One Piece Vol. #53 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Luffy gets flung pretty far almost from the start of this volume and ends up in a paradise filled with women who… hate men.
Writer/Artist: Eiichiro Oda
Translation: Taylor Eagle
Adaptation: Lance Caselman
What They Say
When the Straw Hats come in contact with Bartholomew Kuma's bare paw, this Warlord of the Sea's teleportation power sends them flying to an unknown location. Luffy lands on a maiden island where he battles the local Amazons. But with the crew scattered all around the world, will they ever be able to meet up again?!
The fourth volume of the five volume Sabaody arc is one that focuses almost exclusively on Luffy, which isn't a bad thing since it's setting up for the next major arc to occur which is really focused on him pretty heavily. The opening of the volume has Luffy and the Straw Hats getting taken down pretty hard by Batholomew Kuma as he's going at them with no regrets in the slightest. Every time he lands a really serious hit on them though, his teleportation power kicks in and bam, off they go to some unknown destination. Almost like ten little inidians, they're all being thrown all over the place and panicking over suddenly lost friends. Luffy's anger is pretty evident but that doesn't stop him from getting swatted down, or swatted up as the case may be, and he finds himself flung pretty far away.
Where he lands is rather amusing and entertaining as he finds himself on Amazon Lilly, under the nation of Kuja, which is basically the island of women. No man shall set foot on the island, he quickly learns, and no male shall be born on the island either it appears. The warrior women that make up the island invariably leave at some time or another and come back pregnant and they only give birth to more women, thus continuing the cycle nicely. Luffy's arrival occurs when the Snake Princess of the island, Boa Hancock, is away at a meeting elsewhere so those on the island are frantic to get rid of Luffy before she gets back and causes them no end of grief. Luffy's pretty tenacious though and because of his nature, he's actually able to befriend some of them before Hancock returns.
Boa Hancock and her sisters are pretty interesting as they're cursed women who have ended up with control of the island. There's a curse that they're all under that keeps them from disrobing in front of others which if revealed would mean they'd probably lose control over everyone. Yet as much as they push Hancock and her sisters as being cruel, and they do have cruel moments such as turning some of the amazons into stone, they don't come across as evil per se. Hancock issues the quick kill order for Luffy but his resilience is amusing in this instance and it impresses Hancock quite readily. Her personality and the relationship she has with her sisters based off of the secrets that they're sharing gives them some nice background to work with that lightly ties into events in the past that Luffy has some experience with. The world building continues nicely here overall as another interesting area is essentially discovered.
Reading this volume of One Piece, the first I've read since the very first volume, was a whole lot of fun. Some of Oda's layouts are just a bit too busy for my tastes but I like the rough nature of it at times as well as the way he can make some of his women so sensual under these kinds of designs. Hancock in particular really shines here for good reason. With this getting us closer to the end of the Sabaody arc and the start of the Impel Down arc, where I'm currently at in the anime version, this volume gave me some nice background on events there that I wasn't familiar with. Jumping into the book at this point was fairly easy with the awkward way I'm dealing with the One Piece franchise and it left me with a lot of smiles and somewhat curious about checking out more at some point. The introduction of Hancock is definitely a very big selling point here as I think she's definitely a fun and sexy confident character to have around.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left