One Piece 46Posted: April 24, 2010
Eiichiro Oda – Viz – 2010 – 57+ volumes
When I found out the pace of the series was going to be sped up, the first thing I hoped for was that Thriller Bark would be included in this run of graphic novels. It is. Thriller Bark is my absolute favorite story arc in the series by far. It isn’t the best, but it has everything I love about One Piece in it, plus some B-horror-type stuff, and I’m a sucker for that.
First and foremost, we meet Brook straight off the bat. Brook is a walking, talking gentlemen skeleton with an afro. Everything about Brook is brilliant. He’s exactly the type of person that Luffy would adore, he is a musician, he makes horrible puns about being a skeleton, and despite being a “gentlemen,” frequently has horrible manners. Also, he freaks everyone else on the crew out. Luffy asks him two questions when they meet: whether he poops, and then if he’d like to be a member of his crew. Brook accepts.
Brook is also a sad character, since he’s obviously dead and has been floating around for decades on a derelict pirate ship that can only contain the remains of his dead crewmates. But he doesn’t let any of this get him down, and meeting the Straw Hats cheers him immensely before he runs off to get his stolen shadow back.
The Straw Hats wind up getting caught on a floating island called Thriller Bark, which contains, among other things, zombies, ghosts, invisible men, someone who can steal shadows, a Warlord of the Sea, and a famous doctor called Hogback who lives in a creepy mansion.
This volume is the absolute perfect introduction to the island. Usopp, Nami, and Chopper, who don’t want to have anything to do with the island, wind up getting separated from the Sunny and are chased down by zombies, ghosts, and every other type of scary monster the island has to throw at them. They have a great deal of trouble, since only Chopper can really match them in brute strength and Usopp is frequently too scared to throw fire ammunition at them. They also are the ones that are the first to deal with Dr. Hogback, Chopper’s hero but also a rather creepy man.
After we follow those three through the island of terrors, then Zoro, Sanji, Robin, Franky, and Luffy go looking for them. They… well, it takes more than monsters to scare them. They go through all the same troubles as the other three, except it just doesn’t work on them, and it’s pretty hilarious.
My favorite scene is one where zombies rise out of a graveyard, and confused by them popping up out of the ground, Luffy just pushes them back down with no comment or malice. There are a few good jokes with Luffy and zombies, and also old men with terrible injuries.
The method behind the madness in Thriller Bark isn’t really explained here, nor is Brook’s role in all this, so that waits for the next volume.