Thursday, July 21, 2016

One Piece, Vols. 13-14-15

One Piece: Baroque Works, Volumes 13-14-15 is a title I've put off reading for a good year.  In fact, I've been kinda' lagging when it comes to reading manga, sticking to rom-com titles like My Wife is Wagatsuma-san and Nisekoi: False Love.  Manga can be intimidating, like that good-looking 40-something woman who has a PhD on Plenty of Fish.  Most of it comes in 200-page tankobon titles, but to save money, I bought the first 24 volumes of One Piece in three-in-one volumes, which are nearly 600 pages each.  I've read a lot of 400-to-600-page manga volumes, but every time, there's that specter of intimidation.

Baroque Works is a group of criminals, some of whom pose as citizens in a village, welcoming new pirates to the Grand Line, only to get them drunk and take them prisoner.  Only Zolo, the three-sworded member of Luffy's crew sees through their deception, and he enters into a pitched battle with the Baroque Works.  The "Baroque Works" arc lasts from Volume 12 to Volume 23 or so, and most of the three-volume book takes place on an island called Little Garden, where dinosaurs and giants roam.

It's hard to pin down what makes One Piece so readable.  The drawings are beautiful, and there's a lot of action, often at the expense of dialogue.  Volume 13-14-15 took me about two hours to read, all-in-all, maybe a bit less.  Oda Eiichiro, the creator, writer, and artist of One Piece, keeps this title going by being so creative.  He's made a framework where various pirates and other people have eaten the Devil Fruit and gotten various powers.  Luffy, for instance, has eaten the gum-gum fruit.  He can stretch, but he loses the ability to swim.  Anyway, One Piece wouldn't have sold hundreds of millions of copies if it didn't have consistent quality.

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