Ok, so for the past half-month, real life has been a lot busier than I expected. I still update this blog fairly regularly with monster reviews and other such things that I used to do years ago, but aside from responding to comments, I haven’t really typed much. This is me trying to catch up, and we’ll do One Piecefirst because reading manga is much easier than watching the episodes. It’s a good thing. Is it possible that the manga took a little break in July? It seems that I am not the only one with a busy month.
Chapter 1017 “The Order”, is a lot like what I had expected from the chapters before it. It’s hard to believe that Tama’s powerful ability to turn the tide is something Tama will feel all that ‘earned’. Tama is a great character, her voice acting is fantastic, and Luffy’s interactions with Tama are very good. However, it does feel a bit cheap to imagine a little girl who happens to be a powerful Devil Fruit being capable of turning the tide so violently. While I reserve any strong language until the arc is complete, the Tama subplot feels like something I could remove, replace or work on. The story would feel stronger.
The chapter proceeds as I expected — Jinbe, Franky, and Inuarashi are shown struggling because they keep being interrupted by the goons. Just to emphasize how important Tama’s assistance is. Tama delivers her speech. All the named Gifters we have seen during the arc switch sides, and the CP0 players on the board comment. It went as you would expect — not much special, but until the end of the arc, I don’t have anything to complain about.
Zoro, on the other hand, is being healed. This is a good sign. I expected that Zoro would fight King since Sanji is fighting Queen. Chopper, a bizarre “baby geezer”, is shown here. He literally shrinks to doll size due to his brand-new Rumble balls. Chopper, Marco, or Law will likely heal Zoro. Any one of these could happen, and I won’t even comment. The way they are healing Zoro is…some mystical, ultra-regenerative pill from Zou that no one has ever mentioned before? It seems a bit bizarre, and I feel like there could have been a better explanation for the magical pill that will get Zoro up. Especially since we saw Chopper interact with the Mink doctors during the Zouarc. This could have been Chopper’s creation, or some other explanation to make Zoro’s revival feel at least deserved. I’m not sure. Zoro must get up. However, this seems a little too clunky for us.
We also see Momonosuke, Shinobu surviving the jump. Momonosuke was supposed to turn into a dragon but he is still human. Shinobu appears to use her ninja parachutist thing to safely float down. Luffy makes a brief appearance in one panel. He’s in Law’s submarine, having had water pumped from his chest.
The second part of the chapter is more interesting. Queen is attacked by Sanji, who displays his half-beast form. I love Queen’s attempt to make it seem like Queen’s revelation that he’s actually a cyborg was a huge revelation. Sanji just shouts about how obvious it is. It also seems that his giant Cyborg left arm is the same design as Zephyr’s in Film. I wonder if it’s just a joke or if this technology is intended. Queen also mentions “Mads”, a science group that he was formerly a part of with Judge. It’s clear that Judge and Queen have some historical connections, so it’s worth looking into further.
Jinbe’s battle against Who’s Who is far more fascinating. Despite the fact that Who’s Who is one of the most interesting Tobiroppo members, I must admit that I find his name to be quite stupid. In just two chapters Oda gave us a reason for caring about him. It’s amazing how slowly things unfold until Oda’s powers are revealed. Jinbe (and the audience) soon realize that Who’s Who uses a variant of CP9’s Rokushiki methods. There are some great visuals during the battle. Who’s Who also uses variations on the Rokushiki, such as ‘Blade Pistol’ or ‘Fang Pistol’. This works well with the whole theme of the saber-toothed Tiger, as those animals are famous for their huge fangs.
Contrary to what Who’s Who had implied, Jinbe and Who’s Who don’t have a convoluted backstory. Jinbe only knows about Jinbe. Jinbe vaguely recalls the story of an ex-CP9 agent who escaped prison. Because he lost the Gomu Gomu no Mi, the government ship that he was supposed to guard, Who’s who is also pissed at Straw Hat. This is a cool nod to the throwaway line in chapter one about the Red-Haired pirates stealing the fruit from an “enemy ship”. That’s neat! Who’s Who is suddenly more interesting because of the association with CP9, and a surprising tie-in to Gomu Gomu.
