One Piece part 2

July 9, 2011

Remember that joke, how many Gokus does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One. But it takes him ten episodes to do so! So what does this has to do with the pirate-themed One Piece? Well, it has been over a year since my last blog on this series and well, they’re still at the halfway point! Now this is what I call really dragging the plot. Recalling back to my very simplified blog post on this series, it has been one very long adventure but the whole of last year was about Luffy trying to rescue Ace who is going to undergo a public execution. Well, watching long running anime series really made me lazy doing any blog review. So as usual, I’d put them in very summarized form (if I can remember them) and for those wanting to read more, I’m sure there are many fansites out there dedicated to this very popular series that stays true to the manga. Or like my ‘favourite’ website, check out Wikipedia for the episode summaries for this season.

Impel Down Arc (cont.)
Yeah, Luffy manages to bust into the world’s most secure prison of the Marines, Impel Down. Nobody checks in, nobody checks out. Along the way, Luffy gathers several allies as he tries to go deeper into the 5 levels of the prison in his attempt to rescue big brother Ace, he faces lots of challenging obstacles in his attempts to get to the bottom of it all. Whether it is the thorny and bloody Level 1, the dangerous but ugly animals in Level 2 (including that ugly giant Sphinx that ends his sentence with some sort of noodles words), the hot and sandy Level 3 of starvation (where they face shorty Saldeath’s armies), the hot burning pot in Level 4 and taking on Sadie’s Demon Guards. Hancock visits Ace and during the commotion, she whispers to him that Luffy is on his way to bust him out, surprising that death-row guy.

Luffy fights Magellan and his poison powers on Level 4 while reluctant Bon Clay has to run away since he knows he stands no chance against the warden. Buggy releases all the other prisoners so that they can distract and start a rebellion. In the end, Magellan’s poison overwhelms and covers Luffy’s entire body, though the latter pushes his body to the limit and manages to give him a good punch. Can he survive it when nobody else can? Luffy is thrown into the icy prison of Level 5 where he will freeze to death. Bon Clay impersonates as Hannyabal and tries to find the legendary Emporio Ivankov AKA Ivan in hopes to heal Luffy to atone for his abandonment. They are attacked by wolves but unconscious Luffy’s Haki causes the pack to blackout. The next thing Bon Clay knows is that he is in a secret level: Level 5.5! Uh huh. Amazingly this is a secret level whereby not even a single jail warden knew where all the prisoners disappeared to. Ivan is there too and he is some sort the queen of all transvestites. Every prisoner there is enjoying his/her time eating, drinking, dancing and be merry! I didn’t know life here was so good! What’s more, everybody is taking out their deep desires by cross-dressing, etc. Disgusting or sick? But they’re all happy.

Bon Clay begs Ivan to heal Luffy and I’m not sure about this method about injecting some hormones into him and locking him inside a room, screaming for who knows how long as everybody else outside could just cheer him on. For whatever and obvious reasons, this has to work because Luffy is miraculously healed and is displayed in his endless amount of appetite after that. That’s why he is the O-N-E. I don’t know how Ivan measured this but it will take 10 years of his life. But they got more things to worry about and rest is not an option as Ace’s execution is less than a day. We also learn that there is a secret and rarely known Level 6 whereby the most dangerous criminals are kept here such as Ace, Jimbei and Crocodile. Ivan is shocked to learn Luffy is the son of the revolutionary Dragon and pledges to serve him since he and his comrade Inazuma once served Dragon under one of his armies. By the time Luffy and co finally reach Level 6, Ace has already been handed over to the Marines. All that effort wasted. Now they have to run back up. Sighs… Here we go again.

As Luffy and the rest battle to go upwards, Blackbeard and his crew bust in. They free a dangerous ex-warden Shiryuu and make him part of their crew. Blackbeard faces off with Luffy temporarily but the latter has to go since time is running out for Ace. Magellan fights Blackbeard and wins and then goes to stop Luffy. My, he must been having a busy day. The prisoners plan to hijack a Marine ship. Magellan uses his desperate attempt to stop them from escaping. Luffy and the other surviving prisoners manage to board the ship and surprisingly the gates opened for them. Seems that Bon Clay impersonated as Magellan and ordered the gates to be opened. He sacrificed himself so that the rest could go and save Ace. A noble act indeed. I’m sure even if Magellan pounds on poor him, there is nothing more that could be done since Impel Down’s reputation has been tarnished.

