We’re getting awfully close to the end of the first box set, only a couple of volumes left. Good thing I have three more boxes after this. I doubt a fifth will be out by the time we reach that point, so I’ll have to think about what to do when we get to that point. I could either wait for that to release, or just start buying individual volumes. If I’m totally honest with you, the problem with box sets is that books get bigger in volume if you read them. So if the box is too tight – like it often is – you can’t get the books or manga back in them properly. I’ve thrown away quite a few of the boxes I had for books and just put the books on my shelves individually. But the One Piece ones do come with a nice poster and sometimes an extra, so we’ll see. Anyway, let’s get into volume 19, shall we?
We start off the volume with a quick look at Koza and his man. Koza is a pretty interesting character that we unfortunately don’t spend a ton of time with. One thing I’m starting to realize about One Piece is that a lot of the characters in the earlier arcs feel much more grounded and human. Forgive me for going into spoiler territory a tiny bit, but the characters who we’ve seen in arcs like Whole Cake Island, Wano and even the current arc all feel so crazy and over the top. That’s fun for a little while, but there’s less humanity in them. At least that’s what I feel like. In Dressrosa this started a little bit, but we all know how well developed a lot of those characters actually are. But what’s the deal with Ulti and Page One, just to name an example. There’s no substance there, really. Koza gets more substance in this one chapter than most of the newer side characters. I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come in One Piece. Let’s not worry about it.
Carue was sent to the capital and he luckily made it there safely, informing the king and his commanders of Crocodile’s evil plans. The king immediately has full faith in his daughter and sends his army to Rain Base, to confront the evil vigilante pirate. His commanders have mixed thoughts about the plan, but they seem to really respect the king. Pell then goes to try and save Vivi from Miss All Sunday, but that goes horribly wrong, with him getting his neck broken by her flower-flower powers. I love early Nico Robin, she’s so cool. I think her look here fits her much better than what she looks like later on. The rest of the crew has a run-in with Smoker and his goons, and thus Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Vivi, Usopp and Smoker get caught by him. That leaves Sanji, Chopper, Tashigi and some marine goons outside, but what can a few of them do against the entire city filled with millions? Things are looking pretty bad right around now. Vivi does get a nice hit in on Crocodile, only to reveal that his sand powers allow him to just turn into sand. This explains why Crocodile got to be such a powerful figure.
He’s used this power to get all the right allies. Bon Kurei is crucial to this plan, in getting the final bit of unrest to boil to the surface. He used Bon Kurei’s abilities to imitate the king and attack the rebels, convincing them that the kingdom had completely abandoned them. This leaves Chaka to deal with the decisions in the place. Igaram is presumed dead, Pell is presumed dead and the king is missing. Vivi also hasn’t been saved yet, she’s with Crocodile. Things look dire and Chaka might as well be the man at the top right now. His decision is a sensible one – seeing that he doesn’t have all the information – but it’ll end up disastrous. He sends the army to fight Koza’s rebels head-on.
That leaves us with the great escape that our crew has to make. It turns out that Sanji and Chopper had a plan and it’s a pretty good one as well. Chopper distracts crocodile by pretending to be the Mr. Prince that was on the phone while Sanji sneaks into the casino to meet up with Vivi. The plan works great and with a little bit of forced help from Mr. 3 they manage to get out of the cell just in time. Luffy tells Zoro to save Smoker from certain death which even the angry marine has to admit is a nice thing to do. He lets them go just this time. Crocodile unfortunately caught up to them and managed to pull Vivi and Luffy off of the mover crab. There’s two interesting panels in this part, both containing Ms. All Sunday, who has had a 70 million bounty on her since she was 8. She’s now 28. One panel shows Crocodile laughing at Vivi’s despair while Ms. All Sunday is looking down, her face hidden by her hat. I wonder what kind of expression her face was making there. Then we have another panel of her spotting Sanji as he sneaks into the palace but not dealing with it immediately. Granted, we don’t know if her powers would reach that far, but it is interesting to note.
And that ends this volume. I’m struggling not to immediately grab the next one and read that too, but I’ve committed to one a week. It feels like a pleasant pace. I’ve recently started thinking that reading manga at a volume at a time is the best way to consume it anyway. I feel much more invested than reading individual chapters yet it’s also not immediately over, like binge reading the entire manga in a few days. But things are heating up in Arabasta and I’m very excited to read the next volume. Thanks for reading.