One Piece 841-843 – Review
Chapters 841 – 843
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Monkey D. Luffy had always wanted to be a pirate. But against his better judgement he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, gaining the power to stretch like rubber– but in return lost his ability to ever swim again! Eh, no matter, Luffy decided to become a Pirate anyway, his dream to one day in fact become King of the Pirates! Over the course of his journey he assembles a crew of bizarre characters, from Zoro the three-sword wielding swashbuckler, to Nami the treasure whore, and more.
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
Now, having saved the kingdom of Dressrosa, and gained a few temporary crew mates: Kinne’mon and his son Momo, two Samurai seeking a lost ally of theirs, Luffy and his crew move on to the island of Zou to continue their battle against one of the four emperor pirates: Kaido. Reaching the island, actually a giant elephant, Luffy and his crew helped to save the Minks from trouble with Kaido’s pirates and in turn learned a startling number of revelations about their ongoing journey. But, despite the need to take on Kaido, who’s grown unhappy with Luffy’s interference, he’s instead decided to go save his crewmate Sanji; who’s been forced into a marriage contract by the pirate empress Big Mom, who Luffy has already pissed off.
Continuing Sanji’s flashback we learn that he spent a solid six months trapped within the dungeons of his father’s kingdom. The staff was ordered to continue to feed him, even if many didn’t even know Sanji was indeed still alive. Above ground his siblings continued their training, beloved by their father for all their abilities and efforts. Sanji however continued to wallow, alone, and locked away.
We then get a flashback within a flashback, usually considered a big no no in the writing world, as Sanji remembers having cooked for his late mother. I have two thoughts on this part. Firstly, it’s a faux pas to do a flashback within a flashback, usually considered a bad idea because you could confuse the reader. Personally I don’t think audiences are that easily confused, but it should be used sparingly, and only when absolutely necessary. And I don’t know that it really was necessary to be honest. Do we really need to know, at this minute, that Sanji’s love for cooking stemmed from his mother? I don’t think so. The other thought I have is that I actually do want to see more of this later on, it’s the more interesting, more relatable aspect of Sanji’s backstory, not this locked away like the man in the mask stuff we’ve got going on. Anyway, Sanji would often screw up and bring her horrid meals, but she ate them with a smile and always told him his cooking was yummy. (She also looks a lot like Nami, then again who doesn’t in this manga?)
Eventually his siblings discovered he was still alive, and it started to become a regular occurrence for his brothers to beat him, and his sister to care for his wounds after the fact. During an assault by the Germa 66 on another kingdom, Sanji, with the help of his sister, affected escape. But during this he was confronted by his father, who admitted that he was happy to see Sanji escape, as he was too weak to kill Sanji himself, as he feels a ‘good father’ would’ve done. It’s nice to finally see a little more rational for Sanji’s father, coming to understand why, in his own twisted way, he treats Sanji the way he does. I don’t know that it really makes Sanji’s story that much more powerful and moving, but it at least feels a tad more nuanced. In the aftermath of that meeting Sanji’s sister urged him off, hoping he’d find a place where good people would care for him.
From the flashback of a flashback we eventually make it back to present day and find, despite all that guff about keeping Sanji looking good for the wedding, his brothers beat him to a pulp like they use to anyway. His sister finds him and wonders why he returned to place he never wanted to remember. Which I feel is an awkward line. I mean, is it that hard for her to imagine her craptastically awful father hasn’t basically threatened everyone Sanji cares about? Why does this question even need be to asked? He’s being blackmailed plain and simple.
Jumping away from that we discover that hey, I was right, Luffy’s answer to defeating Biscuit Cracker is, in fact, to eat his army away! Except it’s not going well as Cracker seems to be able to create a near endless army of biscuits, and Luffy is getting mighty full!
We return to Luffy vs Cracker, and get a little more information filling us in on what occurred off page, as apparently we didn’t just return to the fight right where we left off. Nami’s been softening the crackers so they’re easier for Luffy to consume, and she’s been forcing the trees, thanks to Big Mom’s Vivre Card, into aiding them in this battle. Luffy’s practically stuffed, but keeps eating his way through Cracker’s army so he can reach Sanji.