Rescue Ace Arc
Ace’s public execution is ticking down as every Marine including the 3 Admirals along with some of the Shichibukai are lining up and preparing to face the possible rescue party from the Whitebeard Pirates. Sengoku reveals to everyone that Ace is the real son of Gold Roger! I don’t know how, when they executed him, they decided to get rid of his lineage. But Ace’s mom, Portgas had him inside her womb for 20 months! She died after giving birth to him and Roger handed Ace in the care of Garp. How ironic, eh? Son of the world’s most dangerous pirate in the hands of a high ranking Marine officer. Yeah, and with Luffy and Ace becoming sworn blood brothers, I guess that is just inviting trouble. Like a time bomb ticking. Now it’s the time to explode. Luffy’s stowaway ship manages to sneak into the Marine’s HQ somehow as Whitebeard and his allies made their surprising entry from underneath. Yeah, no matter how high and armed those walls are, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t think about putting up some defence underwater. They really didn’t thought of that?

So this is where the big battle of the era begins. Whitebeard Pirates and allies against the entire Marine. Luffy and the rest also manage to join in as the battle becomes one big messy and chaotic affair. I guess Aokiji’s freezing of the water in the middle makes a big convenience for the battle to take place. Don’t worry. It’s nothing like Disney On Ice. So lots of swords clashing, bullets flying, cannons firing, people screaming, it’s crazy I tell you. Along the way, we see some past flashbacks like Whitebeard’s, how Ace met him and become one of his ‘sons’, why he is hunting down traitor Blackbeard. We also get to watch as Luffy takes on some of the Shichibukai albeit just a short while. He can’t be having time to fight every one of them if he’s really going to save Ace so I guess it’s best to leave it to his comrades and Whitebeard’s allies since that big old guy seems to have trust and faith in him. The Marines are going to shut the pirates in via some solid defence wall. If not for Oars Jr’s dead body preventing the entire area to be closed off and provides a small opening for the pirates to charge forward into the plaza.

More fighting takes place as Ace is in a dilemma and feeling crushed that everybody is going all out to save him and starts wondering would it have been easier if he was just executed. Not from his allies’ point of view. They’re going to rescue him no matter what. Sengoku launches his sneaky strategy by ordering the execution of Ace before the scheduled time, stopping all broadcasts of the war, rounding up the pirates fighting at the entrance with the Pacifistas cornering them and playing mind games on one of Whitebeard’s allies, Squard so that he himself stabs Whitebeard thinking he betrayed him. Don’t worry, that guy is big enough not to be killed by such as a stab though weakened. Of course he realized it was all a trap but you can’t do anything by crying. The charge forward continues as Akainu uses his magma meteor move to melt the ice and have the pirates drown. Luckily for Luffy, he is being propelled over the walls by Jimbei and he begins his fight with the admirals. And the other pirates manage to also breakthrough after riding on one of Whitebeard’s submerged ship that paddles them right through the wall. I guess after watching all the horror of fighting, Coby decides to get into the thick of the action by facing Luffy if he’s ever going to achieve his dream of becoming the admiral of the Marines. Too bad he gets knocked out on first hit. Yeah, note the total difference in their power, dude. He’s got a long way to go.

Escape From The Marine Base Arc
Sengoku orders the execution of Ace now so Luffy unknowingly unleashes his Haki and causes a big portion of both sides to collapse. As Luffy climbs up to the plaza where Ace is, he is faced with Garp. But Garp hesitated and contributed to his loss. When Luffy finally reaches up to Ace, Kizaru destroys the key with his light beam. Sengoku transforms into a giant Buddha to crush the brothers. Previously, Mr 3 sneaked in and disguised himself as one of the executioners. When he regains consciousness, he creates a duplicate key with his wax power to free Ace and as the platform collapses but before taking them out, Ace uses his fire powers to land them to safety. He’s back in business. So now after rescuing him, they have to escape. Seems to be perfectly fine till Akainu starts mocking Whitebeard. Ace will not let him have his way and attacks him though he knows pretty well he is playing into his hands. Akainu is going to kill Luffy so Ace uses his body to protect him. As a result, Ace dies. It’s no joke! He’s really dead! After all this attempt to free him and now he’s gone?! Whitebeard is absolutely mad as he pounds Akainu. Never underestimate the wrath of an angry father. I’m amazed he is still alive. Whitebeard orders his crew to escape while Jimbei takes Luffy (in shock and unconscious) away. He singlehandedly takes on all the Marines and this proves that quality is better than quantity. However things aren’t going to end pretty seeing that Blackbeard and his crew show up. He reveals his plans of becoming a Shichibukai just to break into Impel Down and rescue his other crew members. Whitebeard faces off with Blackbeard and the former has the advantage. Till chicken Blackbeard uses a dirty trick and orders his members to kill Whitebeard. Having no regrets, after all the hundred bullets, cannons and sword slashes taken, he dies standing! OMG! It really gives a new meaning to that term. He is sure one tough old bugger… Say, the large hole right in his chest, doesn’t that remind you of those Hollows in Bleach?

