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第158回:Dragon Slayer Zoro

2021/02/24

COMIC

Dragon Slayer Zoro

Hiryu kaen (meaning ‘Soaring Dragon Blaze’ and likely a play on the medical condition ‘biryuu kaen’ or ‘rhinophyma inflammation’) is one of Zoro’s techniques that should be familiar to long-time One Piece fans as he originally used it against Ryuma’s body in their duel on Thriller Bark.

In life, Ryuma himself used a technique that was strikingly similar to Zoro’s pose for the sole purpose of slaying a dragon.

While Zoro wasn’t fighting a dragon on Thriller Bark, here the circle becomes complete as he has performed the technique on an actual dragon in Ryuma’s home of Wano. While it’s a shame he couldn’t use Shusui for the attack, Enma’s history certainly makes it the appropriate tool for the job.

If Zoro hadn’t missed, would he have been an actual dragon slayer?

Weekly Shonen Jump #9 Ch.1002
One Piece Vol.48 Ch.467
WANTED

Guts (daze)

Luffy bluntly states that his ‘guts’ (ie. conviction/determination) are what protected him from the fire but…I can’t help but feel that there’s something more to it than just that. Don’t get me wrong, I think Luffy firmly believes it’s just his guts keeping him safe but I wonder if there’s something he’s not aware of on his side. We’ve seen him mysteriously utilize fire with his ‘Red’ series of attacks and now we have him being protected from fire? With his dear deceased brother and still-living brother bearing the power of the Flame-flame Fruit, I find it hard to believe that’s all just a coincidence!

Weekly Shonen Jump #9 Ch.1002

“No, That’s Not a Knife!”

Oda-sensei’s spread across six pages were a surprising and powerful take on a somewhat tropish technique to displaying power balances between opposing forces during manga battles. Typically speaking, if two opposing forces have yet to arrive at the climax of a battle and the author’s intent is to display one force as superior, a two-page spread is often used to emphasize the superior side’s status. Anecdotally-speaking, it’s a standard technique used throughout modern battle manga. However, when the author wants to surprise readers and show that the opposing (ie. ‘weaker’) force can actually perform something more powerful, the first two-page spread will be immediately followed by a second two-page spread with the opposing side displaying superiority. In the right hands, this can surprise readers as well as excite them. Anecdotally-speaking, typically such displays usually favor the hero or heroine with the first spread being dedicated to the antagonistic side, with the second spread being dedicated to the protagonist. It’s the manga equivalent or Crocodile Dundee’s , “That’s not a knife?” scene.

Chapter 1003 follows that pattern to a T with Zoro’s Dragon Twister technique. It even plays off of our expectations while reading Kaido’s initial attack. Who didn’t read that first spread and think to think to themselves, “Wait! That’s Zoro’s technique! He can do that!” Oda-sensei plays by the rules and gives us a cathartic spread of Zoro unleashing his powered up Dragon Twister technique and we all felt pretty satisfied…until we turned the page.

BOOM!!! YET ANOTHER SPREAD!!!! Instead of Zoro ending with the upper hand, Oda-sensei breaks the rules in order to show us the scale of what they’re up against. Whatever punishment they deal out, Kaido will dole out more. That’s 6 pages of precious material dedicated to a single subliminal story-telling technique and as a long-time reader of manga, seeing Oda-sensei break rules like this is extremely rewarding. It’s as if Kaido stared at Zoro and said, “No son, that’s not a knife, THESE ARE MY KNIVES!”

Weekly Shonen Jump #10 Ch.1003

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