Manga

One Piece Chapter 1059: Blackbeard kidnaps Kody

Marco is dropped off to Whitebeard’s homeland Sphinx by the Red Hair Pirates. Marco tells Shanks that he’s “too old” for babysitting pirates and it up the next generation. In a brief flashback, Luffy finally thanks Marco for saving him during the Summit War. Meanwhile, on Amazon Lily, Boa Hancock and the other Amazon are reeling from being invaded by Marines. We get the first glimpse of the Marines new weapons, the Pacifistas: Seraphim. I’ve been eager to see what the Special Science Group (SSG) and Vegapunk produced and judging from their appearance in this chapter they’re going to be a problem. We only get partial looks at them but it seems like they’re modeled after child versions of the Seven Warlords. Furthermore, according to Blackbeard they resemble Lunarians, an extinct race which King is the last surviving member. King was experimented on by the World Government to test his “endurance.” It’s possible that the Seraphim possess some Lunarian’s DNA.

If the Seraphim weren’t bad enough Blackbeard arrives to steal Hancock’s Mero Mero no Mi devil fruit. Blackbeard blows past the Marines, demanding Hancock show herself. Kody pleads with her to surrender. She refuses, instead confronting both the Marines and Blackbeard pirates herself. However, Blackbeard nullifies her powers but not before Hancock petrifies the Marines, Devon, and Shot. Blackbeard tells her that “he’s had his eye on her Devil Fruit for a long time.” She responds in typical Hancock manner, she says her “beauty is what makes her powers formidable.” Kody witnesses the entire encounter. Hancock tells them that if she’s killed all the petrified people will remain so.

Rayleigh to the rescue

Blackbeard doesn’t trust her word and decides to kill her. Suddenly, Silvers Rayleigh appears saving Hancock from her doom. He tells Blackbeard that he “doesn’t like him.” Rayleigh unsheathes his sword and tells Hancock that “he makes sure nothing de-escalates and that everyone leaves the island.” In the present, Shakuyaku is the former empress of Amazon Lily and former Captain of the Kuja Pirates two generations prior to Boa Hancock. She states that with Vegapunk’s modification of Marine ships the “Calm Belt is no longer safe.” Rayleigh admits that his reputation is what saved them and if he had to fight Blackbeard he would lose due to his age. Apparently, during the conflict Blackbeard kidnapped Kody.

The dynamics in One Piece are shifting between the Marines, the new Yonko, the Revolutionary Army, and the former Warlords. Blackbeard has been on the sideline for a while and now that he’s taken Kody I think he’ll attract conflict with Luffy. However, it’s possible that Garp would interfere and get himself killed in the process, increasing Luffy’s hatred of Blackbeard. While the four major groups have changed they still seem balanced. One Piece continues to reveal some of the events that happened off screen. Apparently, Kody was involved in the Rocky Port Incident, that was caused by Law during the two year time skip. The details aren’t made clear but Blackbeard thanks Kody for his “help.” I’m enjoying the reveals so far.

Manga

One Piece Chapter 1055: The new era.

In One Piece Chapter 1055, Momonosuke makes an interesting point when defending Monkey D. Luffy from Admiral Ryokugyu, if they (the people of Wano) can’t defend themselves after the Strawhat’s leave then they’re doomed. Wano had been under the oppressive thumb of Kiado for decades. As Ryokugyu notes Kiado acted as a “deterrent” preventing the Marines from invading Wano. During this conflict, we see the variety of abilities Ryokugyu’s Mori Mori no Mi devil fruit ability.

Raizo attacks him with Ninpo: Maki Maki no Jutsu: Fire Release at first it seems like the fire is a natural enemy of Ryokugyu’s plant body, it turns out that he’s immune to fire. On top of that he can continuously regrow his branches making the Red Scabbards cutting them off pointless. The fight is interrupted when Red Haired Shanks uses his Haoshoku Haki to stop Admiral Ryokugyu in his tracks. Shanks chastises him for stopping the “new shoots” from changing history. Ryokugyu appears to stand down.

The secrets of Wano

Kozuki Sukiyaki, Nico Robin, and Trafalgar D. Water Law explore “old” Wano from 800 years. Old Wano was submerged after the two walls were erected forcing the citizens of Wano to flee. The Poneglyph is located in old Wano. It’s the third Poneglyph out of four needed to reach Laugh Tale. Sukiyaki says that Pluton, one of the three Ancient Weapons, is located on a lower level. However, in order to get to the weapon the two walls must come down. Despite this Oden still wanted to open the borders which would release the Ancient Weapon. It’s still unclear why he was willing to expose Wano to the dangers of outside world. My best guess is he thought the risk was worth it to have the people experience the rest of the world.

