Wow, 700 One Piece chapters. That is one heck of an achievement. Anyway, hello everyone.
I liked the fact that we got to see Ichigo’s employer again. She is pretty cool. I also liked how Ichigo’s dad showed up and she couldn’t see him. Okay, that should obviously be the case, but I thought his entrance and Ichigo’s subsequent departure was pretty well done.
Now, there are two things I want to rant about:
The Presentation of the Twist
We saw long ago in chapter 514, that Ichigo was somehow related to the Quincies. So, the fact that his mother was a Quincy does not surprise me. I had actually been hoping that she was a hollow or perhaps a member of the Soul Society Royalty, but alas! (This also begs the question: Why did a supposedly strong Quincy like her get killed by a pretty average Hollow? MORE PLOT HOLES, HURRAY!)
Anyway, we knew that Ichigo was related to the Quincies and it was obvious that his relation would be clarified sometime soon. Given that it was obvious, I did not like how Kubo made it seem like a super big twist. There was a leadup, foreshadowing and everything else you’d expect from a big twist, but the only problem was that the twist itself was quite expected.
In other words, it was boring and the chapter should have had more stuff in it to make up for that.
The Twist Itself
Hang on a second. Let me go find a post for you folk. Ah, here it is.
And I quote myself:
I don’t know how or why Ichigo is related to Quincy boss kun, but Kishi really had to make sure that Ichigo was related to every faction in some way. How nauseating.
I was quite content when Ichigo was only a Human/Shinigami. He was different from ordinary humans and yet at the same time, he was different from Shinigami to. This dual physical nature combined with his brash personality made him cool and edgy.
He was everything young lads like me (at the time) wanted to be.
Then he got hollow powers, but those powers were still cool. Heck, given the whole taboo, fierce, mysterious and at times frightening nature of his new powers, he was even cooler than before.
On top of that, there was good reasoning placed behind the origin of his hollow powers. He was transforming into a hollow and it just so happened that he regained his Shinigami powers at the same instance that he became a full hollow.
Yeah, it is stretching it a bit, but that origin story is so much better than “Your mother who died defending you from a weak hollow also just coincidentally, miraculously happened to be a Quincy”.
When Ichigo became a hollow, we knew nothing about hybrids, but by this point in the manga, we already know everything there is to know about Quincies.
It is possible that Kubo is only doing this in order to form a common link between Bleach’es factions, but this is unnecessary. This could have worked out much better if Kubo had used Ishida or perhaps, the relationship between Ishida and Ichigo to bridge this gap.
As it stands, I can’t help but feel that Kubo is simply trying to stuff Ichigo full of as much as stuff as possible in order to either live his own childish fantasies or keep this manga rolling.
Many Shonen MC’s seem to suffer from this illness. Throughout the manga, these characters develop well defined personalities and abilities, but at the whim of their creators, their personalities and abilities are temporally discarded and replaced for the sake of PLOT. I call this most mysterious illness, Shonen-MC-Kun Syndrome ©.
The Shinobi way of life, or rather their way of war and the suffering it causes to the participants has been a staple theme of this manga since close to the beginning. Ever since Naruto and the gang encountered that boy who made them question their orientation, they have come across more and more suffering caused by war and vengeance.
The Naruto manga often botches this theme. Pretty much everything cheesy Naruto says or the utter nonsense Toby/Current Time Madara spout makes this overlying theme look silly and unimportant.
And yet, there are moments, moments in the Zabuza arc or in Kakashi Gaiden that are poignant reminders of the horrors of war and showcase the true suffering of the ninjas.
This chapter was one of those brutal reminders. It might seem silly to have been affected by the melodramatic plight of characters I barely know, but I understood and felt Hashirama’s pain. He lost one of his brothers at the age of seven and then shortly after, he lost his other brother to.
I am not crying or anything, but these deaths made more of an emotional impact on me than Neji’s needless death a few chapters back. It wasn’t touching because I knew these characters and was sad for their troubles, but because they died so young and just how commonplace death was.
All of these Shinobi have no choice but to accept deaths as a natural thing and move on and all of it for the sake of vengeance.