There were many theories about this last line. I don’t believe that the Gomu Gomu no Mi was the ultimate fruit that the World Government trulywants. Or that it is Roger’s or Rocks’s or Joy Boy’s or any other fruit. It seems like someone would have mentioned it or sent CP9/CP0 after the Straw Hats a lot sooner to reclaim that fruit. However, this Shonen manga is, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if such a thing happened. I feel like One Piece and Luffy are special because they don’t portray themselves as the ultimate savior of prophecy in the same way that other shonen mangas do. We’ll have to wait and see if this is a clever way to sneak in a Luffy ‘power-up’ before the Kaido match.
“Jinbe Vs. Who’s Who”, our first dedicated battle chapter, doesn’t involve Yonko for a very long time. It also involves someone other than Luffy! Man, I can still remember older arcs such as Alabasta or Dressrosa in which the secondary Straw Hats got a chapter showing them fighting a subboss. Those chapters are what I miss. Although this chapter is not a battle chapter, it feels close enough to those old fighty-fight chapters.
A few pages show the aftermath of the last chapter. Here, it is clear that all the mooks and goons loyal to Kaido are looking for Tama, as Queen has ordered. Nami, Usopp, and Speed are presumably going to spend the remainder of the arc protecting Tama. We also get a nice moment for Zeus, who was promoted from slave to “sidekick” The CP0 agents are also talking about their game board. They cryptically mention that Who’s Who’s deaths must be confirmed. It would be great if Jinbe could do it for them.
Who’s who is waging war with his Fang Pistols, attacking Jinbe and ranting about how Luffy has inherited Shanks’s straw hat & Gomu Gomu fruits. Jinbe seems to be mostly defensive in this and the previous chapters. It’s quite interesting and fascinating to watch the fight without going panel-by-panel, and discussing each move made by each combatant. Jinbe’s reaction is mostly to block powerful blows with his Armament Haiki or judo-throwing Who’s Who until the end.
Jinbe says that until Who’s Who’s rants begin to show some ‘casual racism against the Fishmen. It’s initially just a disparaging comment about the speed of a fish on land. Then, Who’s who recalls Nika the Sun God, a story told by a prison guard to him. It seems that Nika was once worshipped by slaves and believed that he would release them. This largebomb is the lore. Although I vaguely recall Big Mom’s Elbaf flashback mentioning the Sun God, the internet quickly discovered that Skypiea also mentioned the Sun God. It’s not a coincidence that Who’s Who’s mental image for the Sun God appeared to be in the exact same pose as Luffy at the Skypiea party.
Jinbe appears to be on the defensive and Who’s Who shouts at Jinbe about Jinbe knowing about the Sun God as the leader the Sun Pirates which had former slaves. “The history of fish-men was a history slavery”, Who’s Who says. That’s just insensitive nonsense. I love the way Who’s Who’s finger gun barrage is abruptly interrupted by his index fingers breakingin a very painful looking panel. Jinbe also displays a full-body Armament Haki. This marks him as the only person to show that move and not get killed immediately afterward. Jinbe dominated Who’s Who, destroying all of his attacks and unleashing a’secret’ art that unleashed the Demon Brick Fist directly onto Who’s Who’s faces because he was too concerned about a culture he hadn’t tried to research.
It’s pretty cool. This chapter is a great example of action scenes. One of the main issues with the Wano manga arc was the abruptness of all the action scenes, if any are shown. Fights are often interrupted quickly or just played in the background, without the audience being able to see them. This is quite cool, and it’s a nice callback to see Who’s Who spam Rokushiki moves. It’s unclear if this confrontation will yield much more. I think we’ll likely get some closure in 1019 to end Jinbe’s and Who’s who’s confrontation. Although it’s a lot of information about Who’s Who casual racism and Sun God worshipped by slaves, I find it fascinating. It was a good read.