"USOLAND!", the shout roared past my lips as I leapt from the chair, right fist raised in triumph. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have done that since I was at work… surrounded by coworkers.*
"Guess what Luffy?! I don't wanna hit the seas without you, man!!!", dripping with courage and bromance, that line hit me right in the heart hole. I haven't been this blown over by Usopp since he shoved sea salt down Kumacy's esophagus in Thriller Bark. Even cooler? This time he wasn't even in the guise of Sniper King, that was 100% Usopp and it's just the tip of the iceberg!
HAKI!!! That looks like a rudimentary Colors of Observation to me! In Chapter 713 Usopp said that he could use Haki so there's another one of his lies that's become a truth! Something special about this reveal I wanted to point out is a storytelling method that Oda-sensei (intentionally or otherwise) applied masterfully. Of the male members of the Straw Hat Pirates, Usopp is the closest to being a somewhat normal human being. Luffy, Zoro and Sanji are beasts. Chopper is a monster in his own right and Brook is a weird old man. Franky's a weirdo cyborg. The eyes through which Usopp views these 'unique' individuals is similar to how the readers see them so in many ways and we can subconsciously relate to him the closest. This is why it's all the more appropriate that we see what Colors of Observation looks like to Haki users through Usopp's extensively eyelashed-eyes. Whether or not that was intentional only Oda-sensei knows for sure but it made the scene feel perfectly natural and all the more meaningful.
Oh, and was anyone else impressed by the distance from which he could see his target? Sure, natural-born users like Aisa or Haki juggernauts like Rayleigh can use it over an entire island, but for a first-time user like Usopp, that's impressive. Nice shootin', Tex.
As for the person *least* pleased by this turn of events, Sugar, check out her Dali-esque reaction. The tears and snot pouring out of her are double what they were last time and her jaw has dropped down even farther. I'm also really interested in her eyes, specifically the circles around her pupils. The first time there were two, this time there's only one. Why's that? Could it be the first time they expressed 'terror' and this time they represent 'trauma'?
*Good boys and girls don't read comics at work.
Weekly Shonen Jump #40 Ch.758
One Piece Vol. 48 Ch.465
One Piece Vol. 72 Ch.713
One Piece Vol. 74 Ch.742
Law, Mingo & Corazon
Dat line! "The weak do not have the right to choose how they die." Even within the speech bubble it appears in quotes. Whenever I see a character's line handled like that in Japanese I usually plug it into my search engine of choice and see if it was a line from the past. My dragnet doesn't always catch something but this time I hauled in a marlin. This line was originally used by Law during Punk Hazard. What's more, according to Mingo, *he* gave Law that idea. Why would Law, someone who hates Mingo so much he's been plotting to take him down for 13 years, quote Mingo? Considering the inherent cruelty of the line, is it possible the line is somehow linked to an unpleasant or even traumatic event in Law's life?
A similar but different line of interest appeared back during Law's encounter with Mingo in Chapter 729. "The D…will always cause another storm." (so hot) Note that this line also appears in quotes. Is it possible he's quoting someone here too? What's more, this isn't the first time Law has said that either. He first said it Chapter 591 before the timeskip. Do you think Law knows what 'The Will of D' is? If he's quoting someone, it's very possible that 'someone' is an individual who might believe in the 'Will of D'. Someone that Law might hold very high in respect. Hmmm…I wonder if it's 'him'.
Weekly Shonen Jump #41 Ch.759
One Piece Vol.60 Ch.591
One Piece Vol.67 Ch.662
One Piece Vol.73 Ch.729
MEGA DELU.X.E #4*
My eyeballs were bleeding from the awesomeness that is One Piece Episode #661. Sounds like time for the fourth installment of MEGA DELU.X.E!
