After a few small steps, the gang finally sets sail for Skypiea.
Writer/Artist: Eiichiro Oda
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: Lance Caselman
What they Say
Talk about impossible! Luffy and the Straw Hats have to find a way to sail to an island in the sky, and the only one who can show them the way is known to be a greater liar than Usopp! It won't be easy, but can they trust their lives to someone nobody believes in?!
As our volume opens, the crew is searching for the mysterious Mont Blanc Cricket, a man who is said to talk of big dreams, in hopes that he can help them reach the island in the sky. Arriving at his house, everyone is shocked to see a grand castle-looking building… only to find out that it’s just a plywood cutout, and the man is really only living in half a house! The man isn’t home, though, and as the gang looks around, they stumble upon a storybook entitled “Noland the Liar”. The book tells of a man who spoke of grand adventures and even went so far as to tell a king about a city of gold and go out to find it with him.
When they arrived, however, there was no gold and Noland was to be executed. His final claim was that the gold must have sunk into the sea. We soon learn that Jaya, the island the crew is currently on, was the location of the supposed city of gold and Mont Blanc Cricket is a descendant of Noland. Cricket appears and we also learn that he is the boss of the two salvaging monkey brothers from the last volume. Holding the family name of Noland the Liar, Cricket has endured a lot of hardship in his life, and searches for Noland’s city of gold by diving into his ocean, as his personal “battle” against his ancestor, who he blames for ruining his life. Cricket then agrees to help the crew reaches the sky island. He explains that to get there, they will have to prepare for the next day when an explosive knock up stream and the Imperio-Cumulus cloud which may contain the sky island will line up, allowing them to reach their destination.Obviously, catapulting their ship into the sky is incredibly dangerous, but Luffy insists on pushing on and reaching the island in the sky, so Cricket agrees to refit their ship (it isn’t exactly in the best condition right now) so they can have a better chance of survival.
During the night, however, Cricket realizes that the crew would have no chance of navigating to the knock up stream as they only have the log pose for navigation, which can only point towards islands, so he sends them out into the forest to find a South Bird (a bird that will always face south.) While the crew is out searching for the mischievous bird, Bellamy the Hyena and his crew attack Cricket and steal the few golden artifacts he has found in his long, hard search for Noland’s city of gold. Despite needing to prepare for their departure, Luffy vows to defeat Bellamy and retrieve Cricket’s gold. While Bellamy is living it up in town, we soon discover that Luffy’s bounty has been raised to a whopping 100 million berries. Even with Bellamy’s devil fruit powers, Luffy manages to defeat him with a single, regular punch. Luffy returns the gold, and finds that the ship has been repaired and outfitted for the journey.
We then cut to a short scene with Bugsy and his crew meeting up with Ace, followed by a scene involving the leaders of the Navy and two of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. We are then introduced to the Blackbeard Pirates, who are attempting to hunt down Luffy for his bounty, only to be blown away by the knock up stream, which then sends the crew flying up into the skies.
This volume manages to get in a nice little aside before the arc starts in earnest, focusing a little on the emotional side of things rather than the fighting. It’s interesting to watch Luffy and Cricket fight for their dreams, especially in the face of Bellamy’s boasting and disdain towards dreamers. While the prospect of some new long drawn out fights is certainly exciting, it’s great to see the author take the time to go through this little miniature arc before leaping into the action.