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
The island in the sky awaits but is it real?
After an epic story arc that was the Alabasta story, I was beginning to worry about the direction the series would take. I mean, how can you possibly top a story arc that had everything you could ask for in a series like this and how could you continue without such a lively character like Vivi? Well, Volume 25 of One Piece spoke to me as if to say “Oh, ye of little faith, come see what I have in store for you and I guarantee you will feel like a sucker for doubting.”
Brother, consider me the biggest sucker in the world.
Volume 25 finds the Straw Hats once again in unknown territory chasing yet another wild rumor that has the pirates in the island of Jaya laughing at them. You see, the Straw Hats want to reach Skypiea (an island in the sky) and discover its secrets that others see as just stories you tell children. However, Luffy is determined to find it and searches for the one pirate who is connected to the legend … a pirate named Mont Blanc Cricket. On top of that, Nico Robin points out that the man is hiding a horde of gold.
When they get to the island where this dreamer lives, they find that the man’s castle is merely a small house hidden behind a huge plywood cutout of a castle. It is in the man’s house that Nami discovers a book entitled “Noland the Liar,” a sad little tale about a sailor who claimed there was an island filled with gold. As the story goes, Noland made this claim and the King believed it enough that he sent over a thousand men to set sail for the island only to find said island empty. Even despite Noland’s insistence that there was gold and that it might have sunk to the bottom, he was executed and the Mont Blanc name was forever tarnished.
Their meeting with Mont Blanc Cricket wasn’t exactly a friendly one as they battle the big man but when Cricket realizes that the Straw Hats are after information and not his gold he loosens up enough to tell them his story of shame. Determined to prove his ancestor’s claim as truth, Cricket has been searching for the gold that is now called El Dorado. He sees in the Straw Hats the same drive to prove everyone wrong and reaching people tell them is impossible. So Cricket and his familiar monkey cohorts – Captain Masira and Captain Shoujo – decide to help them reach the island in the sky.
Using Noland’s journal as a guide, the Straw Hats find out that Noland has made a rather interesting discovery. There’s an unusual event that occurs five times a month where a certain spot in the sea pushes water upwards towards a dark mass of clouds known as the Emperor Cloud that is the path to Skypiea where a second body of water is to be found. The plan is to get the Merry Go in the center of the spot and get shot up into the air to reach the island in the sky.
Of course, the ship needs a few upgrades and the crew gets to work while the others go searching for an exotic bird that is able to point the way to the spot they need to be but, as the crew searches for the strange bird, the pirate named Bellamy who has come to the island to take Cricket’s gold by force and thrashes the three pirates good. When they finally catch the bird and realize what happened to their new friends, Luffy sets out to get the gold back and get revenge and he does so alone.
Back in Mock Town, word gets around that members of the Straw Hats have an even higher bounty on their heads and this scares many of Bellamy’s pirates to the point that they want to paddle off the island immediately. Bellamy sees this as a joke until Luffy arrives and a fight breaks out. The outcome is actually way too funny that you really have to see it for yourself. Unfortunately, a big shot pirate hears that the rumors about the Straw Hats might be true and set out to find them.
As the Straw Hats and the newly renovated Merry Go set sail and locate the spot that will take them to Skypiea, an interesting meeting takes place elsewhere that might very well change pirates everywhere. With the defeat of Crocodile, the sea needs a new Warlord of the Sea. Pirates from all over being to gather to meet with the Elders that includes some very familiar players such as Luffy’s brother Ace, Buggy the Clown and even another surprising pirate Captain we haven‘t seen lately. We also get to meet new pirates who are ready to talk about the future.
Things are certainly going to get stranger and more interesting in the world of One Piece and as we can see from Volume 25 it is going to get even better. As the Straw Hats chase a new rumor that will take them to a new world of possibilities, the pirates and Marines begin to gather for an event that will surely change the series in a cool new way.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Luffy and the Straw Hats find the man who speaks of big dreams and lost gold and he tells them of the legend of Noland the Liar who seems to confirm the rumors of the island in the sky actually existing. With a new purpose, the Straw Hats set off to a spot that will send the Merry Go shooting up to the sky towards their next destination. Meanwhile, pirates gather from far off to discuss the future that will affect all pirates.
Oda-Sensei’s art has always been a personal favorite of mine and you’ll see why in the amazing splash panels scattered throughout this very volume of the series. Once again, you manage to top yourself each time, Sensei.
Volume 25 of One Piece points the Straw Hats in a new and intriguing direction that – while it’s just getting started – is already looking to be another story arc that will be a blast to read. With other pirates on the move and a whole new world ready to be discovered, One Piece fans will certainly not be disappointed one bit.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media