One Piece 887-891 – 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:

Just gotta read the last two panels, Mr. Lackey.

Despite covering five chapters in this review, it’s going to be relatively short. I have very few, if any true complaints. Despite a rocky start for this Whole Cake Island arc, which seemed to pull a bit too much from the Arlong Park Arc, things have shaped up nicely, and these latest chapters continue to impress me. Pound gets to be of major help here, making for an emotionally impactful moment as he saves Sanji and Co. from another of Big Mom’s troublesome children, even if he’s remained a fairly underutilized character. His death is implied at the end of this, although since we don’t see him killed on screen, and One Piece so rarely kills, and even rarer does it kill multiple people at a time, I’m not totally sold that he’s out of the story for good, especially since it feels like there’s perhaps more to his character than meets the eye?

These villains get stranger and stranger.

One aspect that’s a little ho-hum is Luffy’s fight with Katakuri, which stalls during these chapters, and outside of a “My Nakama believe in me!” moment, nothing much happens. But that’s okay, seeing as we get some solid fights with the main straw hat crew currently aboard the Sunny, chased by Big Mom. Characters that have largely been sidelined and out powered this arc to the point of inability get to strut their stuff against her. Brook, Nami, Chopper and Jimbei all get a chance to shine, really making these characters feel well utilized.

Even Carrot, our new/temporary addition to the crew, turns out to have a crazy ability when she stares at the moon, transforming her into a deadly power house of speed and agility. The manga reminds us this was hinted at shortly before Luffy and Co. left to tackle Big Mom and save Sanji, although the foreshadowing was so vague, as even indicated by the panels we flash back to, that this ability still almost feels like it comes out of the blue.

That said, odds are stacked against our heroes still, and while they catch a break here, and a break there with Carrot’s surprise ability or Big Mom’s soul-filled homie Cannon-Balls becoming just as unpredictable as crazed, hunger-pains, Big Mom is now, these villains still feel threatening and deadly as they close in around our heroes. The fight remains tense, even if the tied has been a bit more in favor of the Straw Hats this time around.

And I thought my mother could be scary.

I’m generally wholly-satisfied with this Whole-Cake Island arc’s current direction (Pun entirely intended) and I’m increasingly eager for the next development. If things continue to remain this strong I think I might say this stands as my current favorite arc in the post-time skip half of the manga, which till now I’ve felt very strongly has been far weaker than any of the Pre-Time Skip content.

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, 887-891, will be collected and released sometime next year.

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