One Piece 925-927 – 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:

Wano is growing from complex to complicated. Chapter 925 steps back and tries to give us a breather that makes sure the audience is still following all the shifting plots. We return to Thrillerbark with Hawk and Perona, where they both receive competing news: Gecko is back on the move and something is going down at the Reverie. We then shift to Gecko as he confronts Teech in order to get back a member of his crew, Absalom. It’s at this point we’re reminded of Teech’s devilish plan to steal Devil Fruit powers and the terrifying strength he’s amassing because of it. Teech also ensures we’re reminded of where things are at the Reverie (The Revolutionary Army now caught up in a battle with some of the Navy’s top Admirals.) and what’s going on in Wano. There’s also a tease that Big Mom is giving chase, pointing to a major and massive conflict brewing later this arc.

What’s strange about this sequence is how low effort Oda is in reminding us of who all these people are. The Reverie arc dolled out thin, yet precise information blocks on long ‘retired’ characters, yet here with someone like Gecko, whom we haven’t seen in a bit, same with Teech, we skip over all that. It’s not necessarily a problem, I generally remember most of the characters here, but it is weird as to when Oda wants to make sure we’re following, and is positive he’s still got our attention.

Not done with setting the stage we snap to Wano more directly, beginning Act 2. We learn that there’s infighting, a struggle to secure allies, and a call to action for many of the countries underground rebels. As if our massive cast wasn’t already enough we’re teased two more characters, Hitokiri Kamazo and Ushimitsu Kozo. It’s here I have to wonder just how many characters are we going to end up with. Oda seems to be introducing new people every other chapter, with a ballooning number of not only villains our heroes will have to plow their way through, but allies too.

Thankfully, things pick back up, and the Straw Hats, as well as other allies, get the call to action. We even get a fun sequence of Nami spying as a Shinobi, with comedy antics from her would be mentor, Shinobu. We catch up with Luffy and Kid, both who I guess are so strong at this point that Sea-prism stone doesn’t even sap their strength, just their powers. Chapter 927 puts a lot of attention on Sanji’s recruitment efforts (mostly aimed at building himself a harem through feeding the local female populace) and the anger he gets from some of the series’ smaller bads. But it’s not long until we introduced yet another avenue, Kurozumi Orochi, emperor of Wano, and his quest to obtain the extravagantly beautiful Komurasaki.

By my count we have at least six ongoing plots, that’s counting the reverie and combining many of the minor rebellion elements (trouble recruiting allies, new friends teased, etc.) That’s a lot to follow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some readers start to get a little lost. It’s reminding me of Hunter x Hunter’s latest chapters, absolutely peppered with complexity that potentially makes it difficult for many, beyond the ardent fan base, to keep up. It’s not entirely the same problem, One Piece isn’t quite as wordy and intricate, but it is filled with numerous characters, and plots, making it something of a memory game to keep up with all the moving pieces. I don’t know that I would say any of this is bad yet, but Oda needs to reign it in soon before we end up with simply too much going on at one time.

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

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