Today we’re jumping straight back into Little Garden. I didn’t like this arc too much at the time but I’ve recently started to appreciate it a lot more for what it is. It does introduce us to some very cool characters and the concept of giants. The legendary land of Elbaf is one that’s been mentioned countless times throughout the years as well, so with that all in mind, let’s have a closer look at the story that started it all off.
Dorry and Broggy quickly pick up where they left off. Luffy fights Broggy to calm him down, and although he knocks out the severely wounded giant with relative ease, the giant gets up again when the volcano goes off. This battle has taken a century. We learn that they were part of a pirate crew called the Giant Warrior Pirates and their bounties were 100 million each. They must have gotten stronger over the past century so that puts them on equal footing with most of the pirates we encounter for the next several hundred chapters. We also know that the great pirate era started with Gol D. Roger’s death, but we don’t get a ton of insight into how long before that period pirates have been prevalent. This shows us it’s been at least a hundred years and likely much longer. Fun fact, to check on this I went into the wiki and there’s so much data from SBS, movies, side projects and just general lore bits throughout the years that there’s a whole chunk of it that was new information to me. I’ve watched this show like three times and read the manga at least twice before. Crazy how much worldbuilding there is.
Dorry and Broggy’s fight ends rather unfortunately due to interference from Mr. 3, another assassin from Baroque Works. He has a wax power that lets him create wax from his body that hardens to a point where it’s impossible for these characters to break out of. He captures Nami, Zoro and Vivi and puts them on a large wax candelabra. Dorry and Broggy are both out for the count and Luffy and Usopp have been defeated by Mr. 5, who has returned together with his partner. At this point, things are looking pretty dire, but if I’m not mistaken there’s a certain crap-cook (god I hate how the official translations deal with shitty cook) still roaming the island unbothered.
With the power of being really pissed off, Luffy manages to get free and he, Usopp and Carue go to confront the Baroque Works members. A fight breaks out and although Mr. 3’s candle powers are very strong when you’re caught by surprise, they’re not as strong against a brute force fighter like Luffy, who just used the wax to smash into things himself. After some effort he manages to take out Mr. 3, only to be caught in Miss Goldenweek’s trap. Her ability is to paint emotions and if you step on them or have them painted on you, they have a brainwashing effect. You’d think with how little brains Luffy has it wouldn’t affect him, but it does quite well since he’s simple minded. The crewmembers on the wax candelabra are slowly being turned into wax statues as Luffy is drinking tea with Miss Goldenweek. Can we also point out that this assassin is basically a child? As much as Baroque Works claims to be a powerful organization, a lot of their numbered members are still pretty big idiots. Usopp on the other hand is clever where he might lack bravery at times and shoots Luffy to burn up the paint that’s brainwashing him.
Things start to turn a little bit with Luffy and Usopp together being able to free everyone. Vivi takes out Ms. Valentine and Zoro cuts up Mr. 5. We get everyone out safely with a bit of luck. Luffy and Carue chase the remaining two villains who have run off. Mr. 3 is all about being clever and getting out of there without taking any hits. He lures Luffy into a trap where he’s made many copies of himself with wax, planning to stab Luffy in the back when he attacks the wrong one. Fortunately, Luffy has good instincts and one-shots the right Mr. 3, knocking him out in one clean kick. I wonder if this is instinct or if these are the early warning signs of some sort of power Luffy might have. Either way, this makes it so the crew has beaten the Baroque Works assassins.
Oh, and remember that shitty cook we forgot about? Turns out Sanji got bored of waiting for his friends and in his effort to find them he stumbles across Mr. 3’s base where he has a tea break. Is Sanji secretly British? While he’s wasting time there, the Den-Den Mushi rings and he suddenly finds himself speaking to the big boss himself: Mr. 0.
Solid volume reading it in hindsight but I’m still not the biggest fan of this island. The whole wax statues thing felt a bit contrived to me and the fact that it shows them being turned completely into wax and then still getting out always felt cheap to me. That’s not something you just walk away from without permanent lung damage I’m pretty sure. But this is how Oda wrote it. We also get some more Koby & Helmeppo this volume in the cover pages and we get a final cover page of Django (the hypnotist from Usopp’s arc) waking up after being taken out by the three kids that were Usopp’s friends. We get to see more of him in the next volume’s cover stories I’m pretty sure.
There’s my thoughts on this week’s volume. We’re slowly learning more about Baroque Works and the situation the grand line is in. This felt very tame compared to last week’s chapter 1079 that I read just the other day. Things have certainly ramped up in scale over the last two decades. It’s almost like I’m reading a completely different story right now, it’s so different. But I am still having a blast with it and that is the most important part. Thanks for reading and until next week!