Happy birthday One Piece! 17 years old…wow…in human years that's smack in the middle of the rebellious teenage years. It also means the series is as old as Luffy was for the first half of the story. I wonder what kind of crazy stuff he'll be up to two years from now when One Piece reaches Luffy's current age. Right, so let's talk about the Straw Hats whom Oda-sensei drew getting all dolled up (most of them anyway) in front of a mirror for the 17th anniversary color spread. We'll start with Brook in the top left and work our away across.


WAY TOO MUCH COLOGNE! Is that even how men are supposed to apply it!? I guess he really loves cologne, no bones about it. YOHOHOHO-!!! Also check out the brand, 'Horror'.


THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! Do you see what's underneath the backwards 'MUGIWARA' (Straw Hat)? Look at that Straw Hat jolly roger! Considering Luffy is the artist, IT'S AWESOME! What happened during the time-skip? Did he take art lessons on Luskaina as well??* Check out the abomination he drew when he was 17. *sniff* Our little Luffy is growing up, drawing halfway recognizable pieces of artwork with lipstick on a mirror.

By the way, doesn't that lipstick look suspiciously like the same kind Robin is using below? If it is someone's due for a verbal beating later.


What's this guy all smiles for? Mister 'Oh I'm color-coordinating my look'. Pink suits him actually. By the way, this might just be a coincidence but the original model for Sanji's design, actor Steve Buscemi, portrayed the role of a character nicknamed Mr. Pink in one of Oda-sensei's favorite films.


Usopp is going for the Elton John look with those shades. Note the 1 and 7 there, put 'em together and what've you got? Seventeen years. If you look carefully you can even make out his brand of cologne, 'Soge King'. Nice. Also of note, his impressive collection of badges! Let's zoom in on these. I can see 'Rabbit', 'Big' and even one with 'Usopp' written three times. I couldn't possibly read what's on the green one with yellow text, caaan you?


W,wait a second! Is Nami in her…undergarments!? *Nosebleed FWOOOOSH* Jolly good. I spy with my little eye, some SUPER expensive perfume. 'No3 Chan…' Wow, well now we know what a significant portion of their treasure haul gets spent on.


THERE THEY ARE AGAIN! The sake with Zoro's attack names! We first saw them on the splash page of Chapter 737. This time 'Yaki Onigiri' seems to have been his poison of choice, dashing off with a dried squid in his mouth. This time the naming is a little different, the hiragana り or 'ri' at the end isn't written out as it was in 737. The other bottle reads 悪魔 or 'akuma' traditionally translated as 'devil'. Hmmm…what do we know that starts with 'devil' from One Piece? Not any of Zoro's *current* moves, that's for sure. Maybe it's more like the bottle of 七武海 or 'shichibukai' that Zoro was drinking during FILM Z; instead of being a move, perhaps it's something that *exists* in the One Piece world. In that case it couldn't possibly be…*that*…could it? If so, that stuff'll probably put some hair on your chest!


The fan reactions to this were great.
"Hey, you got Viola in my Robin!"
"You got your Robin in my Viola!"
Robiola? Violin? Yeah, Violin, let's go with that. So yes, they do look very similar, but I think it's partially the lipstick's fault. Pretty sure we haven't seen Robin wearing lipstick in a scene drawn by Oda-sensei until now. It's heartwarming to know that the same emotionally scarred Robin from Enies Lobby is now as free-spirited as the rest of the crew.


Franky's looking SUPER as he styles his hair and chugs cola. Looks like he's got some pirate-themed men's hair gel there as well. I wonder how much he needs for his hair…


Fresh out of a hot bath Chopper chugs some milk. After a dip in a hot spring, having a tall glass of moo juice is quite common in Japan. Recalling his stint in FILM Z where he was actually dressed *as* a cow, it's kind of hard to see him as anything other than a milk addict. I tried reading the milk brand but it went over my head. I could make out 'KOMO' but I can't imagine what the rest is. The 'mo' is probably a joke on a cow's 'moo' but I'm spent. Probably a joke with the peace-sign-giving cow. Any ideas?

Saved one thing for last, check out the space behind the panels with the Straw Hats. Maybe it's just a coincidence but the scene in the same style as the sea, sky and seagull background from Chapter 1 and Chapter 598's celebratory color spreads. Happy 17th birthday One Piece! Here's to many more.

週刊少年ジャンプ 37・38号 第756話
ONE PIECE 1巻(第1話)
ONE PIECE 61巻(第598話)
Weekly Shonen Jump #37・38 Ch.756
One Piece Vol. 1 Ch.1
One Piece Vol. 61 Ch.598

The Interrobang!

This is an actual message I sent my colleague after reading this chapter:

G: "So I noticed something crazy cool researching the exclamation point and question marks from the splash page mini-arcs."

He responded.

S: "That might be one of the most Greg-things you've ever said."

