Story/Art: Eiichiro Oda
Translation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
As Luffy and the Straw Hats battle it out with the Doflamingo family, we flash back to the childhood of Trafalgar Law. What made him the man he is today, and what is the cause of the grudge he bears against Doflamingo?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As the volume kicks off the brawl continues on, with Doflamingo’s officers taking another chance to show off their skills against the former coliseum fighters. Even so, the ruffians hold their own enough to give Luffy a chance to slip on by. And it’s at this point that we get another character introduction, the samurai named Kanjuro that Kin’emon has been looking for. He may not be a particularly deep addition to the cast just yet, but he brings an absolutely fantastic gimmick along with him: he has the power to bring his drawings to life, with the catch that he’s a terrible artist! It’s a silly little quirk that’s a lot of fun, and it makes for some genuinely amusing moments. In another nice twist, Sugar revives and proves herself more than just a plot device by turning some soldiers into massive, immortal toys to fend off the forces of good.
After this we get another look at the fight between Franky and Señor Pink, which includes a moment or two that really tread the line towards coming across as pretty misogynistic instead of the silly machismo that’s intended. The chaos continues in all sorts of forms for a while, such as the Tontattas finally breaking free and Rebecca facing her mother’s killer. Finally, though, we get what’s surprisingly one of the best moments in the volume, when Usopp is forced to step up and take down Sugar. It feels true to his character while showing how impressively his skills as a sniper have grown, and even giving a further hint as to his potential to come.
It’s then that we finally hit the battle between the pair of Law and Luffy versus the twisted warlord Doflamingo. Unfortunately, though, that’s honestly just a taste as of this volume. For the most part we just get to see one cool combo utilizing Law’s powers, as well as some bits involving Bellamy, before leaping into a flashback. In a positive twist, though, this flashback is a great look into the pasts of both Law and Doflamingo himself! And even though it’s not finished just yet, it’s off to a great start that already adds a lot of depth to both characters.
This volume’s a bit of a hard one to judge, as while it’s certainly packed to the brim, only a few of the scenes really stand out as exceptional. We get a really fantastic bit for Usopp to be sure, and it definitely is great to see. And the flashback here is off to a wonderful start, even if it isn’t done just yet. There are also some nice little bits sprinkled throughout, such as some good moments for showing off the strengths and abilities of the various characters, as well as the introduction of a pretty fun new member to the cast. The “weakness” of the volume, meanwhile, comes from the rest of the stuff that ties the book together. It’s all a good bit of chaos, which is captured well but isn’t always the most compelling, and at times can even feel like trivial bits necessary for keeping the plot moving. All in all, this adds up to another volume that’s very solid and enjoyable, but doesn’t quite reach the high points that the series has managed in the past.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015