Setting reveals! One of the ‘biggest’ ways Oda-sensei helps pull readers into his world is by granting us a sweeping view of his settings that I believe, in most cases, are deliberately constructed to recreate Luffy’s potential field of vision. Our sample this arc is the two-page spread of Whole Cake Island.
In this first *full* reveal of the island, note how we, the readers, have our attention drawn to the island at the same time as Luffy. Let’s look at some other iconic examples from the past:
I believe that Oda-sensei gives us such dramatic views so that we experience each new setting with the same sense of wonder and excitement as Luffy. But it’s not simply Luffy’s perspective at work here, there’s another key element helping to make these scenes so dizzyingly extraordinary; ships! Without Merry, Sunny or even The Puffing Tom there wouldn’t be a familiar key element for readers to judge the setting by and that would rob us of the shock of size. For example, remove the Sunny from the Whole Cake Island example and we have no idea of scale! Furthermore, by placing the vessel just barely on the page at the bottom, the *last* thing readers see in the ship giving cause for double-take when it hits us, “Wait, it’s THAT big!?”
Knight & Bishop
Aha! Here we see another two chess pieces, a knight and a bishop.
That leaves only the king… Or is it kings?
Weekly Shonen Jump #30 Ch.830
One Piece Vol.15 Ch.132
One Piece Vol.26 Ch.239
One Piece Vol.34 Ch.323
One Piece Vol.39 Ch.376
One Piece Vol.46 Ch.444
It would be remiss of me not to address the elephant in the room, that lollipop ‘Sanji’ is holding. Geez, that brings back some memories… If you don’t know what I’m talking about, bless your heart. Anyway, here’s something to mull over, Luffy’s doppleganger in the chapter appears to be a mirror image of real Luffy. Quick readers might assume the same for what appears to be Sanji’s double, but take careful note that the would-be Strawhat cook is sporting the same hair part -open over his left eye- as from *after* the time-skip so it’s definitely not a mirror fake like Luffy’s.
Furthermore, ‘Sanji’ also appears at the same time as fake Luffy in a different location so they cannot be the same individual. Since Mr. 2 (Bentham) is still partying comfortably in Newkama Land there seems to be someone or someoneS out there who can form doubles. Hmmm… marzipan, a sugary confection, may be molded and dyed into strikingly realistic artwork. Is this a candy ‘Sanji’ brought to life by Big Mom’s abilities?
Weekly Shonen Jump #31 Ch.831
Bart & Luff’s Bogus Journey
The One Piece Film: GOLD tie-in filler mini-arc kicks off with Luffy and Bartolomeo being captured by Desire of the Sweet Pirates from East Blue. These bad biker, er…*swordfish* biker girls appear to be based on female Japanese street gangs from the 1980’s and 90’s.
Hmmm…small-time gangs from East Blue…that sounds suspiciously like…BARTOLOMEO! Yup, turns out these two grew up together and they even received scolding and advice from the same granny! Hmmm… considering their Japanese gang-style attitude, do you think Bartolomeo or Desire ever ran into Johnny or Yosaku in East Blue?
You may also note, the Sweet Pirates’ ‘tokko-fuku’ jackets bear the kanji 甘党 or ‘amatou’ which means ‘Sweet Tooth’. I’m sure there’s no direct story correlation but we also recently saw a character on Whole Cake Island with the same kanji on his/her clothing!
Weekly Shonen Jump #30 Ch.830
TV Anime #747
Mine the Gap
Like the television special, ‘Heart of Gold’, this mini-arc loosely ties into the plot of ‘One Piece Film: GOLD’ via appearances of overlapping characters and apparently, themes as well!
Without giving too much away, theater goers will experience an important scene in ‘GOLD’ finds certain Strawhats trapped deep within the bowels of Gran Tesoro in a prison made entirely out of gold. But here, on the small screen, Luffy and Bartolomeo find themselves in a subterranean *silver* mine which doubles as a *prison* for former members of the Silver Pirate Alliance.
As for this Avelon fellow, he reminds me a great deal of the similarly wheel-appendaged villains from a film in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ series. I wonder if they served as an inspiration!
TV Anime #748