With Whitebeard really gone, Blackbeard fights Sengoku and Garp while the other emotional pirates continue to make their getaway. Akainu is still hot on Luffy’s trail. He is pretty adamant of not letting that pirate go scot free. Luffy can consider himself pretty lucky because Trafalgar Law’s submarine emerges in time to take Luffy in. The submarine submerges full steam beneath, barely escaping from Aokiji’s freezing blocks of ice. Man, at this rate, he can freeze up the entire ocean! Then Shanks and his crew showed up, Blackbeard and his team makes a strategic retreat. With Sengoku’s permission, Shanks will conduct a proper burial for Whitebeard and Ace. Then Sengoku declares the war is over and orders those who are still able to help those injured. With the world celebrating the end of the greatest war (of course the Marines won lah), Law manages to stabilize Luffy’s condition. Yeah, he’s a doctor. Hancock, with an excuse to pursue Luffy, offers Law’s crew to board her ship and seek refuge back at Amazon Lily. I guess for the first time, the island allows in a bunch of men though they are confined to a particular corner of the island. Jimbei stays by Luffy’s side. And when he wakes up, reality hits him that Ace is dead for good. We have never seen Luffy cried so bad like this (not from what I can remember) so much so he went into shock.

Luffy & Ace’s 10 Years Prior Arc
So traumatized by Ace’s death, that Luffy’s shock mode allowed us to peek into his untold story when he was a kid with Ace back in West Blue. Ten years ago, Garp forced mountain bandit leader, the big fat Curly Dadan to take care of Luffy. She already got her hands full with Ace but do you think she has a choice? Ace didn’t like Luffy much but that didn’t stop Luffy from bugging and following him wherever he went (including a gigantic junk area where the unwanted lives, Gray Terminal). Ace had another friend named Sabo and they’re collecting (more accurately, stealing) and stashing treasures and valuables as kick-start to their pirate dream. Do you need so much money to become a pirate? Till they stepped on the toes of Porchemy, a ruthless pirate of the Bluejam Pirates. They stole his loot and of course which pirate would feel insulted if a young lad did you in. Unfortunately Luffy’s blundering ways got him captured. Ace and Sabo fear that he would spill the whereabouts of the treasure, but as time passes they notice the pirates are still looking for it. Luffy takes a whacking but remains to keep mum. This is when Ace and Sabo enter and rescue him and beat the pirates to shame. Unfortunately for Porchemy, he got killed by the big bad boss Bluejam himself for being such a useless embarrassment.

With this, Luffy becomes part of Ace and Sabo’s group as they swore to be blood brothers. At the same time honing their skills (Luffy always loses out as he can’t control his powers yet) as it is vital for survival in this land. Oh, don’t mention the discrimination among the people too. Especially those living in the inner city walls, they are made up of stuck-up nobles and royals. While the trio are running their usual eat-for-free tactics in the city, Sabo’s dad spots his son, whom he believed to have died long ago. The trio also decide to live independently instead of Dadan’s shack. Might as well, since they never listened to her anyway. They continue to power up like fighting a badass tiger to see who will become captain of their pirate crew (everybody wants to be a leader) and also meet an old geezer who was once a pirate captain and fought Gold Roger. But their carefree days are numbered when Sabo’s dad enlists the help of Bluejam to look and bring back for his son. They know where Sabo’s whereabouts is all the time but remain silent so his dad would be more anxious with each passing minute. Sabo reluctantly goes back to his father so that his brothers could be spared. Bluejam makes Luffy and Ace do some work planting boxes around Gray Terminal while Sabo is made to live and learn like noble. All I can say is, if daddy knows Sabo’s stubbornness not to change (he still believes he was influenced by the other 2 to become a pirate), why is he so stubborn in forcing Sabo to live the life of a noble. I mean, he already adopted another stuck-up stupid kid (perhaps he was just a back-up in case) and Sabo keeps running away from home only to be caught, so is daddy stupid or something too? Just let him go and pretend he never came back lah!

