One Piece has been inconsistent in terms of chapters, due to the Olympics and other breaks. The couple we did get were definitely fun to watch! The Jinbe/Who’s Who battle was our last chapter. So it makes sense that the next few chapters will focus on secondary Straw Hats facing their rivals. There are many other events that don’t really show much progress, but Franky fighting Sasaki is the main focus of 1019. I don’t know how to feel about this fight. Although it feels rushed, there isn’t much to be interesting about Sasaki’s character as an antagonist. Although there is a strange theory that Sasaki might be Kokoro’s child or something, it’s not an interesting antagonist. He’s the obligatory, super-wacky minion in the series. The Kaku of this group.
The writer must have wanted to see more of Sasaki’s crazy side. What we got was a slew of ideas about what Sasaki could do. The multi-panel display of the Trick Mechanism Screw Sword, which is basically a spinning drill knife katana… then the unexpected and surprising moment of Sasaki’s Heliceratops mode… I believe that’s what the chapter focuses most on. It’s right! No one, and I don’t mean , sees a dinosaur as a Triceratops or thinks that the frill could spin around like an aircraft.
Some goofiness is displayed by Sasaki accidentally propulsion backwards, pretending it’s what he meant to do. Franky’s “General Shield”, which is actually smaller than his robot’s arm, is ridiculous. After a few suplexes, Franky engages in what appears to be a fairly mandatory face-off. He does a big move with his General Cannon and then he ejects from his Franky Shogun to win the fight with a Franky Radial Beam. Although it’s a cool fight, there is something missing. Jinbe versus Who’s Who has the ongoing theme of prejudice against Fishmen as well as the entire history of Who’s Who. The next chapter features Robin and Black Maria, as well as the entire incident in which Robin calls for Sanji’s assistance. This fight could have been a lot more productive if any had been available. Eh.
The chapter concludes with Yamato and Kaidou fighting. This is Yamato’s first glimpse of his full hybrid Zoan look. Kaidou discovered that Yamato had eaten a Devil Fruit, which Kaidou thought was extremely valuable.
Chapter 102: Robin vs. Black Maria
It turns out that the dog’s fruit is actually the Dog Dog Fruit. Model: Okuchi no-Makami. Everyone was discussing a lotof Japanese mythological creatures. My favourite was the Kirin/Qilin but that would be too obvious for a Japanese audience. The Okuchi-no-Makami, as far as I know, is a guardian dog god. Kaidou is a strong believer in the Okuchi no-Makami’s role as Wano’s guardian spirit, and he’s very upset that it was taken away by Oden. He also wants Yamato to continue to use its powers to protect Wano. Kaidou is a strange character. There are so many things he claims to have as his primary goal. I am waiting with baited breath for Kaidou’s flashback so we can understand his seemingly contradictory views.
Yamato also has ice power! The Yamato/Kaidou battle is only a few chapters long. It’s something I wish was longer, but then we’d all be in Wano for a decade. It’s something that makes it feel good that I am actually watching the One Pieceanime, as these moments would have more impact.
The title “Robin Vs. Black Maria” begins. Robin is shown meeting the illusions of Professor Clover, her mother, and Saul. Although I don’t know if these illusions are being created by Black Maria or random SMILE minions of the sexes, Robin casually Tres Mano’s and one-shots them. Although it’s fascinating that the fight seems to have been extended, I am happy Brook and Robin are not caught in an extremely boring illusion trap.
Brook and Robin bonding over their sad backstories is something I really enjoy. Brook also mentions that after 50 years spent alone on a ship, the illusions of deceased friends are no longer an issue. This is so depressing, especially considering Brook’s backstory. We’ve even witnessed Brook hallucinating in his madness.
Black Maria, the giant spider-drider woman that she is, appears and begins swinging her massive Wanyudo firestaff weapon. The Wanyudo staff… looks like a hamster wheel powered by Pug SMILE, the ‘Wanyudo. He’s a pug with a small body that powers Black Maria’s weapon. His gigantic human head shows that he is a Wanyudo (or ‘wheel monk’). It’s bizarre and less cool than a regular fire spirit… however, it’s pretty on-brand with One piece.
Brook uses his ghostly soul to send his spirit to Wanyudo and freeze his stupid pug body. Brook’s Yomi Yomi no Mi is slowly being given to us, and it’s great to see Brook actually showing off new abilities! Poor Franky was not impressed by this chapter. He did cool things, but it’s the same stuff he has been doing since Fishman Island.
As I mentioned above, this fight is more substantial because Black Maria was mocking Sanji for “luring” Robin into her trap and calling Sanji a spineless coward. This was something that a large portion of the fandom did. Brook and Robin have plenty to say about it. Robin is mocked by Black Maria as part of her crew. She says she’s just a target for bigger figures. Robin and Brook don’t care about Black Maria’s mocking. Brook leaves to fight the rest of Black Maria’s retinue. Robin, however, reiterates that Sanji (entirely), isn’t a wuss but is relying on Robin for help. It’s been awhile, but Enies’ Lobby is still relevant. Robin’s backstory shows that, until the Straw Hats appear in her life no one trusted or cared for Robin. We also get to see Robin summon a huge facsimile version of herself with many tentacle-like fingers. This is a badass move. I assume we will continue the fight and finish off the Robin/Black Maria fight.
1020 ends with Luffy talking to Momonosuke and Momonosuke, with Momonosuke in despair. Luffy tells Momonosuke not to cry till the battle’s over. Luffy, for one, would know what it is like to break down during a battle and become a burden on his allies. Luffy asks Momonosuke for Momonosuke’s help in taking him to the floating Onigashima. Oh, and Caribou is there for… some reason? Okay.
- 1019 was a cool nod to the predominantly Franky-focused content. Sanji fights Queen, and he makes a comment about Queen’s lasers.
- Chopper and Miyagi are still treating Zoro. It’s still a story point that could have been better foreshadowed. Luffy wants meat, however, after the Hearts Pirates rescue him from the sea.
- Sasaki’s task of mowing down Gifters who have switched sides might be more dramatic and lengthy in anime, but it is just something that happened in the background. We do focus on the one stag-beetle Gifter dude so that there is a consistent face.
- Wanyudo and Nure-Onna are all Japanese Yokais I believe. I am a little confused as to why these ladies get name box but Franky’s stag buddy, who we’ve seen fight Zoro before, didn’t.
- Kunyun is also one of the snake people Robin one-shots. The Numbers are getting no respect, man.
- In Japan, pugs are called “human-face dogs” which adds an extra layer of humor.
- Black Maria’s joke about them ‘dreaming’ and hallucinating is a great one. This is a great example of the illusion.
- Although this does mean Brook won’t be getting a full fight, it’s not something I mind. Robin and he are the MVP at Whole Cake Island so I don’t mind that.
- Fucking Bleach is back! The 75-page anniversary chapter turned out to be a stealth pilot for a new arc. The Vandenreich arc was something I had been considering, which is quite surprising. I’m not sure if I’ll cover the manga when it comes out — I don’t think I have enough to say about the anniversary chapter beyond just reacting to ‘oh, this is a cool setup’ and ‘um, I kind of forgot who these characters are’, but maybe I’ll do a two/three-chapters-a-review thing like One Piece? We’ll see.