１. Law VS Doflamingo
I watched the Law/Mingo battle with my jaw on the floor the entire time. The direction, movement and production value were all through the roof. Should we expect anything less from veteran animation director Kazuya Hisada? Same as with the Giolla battle I talked about a few weeks ago, the original manga version felt a little too short. Even if you normally don't catch the anime this is definitely an episode you should go out of your way to see. Right as Law used Tact to hurl a bridge support pillar at Mingo (only for him to casually slice it in half while the pieces soared harmlessly around him) I knew this was something special. This is exactly the kind of battle I wanted to see between these titans.
As Law stood winded, his stamina significantly drained from facing both Mingo and Fujitora on Green Bit, did you notice how he couldn't form a stable Room? Is that the first time we've seen that? I never imagined he physically wouldn't be able to form a Room! The sweet original direction doesn't end there:
1. Seeing that Law can't make a stable Room, Mingo feels comfortable enough to answer his ringing transponder snail. In the original, starting a conversation while in the middle of a battle with Law just seemed a little too cocky, even for Mingo.
2. Despite having no stamina left, Law goes in for an all or nothing physical attack that has no chance of connecting which paints a better picture of how determined and desperate we're supposed to believe he is.
Last but not least, the movement of Mingo as he slinks his way to Law is mustache-twirlingly evil. His head bobbing serpentine back and forth is sick! A picture doesn't begin to accurately convey the movement so check out this amazing five a half minute battle for yourself! Thank you Toei Animation and Hisada-san!
２．Dialing Transponder Snails?
I've gone into some detail about transponder snails in this column in the past, as well as in my VJump articles, but there's something I *just* realized about them! There are numbers on the side of them! It was easy to see the numbers on the Straw Hats' transponder snail in this episode! I wonder, are they pushbutton or dial-type?
３．Thank You Nami, May I Have Another?
The matter of Brook's mysterious bump from the comic seems to have been settled! Just about a year ago, in Chapter 729, I suggested that Nami might have bopped Brook on the head because he was causing a ruckus shoving Momonosuke away from the transponder snail. Why was he going for the snail? Come on, haven't you seen little kids dying to play with their parent's phones? In the original we didn't have much to go on but in the episode Nami's extremely brief 'mom' face makes it pretty clear that she resorted to some wholesome cartoon violence to settle the matter.
*The MEGA DELU.X.E segment is where we examine three particularly impressive parts of a spectacular episode. Previous installments are currently only available in Japanese.
TV Anime #661
One Piece Vol.71 Ch.711
One Piece Vol.73 Ch.729
Have Your Ship and Eat It Too
The anime-only crowd must have been blown away because even I was shocked by that scene of Sabo walking down the hallway!
That aside, personally the best part of the episode was of course the color debut of Big Mom's ship!
My first impression, it looks delicious. My second impression, heck yeah the figurehead is singing! What is that thing? One thing I've pondered is that a so-called 'Big Mom' might possibly have some equally impressive sized offspring. Also if you look specifically at the ship's sail above the one that reads 'BIG MOM' you can see a depiction of a crown and the singing figurehead is also wearing a similar one.
Oh, there's also a small difference in the anime that helped resolve something I thought was a little strange in the original. How in the world did Pecoms manage to confirm who was onboard The Sunny with his (adorably) tiny eyes??? Well, in the anime version he's clearly holding binoculars. Another great mystery of One Piece solved!
Looking at the candles decorating the ship I couldn't help but wonder if she had some help from Galdino; that design in general just oozes Giant Candle Service Set. Seriously though, candles included, it would make sense if the cake in the middle is constructed from standard building materials but what about the giant cookies wafers and treats surrounding it? Could they be edible? There's definitely a global variety of treats there with Pocky-like sticks, European wafers and candy canes. Could they be treats for Big Mom gathered from her spheres of influences around the New World?
Finally, it's awesome to see a little touch that makes Sanji look the part of captain for the 'GuruWara' Pirates. Check the jacket hanging off his shoulders, clearly a deliberate choice when compared to a number of the pirate captains in the series.
TV Anime #662
One Piece Vol.56 Ch.542 & 551
One Piece Vol.73 Ch.730