echoing the same words as Hiriluk makes Chopper warm up to Luffy more, and the whole thing makes the fight between Luffy and Wapol a bit more personal.

    Chopper shows off his Rumble Ball and his various transformation points which gives the reader an idea of what he can do in combat. It also distracts Luffy long enough for Wapol to slip up and disappear. After chasing him down, Luffy tells him it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s a king, or his station, because Luffy’s a pirate. This is pretty indicative of Luffy’s general attitude toward his opponents. It doesn’t matter to him who they are, and he never calls them out on such things in the series. Instead, he questions their conviction, drive, and will. Wapol then tries to hide behind his status as a member of the World Government, which is notable as he’s the first villain to try and do so. Everyone arrives to the castle just in time for Luffy to send Wapol flying. Ultimately, Wapol loses to Luffy’s unwavering conviction, the kingdom losing to the pirate’s flag.

    Drum Kingdom Arc has two recurring main themes. Firstly, what a country is and what it means to its people. Secondly, what it means to be a doctor, and how peoples’ souls or hearts can be sick just like their bodies. The former theme will come more into play later on when we get to Alabasta, but the latter is mostly to give more weight to Chopper. Ironically, while Hiriluk could not compete with Dr. Kureha in terms of medical knowledge, he understood that it was the peoples’ hearts that were sick. He tried to cure an illness of the heart, something Dr. Kureha did not understand at the time. Hiriluk may not have had the ability, but he had the soul and heart of a doctor, which Chopper picked up on. With this proper foundation as a springboard, Chopper was then taught everything he knew by Dr. Kureha.

    Chopper being a monster has less to do about his appearance, and more to do with the fact that he was an outcast. He bonded with Hiriluk who was also an outcast and his first friend, but the blow of losing him caused a scar on Chopper’s heart. A fellow monster, Luffy considers himself Chopper’s friend and is able to heal his heart. Once again, Chopper has a friend who accepts him for who he is, and joins the Straw Hats, inheriting Hiriluk’s dream of curing all diseases. Beautifully and poetically, the entire arc is capped off with Dr. Kureha showing what Hiriluk’s research was for. With the snowflakes dyed pink, Hiriluk’s cherry blossoms fully heal the scars on Chopper’s and everyone’s hearts, just like he always said they would.

    With the Straw Hats gone, Dalton receives a message that someone named Ace was after Blackbeard, and looking for Luffy, which sets up his appearance later on in Alabasta. More importantly, Dr. Kureha reveals Gold Roger’s actual name as Gol D. Roger. This is extremely significant as the first time the “Will of D.” is mentioned in the story. Since Luffy’s the only other D we know so far, it also draws yet another parallel between Roger and Luffy. Hilariously, Luffy and Sanji only realize now that the new crewmate they’ve picked up is the doctor they’ve desperately needed. With a full moon and pink snow falling, the Straw Hats party to welcome their new crewmate, their new friend and doctor. The Straw Hats leave snowy Drum Kingdom and head toward sunny, sandy Alabasta at the fastest speed.
     
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  15. DoFlamingoDaCannibal

    DoFlamingoDaCannibal

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    Alabasta Part 1

    The Alabasta Arc kicks off with Crocodile, whose appearance up until now had not been fully revealed, taking care of some problem pirates in Nanohana. Immediately there are several interesting aspects about this scene. The Shichibukai were set up as pirates who hunted other pirates, so it’s extremely fitting that Crocodile’s long awaited full reveal should have him doing exactly that. We get a clear sense of just how much of a difference there is between Crocodile and these run-of-the-mill pirates, and how lowly he thinks of them. They can’t even land a scratch on him, but he obliterates them with ease. The endangered onlookers literally cry tears of joy at being rescued, considering Crocodile the savior of Alabasta.

    What makes this scene great is that it both builds Crocodile’s character, and at the same time lays the foundation and setting for the plot to come. We immediately cut to Alubarna Palace with the Royal Guard and Cobra realizing that Crocodile beat them to the punch again. Already the reader can guess what the state of affairs are in Alabasta. The people obviously have a lot of respect for Crocodile, and revere him instead of the Royal Guard. He’s doing their work for them, which undermines their effectiveness and value in the eyes of the people. This is obviously Crocodile’s goal from the beginning, especially since we’ve known he’s been planning to take over the country since day one.

