An 11th Challenger Has Arrived!
The Strawhat Crew is decked out in glorious gaming fashion on Chapter 1028’s colorspread! While it’s difficult to mention any of the titles or companies by names, the line-up certainly appears to be referencing a certain multiplayer brawler title. Said brawler includes characters that have appeared on console games for what I’ll just call ‘The Big N’ throughout its history and Odacchi seems to have largely kept that theme in place. While most of the tributes are fairly straightforward, I was initially a bit perplexed by Sanji, Chopper, and Brook.
Sanji: While I’m pretty sure I have an *inkling* of a clue, the armor he’s wearing doesn’t seem to match what I’ve seen in the game. Still, Odacchi has never had a problem with making Sanji hold a gun so the water cannon-like device seems to seal the deal.
Chopper: On first glance, it appears strikingly like *that* red-cheeked world-famous mascot character right down to the shape of the tail but the creature itself is *very* different from what we all know. However, Odacchi played his hand on this one in the making-of sketch video released online. I can’t say where, but if you slow it down, there’s a point where Odacchi’s sketch is right on par with that electrifying rodent.
Brook: This one would’ve been tough without the hair color. Purple hair and a striking cloak reminded me of a certain rendition of Dracula in an early-90’s game series that was largely based in Dracula’s castle. However! Artist Mike Lucas pointed out that the hair is strikingly similar to yet another (and much younger) rendition of Dracula in a spin-off title from the same developer in 1990 with the biggest difference being white hair instead of purple. I’d like to think Odacchi mixed the two designs!
So what about this 11th person? I’m speaking, of course, about Yamato! Yamato’s beast form was revealed in this chapter and it could easily be the twin of a wolf from a very popular action adventure game that, coincidentally enough, saw players controlling a wolf deity. Is this a hint from Odacchi that Yamato will soon join our cosplaying crew?!
Weekly Shonen Jump #45 Ch.1028
Crewmate vs Partner
Interesting choice of words by Killer to round out the chapter. He called Kid his ‘aibo’ or ‘partner’ which is often used to suggest the trope-like relationship between partners of a police department. Without getting excessively analytical, it simply tells us that these two have probably been through some *tough* spots before; not the least of which was facing Sakazuki together at some point during the time-skip. This isn’t a term Oda has allowed the Strawhats to use amongst themselves and…rightfully so. Although hard to express, the term seems a bit more mature than ‘nakama’. Of course this makes perfect sense for our main crew considering they are *very* young at heart compared to a hardened crew of pillagers like the (ironically named) Kid Pirates.
As for whether or not we’ll get to see the origin of Kid and Killer’s relationship on the pages of the series itself…don’t keep your fingers crossed. With collaborative One Piece supplemental material like novels and guest-artist works like those seen in One Piece Magazine, Oda’s opportunities to expand the history of his characters is no longer limited to simply the pages of his own manga! Maybe an SBS?! We’ll see!
Weekly Shonen Jump #47 Ch.1029