Poneglyphs are an aspect of One Piece universe that I haven’t paid much attention to. Poneglyphs “are massive, cubic steles made of a currently unidentified, indestructible type of stone”. There are three types: Historical Poneglyphs, Instructional Poneglyphs, and Road Poneglyphs. Historical reveals “pieces of ancient history,” Instructional Poneglyphs focus on “instructions and/or clues about the locations of Historical Poneglyphs,” and Road Poneglyphs tells a reader a “detail a location.” The Road Poneglyphs can lead the readers to the location of Laugh Tale. There are only 30 in the world and are considered dangerous by the World Government. I hope the series elaborates on Poneglyphs and their history.

Manga

One Piece Chapter 1053: Ryokugyu arrives, Luffy get’s a new bounty, and Buggy levels up

In my last review of One Piece I predicted that “Kid, Luffy, and Law will become official Emperors.” In One Piece Chapter 1053 the government loses control of the narrative as Morgans Newspaper scoops them and releases news before they can be stopped. Morgans claims that “Cipher Pol’s transmission from Wano broke off right after they spotted Big Mom’s ship,” suggesting he has them bugged. Regardless, he won’t allow the worlds “propaganda” to become the main story. The people learn that Big Mom and Kaido were both defeated and that Luffy, Law, and Kid are responsible. As a result, the government issues Law, Luffy, and Kid the identical bounty of 3 Billion.

While everyone continues to party, Nico Robin meets Kozuki Sukiyaki (Oden’s father) in the basement of the castle. The former shogun of Wano, Kozuki is ashamed of himself and can’t bare to face Momo. Robin informs him that the Ancient weapon Pluton is “somewhere in Wano.” Elsewhere, we finally see Ryokugyu in action (briefly). He impales the Beast Prates with wood, seemingly defeating King and Queen without much effort. His Devil Fruit abilities seem to include all manner of plant life and he can absorb liquid through his wooden branches. Ryokugyu wants to impress Sakazuki, claiming that he “digs his style,” and is “itching to get his approval.”

One Piece Chapter 1053 reveals Law, Luffy, and Kid have new bounties

Really, Buggy

This is bad. At least for pirates as Sakazuki is brutal and has questionable ethics. His goal is to take Luffy’s head. He walks towards the celebration as everyone parties. I doubt there will be another fight so close to last one, so someone is likely to interfere. I would guess Drake or one of the Numbers. Finally, the new Four Emperors are revealed, Red-Haired Shanks, Blackbeard, Straw Hat Luffy, and The Bombastic Clown Buggy.

The first three are givens, but BUGGY. I’ve never like this character and I find the fact that he falls ass backwards into power irritating. Buggy has always been at the right place at the right time and has managed to gain from other pirates exploits. I’m not sure what he did to reach Yonko level but it’s unlikely he actually responsible. When we last saw Buggy he was being chased in Chapter 956 by the Marines after the dissolution of the seven warlords system. I’m now more curious what happened. One Piece is infamous for not depicting what happens off page but hopefully we’ll get some information.

Manga

One Piece Chapter 1052: The arrival of the mysterious Admiral Ryokugyu

After Luffy defeats Kiado, Nekomamushi announces the result. In One Piece Chapter 1052, The CP0 agent informs the Five Elders of two major developments. First, Nika as they feared has emerged and second, both Kiado and Big Mom have been defeated. An Elder notes that with the borders remaining closed an “invasion will be thwarted”. The World Government still wants Nico Robin captured. At the Onigashima castle, X Drake and Basil Hawkins discuss the later working for Kaido. Hawkins claims that he was afraid of the consequences if he refused to join Kaido. However, he acknowledges that Eustass Kid and Killer both resisted despite likely dying. He collapses after revealing that he was the “certain man” with the “one percent chance of surviving.”

We get confirmation from Kawamatsu that Ashura Doji and Izou died. Luffy and Zoro wake, fully healed. The citizens decide to celebrate the return of the Kozuki Family, while Franky and Usopp repair the ships. Scratchmen Apoo arrives being carried by Inbi and he brings a copy of the day’s Newspaper with the headline “New Emperors of the Sea”. After every arc we get to see the reaction of the other characters and the new bounties of the Strawhat’s. I expect Luffy will get the largest bounty increase especially after the threat the Five Elder’s claim Nika is, plus he defeated Kiado of all people. His current bounty is 1.5 billion. Kid and Law should also see an increase and with that headline there’s likely new Yonko. Luffy was already granted the unofficial title of the “Fifth Emperor” after the Whole Cake Island Arc.