Just as Madara’s rock toss at the end put him on the same page as Hashirama, this chapter put me on the same page as these suffering children (or something) and for that alone, this chapter deserves some praise.
This chapter was not terribly exciting (mostly because I read it late at night), but it was one massive info dump and that is why it was still an excellent chapter.
Here is what we learnt this chapter (feel free to correct me if I missed something):
- The Donquixote family provided weapons to factions fighting wars. We don’t know if they were selling to both sides, only one side and whether it was to the good side or the bad side (or there were no sides).
- Jewelry Bonney is still alive and well (and in hiding).
- Jinbei is still fine.
- Crocodile has a crew of pirates now.
- There is some super journalist called Abusa who has been getting the best scoops.
- Kid and his gang are also taking down a Yonkou (no idea which one).
- Don Flamingo hasn’t answered any calls other then one he receives from Law.
- Don Flamingo acquired something Luffy would want. Luffy thinks it is meat. Luffy still loves meat.
- Law is leaving Caesar on the Eastern shores of Green Bit (he actually plans to do this and not betray Don).
- Law wants to eliminate the Smile Factory but hasn’t found it yet. There are some secrets afoot.
- (I like how Luffy calls Law ‘Trafy~”)
- The Samurai is looking for a place called Zou.
- Law also plans on going to Zou because that is where his crew is hiding. (Now we finally know that they are still fine.)
- The samurai dude had two other samurai with him when he landed on Dressrosa. They might be dead, or they might not be. Knowing Oda, they probably aren’t dead. One is likely captured and the other is a traitor who joined Don Flamingo (this is just a guess mind you).
- As expected, Momonosuke wasn’t captured. It just so happened that he got on the same ship as the kids and could not exit the ship in time.
- Shichibukai don’t actually have to be loyal to the World Government. They just need to pretend they are.
- There are seven Shichibukai (including Law and Don Flamingo). The identity of one of their members is still a mystery, but we know that Buggy is one.
- There is a supposedly strong marine called Fujitora. He/She might be an Admiral and is probably at least a Vice Admiral.
- Some creepty sludge thing likes flirting with Baby 5.
- Don Flamingo has something called the Colosseum (possibly a Smile factory?).
- One of Don Flamingo’s upper officers (?) is called Diamante. He is in charge of supervising the Colosseum. His name that closely resembles Diamond. Diamond as in the playing cards Diamond and the Diamond chair the guy sits on.
- Joker’s upper officers all occupy positions that resemble 4 card houses. I.e. A diamond, spade, heart and club. The sluggy guy who was flirting with Baby5 occupies the Clubs chair.
- The back of the guy sitting in the Spades chair is very scary.
- We haven’t seen the Heart ‘officer’ yet.
- Don Flamingo himself is the Joker (i.e. the one card that trumps all others).
- Don Flamingo has the Mera Mera no mi fruit. This was the fruit that gave Ace his fire abilities. Not sure if it was confirmed before, but this is a complete confirmation that Devil Fruits do in fact and indeed respawn.
- The Strawhats and Law arrive at Dressrosa, apparently it is a really big island.
There is no way in hell I am going through each item in that list and talking about it.
I suppose the most interesting thing was the reveal at the end.
We now know for sure that Devil Fruits come back. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that the ‘devil essence’ leaves the body upon death and reforms into a fruit somewhere. Back when Whitebeard died, Blackbeard was probably able to use his BlackHole ability (or something) to suck in this essence and take it for himself. As for how eating 2 devil fruits kills you, while doing that doesn’t? I have no idea.
Now, the big question is: “Will Luffy take the bait and go after the fruit?”.
I thought I had a good handle on Luffy’s character, but he is really unpredictable at times, so I am not actually sure what he will do.
On the one hand, Luffy loved Ace and would want to monopolize things to do with Ace.
On the other hand, Luffy has never been greedy for things like Devil Fruits. He might simply just not care if someone else gets Ace’es power especially since that power alone was far from the defining characteristic of Ace.
Given that we need the story to go somewhere, I am going to guess that Luffy will go after the fruit, but Don Flamingo is wrong about something. This will not shatter Luffy’es alliance with Law. Law is already quite accustomed to the eccentric behavior of the Straw Hats and their Captain.