Meanwhile Chopper and Carrots dash through Brulee’s Mirro-World is catching the attention of the townsfolk, who keep seeing the two pop up in their mirrors. In fact, Brulee is now on their tail, chasing the two for causing a ruckus.
Back in Germa, Sanji’s face is easily ‘healed’ thanks to his sister by making him a healing face mask/pack thingy. Well, that problem was easily solved. They talk of his impending marriage and somewhere along the line she wonders where Sanji got his sense of chivalry, sending us into another brief flashback of Sanji’s life with Zeff. Shortly after Sanji and his family begin their parade to Big Mom’s castle.
Luffy and Cracker’s battle heats up as Luffy decides to bring things to a close, activating gear four in his extremely fattened state. Cracker attempts to skewer Luffy, but gets stuck in Luffy’s excessive fat. Luffy then uses the force of Cracker’s attack against him, erupting in a huge Cannon Ball attack that sends Cracker flying through the air and shattering the last of his biscuit soldiers. It’s generally a pretty solid chapter. Outside of Zeff’s flashback being a tad unnecessary, I think of the three we’re discussing today it’s the best.
Cracker is sent flying so far that he crashes through the nearest town, signaling the townsfolk and Big Mom’s children that the Straw Hat Pirates are on their way. Back with Luffy he’s still stuffed, although since Gear Four consumes so much energy, he’s already in the process of slimming back down. Pound warns the duo that Linlin, Big Mom, can control the weather, and she will absolutely not take kindly to the defeat of Cracker. A bit captain obvious here, but alright.
Luffy isn’t concerned about Big Mom’s wraith, rather he’s still pissed at Sanji for up and running. Luffy remembers that if the wedding happens then Sanji becomes a part of Big Mom’s crew! They can’t have that. Luffy has the big tree carry him to where Big Mom’s castle is.
During the journey Chopper contacts Nami to let her know they’re okay. But their conversation is cut short and the glass shatters as they try to reassure Nami they’re totally fine, although it didn’t sound like it from all the screaming. Just then they spot the Germa 66 procession, on the way to the castle. Luffy, now fully recovered, wakes in time to stop the procession as he launches himself over to them. Sanji’s brothers also get a load of Nami and we again see how much his googly eyes runs in the family, well, except their dad doesn’t go goo-goo eyed. Do they get it from their mother’s side or something?
Luffy tries to convince Sanji to run away with him, but Sanji is reminded of all the things holding him back. The threat against the straw hats, the threat of losing his hands, the threat against his beloved mentor Zeff. It’s enough to make Sanji kick Luffy away and proclaim that he wants nothing to do with these miserably inferior pirates. Sanji claims he’s always been royalty and this is the life he wants, an easy choice between running around with chuckleheaded crewmates. Luffy gets mad and as Sanji’s brothers get ready for a tussle Sanji decides to handle Luffy by himself. It’s this scene that reminded me this is basically Robin’s Water 7 arc, accept with Sanji at the center. A character forced away to protect his friends. And I feel that the new ‘coat of paint’ this arc has on it doesn’t really stop it from feeling like a retread of the concept.
It’s not a huge issue, and bound to happen as One Piece gets longer and longer and longer, but disappointing all the same. The period I was biggest a fan was from the early years through to the time skip. Everything after has felt like a steady down hill jog of disappointment. It’s still enjoyable, still fun and often times entertaining, but my feeling is the glory days of the manga are well past. I do feel however it’s maintained a much stronger, more appreciable quality compared to how hard the other big series’ eventually dipped off.
That’s it for today’s review! Let me know what you thought of these chapters in the comments below!
One Piece is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Chapters 796-806 will be contained in Volume 80 releasing on November 1st, 2016. Chapters discussed today, 841-843, will be collected and released sometime early next year.