Story/Art: Eiichiro Oda
Translation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
Luffy’s dream has always been to become the Pirate King, but he intends to reach Raftel and the One Piece with his crew right beside him. However, with Sanji’s arranged wedding on the horizon and Big Mom and the Vinsmoke’s best fighters ready for battle, the Straw Hats may have bitten off more than they can chew. Yet nothing is quite as it seems, and secret gambits and threats could throw everything on its head! With Luffy’s first full confrontation with one of the four Yonkos on the horizon, nothing is certain.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After confirming that Jack is still alive, we jump right into actually fleshing out the relationship between the minks and the samurai. It turns out that there’s a bond between the minks and the Kozuki clan in particular. On top of that, we learn that Momonosuke is actually the heir to Kozuki Oden, and that Kin’emon’s not his real father. Through his influence, Cat Viper and Duke Dogstorm even agree to a ceasefire!
Afterwards, our heroes go to meet the ninja Raizo, and we get a whole lot of setup. This includes information on the ponegliffs, as well as the actual way to reach Raftel itself! And on top of that, thanks to all the stuff on their plates, we get the team dividing once more, with Luffy’s group focusing on rescuing Sanji from Big Mom’s grasp. Oh, and we get some amusing ninja antics from Raizo too, for a nice little dose of humor. Anyway, this all adds up to some nice setup that promises the series is heading in some interesting directions, and it’s fortunately doled out in such a way that it’s not just a bland text dump, which is much appreciated.
We do also get a little more action before the time comes to leave the land of the minks, when Jack comes back for another attack. I won’t spoil just how it’s thwarted, but needless to say, it’s a pretty cool and darn impressive moment that makes for some real flash. Once that’s done, we get a look at the movements of the royals around the world, including some nice little looks back on characters from the past of the series. Oh, and Luffy and co find that they have a stowaway on their trip, but fortunately she seems capable of handling her own.
Later on, when Luffy’s group stumbles upon Sanji’s family in a chance meeting, will it be as friends or foes? And will they possibly be able to infiltrate Big Mom’s domain without making a giant ruckus and being found immediately?
A LOT of this volume goes to sitting up what’ll come next, both in the short and long term, which means it’s not the most action-packed entry in the series. And yet, in a testament to Oda’s craftsmanship, that doesn’t really hurt the pacing all that much, and there’s still plenty to love here. This book may be a tad lacking in terms of huge moments, but the possibilities it raises for the future are absolutely tantalizing. And there are definitely some nice smaller scenes sprinkled throughout, including some great little bits of humor, and one huge cool, flashy bit. So while I’d say it’s definitely not the strongest book the series has put out so far, it’s still absolutely plenty worth a read, and it has me very excited for where things are heading.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017