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God dammit! I had quite a blog entry written, and then I hit the back button by accident (stupid laptop!) and erased it!
Sigh. Oh well. Time to start over, I suppose.
I decided to take a break just as the flashback to the days of the legendary shipwright Tom and his pupils, Cutty Flam (now known as the cyborg Frankie) and Iceburg (deceased mayor of Water Seven). Flashbacks tend to bore me, you see, and it is the perfect time to blog!
Where should I start? There's been so much drama! Usopp and Nico Robin have abandoned the Strawhat crew, and now the secretive organization known as CP9 is going rampant!
I suppose I'll go through them as I named them, meaning we begin with Usopp. I'll admit, I've never been the biggest fan of Usopp, but I really have found some of his actions unexplainable in this arc. I fully understand and share his love for Going Merry and the nostalgia that surrounds it, but he's gone to downright unhealthy lengths to preserve it, even after having accepted that it could sail no longer, and coming to understand that the Going Merry itself attempted to communicate that it knew its end was near (or, at least, that's how I interpreted the spirit's message). My feelings on the idea of the sprites that infest a ship and then become their vessel's incarnation are mixed. On one hand, it's a very neat idea, but on the other, I certainly feel it's something that should have been introduced before now, and had more done with it. Oh well. Oda, writer of One Piece, very rarely puts out bad writing, so I expect that he'll salvage the spirits, and possibly give some more reasoning as to why Usopp has been so obsessive over the ship. I mean, come on, this sort of behavior is what people have extensive therapy for. What I did like about Usopp this arc is his fight against Luffy. He made very good use of his terrain, and even better use of the equipment available to him. I still wish he would get a god damn gun, but it seems like Oda feels that would wreck his character too much.
Now onto Nico Robin. I am truly amazed. I never thought that she would be such a cruel witch, even shrugging off the desperate cries of her former crew mates! The fact that it's all in the pursuit of the Void Century only makes me love her character even more. She's a historian, through and through, and has stayed true to herself; it's all too easy to find writing where the idea of characters remaining with their own goals is a joke. Admittedly, I would be plenty happy with a manga that solely trailed Robin as she uncovered the True History. Something that does confuse me, though, is why the government would agree to work with her, knowing her nature, and why she is now pursuing the Pluton, something she showed blatant disinterest in back in the Arabasta arc (which was an amazing arc).
And CP9. This is too much win to be condensed it one organization! They are making Water Seven see like a joke! Their art of Rokushiki is extremely interesting, and I speculate that it's a form of Haki. Either way, they are all extremely bad ass, but they also somewhat defenseless to Nico Robin's groping. Sure, they can make their skin tough, but would that make them harder to physically move? I don't think so, but I suppose I shouldn't be talking when I've seen so little. What it seems like at the moment is that only by enlisting Robin's aid will the Strawhats be able to overcome CP9. But what of Usopp? His redemption seems far more difficult to work into the current events.
Oh, and how could I forget Franky? He's certainly an interesting character. Someone I'd love to see more of, as he cracks me up. His serious history and relation to Iceburg really shocked me, though. I never could have guessed that he was anything more than a Mafia Don. The only regrettable thing about it is the fact that it's led into a flashback. I was, however, delighted to see that Kokoro has retained relevance to the plot! I've loved her from the moment I saw her, but I quickly disregarded her as fodder. With every chapter, though, she's been gaining momentum!
All in all, as Oda always does, he created a seemingly slow, uninteresting arc, but quickly built it up to be something wonderful, and it is only getting better and better. Thanks for reading the blog, and I hope you'll come back to read my thoughts on the rest of Water Seven!