Regarding the WB war...
No Plan Survives the Battlefield
Sums up what happened to the Marines when they went against Whitebeard. I'll compare this to my 4 (should have been 5) comics of "Legion of 3 Worlds" series DC comics produced.
First things first, every artist has to take note in these scenarios how big the force is their dealing with. 3 Worlds had a force of 15+ members on the three teams, making over 50 characters to deal with. And they had to fit into 5 issues (20 pages or something I don't know how big a DC comic is). One Piece had a force of approx the same amount and longer to cram it in.
So how to deal with this; switch between focus, random and mass perspectives and in both comics they pulled it off WELL.
Yet fans complain about how One Piece did it, simply because their not USED to it. This is something Oda has only done once before on a smaller scale back at alabasta, we're talking years ago work here. What you do is you start off with a small group focus (Luffy and the Impel Down force) you introduce the extras and the enemies. Then you start off with the mass brawl where everything is happening. Between the mass brawling you let the random encounters happen, people facing off one on one. You led up to the big moment and then you exit the battlefield well.
And OP and Legion both followed much the same plan of handling the battle, its almost scary. The only difference was in the midst of the battle, you had character doing plot device related elements, but this was to end the battle anyway. And even still Boa Hancock giving Luffy the key serves as that.
The complaint though is not at how things went, its at the Marines. In the 3 Worlds comic, the Marines would be the enemies, the forces masses against the Legion. Gathering up, some with only one common grounds (Shichibukai) to act as wild cards. In the case of the planning stage, the Legion were the ones with the plan while the Marines were the ones in One Piece. But never less things fell apart for both unplanned Legion villians and Marines for pretty much the same reason; they were meant to loose to begin with.
Lets look at the Marines, they were working by a plan right from the start and using every trick in the book from deceit to blocking the movement of the enemy. But the problem was they relied on this plan, so things fell apart, they panicked. In the most recent chapter 572 they appear to be doing nothing. Lets look what just happened shall we?
- Luffy managaed to get past the best of the Marines
- He freed Ace
- He and Ace proceeded to start fighting.
Their first reaction would be shock followed by a large "What do we do now?", this would led to mixed priorities amongst their members.
- Some would turn to help fallen comrades perhaps.
- Others would be fleeing, fearing whats going to happen.
- The braver ones would be tackling the pirates still.
- The lost ones would be standing there waiting for the next orders.
- The unaware ones would be following old orders still.
- Some may be trying to thinking up remaining strategies.
- The rest are drifting around between these things trying to start doing something.
That is the reaction many loosing forces have when things go wrong. Look at any war in history, or even a sports team. Even the best team captain will be trying to think how to repair this damage (hence why the Marine higher ups are lackster as well, as their trying to get something to mind quick to cover themselves up). But the main mistake the Marines seem to have is that they simply didn't have "if all else fails" routine. The Pirates didn't really have a plan to begin with, so when things failed, they turned around and continued as they were without having to think of what their doing so much so.
I likened this on Arlong Park Forums to the Battle of Hastings, where at one force guards the hill and William is attacking from below. At one point in the battlefield, rumors spread like wildfire that William is dead (Squad betraying Whitebeard). His men loose faith (New World Captains felt betrayed), some flee, others still fighting are lost. It takes showing his face to his troops to get up again (Whitebeard entering the battlefield). A change of strategic thought (bringing in the last of his ships) wherein William had his archers fire upwards into the air (Luffy charging in) and his horsemen doing hit and run tactics to break the lines (Oz and the wall). Finally William's men get to the Norman forces leader and they loose (rescuing Ace). Whitebeard shows the world what his name means (William is now King of England) and the Normans forever loose their foothold on England (Marines now have to explain to the world what happened). And the news is going to be reporting, but facts lost (the bio-tapestry of the account) to propaganda.
This is also kind of what happened to the Legions villians, their plan was to join up and over whelm their forces(they had several big powerhouses of their own) but the Legion brought in more re enforcements (Luffy and co arrived on scene expectantly). But to say Oda didn't pull it off well enough is to be rather disappointing to hear. Well this is the hardest case scenario to do and every writer and artist involved is always forced to loose something. Individuals become mere one panel spectacular and there are many throw away faces, those who appeared just to die or be beaten. Maybe I'm expecting this to go this way because I just only read Legion of 3 Worlds last year, but to me Oda hasn't disappointed. Its up to the anime now to fluff out events where Oda skipped things because of time and art space restraints. Regardless, the things people are cribbing over at the forums are the typical end of arc event cribs people will always pull up for these things. Because at the end of the day, they are just out to wow you here and count heads. If Oda had put more into it, it would have taken twice as long to finish this arc.
So give Oda some slack folks... He did well, now this enjoy the final ride out n this train. Because it may be a while before things hit the roof this hard again. The problem is next time the fans will be expecting a lot more. Now there won't be a big event like this most likely until the end of the series, you've got a LONG wait. But the thing is even in DC comics and Marvel, these events are a once a decade or two occurrence anyway. Because if you do them too often, people get not only fed up with seeing them, but no individual character development takes off.
This is me signing off (happy with how this arc went).