    We then shift to Sanji confronting Luffy about stealing food from the fridge, when in reality Usopp, Chopper, and Carue were also complicit in the crime. This is a minor scene, but I think it’s notable if only for Chopper being in on the act. Aside from Luffy, Chopper didn’t really have too much of an opportunity to bond with any Straw Hat in Drum Kingdom. This is his first real character moment as a member of the Straw Hats, and it’s easy to imagine Luffy and possibly Usopp goading him into it. Due to his naive and childlike nature, Chopper bonds well with Luffy and Usopp, who are the most immature members of the crew, and it’s nice to see that developing so early on. Afterward, due to circumstances, Mr. 2 finds himself on board the Going Merry. Like many comparable scenes in the story, this is mostly setup for events that will happen in the near future. Except for Sanji's, he adds the Straw Hats’ faces to his repertoire and this inspires Zoro to come up with a countermeasure. The reader is also given an idea of Mr. 2’s character and his ability, and shows him connecting with some of the Straw Hats instantly, considering them friends.

    Back at Nanohana, a commotion causes Smoker to stumble into a restaurant. We knew Smoker was headed toward Alabasta, so it’s nice that he’s given screentime so early on as it sets up his presence during this Arc. He finds himself face to face with Ace, and Smoker reveals the former’s connection to Whitebeard. Everyone there reacts with shock, which shows how notorious Whitebeard is considering we haven't seen him yet. Before they can fight, the two are interrupted by Luffy inadvertently crashing into Smoker. Smoker was set up back in Loguetown as an opponent Luffy couldn’t possibly hope to beat, after all Luffy can’t even touch him. This limits a lot of their potential interaction with each other, since all Luffy can do is run away, which causes Ace to intervene. Smoker’s goal is established, which once again is to chase down Luffy.

    Having safely returned to the ship, Luffy reveals that Ace is his brother. This is a fairly surprising revelation, since there was nothing back in Foosha Village to suggest Ace’s existence, and no indication Luffy even had a brother. It’s established that Ace began his adventure three years before Luffy did, and that Luffy was never once able to beat his brother in a fight. Ace then jumps on board to invite the Straw Hats to join the Whitebeard Pirates, but obviously Luffy declines. Luffy’s given a piece of paper and we’re given a bit of exposition about Blackbeard, before it’s time to part ways. After stating the next time they meet will be at the proverbial top, Ace incinerates a number of Baroque Works ships with ease.

    It would be easy to dismiss Ace’s role in the story as a plot excuse for Luffy to be saved from Smoker and the Baroque Works ships, and while this is partially true, I think his significance goes beyond that. Ace’s initial role in the story mirrors that of Shanks’, someone Luffy looks up to, but ultimately wants to surpass. I feel that in this regard Ace’s impact feels a little more solid and immediate. It’s very notable, and deliberate, that as of now we haven’t seen Shanks actually fight, even once. Because of this, the reader doesn’t have any understanding of what Shanks can do, only a vague idea of how powerful and infamous he truly is. After all, even Usopp who was relatively sheltered and never left Syrup Village knew that Shanks was a great pirate.

    Ace’s holding back Smoker and destroying Baroque Works ships with ease gives the reader a tangible example of Ace’s power, his strength. Although he only left three years before Luffy, we see the clear difference between Luffy and someone who is at the top. This is where Luffy must inevitably go as the story progresses, the gap has to be overcome. It’s even exemplified in terms of geographic location, Ace mentions he’s had to travel quite a bit back in the opposite direction on the Grand Line, implying that he’s literally and metaphorically ahead of Luffy. Ace is a point of reference for Luffy’s growth, but it’s framed around the fact that he has personal significance to Luffy, and the two brothers are clearly very close.

    He’s more mature and arguably more focused than his brother, but what’s most surprising is that Ace doesn’t have his own crew. Luffy would never be subordinate to anyone else, so it’s significant and unexpected for Ace to sail under another man’s flag. All of this hypes up Whitebeard as a man worthy of respect, after all Ace has his Jolly Roger proudly displayed on his back. After Ace leaves, Vivi decides they should head to Yuba, where the rebels’ headquarters is based, in order to explain the situation to them. In Erumalu, they encounter a herd of Kung Fu Dugong, which I point out because it’s one of several unique species we have seen so far since Alabasta started.

    After Drum Kingdom, Alabasta is the second place the Straw Hats go that has its own unique culture and customs based on climate, flora, and fauna. Vivi shines here as she’s able to act as a guide to the Straw Hats and by extension the reader, explaining to them the various exotic creatures they come across, and giving exposition on the country itself. As a result Alabasta becomes unique as a setting and gives the world more depth than it would have otherwise. In accordance with this, Vivi tells us about the country’s current problem of severe drought, and the implications and effects Dance Powder has had towards this issue. As a concept Dance Powder is fairly interesting, artificially stimulating premature clouds to cause them to rain, but robbing neighboring areas of rainfall come time for those clouds to naturally mature.

