Volume 10. With a total of 104 volumes released that puts us at roughly ten percent of the story. It’s crazy to think that all of the East Blue Saga will eventually fit into ten percent of the story of One Piece. That’s less than some of the newer arcs cover on their own. Perhaps that’s part of why these early volumes are such a blast to read. The pacing is still very fast and it’s not the case where you can read the manga for a year and only experience the set-up part of an arc. But we’re not there yet, so let’s not think about that too much and instead dive into the second of three parts that make up the amazing Arlong Park.
Now that Buggy’s story is completely done we move over to Koby and Helmeppo as our cover stories. There’s not much to it so far, it just shows off their life as the lowest ranks in the navy. They do encounter Morgan – Helmeppo’s dad – as a prisoner. But they have been diligent so far, so that’s good for them. There’s also some cool cover art of Nami and the crew, so that’s neat.
Luffy fights Moo Moo, the scary beast from the grand line that’s probably terrifying to normal people but doesn’t stand a chance against trained fighters. He does make the mistake of getting his foot stuck in the concrete which results in Arlong throwing him in the ocean stuck to a heavy mass. We then set off the three main fights of this volume.
Zoro fights Hachi and the two are fairly evenly matched. The main reason they are is because Zoro is still gravely wounded from his encounter with Mihawk. Once he gets access to all three swords it’s over for the octopus. It’s a good thing this isn’t the last we’ll see of Hachi because he’s a kind soul at heart, just got in with the wrong crowd. Kuroobi on the other hand is just a sadistic karate master. This is the first mention of Fish-man karate, which we hear about a lot more often throughout the years because it’s a very legit fighting style used by some people in the higher echelons of fighters. Kuroobi gets to fight our kicking cook and although it goes back and forth a little bit, with the fight taking a brief dive into the water, Sanji ultimately proves victorious.
Much more impactful is the fight between Usopp and Chu (Choo?). Usopp is a coward and we saw a little bit of that during his own arc, but we get more of his duality here. He is terrified of these fishmen, and rightfully so, but once he remembers why he’s fighting he builds up the courage to yell at the retreating Chu and endanger himself for his friends. He’s not a powerhouse like Sanji, Luffy or Zoro, he’s just a normal dude with a slingshot. The other three are monsters and he’s just some guy with big dreams. Yet when push comes to shove, he still fights. As many underhanded methods as he needs, he does defeat a fishman who are physically stronger than humans. This is something to be very proud of. Even if he is still a coward, he’s a brave coward which is much more valuable than a fearless brave person.
While all this went on, Nojiko and Genzo were busy keeping Luffy from drowning by stretching his neck. Eventually they manage to get him free with the help of Sanji and he finally gets to join the fight, taking over for Zoro who is struggling severely against Arlong.
One thing to not forget is that One Piece, besides being cool and emotional, can be very funny at times. Arlong in his most serious manner asks Luffy what the difference between the two of them is and without batting an eye Luffy immediately shoots back with “nose.”
If Buggy was here he’d lose his mind. With all of Arlong’s men down and out and all of Luffy’s friends severely hurt, it’s time for the big clash between human and fishman, pirate and pirate, Luffy and Arlong. But we’ll get to that in volume 11. As always, I really enjoyed this volume and I hope you did too. If you’re still reading along with this, would you like me to keep these mainly spoiler free or would you rather I go more in depth on some of the long term impact that these story beats might have. There’s some characters and things mentioned in this arc that come back later, but I’m hesitant to talk about it too much in case people come across these posts and haven’t read up to chapter 1000+ yet. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading!