One Piece 913-915 – 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)

Luffy recently challenged Big Mom, one of the world’s most deadly Pirate Warlords. She sought to force Sanji into a politically driven marriage, with the true intent of killing his estranged and powerful family, the Vinsmoke. Successfully saving Sanji, and evading capture by Big Mom, Luffy rushes with half of his crew to rejoin the rest, lead by Zoro in an effort to challenge Kaido in the country of Wano. Luffy and Co. arrive, only to become separated near instantly. When Luffy happens upon a young girl named Otama, who becomes poisoned from the polluted river, he reunites with Zoro, taking on the wealth of corruption threatening to strangle the struggling citizens of Wano.

Review:

There isn’t too much to say this time around, since this arc is still in the early days. Chapters 913-915 do however quickly become chaotic as we juggle between three different aspects. Luffy and Zoro reunite, only to face off against one of the other members of the “Worst Generation,” someone in the direct employ of Kaido, Basil Hawkins. After an introduction to his seemingly overpowered abilities we return to saving little Otama. It’s through this plot line that we continue to learn of the Wano country, and what plagues it. Also juggled inbetween is another plot line focused on another new character, Kiku, a tea serving girl who is pursued by one of our more minor baddies; a self-obsessed noble sumo-wrestler who represents the decadent, rich community that sucks all the wealth and food from the common people. Kiku is actually a powerful samurai and gets to be badass shortly after we learn her true occupation. Otama is also then captured by a more introductory level of villain, Holdem and his “Gifters”, whose comedic nature seems to indicate that they’ll likely be beaten and overthrown quite quickly, leading to Luffy gaining a foothold in this impoverished country.

It really is quite chaotic, and might be a problem if Oda wasn’t holding the rest of the crew back. Even Law, who could’ve been who we learned the state of Wano from, is only teased briefly in these chapters, leaving it up to a slew of new characters to gradually dole out exposition. There’s unfortunately some forced exposition here or there, where characters spew unnatural lines to catch the audience up, but perhaps is a way to stem the growing complexity of events. Again though, since the rest of the Straw Hat crew is absent it’s easier to digest all these new characters and mini-plots, since we’re not being asked to follow too many main characters, allowing plenty of page space for these new, however brief, additions to shine.

All that said, I do hope we don’t spend too much time on these more minor baddies, and get to the meat of the story sooner rather than later. It’s likely we have another massively long arc ahead, as Kaido seems poised to be a villain near as big, if not equal to Big Mom, but I’d rather we start working our way towards him and not spend a crazy amount of time focused on these more fledgling villains. Overall these chapters are good, perhaps not as strong as Wano’s very first set of events, but that tighter focus on Zoro and Luffy save it from becoming overbearing in its chaos.

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 88, releases on November 6th, 2018. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released sometime next year.

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