One Piece Volume 8

I’ve been reading the volumes so far and I’ve been talking a lot about how much I’m enjoying them. I’ve also mentioned before that Arlong Park is my favorite arc. This volume, covering the remainder of the Baratie arc and the start of Arlong Park, is where One Piece hits its stride and never looks back. DOn’t get me wrong, the first few arcs are good, they’re a fun and solid introduction to the world of One Piece that left me wanting more. But volume 8 hits you like a brick wall right in the feelings. There are very few manga artists who are as good at the medium of manga as Oda is. I think that explains why, as time goes on, I’m starting to value his manga over the anime a lot more. There’s a certain rhythm to his storytelling that the anime, especially later on, butchers to an extent. Not to say the anime isn’t fantastic for the first several hundred episodes, but the manga does it differently.

Let’s go over the things outside of the story really quickly before we dive in. We get some more question corners, most of them filled with silly questions and answers, as is Oda’s strong point. One of the questions is kind of interesting since it’s about the structure of the marines as an organization. Oda even mentions that Koby might become an officer one day. That sounds like it could be a fun plot point in the future of One Piece. Then we seem to finally reach the end of the Buggy Pirate adventures. The Ritchie pirates don’t last very long and are eventually found down and out by Buggy and Alvida. I decided to not mention her name in last week’s post but I realize it’ll be so long before she appears again that it’s probably nicer to know now than just forget about her character completely.

I love Zeff. I feel like I didn’t remember him being as cool as he was. His line here in this volume where he goes:

Once in a while a fool comes along who, having set his sights on something, won’t quit fighting until he dies. 

It’s such a good line because it perfectly encapsulates Luffy as a character. Just pure grit and refusal to ever give up on his dreams. Speaking of dreams, Sanji’s dream is still the one I’m most excited about seeing come true because it lines up with mine, and many others’, theory about the end of One Piece. I won’t go into it since we’re talking about volume 8 right now and not volume 90 something, but take a moment to think about what it means to have fish from every ocean in one place, if you’ve read more of the story already. Either way, Luffy defeats Krieg by showing that his grit is worth more than Krieg’s entire arsenal.

We then get on to some heartbreaking scenes. Yohsaku comes back to warn Luffy of where Nami is headed. She’s on her way to the dreaded Arlong park, an island where the Arlong pirates rule. They’re fishmen and they used to work with one of the Shichibukai (seven warlords), Jinbe. Mihawk, who just defeated Zoro handily, is one of the other Shichibukai so you know they mean business. Apparently Nami has something to do with this Arlong. Either way, that’s their next destination. But they still haven’t convinced Sanji of joining their crew. Sanji wants to stay with Baratie so the cooks put up a shitty performance pretending to not need him around anymore so he feels free to leave. Zeff knows that Sanji is meant for greater things. The Grand Line is paradise for some, after all, and what can all blue really be, if not for paradise? It’s heartbreaking to see Sanji sit on the other side of the door as they explain their plan to Luffy while he goes: I can hear you. I feel chills coming up just writing about it, let alone when I was reading it earlier. Either way, it’s enough to convince Sanji to pack his bags and join Luffy. After a tearful exit, they head towards Arlong Park.

Speaking of Arlong Park, we get a sneak peek of the island as Usopp and Zoro arrive there. They get separated pretty quickly, this is mainly Usopp’s fault, and each go their own way. Zoro is taken in by Arlong and his crew and then freed by Nami. The face she pulls when Arlong says “That one even forgave the death of a parent for money” tells Zoro and the reader everything they need to know about this upcoming arc. The pain in her face is so visceral and heartrending that it should be considered a work of art. Usopp on the other hand finds himself in the house where Nami grew up, alongside her stepsister Nojiko. The pieces are slowly falling into place and I cannot tell you how excited I am for the next few volumes. Like I said at the start of this post, One Piece never looks back after this point. It never slows down again and it’s here to stay. I just hope I can wait a week before reading the next volume.

But that’s me and my thoughts on this volume, let me know if there’s anything you found in this volume that is of interest that I didn’t talk about. And as always, thanks for reading.

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