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第153回:Killer Queen

2020/11/18

COMIC

Killer Queen…and King

Queen’s Plague Round bullets have the ability to freeze victims and infect them with the ‘Freeze Tag’ virus, turning them into oni (Japanese ogres of myth) via an icy transformation. The name ‘Freeze Tag’ is based on the name of a Japanese children’s game of the same name which is literally called ‘Ice Oni’. According to Chopper, the transformative effects of the virus are serious and threaten to leave victims with severe if not lethal damage.

In other words, will those infected by the virus ever be able to return to their former state? Hmmm….

Right! Anyway! Speaking of Japanese myths and legends, famous tales such as ‘Momotarou’ -upon which Wano’s arc has been thematically based- include blue oni. These ogres haven’t been named by color *but* ice is typically a blue color making these essentially the blue oni from Momotarou. *However!* There are also ‘red’ oni. If blue oni are ice, this could indicate that red oni would be…fire-based!?

If Queen made ice oni could that mean King can make fire oni? How could he do that? One possible suggestion! How about that endless burning fire on his back! I’m not entirely sure about the connection but if he can spread that flame, perhaps it could create fire oni similar to how Queen is creating fire oni. Something to think about.

Also, while we’re thinking about the Animal Kingdom Pirates, reflecting on their epithets with respect to recent on-goings seems to shed light on their thematic place in the world of One Piece: ‘Queen the Plague’ ‘King the Conflagration’ and ‘Jack the Drought’. All of these are natural disasters but as we learn more about the All-Stars of Kaido’s crew, it seems that they are *actually able to* recreate their eponymous nicknames. Queen is literally spreading and creating plague. King has been seen with an ever-burning fire. And Jack might be able to consume great amounts of water with his nose and weaponized it well enough to make a fishman blush with shame. And at the apex of these catastrophes looms Kaidou.

Kaidou’s abilities may in fact be based on the Japanese saying ‘jishin kaminari kaji oyaji’ or: ‘Things to fear: earthquakes, lightning, fire, and most of all, fathers’. The idiom itself is partially tongue-in-cheek, but Kaidou seems to embody almost all of those fear-inducing catastrophes.

He breathes fire and lightning (or what appear to be fire and lightning).
He is most certainly a father.
And thrashing about as a dragon may actually cause artificial tremors.

It goes without say that Whitebeard also encompassed the ‘father’ and ‘earthquake’ aspect, but thematically, the tie-in to this famous idiom seems much stronger here.

I do believe Oda-sensei is trying to tell us that the Beast Pirates are in fact a living, breathing embodiment of the most devastating natural catastrophes.

Weekly Shonen Jump #46 Ch.992
Weekly Shonen Jump #47 Ch.993

When the Weak Are Strongest

Manga are filled with fantastic super-powered characters that display boggling feats of strength, but they also include decidedly human-like characters with whom the readers can relate to as a ‘normal’ human in abnormal circumstances. When these characters are hurt or injured in fight scenes, the impact of their injuries hits ten-fold harder than the toughest hero taking a game-ending blow.

In this chapter, these members of the Strawhat’s –the so-called ‘Weak Trio’- each face devastating scenarios and I was *not* ready for the emotional tsunami waiting for me in the latter half. Oda-sensei!!! This was unfair!

Chopper

In no way did I even consider that Chopper might get infected. What a perfect (and terrible) twist! Doctors heals those who are sick but what happens when the doctor is sick!? How can he get out of this? If the spread of the disease across one’s body can be slowed, Chopper can buy some time by chomping on a Rumble Ball and turning into a giant to gain a minute or two but that would mean he’d turn into the oni in his monster form which could have devastating results. He’d become an even more dangerous version of his monstrous self, and revert to being unable to discern between friend and foe.

Would he even give Zoro a run for his money!?

Usopp

Oh no! This panel is almost exactly like that panel from Chapter 186! Let’s compare them!

So looking at them side-by-side, compared to the blow he suffered from Mr. 4, the cracks seem to be much deeper and larger. Also, interestingly enough, back in 2001 Oda-sensei made the scene seem even more like an X-ray by including the outline of Usopp’s lips but he decided to leave them out here.

Looking at his nose, there seems to be less cartilage (or…bone? ^o^;) but hard to tell if that’s because Ulti shattered his nose that badly, or if it was left shattered after Mr. 4’s swing two years ago.

That said, even more than Ulti’s head-butt, I think Usopp might be most damaged by Page-One’s words of ridicule towards Usopp’s Pop Green attacks. Being called ‘pathetic’ will likely hit Usopp’s pride like a wrecking ball. I wonder if this will spurn him on to create a new line of attacks.

To be honest, I personally enjoy Usopp’s gimmicky invention-based attacks more than the vaguely explained Pop Green line of attacks so this might be a great opportunity! No matter what Page-One says, you’re a champ Usopp!

Nami

Wow…. Just….wow… This folks, I was *not* prepared for this scene. A few columns ago we reviewed each time the Strawhats declared that Luffy would be the Pirate King and uh…yeah this lands with just a little more impact than the time Nami told Cracker Luffy would be the Pirate King.

I don’t think I’m the only one who was reduced to tears while reading this scene. Try and remember Nami’s first meeting with Luffy. She was ready to deliver Luffy to Buggy with a bow on his head. That *same* Nami just remained honest and unbudging in her devotion to Luffy.

She could have lied and no one would have been the wiser. This isn’t like ONE PIECE FILM STRONG WORLD. Nami’s belief in Luffy’s ability to *help her* isn’t being called into question. It’s purely her spoken word of belief. She *had* an escape and…she didn’t take it. She accepted death over *verbally betraying* her belief in Luffy’s dream. That is the apex of selflessness and loyalty.

Oda-sensei, that was unfair. We need at least *some* warning before you pull that kind of story out!

….please do it again★

Weekly Shonen Jump #50 Ch.995
One Piece Vol.2 Ch.9
One Piece Vol.20 Ch.186

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