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Well since this arc is not over yet, it will be somewhere next month to May and we should have the Zou arc by June and Wano by October. Keep in mind that Oda always release 3 chapters and goes on a breaks. This arc however uses many elements of Arabasta, it's like Oda got hit by a writer's block and said "雅は知っている、私は完全にアラバスタからプロット要素を使用します(Ya know, I'll totally use elements from Arabasta)". I wanted to wait until this arc is finished, however I have been waiting since it started in 2013 and Oda stretched it for three years. It's funny how people complained about Skypiea being long yet this arc is longer and people are sitting at the edge of their seat wondering what's going to happen next. Plus Oda takes too much breaks and how can I wait? I decided to do it now and then have the administrator to delete this blog and review the entire arc maybe? Also Oda just loves to re-use plotlines from his previous arcs don't you think? I was watching a show called "24" that was known to tell the same story over and over, re-using plot device that laid on the cornerstones from the previous seasons like Presidents getting killed for example.
Of course this arc was not the first one. Water Seven/Enies Lobby was almost like Arlong Park, only this time many things was happening, but the main thing is someone wants to leave, is taken away and decided to go save that person. Similer to Nami leaving the crew, gets betrayed by the Arlong pirates and Luffy decided to fight to get her back. The climax of this arc was a "beat the clock" scenario like the previous arcs.
- Saving Fishman Island before Noah crashes on it, success.
- Saving Ace from Impel Down, failed. Decided to save him in Marineford, success but got killed by Akainu two chapters later so failure.
- Fights to get everyone's shadows back, almost failed
- Attempts to escape Enies Lobby before the Buster Call arrives, failed
- Attempts to stop Robin from going to Enies Lobby, failed but prevents her from going through the gate of justice so success
- Attempts to escape the Aqua Laguna, almost failed
- Attempts to stop Enel from using his Raigoh, failed to save Angel Island but saved the Upperyard
- Arabasta clock tower bomb, Pell pulled the bomb away from Alubarna, successful
And now we have a shrinking birdcage and since it'll kill everyone on the island, does Doflamingo does not stop to think about his family? What about himself? And would not he end up destroying the factory? Would it kill the dwelfs? He's just as crazy as Enel. And will everyone make it? If Oda had not been taking breaks, this arc would be finished by now and we would already got the answer. Yes I know last year he suffered an illness but he should be better by now.
So how is this arc similer to Arabasta?
Unlike Arabasta which plot thread started at Reverse Mountian, Dressrosa begun right after Punk Hazard. During Punk Hazard Law formed an alliance with the Straw Hat pirates, he destoryed the SAD factory and intend to destory the one on Dressrosa. Doflamingo arrived at Punk Hazard but Law and the others are gone. At first I thought the Straw Hat pirates and Law would destory the factory before Doflamingo arrives back but that does not happened.
After Whiskey Peak, Vivi temporarily joins the crew and her story was concluded in Arabasta. Here, we have Kine'mon, Momonsuke, Law and a enemy hostage Caeser Clown. Ceaser Clown and Law's storyline should be concluded in Zou, I mean you can't drag Ceaser Clown all the way to Raftal. Kine'mon, Momonsuke and later Kenjuro who was hold hostage in Dressrosa, their storyline should be concluded in Wano. In fact Kine'mon plays no role in this arc.
Crocodile the Shichibukai attempts to overthrow the Neferti family, VIvi went undercover with Igaram to Baroque Works to find out who the boss is. Doflamingo the Shichibukai was the successful version of Crocodile. Only this time Doflamingo's ancestors ruled Dressrosa and became World Noble but their ranks was revoked when Doflamingo's father left the World Noble. Doflamingo became a pirate while his brother became a Marine without his knowledge. And he ruled Dressrosa for ten years. Doflamingo's background was explored but Crocodile's background was never explored. Crocodile lost his title at the end, Doflamingo is sure going to lose his. Violet the princess decided to join the Doflamingo pirates to defend her father. Violet was a younger sister of Scarlett and Tank's role was similer to Igaram.
The birdcage bounty hunting game was similer to to Baroque Works bounty hunting unit, except that this was more of a survival game. The goal was to capture people with stars and a bounty on their heads and sacrifice them to Doflamingo.
Both Corba and Riku are good kings. Corba gets kidnapped to show Robin the Phoneglyph. Corba also got framed and there was a rebellion in his country. He almost got overthrown. Riku was framed as well, Doflamingo controlled him an his soilders to attack the citizens and quickly he becomes hated and Doflamingo becomes a hero by stopping them, similer to Crocodile being a hero because of his title. Riku with the help of Kyros goes into hiding for ten years. Unlike Corba, Riku does not wish to return to the throne but that is subject to change. Plus what is up with kings acting like wimps? When Neptune got captured and people were calling for his help, he gets all "Don't call me that" and now we have Riku going "boo-hoo"
Kohza was similer to Kyros. Both are dead serious. The only difference is Kohza was a childhood friend of Vivi, later he becomes an leader of the rebellion to fight Corba, blaming him for the drought, not knowing it was Crocodile's doing. Riku found Kyros as a teen, Kyros was an outlaw. Riku made him a gladitor and fought 3000 times, became an captain of the army. Scarlett the princess first hated him but Kyros saved her from pirates and fell in love with him. They both get married, lives in flower field and gave birth to Rebecca. He saves Riku, became a free toy and spent 10 years watching Rebecca who don't remember him and later gather army of dwelfs to fight Doflamingo.
The ranks of the Baroque Works was based on numbers and holidays/days, the Doflamingo pirates was card themed. Three executives: Spade (Pica), Diamond (Diamante) and Clover (Trebol). The Heart seat is empty. The first holder was Vergo, but later became Rosinante's job and Vergo went undercover. After Corazon's death however, the seat was intended to be Law's seat but Law left the crew. Under the executives are officers and under the officers are 2,000 men.
