One Piece 50
July 16, 2010
Eiichiro Oda – Viz – 2010 – 58+ volumes
It upset me when I realized that the Straw Hat Pirates had only hit the halfway point, the Red Line, in volume 50. I think I had assumed the milestone had gone uncelebrated, or perhaps unnoticed up in the sky. Sigh. Not that I couldn’t go for 50 more volumes of One Piece. That’s just… a long time to wait to see how things turn out.
This is my favorite volume of the series. Period. There are some that come close, and some that are better, but the second half of this volume puts it over the top as far as I’m concerned.
The first half is a little… well, the battle with Gecko Moria is drug out longer than is strictly necessary, and the accidental ending is anti-climactic, but it’s saved by the fact that the characters without shadows very nearly burn away in the rays of the sun before everything is said and done. Those scenes were downright scary, even knowing that none of them were very likely to die in such an underwhelming way.
But once Gecko Moria is dispatched, Bartholomew Kuma shows up and wants a fight. Now, he’s one of the Seven Warlords, and it’s interesting that he’s there, and his powers are pretty extreme… but I did not want to sit through another long fight at this point in the story. Zoro takes over, and this last for a handful of chapters. This is a good time for Zoro, though, since we find out just how selfless he really is. His devotion is quite touching, and it’s a soft spot for an otherwise very tough character.
Then the celebration really begins. There’s lots of food and dancing and whatnot, but with Brook, there is also music.
And Brook’s backstory, which is why this is my favorite.
The content of Brook’s backstory is irrelevant. What makes it better than everyone else’s sad pasts is that Brook has lived his lifetime and died. He was 38 when he passed away, and that was 50 years ago. His death did not occur under happy circumstances, and in the 50 years that followed, he drifted around by himself in the Florian Triangle in a ship full of nothing but corpses (himself included. Yo ho ho ho). The sad part of the story was the whole Laboon thing, but to me, that seemed secondary to the fact that Brook actually died. The scene at the very end broke my heart, which was a song called “Bink’s Brew,” which was sung while cutting between three time periods: Brook singing his last song while alive with his crewmates, Brook singing it by himself while drifting around in his ghost ship, and everyone at the celebration party singing it along with Brook.
My favorite moment in the series so far, perhaps, lies elsewhere. But this is my favorite volume. And it’s volume 50. It’s just… so hard for me to believe that this series is so consistently good after running for so long.