Guilty as charged. Ah, the interrobang (!?), that staple of Japanese comics and television captions which happily marries the exclamation point and question mark in a union best verbally expressed as, "Guh-wHA!?" Today we'll feature the underappreciated interrobang and some of its punctuation mark brethren as used in One Piece's splash page mini-arcs. Starting with a recent example check out Chapter 757's Jimbei and the police dog interrobang.

No matter the character, creative punctuation has helped Oda-sensei express exactly what characters are thinking or want to say without using speech or thought bubbles. This way it's easy for the reader to see the story from the character's perspective and even if it's a villain, we can start to understand their so-called point of view. We might not necessarily sympathize with the evil-doers of the series, but it still helps humanize them. Let's look at some of my favorite unique punctuations from the mini-arcs.

The first of its kind! Having abruptly woken from his sleepwalking/fighting and unable to fully grasp the situation, Richie's response to the scenario is a big lion-themed question mark.

One Piece Vol. 7 Ch.60

On Clumsy Hot Spring Island, even their punctuation is themed to look like the Japanese map symbol for hot springs.

One Piece Vol. 34 Ch.325

Check out the seagull and skull under the question marks. They're both looking inquisitively at their partner *because* it's a question mark. Get it?

One Piece Vol. 12 Ch.101
One Piece Vol. 38 Ch.367

Django's exclamation point has turned into the mushroom growing on his chin! By the way, the lady being questioned by the generic Marine is without a doubt my number one secret crush in the series so far.

One Piece Vol. 15 Ch.136

A common symbol for decorating the Japanese god of thunder's drums is the巴 'tomoe'. In this case the three arranged in a circle are called the 三つ巴'mitsudomoe'. You can see this design on all of Ener's drums. In Chapter 435 there's a single tomoe under his question mark when he's curious but in Chapter 469 when he's *very* surprised there are three tomoe.

Also of note in Chapter 443 is the exclamation mark with reversed colors showing that Ener is righteously miffed. Also note the shape of the mark. I can't be certain but it almost looks as if it's supposed to be in the shape of his Nonosama Staff hitting a wadaiko drum, just like he does before certain attacks.

One Piece Vol. 45 Ch.435
One Piece Vol. 45 Ch.443
One Piece Vol. 48 Ch.469

Weekly Shonen Jump #39 Ch.757


We Three Pirate Kings?

*This particular entry might contain a minor spoiler if you only follow the anime. If you want to remain spoiler free, skip to the next entry*

Something I've been wondering about for a year now finally came together when I saw Episode #659.

Just one of my famously crazy theories so proceed at your own risk! When Kyros was about 24 years old, King Riku entered the coliseum under a fake name, 'Ricky', wearing a pirate's jolly roger cape. He participated in a battle royale tournament where he ultimately lost to Kyros. Flash forward to modern day, King Riku once again assumed the false name 'Ricky' and shouldered the jolly roger cape in order to join the Block B tournament. Why would Riku wear a pirate cape? Even before Doflamingo royally destroyed (zing!) Riku's rule in one night, Riku hated pirates:

He's got more reason than anyone in the kingdom to loath pirates so why did he use it for a disguise? This entire time I was asking the wrong question. It's not, "Why 'would' he dress like a pirate gladiator?", it's, "Why 'wouldn't' he dress like a pirate gladiator?" With all the trouble pirates caused for his kingdom, there's no way anyone would suspect King Riku of being the true identity of a pirate gladiator, it was an almost flawless disguise that even Kyros didn't see through until they were deep in battle.

And by this point you're wondering what the title of this segment has to do with all of this. That's because it doesn't, UNTIL NOW! The other day I had an epiphany. I realized there are currently three pirate kings in Dressrosa!

Riku: A 'Pirate' (Gladiator) King

Luffy: He's going to be the Pirate King

Doflamingo: Who is actually a 'Pirate' King

Face-melting, I know.

TV Anime #659
One Piece Vol. 71 Ch.707
One Piece Vol. 73 Ch.727
One Piece Vol. 74 Ch.742
One Piece Vol. 75 Ch.750

Increasing the 'Number of Tragedies'

Woah… That was harsh. I thought the end of Episode #659 was pretty intense but it doesn't even compare to Episode #660. For a king as kind as Riku to be forced to commit such atrocious acts is unthinkable. In the flashback within a flashback we see a little girl holding a very characteristic doll which hit me as strange because I didn't remember her from the comic. In the very next scene I (unfortunately) found out why. As the town burns we watch as Riku tramples the girl's dolls under his horse, the girl nowhere to be seen. This makes an already difficult scene even more heartbreaking. I'm with Robin, Doflamingo is unforgivable.

But in the midst of that, can I just ask one question? Why is there a boy wearing a shirt that reads ONIGIRI or 'riceball'???

TV Anime #660