Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
This is the beginning of a whole new voyage and there will be monkey men and more pirates.
The battle to save Alabasta has been one of the more riveting, compelling and action-packed chapters in the One Piece saga and it all ended in Volume 23. Having finished that volume I began to worry and wonder how could this series possibly top such an epic storyline? Well, leave it to Eiichiro Oda to continue to surprise us and do it in his own style as Volume 24 of One Piece continues the journey.
Having helped Princess Vivi save her kingdom from an uprising started by that dastardly Sir Crocodile, the Straw Hats finally set sail after having said their secret goodbye to Vivi who actually became a great addition to the crew. Yet Luffy and the others are determined to make their dreams come true and the journey must continue. As they sail past the Marines, the Straw Hats discover that they have a stowaway … it is none other than Nico Robin (aka Ms. All Sunday).
After Luffy’s battle with Sir Crocodile, the rubbery Straw Hat saves Nico who reveals a little secret that led her to betray Crocodile. With no reason for wanting to live, it is Luffy who pulls her out of the collapsing temple. So Nico invites herself to be a part of the crew … who very quickly falls in love with the woman who knows exactly what they all like. Things are certainly going to be a lot more interesting with Nico Robin as a member of the Straw Hats.
As they continue on their course, a galleon falls from the sky and crashes near the Straw Hats. On top of that, Nami’s Log Pose (the direction compass that finds land) is pointing skyward. Among all the items from the ship that lands on the Merry is a map that confirms all their suspicions – there’s an island in the sky called Skypiea. With a strong desire to see this seemingly mythical island, Nami thinks it might be an idea to find more clues in the galleon that fell from the sky so Luffy, Sanji and Zolo are fitted with Usopp’s odd scuba gear and head down below.
Unfortunately, a massive ship arrives and its captain – a monkey man by the name of Masira who is the self-proclaimed “salvage king.” Quite a friendly person at first, Masira discovers that Luffy was looting the sunken galleon in his territory and goes, well, ape. Before a battle takes place, though, a giant turtle resurfaces and something else that resembles people but we don’t get a good look at them.
Finding nothing aboard the galleon, the Straw Hats decide to head for the nearest island that happens to be a place called Jaya. Jaya, as it turns out, happens to be filled with scurvy pirates. This is the kind of place where men die for looking at the other guy funny or being caught cheating at cards. It’s the kind of place where villains hand out exploding apples such as the man that hands Luffy one that turned out to be a dud. Nami pleads with Luffy and Zolo not to pick a fight.
As they try to find information about Skypiea, they discover that this side of the island is being visited by two dangerous groups of pirates with the leaders wanted by the Marines so badly that the bounty on their heads is quite impressive. One crew called the Bellamy Pirates has a Captain named Bellamy the Hyena who has a bounty of 55 million berries. When he hears Luffy -who has a 30 million berry bounty – is on the island he seeks him out and confronts him.
If you were expecting a fight to erupt after Bellamy the Hyena slams Luffy’s face against the country, you will be in for quite a surprise. On top of the fact that Luffy and Zolo get beat up, the pirates laugh at Nami for even asking about Skypiea. They laugh at the dreamers who still think such places exist and of those who still believe in the One Piece.
Oh, but there’s a man Luffy meats before the confrontation with Bellamy that tells him that dreams no matter how outrageous or unbelievable will never really die. He believes that the real fools are those who stop believing and those words sink into Luffy’s mind as he returns to the ship with an even stronger determination to find the island in the sky.
While lacking the intensity of the Alabasta storyline, Volume 24 of One Piece is nothing short of fun and even surprising as our favorite pirates not only welcome a new member to their ranks but also sets sail for new adventures. It actually kind of reminds me of early volumes as the Straw Hats push forward to new territories and adventures. This is truly the beginning of a new chapter.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ex-Baroque Works agent, Nico Robin, joins the Straw Hats as they finally set sail away from Alabasta and Princess Vivi. Sailing across the strange waters of this part of the territory, they discover a ship that dropped from the sky … an act that seems to point to an island in the sky. In order to find out how to get to Sky Island, the crew lands on a dangerous port town filled with pirates and a dreamer just like Luffy.
Oda-sensei doesn’t cease to amaze me when it comes to his art and he outdoes himself in this volume with the numerous oddball characters that show up.
It’s clear from Volume 24 of One Piece how much the excitement of the Alabasta story arc will be missed but this volume is about moving on and it does not fail to entertain nor surprise. That said, the addition of Nico Robin to the Straw Hats is a nice breath of fresh air as the journey continues.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media