Admiral Ryokugyu arrives at Wano

My best guess is that Kid, Luffy, and Law will become official Emperors. Other than the bounties, the most interesting part of the chapter is the arrival of Admiral Ryokugyu. The character has been shrouded in mystery since his introduction in chapter 905. Like most Admiral’s he wears the typical Marine coat. What is most striking about him (so far) is his personality. He’s laid-back or lazy. He refused the orders of Sakazuki to “expel Fujitora from Mary Geoise,” because he thought it was too much trouble for him. His power can be assumed based on his position as an Admiral. However, in chapter 1052, he’s seen flying towards Wano with a flower growing from his back. Despite Sakazuki’s warning, I think Ryokugyu is going to create some trouble. I’m excited to see what he can do.

Manga

Gachiakuta Chapter 1 Review: Do souls dwell in trash?

Introduction

The manga industry can be cut throat. New series only have a short period to capture readers attention before they’re judged worthy of continued publication. If a series manages to produce enough hype it can quickly take off like Jujutsu Kaisen. While JJK’s success is rare, a manga series doesn’t necessarily have to reach those heights. Gachiakuta is a potential hit. It’s already causing a stir among manga fans and I’m always looking for another series to read. Written and illustrated by Kei Urana (Kanaru) a former assistant to Atsushi Ohkubo (Soul Eater/Fire Force), Gachiakuta Chapter 1: Heaven, introduces us to Rudo and the “shitty” world he was born into.

The Trash Vandal Rudo

The world of Gachiakuta has a simple class system. The rich live in the city while the poor called “tribe folk” live in the slums. Rudo is introduced as he steals trash from the city. When he returns home, he’s chastised by his crush Chiwa. For Rudo, collecting rich people’s trash allows him to make use of “old” things and sell them as well. In Gachiakuta, the slums are populated with the descendants of criminals. Some bullies show up to mock Rudo. They reveal that he’s a child of “murderers,” and he’s destined to become one as well.

Rudo was taken in by Regto. He tells Rudo it isn’t his responsibility to earn money. However, Rudo feels obligated to contribute. Regto warns Rudo that if he keeps stealing from the waste collection site he could be executed or “throw him into the Abyss.” Rudo’s parents appeared to have been monsters. Not only did Rudo’s father get thrown in the Abyss for murder, they scarred Rudo. His hands are revealed to be black and according to Rudo he “sometimes feels excruciating pain.” Regto gave Rudo gloves that both covered his scars and subdued his pain. 

Enter the Abyss

The Abyss is a large dump site. All trash is eventually thrown down there as well as criminals. Rudo witnesses another man being dropped into the Abyss, as he wonders what’s “down there,” Chiwa surprises him from behind. After a touching moment between them, Rudo rushes home with excitement. On his way he crashes into a suspicious man in a mask and hood. Rudo brushes the moment off and heads home. There he finds a horrific site. Regto has been murdered.

Rudo tries to save his foster father, who tells him to “run,” and that Rudo needs to change “this shitty world.” Suddenly, the cops shoot Rudo in the back with tasers. He’s instantly accused of Regto’s murder. It doesn’t take much for Redo to be convicted and sentenced to death. Enraged by the death of Regto and the false accusations, Redo tells the crowd that they’re the “filthy ones,” “pieces of shit,” who don’t have minds of their own. He sees the masked man and snaps. As he’s dropped down he promises to send all of the people in the slums “to hell.” Rudo lands in the Abyss, where the filthy live.

Impressions

At first glance, Gachiakuta isn’t anything special but I can see its promise. The story isn’t particularly original yet, especially regarding its class politics; rich people are bad, poor people are oppressed. Regardless, I’m interested. Do rich people commit crimes and drop down from the city to the slums? Or do they just avoid punishment? Is it possible to rise up to a higher class? Then there’s the obvious questions. Who killed Regto and why? Has Chiwa really given up on Rudo? What was the massive black thing Redo saw when falling? An important quality I look for in manga is its art style. Kei Urana’s art style is expressive, fluid, and detailed. She makes good use of shadow and motion. Her inspiration from the Fire Force and Soul Eater series are present. I loved the art in those series so I love Gachiakuta’s style. I read the first volume of Gachiakuta before determining whether I’ll review this series, but so far I’m intrigued.