Then Sabo learns the horrifying news that a Tenryuubito is visiting the place (another f*cking obnoxious guy because his lineage thinks they are hell of a grand for being pioneers of something so much so they look down on everybody and do not breath the same air with the commoners) so the rich and famous have this crazy idea of burning up Gray Terminal down to the ground, leaving nothing. Thus the reasons boxes of explosives were placed all over the place. So when the fireworks really start, Sabo tries to warn his brothers but couldn’t make it in time. He meets Dragon who realizes that this city and the world is crap because a kid like Sabo is saying that he won’t be truly free in this town. Bluejam is confident that he and his crew will be alive because he made a deal with Sabo’s dad. Unfortunately, he realized he has been tricked and left to die in the fire. Yeah, as a ruthless pirate, he should’ve seen this coming. They try to kill Ace and Luffy but Dadan and her guys come to rescue. Even if she hates those boys, she still treats them as her children. After all, they are put under her care by Garp. Don’t want to earn his wrath, right? The bandits take Luffy and run while Dadan and Ace team up to beat Bluejam. Dragon lets some of the Gray Terminal people on board his ship. At the end of the big fire, the place is nothing but ashes. Luffy and the bandits are worried about Ace and Dadan’s fate but they soon came back. Seems after they beat Bluejam, great fire walls (not the internet one lah) blocked their path. Dadan used her body as shield as she runs through the blaze. With her body badly injured, Ace takes care of her in the woods.

On the day the Tenryuubito is to arrive, everyone in town waits with baited breath for his arrival. Since the entire town is deserted, Sabo is left with just a guard sleeping on the job. It doesn’t take him long to knock him out and escape. But I guess he chose the wrong time to escape because his little stolen dinghy crosses the path of the magnificent Tenryuubito’s ship. Everyone at the port is shocked to see something like this but nobody could do anything. Even shocking for Sabo’s parents to see their child doing such a brave act. See, after all the trouble he has put them, why didn’t they disown him? Better make donno. Sabo is leaving peacefully but the f*cker Tenryuubito didn’t like a commoner passing by and shoots his ship with a bazooka!!! F*CK!!! Sabo is killed! News of Sabo’s death reaches Ace and Luffy and they couldn’t believe he’s gone. Sabo had previously written a letter for them which states that he is going out to sea to gain true freedom (but he gained another kind of freedom instead) and also wants Ace to promise to look after Luffy. For the next 7 years, Luffy and Ace train hard. Then Ace leaves the island followed by Luffy 3 years later. He shows us that he has greatly improved his rubber skills by taking out a giant sea monster with a single blow.

In pieces…
Yeah, I have to admit that it has been a long draggy affair. The whole year was void of Luffy’s Straw Hat Pirates crew members. Though we see a continuation somewhere between the arcs, their unfinished respective storyline indicates that there is still more to come as it obviously hasn’t ended yet. No Zorro, no Sanji, no Nami, no Usopp, no Chopper, no Robin, no Brook and no Franky. Not even those Super Nova rookie pirates on Shabondy Archipelago (only short cameos – including Law’s). I’m sure it must have been a real good break for them, eh? It was a real shocker that Ace and Whitebeard died. Maybe sometime in the future, they will be revived again? I don’t know, I thought this series doesn’t really like killing off characters seeing that on several occasions, characters that are once thought to be dead came back alive or are at least shown their whereabouts.