In Arabasta it was Dance Powder, in Dressrosa it was Smiles. Dance Power caused a drought. But the production of the Smilies was one reason Doflamingo wanted Dressrosa. He used Dressrosa as a base for his operation. Doflamingo has dealings with Kaidou the Yonko, Crocodile has dealings with the underworld and had fought Whitebeard the Yonko. However the only difference is Doflamingo is afraid of Kaidou, despite having a powerful fruit he could use to control Kaidou and lob his head off. Just how powerful is Kaidou that Doflamingo would basically wet himself when hearing his name?
There is an invert in Luffy's character. Back in Arabasta, Luffy told Vivi that people die, inciting that he does not care about people dying. He'll only care about the safety of his friends. In Impel Down, Hannibal tried to stop Luffy, saying that if prisoners go free; people will bleed. This shows Hannibal cares about people but Luffy does not give a crap. In Fishman Island, Luffy stated he does not want to be a hero because they don't share meat. It's interesting to note that Luffy wound up saving people without his knowledge. However in Dressrosa, this contradict everything. When Bellamy told Luffy about his trip to Skypiea, Luffy was worried about the people there and asked if he has hurt anyone. After Doflamingo sets up the birdcage, Luffy grew concerned about the country and gave Law a lecture about it, implying he's going to save it and when the birdcage starts to shrink, Luffy flew into rage, well because people are going to die. It's like Oda is trying to mix Luffy's character with anti-hero and hero togather only to get a contradicting result.
In Arabasta, Luffy met Ace who was an brother by oath and is a pirate and has a fire fruit. He only shows up to give Luffy a vivre card and tells him he's after Blackbeard and left like a wind. In Dressrosa, Luffy met Sabo who was too a brother by oath and is a revolutionary. At first he does not have devil fruit powers and gained one after taking Lucy's place as Lucy and ate the Mera Mera no Mi. He was friend with Ace and Luffy as a child. Now I come to question the revolutionary, since there goal was to overthrow the World Government, since when does it become their business to stop Doflamingo's business to stop his weapon smuggling, since when did it become their duty to stop pirates and kingdoms who are involved in the black market? Also Sabo is partnered by Koloa and Heck. Ace and Sabo both met Luffy by coincidence and unlike Ace, Sabo's role was expended in his introduction arc.
Luffy also saved both Kingdoms, however Arabasta was damaged in some areas, Dressrosa suffers a massive damage that will undergo a massive repairs, cleanups and taxes
In Arabasta, we have Rainbase. In Dressrosa we have Greenbit. Interesting to note that there is another king in this story, a dwelf king name Gancho who has a daughter name Mansherry. It's interesting to point out that Leo is a dwelf version of Kohza, rushing in to save her. With the introduction of Dwelfs, you gotta wonder if Oda is becoming a Japanese Tolkien. The only difference is Tolkien used his own myth to write the story with subtle reference of the real world mythologies while Oda openly uses real-world mythologies. And Oda does not follow the rules of a typical High Fantasy rules. Thank god for that. I think I should make a blog about that.
In both arcs they have to deal with Marines.
In Arabasta Luffy was absent after left behind in the desert, half of the Straw Hats pirates in the Dressrosa arc was absent
This arc also copy something from Skypiea, Luffy was stuck in a snake while his crew were dealing with Enel and his enforcers. Luffy got stuck in the Colossum in Dressrosa. And don't forget the Enel face on Sugar.
Also Oda loves to have characters cheat death, many characters in the past will always go through situations where they would seems to have die, only to come back later. Also Oda has a lots of fun with the Ope Ope no Mi that Law cheated death by switching with a goon outside of the palace and attempted to kill Doflamingo by destorying his internal organs but Oda loves to play with the Ito Ito no Mi by having Doflamingo tie up the damage Law made, this was similer to Enel restarting his heart.
It is interesting how Oda rushed through the fights, showing that he really wants to end this arc. Plus only one Straw Hat pirates fought the Doflamingo pirates. Most of them were fought by different people. It's like Oda does not want the Straw Hat pirates would not come out as bunch of tough guys and tried to make things realistic. Oda simply does not want to waste time dragging out fights considering how he spent three years on this arc and wants to finish the story already.
Doflamingo was sure different when we first saw him. He was a snarker, a guy who always talks about the new age and was very cruel. During the war however never shows hostility to Luffy. However in Punk Hazard/Dressrosa, Oda gave him a big role like he did with Crocodile during Impel Down/Marineford/Post War, and made him an big antagonist. He does not talk about the new age, instead he talks about his business. Like I said before, he became insane as Enel and is about to get a beating from Luffy, the question is how will Luffy beat him? What will become of the Colosseum fighters? How will they handle the Marines after this battle? What will become of Mansherry? If she dies, who will rule Green Bit? Who is dangerous man Oda said is going to appear? Will Riku rule Dressrosa again? How will the Straw Hat pirates get to Zou now that the Thousand Sunny is now over there? Tune in next time for the next chapter that is coming out Thursday.
Before closing, I would like to point out how long Water Seven/Enies Lobby/Post-Enies Lobby was and how spent three years on it and how much effort he puts on it. After that Oda was burnt out, evidenced that the arcs after this never exceed more then one year, recovers after Punk Hazard and puts much efforts on Dressrosa and s pents three years on it. After this, Zou is going to be a breather arc and Oda is going to be burnt out by this arc. Let's see how Oda is going to handle arcs after this.
Phew, I spent almost two hours writing this. Happy reading everyone.