    It’s no coincidence that Dance Powder is revealed while we’re still at Erumalu. The reader sees for themselves the reality and the effect that drought has on what once was a thriving town, now it’s nothing but dust and bones. The simultaneous joy and misery that Dance Powder causes not only fits thematically with arid, sandy Alabasta, but forms a framework for the conflict that is engulfing the country. Crocodile manipulated the citizens' anger and directed it towards the country’s government, using the rain to wash away peoples' homes, their lives, and their trust in the king. Vivi’s rage at Crocodile is magnified, the figurehead for all of the suffering in this Arc, which just fires up Luffy and the reader.

    Hiking across the scorching, desolate desert, the Straw Hats find shade and Luffy finds himself outsmarted by herons who steal their stuff. Chasing them to get it back, he ends up the one being chased instead by a gigantic lizard. This is just another example of Alabasta messing with the protagonists, adding depth to the strange setting and making an otherwise dull trek through the desert interesting. Points like this are also used as solid character focus moments, like Sanji using scalding rocks as makeshift frying pans, or Chopper’s medical knowledge handily identifying a hallucinogenic cactus.

    The group finally make it to Yuba only to find it ravaged by a sandstorm, the state of the presumed oasis is no different than Erumalu. The constant sandstorms also caused the rebels to leave and set up shop north of Nanohana, which stings since we were just there not too long ago. Vivi learns that Yuba’s only inhabitant is Toto, someone from the past she knew very well, and a flashback starts. Its importance stems from how it fleshes out all the natives of Alabasta. In an audience with Cobra, Kid Kohza expresses extreme concern for his fellow villagers who were afflicted by a recent drought, showing he cares for them more than himself. When Cobra sternly tells Kid Kohza and Toto that the state will provide the homeless temporary shelter, Kohza lashes out at him for not understanding the villagers’ true feelings. Kohza’s clearly more emotional than rational, and doesn’t understand some of the subtleties of the politics in play here. In private, Cobra orders Igaram to take funds from the royal family’s personal budget when he’s told they don’t have enough to provision the villagers. In public he acts like a king should, but he ultimately cares about his people and their welfare.

    This is an attribute both Kohza and Cobra share, and after a fight with Kid Vivi ends in a draw, Kohza inducts her into his group. Her father is happy Vivi’s made friends, making bonds that will help her when she eventually governs the kingdom. Later, Kohza and the Suna Suna Clan attempt to save Vivi from being kidnapped by bandits, and Kohza says they’ll die for Vivi if they have to. Once it’s over, Kid Vivi expresses her fear, not because of the bandits, but because Kohza said he’d be willing to die. Ultimately all of this serves to tie into both their characters in the present. Kohza’s determined and fiercely fights for his friends and goals, and Vivi cannot even stand the thought of anyone she cares about dying, even if it’s for her sake. Cobra entrusts Toto and Kohza to lay the foundation in developing Yuba as a vital part of the country, giving the area significance to us that it didn’t have before.

    The flashback is used well to characterize the Alabastans, but more importantly it adds another layer to Vivi’s plight. Vivi had always expressed anger at Crocodile for the chaos he had caused in her country. This made her sympathetic in the eyes of the reader, but we never actually saw the repercussions of Crocodile’s actions for ourselves. We’ve been told the terrible things he’s done, but we don’t know what that damage entails, only a vague understanding of the country being broken. Ultimately we still won’t see that just yet, but this flashback gives us an idea of where she’s coming from. It shows us exactly what Vivi is trying to restore. Multiple times in the flashback characters expressed contentment toward the country, and it’s this idyllic, peaceful Alabasta that Crocodile has threatened.

    This concept is expressed wonderfully with Toto, he’s the living embodiment of this idea. Despite having been plump in the past, Toto is now scrawny, showing the physical toll recent events have taken on him. Despite everything, he still holds unshakeable faith in the king, and it causes him to relentlessly dig the oasis back up despite Yuba being constantly hit by sandstorms. Toto is an element from Vivi’s past, when things were good, and his faith in the king is a reaffirmation of her own feelings and concern toward her father. The water he’s able to obtain is then distilled and bequeathed to Luffy. This precious little water represents Toto’s hard work, as well as his resilience and willingness to fight in the face of steady misfortune.

