The Art of War
Despite being a rough and tumble street fight (or mirror fight) between two titans, there’s an adroit performance on display here that not only tells an exciting story but also paints an elegant picture in the reader’s mind of exactly how and why this battle should make us feel that Luffy might actually lose! Let’s take a cursory look at how Oda-sensei is indirectly guiding our hopes and expectations through the actions of his characters.
The pattern of Luffy testing Katakuri’s battle prowess should be strikingly familiar as we just saw this in Dressrosa:
Luffy tested his speed and strength against Doflamingo’s with Mingo commenting on Luffy’s lack of superiority. Luffy tests Katakuri with the same approach in this chapter.
In this way, we as readers can easily understand that Luffy’s standard repertoire of techniques will be largely ineffective and a sense of uncertainty sets in. “Uh-oh! How can Luffy beat this guy?”
In Dressrosa Oda-sensei answered that concern with Gear 4th. But Oda-sensei can’t use the same trump card twice. What’s more, we also have the threat of Katakuri’s ability to replicate and *improve* Luffy’s attacks along with his devastating mastery of Color of Observation allowing him to see 10 seconds into the future.
This combination of undesirable scenarios can be best surmised as Oda-sensei speaking directly to the reader saying, “Nothing you’ve seen Luffy do to this point will be able to topple his opponent...”
And so our initial feeling after reading a Chapter 879 should be despair. But after just a moment of reflection we are jolted back to reality where we hear Oda-sensei continue, “…That means Luffy is going to beat this guy in a way that shatters everything you thought you knew about him!”
Using your characters to speak for you in order to create a glimmer of hope from absolute despair, that’s part of what it takes to be a master storyteller!
Weekly Shonen Jump #43 Ch.879
One Piece Vol.78 Ch.783
High Stakes on High Seas
In One Piece Magazine vol.2, Oda-sensei mentioned that despite being a pirate manga in serialization for 20 years, One Piece has only had a handful of major sea battles or encounters that include that Strawhats. With the current plan to deliver the cake to Mom at sea, this very well may be the very first full-fledged PIRATE SHIP BOSS BATTLE in the series for the Strawhats!
Eventually they may need some solid ground to fight on so is that where a certain mobile country might come in handy?
Weekly Shonen Jump #39 Ch.876
Is it just a coincidence that there are 31 chefs in a land of sweets and, in Japan, Baskin-Robbins ice cream goes by the name of the number of flavors, not the names of the founders? Furthermore, in Japanese, the WCI could also stand for ‘double (‘w’ is frequently used to abbreviate ‘double’) cup ice [cream]’.
Weekly Shonen Jump #44 Ch.880
When Luffy pulled off Gum Gum Kong Organ in the comic it was a little bit difficult to tell if he was simply moving his arms at high speed in a purely horizontal Gatling-style attack but the animation sheds some light on this attack’s mechanism.
While we can’t say for certain, there were no visual or aural hints that suggest Luffy is moving his arms at high speed and so we may assume that Luffy has in fact stretched himself to the point of making multiple appendages! The potential for new and complex attacks in this way are limitless!
Where did Luffy come up with this? Did he get the idea from watching Cracker increase his armor’s arms?
TV Anime #800
The Years of Sanji
Twenty years of One Piece means that some people watching the anime might not have been watching from the beginning or might not have read the story in the manga. While this episode delivers an excellent summary of the relationship between Sanji and Zeff for new fans, I *highly* recommend watching the full story in Episode 26. Due to time constraints, Episode 801’s retelling is a truncated one and there are some truly great additional scenes that add to the drama.
And for those who’ve never read the manga, you *must* do yourself a favor and read Chapters 57 and 58. If you can believe it, the original version is even more dramatic!
While we’re talking about Sanji and Zeff, be sure to check out this JUMP+ original comic depicting a trip to the restaurant which was the inspiration for Baratie, ‘Baratei’ where Oda-sensei worked part-time as a student! Some great pictures of the restaurant and an original drawing of Sanji that you won’t be able to see anywhere else!
TV Anime #801
One Piece Vol.7 Ch.57