One Piece, Vol. 22 – Manga Review

Review by: Edward Zacharias

Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Alabasta makes its final stand!

It’s story arcs like the Battle for Alabasta that has made One Piece fans realize that, after 22 volumes, this series has yet to have had a dull moment. We have followed the Straw Hat pirates through a number of interesting adventures but nothing comes to this epic-sized story arc that just seemed to be getting better and better with each volume. As the story is coming close to its finale, Volume 22 of One Piece pushes the action envelope as the Straw Hats face the man who caused Alabasta to self-destruct.

Having fought her way to the palace while her Straw Hat companions faced off against the dangerous agents of Baroque Works, Princess Vivi finally reaches her father – King Cobra – who is in the clutches of the man who started the conflict in the first place … Sir Crocodile. The confrontation, of course, is ugly but it becomes clear that Crocodile doesn’t only want the dangerous weapon known as the Pluton but he also wishes to rule over a new desert version of Alabasta.

On top of that, Crocodile makes another announcement that shocks everyone present … there’s going to be an explosion that will kill everyone in the palace square in just a few minutes and with rebels and palace soldiers fighting below the death toll will be massive. As the remaining palace guards fight Crocodile and then Chaka launches his own attack, the dastardly Crocodile makes short work of them. As Koza, the leader of the rebels finds out Crocodile’s plan, he attempts to stop the fighting only to be shot down and thus sparking more violence between the two factions.

Meanwhile, each Straw Hat, having gone up against an agent, comes out victoriously yet not without sustaining injuries. Zolo is the last to come out of his battle and joins Nami who managed to take down Ms. Doublefinger with Usopp’s party favor-like weapon. With Tony and Usopp attempting to rejoin Princess Vivi, it is none other than Monkey D. Luffy who reaches the palace just in time to save the Princess. Having escaped death more than once, Luffy faces off against Crocodile with a secret up his sleeve that finally makes this an even fight.

Luckily, Princess Vivi is joined by the remaining Straw Hats but with no idea of where the explosive or cannon will destroy the square it will be a close one indeed. Then again, with the rebels and those loyal to the King continue to fight; it’s not going to be easy. To make matters even more complicated, Ms. All Sunday forces King Cobra to take her to where the Pluton might be hidden. Leading her to a catacomb, the text written on the walls reveals very little.

Unfortunately for Ms. All Sunday, though, Crocodile has come to the end of his partnership with the woman he really knows as Nico Robin. According to the Marines, Nico Robin has been wanted since she was a child until she was taken in by Baroque Works. None of this matters to Crocodile, though, who goes up against the woman. What Crocodile wasn’t expecting was Luffy to come back for one last round with yet another trick up his sleeve.

Speaking of the Marines, they show up again with Tashigi leading the troops and – in a most unusual moment – sides with the Straw Hats in order to save Alabasta. It finally occurs to Princess Vivi where the explosive might be hidden but just as they reach there they encounter two dangerous Baroque Works agents. Meanwhile, Crocodile pulls out a deadly weapon of his own as he fights Luffy in one final showdown. Things are definitely going to get really interesting.

As Alabasta has mere seconds before the square is destroyed and Luffy makes his stand against Crocodile, Volume 22 of One Piece becomes even more exciting as the story arc is coming to its intense finale. If you haven’t picked up a One Piece volume for a long time then you are missing out on a rewarding and action-filled series.

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Despite the fact that Princess Vivi has finally reached the palace and has even convinced the leader of the rebels to stop fighting, Crocodile is about unleash a bigger threat on Alubarna that could add to the body count. Meanwhile, the Straw Hats race to help the Princess as Monkey D. Luffy makes it out of the desert to challenge Crocodile.

ART: A+
The art has gotten a lot more elaborate in this series and that’s a very good thing as this volume gives us plenty to like visually.

OVERALL: A
The clock is ticking – literally – as Princess Vivi and the Straw Hats clash with the remaining Baroque Works agents and soldiers in Volume 22 of One Piece. The end of this exciting and action-packed story arc is coming to it’s stunning conclusion as we can see from this volume that’s simply way too much fun that you won’t be able to put it down.

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