One Piece 882-886 – Manga Review

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.

Review:

With the Fall season’s Mid Season Reviews done and covered, it’s time to return to Shonen Jump Manga. Outside of my usual criticisms for Oda’s cluttered paneling however, I don’t have a lot to ‘complain’ about this time around. Starting with 882 It’s Luffy vs. Katakuri, a fight that won’t even conclude by 886, the last chapter we’ll be discussing today. These chapters do a great job on showcasing the build up of Katakuri’s character we’ve been subjected to throughout this arc. He’s been talked up as a true and blue bad ass and he’s all that and more. He gives Luffy a real run for his money here and there’s some great back and forth once Luffy gets a handle on how Katakuri’s powers work. Chapter 883 gives us the fun, albeit expected, reveal as to Katakuri’s true nature. 882 and 883 build him up as this stalwart warrior who never once lays down. We get the reveal that he’s actually a sweet chomping, loving, addict who simply doesn’t like people watching him eat, due to the appearance of his lower jaw. It’s cute, a bit of a gag, but foreshadowed so close to the reveal that it’s seen coming from a mile away.

It’s certainly a bizarre looking power up, I’ll give you that.

The wonderful back and forth continues into 884 as Luffy and Katakuri really go at it. Chapter 885 sees Luffy make a calculated retreat as his gear four runs out and we get this great chase sequence where Luffy escapes, with Brulee, through one of her mirrors, right into Big Mom’s path of terror and destruction as she rampages through one of her islands.

Outside of Luffy and Katakuri’s battle, Big Mom’s forces are hot on the crew’s tale. Germa, and the Fire Tank Pirates still have roles to play, at least coming up. we mainly get call back panels to either, signaling their eventual ‘reinclusion’ to the battle. Only the Fire Tank pirates jump back into the heat of things by the end of Chapter 886.

We slip over to the cake baking plot line a couple times, as Sanji and the others work to recreate the Wedding Cake in order to try and stop Big Mom from her feeding frenzy. Pound, Big Mom’s former husband, shows up here as well, although the ultimate point to his character’s inclusion seems still a ways off. He’s mostly here to get the snot kicked out of him by Charlotte Oven.

Considering you’re fighting pirates with food based powers… yes?

Eventually the cake is all ready to go. Now it’s just a question of getting it to Big Mom in time. Chapter 886 is all about that and the obstacles standing in their way. Charlotte Oven for one, takes a break from beating on Pound to try and arrest Sister Chiffon for her treason. While Sanji and Pound try to save Chiffon, Oven ultimately gets his hands on her, but not for long as her husband, Bege, and the Fire Tank pirates arrive to save her.

The Straw Hats also catch a break during all this, as the Sea Slugs, used to cast a security net around Big Mom’s territory, are being seduced by Praline, Big Mom’s mermaid daughter who’s working to undue her mother’s power from behind the scenes. This is, perhaps, one of my few criticisms. Praline has played such a minor role, and appeared so infrequently since her debut chapter, 830, that I’d completely forgotten who she was and her connection to the story. It’s one of the instances where Oda’s ever expanding cast for the last several arcs can really hinder the reader’s ability to follow along. Ultimately whether you really remember who she is, or not, doesn’t matter all that much, but it’s one way in which the bloated cast maybe dampens the excitement for more casual readers, particularly anyone reading weekly rather than in the collected volumes.

To be entirely fair, I’ve pigged out in private like this too.

We ultimately go out on a realization that Luffy has figured out Katakuri’s weakness, but that doesn’t matter! He wants to beat Katakuri fair and square! While Luffy’s ‘win on fair terms’ determination is a classic, yet tired shonen trope, I feel these chapters remain fairly strong all the way through. Things are moving, fast, with plenty of twists and turns, making again for some of the best moments in this arc.

While I’m about ready to be done with the battle against Big Mom, it thankfully continues to feel like we’re building to its climax, with only a couple handfuls of chapters (maybe 10?) likely to go before the battle with Big Mom draws to a close, or at least gets put on the back burner. I definitely look forward to seeing how all these various groups collide together again and how Luffy will ultimately end up toppling Katakuri.

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. Volume 85, releases on February 6th, 2018. Chapters discussed today, 882-886, will be collected and released sometime next year.

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