The funny part about this past whole year of escaping Impel Down and rescuing Ace was the fact that it felt like it was so close, yet so far. It took Luffy half a year to break in and out of the prison and another half a dozen months to rescue Ace. Because of so, each time I snickered and thought to myself, “Hey, they’re still running at this point. How big is this damn Marine base anyway?”. Yeah, they’re still running towards the plaza. Like as though they’re never getting close to it. Like a mirage. And I thought after running a considerable distance, I really thought they should be closer. Looks like the whole place is bigger than it seems. Or are they just running around in circles? It’s also odd that if this place is so big, how come everyone can hear the other so clearly? It’s not like there are loud speakers everywhere and even if there are echoes, wouldn’t the cacophony of the cannons and explosions drown it all out? As for Ace, I really wanted to ask him, “Hey bro, are you tired of kneeling on the platform for 6 months watching the battle unfurl?”. Yeah, so was his death justified in the end?

Another thing which bugged me was the number of casualties on both sides. You know, they been fighting so long and you can obviously see the low level Marines and pirates being killed. But as you go along, you don’t really see much dead bodies scattered around. Maybe even none. So really, are their numbers that overwhelming because the way they show it, it’s like an entire continent worth of armies preparing for a major battle if you ask me. So after they have fallen down, do they get up the fight and resume their battle? Maybe. You won’t notice that these low level guys may look the same and are clones! Can you tell really tell them apart? Plus, after all that tremendous destruction, it’s a miracle that Marine’s HQ is still standing. I thought the entire place would’ve sunk by now. Another point that I have been pondering is the Devil Fruit. As we all know that there is only 1 of each type in this world and no duplicate. Seeing the amount of Devil Fruit users appearing, I’m wondering if the future of this world will be void of anymore Devil Fruits since they’ve all been eaten up. Will the world be a boring place or a safer place with the lack of them anymore? Whatever will be, I’m sure the world will change due to the effects of the Whitebeard-Marine war. Which major battle in history never leaves a long lasting effect for its generations to come?

There were really lots of amusing characters that comes in all shapes, sizes and even personalities. For instance the prisoners who broke out from Impel Down and swore their allegiance to Buggy, they really have a damn positive attitude. What do I mean? Buggy sure has gotten himself into lots of trouble seeing that those blokes can come up with lots of reasons for Buggy’s indecisiveness and hail him as their great leader. Deep down in that clown’s heart, he’s just a coward and each time he wants to break free, he just can’t and has to live up to their expectations. Whoever said being a pirate is easy? Then Whitebeard’s division commanders from the looks, appears to have come from all sort of designs thrown in together. Let’s see. Among them we have a big hulking Viking guy, a big He-man resembling guy, a large biker-like guy smoking a cigar, a cross-dresser, a prince and a fish guy. If you really want to tell a story and dedicate several episodes on how they came to join Whitebeard’s crew, I think I will pass. And yeah, everyone still has that herd mentality. They get depressed so easily when the tide is unfavourable but get their hopes up in an instant they get some morale booster. For all those reporters watching the battle at Shabondy Archipelago, it’s like everything they see is such a big deal to report. Don’t even mention about the crying part. Many of the characters were like so emotional for instance when Whitebeard is about to die, etc. Hey, even grownup men and mean pirates cry. They’re human after all.

Since it’s only been a year or so, so I guess there is nothing much or any drastic changes. The cartoonish-like drawing is still there, the voice acting, the mid-intermission, its trademark jokes and the draggy action and flashbacks. The series still doesn’t intend on having an ending credit or theme so I guess it saves a lot. So far in that span of over a year, there is only one change in the opening theme. Currently it is One Day by The Rootless, a fitting moderate rock piece on the direction that this series is heading to. That is what you call consistency rather than changing it after a few episodes.

So the adventure may be still at halfway point and though it won’t be ending anytime soon (unless…) I’ll still be sticking around to catch how all this is going to turn out. Despite the draggy affair, somehow it must be the mysterious way the producers made it to retain viewers’ interest in addition to staying true to the manga. That’s why it is still so popular not just in Japan but elsewhere in the world today. There are too many questions that need answers like what is really the One Piece and the many other characters that will come into play. Whether or not they have an answer at the end, it’s not the end of the journey that counts, it is the timeless romance of the voyage with your crew that is the real treasure and perhaps my guess the One Piece that everyone is so crazily looking for.

One Response to “One Piece part 2”

  1. Meh…Forgot that an arc doesnt end until we have the party which was in this episode. It wasnt the super best episode that we have seen but the episode was good at what it was suppose to do.


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