Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
This is the rise of a Princess in times of war and peace.
There certainly isn’t a shortage of amazing characters in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga and aside from the main cast that has shown us their true nature it is Princess Vivi that I have come to admire the most about One Piece’s many colorful characters. Like Luffy, she has a spirit that is hard to break and a strong determination to do what is right that she is willing to put her life on the line and that’s exactly what she does in Volume 23 of One Piece as the battle for Alabasta comes to a riveting finale.
Fighting not only an impressive lineup of Baroque Works agents and a ticking clock, the Straw Hats and Princess Vivi have done the impossible and reached the King Cobra’s palace in an effort to put an end to the fighting. With Luffy confronting Sir Crocodile, the rest of the Straw Hats attempt to stop yet another tragedy … a bomb that is set to explode over the palace square where rebels and the royal army are fighting. Unfortunately for them, two Baroque Works agents (Ms. Father’s Day and Mr. 7) guarding the cannon set to launch the bomb into the square.
Injured and tired, the remaining Straw Hats are trying to reach the clock tower where both agents and the bomb are located but with little time remaining the only way to reach them – as Nami sees it – is to launch the Princess and Tony Tony Chopper into the air. It’s an insane plan but knowing the Straw Hats it’s the insane plans that usual works. Launching the talking reindeer and Princess up into the air, Nami yells for Sanji to kick them even higher and Zoro to fling them towards the clock.
What they weren’t counting on was the two Baroque Works agents where are known for their sniper skills but with the aid of Zoro and Tony, the Princess is able to escape being shot and reach the cannon in time to fling the agents out of the way and cut the fuse. To her horror, Vivi realizes even if the bomb isn’t shot out of the cannon it is still set to detonate anyway. What happens next is tragic and heroic and you’ll really have to see it for yourself but in the end the bomb is taken care of without destruction to the square.
As rain suddenly begins to fall on all of Alabasta, it is clear that the war is over and when the King shows himself again the rebels and royal army finally stop fighting. You see, Luffy – poisoned and badly injured – has managed to show Crocodile what he is made of and defeats him. He also saved the King from being buried alive and collapses from the fight. In fact, all the members of the Straw Hat simply drop from exhaustion.
Meanwhile, the Navy begins arresting the defeated members of Baroque Works and place Crocodile under arrest. As some Navy officers realize that the Straw Hats are all knocked out and easy capture, it is Sergeant Tashigi who gives a most surprising order. She returns to Captain Smoker thinking her decision would have very negative consequences but Smoker understands her decision and stands by it even before “Black Cage” Hina, the Navy Captain of this particular region who is determined to carry out her orders to capture the Straw Hats.
As the pirate heroes recover from their injuries and feast on the best food that Alabasta has to offer, the crew decides to sneak out of Alabasta to escape capture. Vivi is offered a place among them again but she begins to think about Alabasta and all the work that must be done to rectify all the damage done. Luffy and many of the others don’t want to leave her behind but it is clear that the people of Alabasta need her now as their Princess. The problem is pushing through the Navy blockade that is handled by Captain Hina but help comes in the form of a most unusual source … Mr. 2 Bon Clay! What he does for Luffy and the others is nothing short of surprising and touching.
Volume 23 of One Piece is a fitting end to one of the more epic story arcs as the final fate of Alabasta is decided in the last rush to save the kingdom. Not only was the quest to save Alabasta an exciting moment for One Piece fans but even its conclusion is memorable. It’s still no wonder we continue to follow our favorite pirates and will continue to do so as they set sail again.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With mere seconds before the Baroque Works bomb will demolish the square with both sides fighting below, the Straw Hats and Princess Vivi make a final push to stop hundreds from being killed. In a chamber below, Luffy is fighting against Sir Crocodile to the death in a final battle. The outcome of the battle ends the long war and a Princess takes her place among her people.
The art in the series has continuously been amazing and the same can be said about this volume so expect Oda-sensei’s art to wow you again.
The fate of Alabasta is decided in a final push to save a kingdom that was chaotically thrown into a great war as the Straw Hats and a very determined Princess end the war in Volume 23. One Piece has always been a series filled with surprises but this story arc and its conclusion have been a true highlight of this series that just doesn’t fail to amuse or impress.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media