    Meanwhile, the Baroque Works agents gather at the Spiders Cafe, and give the reader an idea of each of their personalities. They then head to Rainbase in order to meet the boss. We had seen Crocodile at various points throughout the previous Arcs, which built him up and gave us an idea of what he was really like. It’s nice to see that here he comes across just as intimidating and imposing as we imagined. He reveals only a snippet of his plan but it gives us some much needed insight into his objective, the acquisition of military might. We’ve known about Baroque Works for a while, so it’s pretty foreboding when we’re told that everything they’ve done so far has built up to this point, and that the completion of their final orders will cause the country to crumble on its own. Crocodile’s temperament during all of this makes an already tense scene that much more apprehensive. Mr. 3 then appears and reveals that he was unable to take care of the Straw Hats back on Little Garden. The antagonists are now aware of the Straw Hats’ presence, so they take photos of the them using Mr. 2’s ability. Crocodile seemingly kills Mr. 3 for his trouble, showing us how he rewards failure and making him more menacing.

    Afterward, Luffy and Vivi get into a fight when the former chastises the latter’s naive and misplaced mindset. She doesn’t want anyone to die, but is only willing to risk her own life. He makes her understand when he tells her she should be willing to risk their lives too, since they’re her friends. It’s a good character moment for the both of them. I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say this again, but Luffy’s simplistic character is the perfect vehicle through which the reader can view the story. Luffy doesn’t have an opinion on Alabasta’s politics, he never denounces Crocodile as evil. Instead of focusing on such things, Luffy expresses anger toward his actions and resolves to take him down, which align perfectly with the reader’s feelings. Ultimately Vivi’s plans and desires don’t mean anything if Crocodile isn’t defeated, so they redirect their bearing toward Rainbase instead.

    We're then introduced to Kohza and the rebels, and this is the moment Alabasta starts to shift gears a little. The first part established the setting and the underlying tension well, but we hadn’t actually seen tangible examples of the consequences the war has had on the people. Kohza rectifies this by refusing a kid’s desire to join the rebels, offering to show him the hospital and the cemetery. The kid replies he’s not afraid of injury or death, but Kohza underlines the differences in their ideology. Ultimately, the rebels are all afraid, but they have no choice and must fight. While he tells all of this to the kid, in reality he’s really telling all of this to us, the reader.

    On the other hand Cobra refuses to retaliate against the rebels, understanding that the real threat comes from the shadow, pulling all the strings. His fears are confirmed when Carue, sent earlier with a letter by Vivi, arrives at the palace. Cobra comes to the same conclusion as Luffy, that Crocodile must be taken out. With Baroque Works’ final orders commencing, the rebels begin to attack the palace, and the palace and the Straw Hats start gunning for Crocodile. All of the pieces on the Alabastan chess board begin to move simultaneously, increasing the intensity of the story.

    At Rainbase, Luffy hilariously runs into Smoker, causing him to flee yet again. Not counting Loguetown, the Alabasta Arc is the first time in the story the Marines’ goals and actions are exactly what the reader would expect them to be. For right now they serve as obstacles causing the Straw Hats to either fight or evade them. Smoker chases Luffy right into Crocodile’s casino, and immediately into a caged trap that only Luffy could fall for. Smoker explains the cage is made of Kairoseki and explains what it does, although we had seen Seastone before in Loguetown it hadn't been explained yet. Like Rumble Balls, Kairoseki is very interesting as a concept as it’s an external object able to influence the effects of Devil Fruits, in this case nullifying them. I feel it also acts a bit of a red herring. The reader would be excused for thinking Luffy might somehow use the stuff against enemy Devil Fruit users, like Smoker does, but this isn’t the case.

    Luffy finally meets Crocodile in the flesh. Earlier he came across as intimidating, but here he's more taunting and condescending. We get a little bit of back and forth between Crocodile and the members inside the cage, giving us more insight into Crocodile’s nature. Most notably, he recognizes the unwavering trust Luffy’s crew has in him, and then dismisses it as the most useless thing in the world. Vivi shows up and tries to decapitate Crocodile, but his Devil Fruit renders the attempt useless, revealing his ability. For someone who usually doesn't play around, Crocodile surprisingly humors the Straw Hats’ and Vivi’s shenanigans, never once losing his cool or devolving into anger. His good mood is fitting since he has the protagonists in a position of vulnerability, and his final operation is set to begin.

    Kohza heads to Nanohana because the king, really Mr. 2 in disguise, has unexpectedly arrived there to formally apologize for the Dance Powder fiasco, by burning the town to the ground. It’s pretty painful to see Kohza’s pleas fall on deaf ears, as he spills his emotions out to who he assumes is the king. This is an outstanding use of Mr. 2’s powers, though, and a job only he could have really accomplished. Putting on such a performance also falls perfectly in line with his showy character. Mr. 1 and Miss Doublefinger crash a ship full of weapons into the harbor, stocking the formerly ill-equipped rebels, and the entire incident causes the war’s intensity to amplify exponentially.

    After taunting Vivi about all the steps he’s had to take to destroy her country, Crocodile gives Vivi a challenge. Either she heads to Alubarna to try and stop the battle, or she stays behind and tries to free her friends. When all hope seems lost, Mr. Prince calls in on Den Den Mushi to bait Crocodile into coming outside. Sanji’s dual layered trap is triggered as he uses the commotion outside the casino as a smokescreen to sneak his way inside. This is the second instance of Sanji using his wits to outplay the antagonists. It’s a great moment for him, as his cleverness and talent for disruption matches his character very well.

    Crocodile reveals that there was no chance of his captives escaping, as he had the real key all along. He returns to finish them off personally, but Mr. Prince was one step ahead, and I like how Mr. 3’s abilities are used to fabricate a working key. This is great as it’s the first time the Straw Hats actually gain a small victory on Crocodile, which makes the conclusion of the upcoming fight between Luffy and Crocodile that much more bitter. Luffy ordering Zoro to save Smoker when the room floods marks a pivotal moment in their relationship.

    Seeing Luffy smile in the face of death back in Loguetown made Smoker realize how big of a threat Luffy could potentially become, but at the same time gained a bit of respect for him. It’s no coincidence that Smoker was introduced into the story at the end of East Blue, right around the time the Marines decided they would start to take Luffy more seriously. Smoker was unique as the first Marine to actively chase Luffy, which had tangible weight to it because he actually had the skills to get the job done. As a character he had always come across as someone who was merciless, but honorable. All of this contrasted him well with nearly every other Marine that had been introduced up until that point, as they were all incompetent, despicable, or abused their positions, sometimes all three. Considering his superiority based on Devil Fruit alone, Smoker would probably not have any problems taking out Luffy here and now. Instead, his own personal sense of justice and gratitude for being saved causes him to let Luffy go, having gained a little bit more respect for him. In turn, Luffy begins to reciprocate that respect and completely lets go of his dislike of him.

    Crocodile interferes with the group’s efforts to escape Rainbase for Alubarna, so Luffy intercepts him and their first fight finally begins. For the reader, the entirety of Alabasta has been building up to this point, in anticipation for Luffy to kick Crocodile’s ass. Crocodile never lost his composure and had constantly mocked everyone who he interacted with, yet this time Luffy’s able to provoke some anger out of him. Their fight is extremely one sided, with Luffy’s relentless attacks failing to connect. We see what Crocodile can do when he puts his powers to offensive use, in his natural environment of a desert. When Crocodile leaves Luffy’s arm totally dehydrated, Luffy rehydrates himself using the water he got from Yuba. Crocodile then forms a sandstorm and allows the prevailing wind to send it south towards Yuba, revealing that it will progressively get bigger and annihilate the town. Luffy tries to get him to stop, but he’s impaled for his troubles. Crocodile swats him aside.

    The importance of this fight cannot be stressed enough. Earlier in the casino, Crocodile had revealed to Luffy that he was the one who was sending the sandstorms to Yuba all along, which infuriated Luffy. The water he was given was symbolic of Toto’s resilience in the face of adversity, which is why Luffy cherished it. The fight ends both with Crocodile creating a sandstorm so big it will wipe out Yuba, and by him wiping out Straw Hat Luffy. In both instances Crocodile is laughing at the futility of stubborn resilience, represented by his actions. Crocodile dismisses Luffy, comparing him to the countless rookies on the Grand Line that only know how to run their mouths. This is the first time in the story Luffy has been truly defeated by an opponent. Crocodile dispatches him as easily as the trash pirates at the beginning of the Arc, with Luffy being unable to even land a hit. Luffy and the reader see for themselves the caliber of opponents the Grand Line creates, challenges that he must overcome. Luffy’s defeat is a preface to the rest of his fights this Arc, and the story shifts gears once more, marking the end of the second part of Alabasta.

     
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  16. Takt

    Takt Roger Big Mom Katakuri

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    mt chill, Nico Robin, Kadis and 2 others like this.
  17. yassir

    yassir

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    great work :)

    give us more ;)
     
  18. Kadis

    Kadis

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    The analysis is great :yaaa:

    Edit: This probably will inspire me to do a Dressrosa arc, when it is finished, since it is my favourite arc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  19. Nico Robin

    Nico Robin Wanted Cracker

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    Awesome! Awesome!
     
  20. Takt

    Takt Roger Big Mom Katakuri

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    Ooooh I'd love to pitch in on that (uninvited).
    Since I'm not too enamored by the arc. >:)
     
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