Dancing Moon (dancing_moon) wrote,
Dancing Moon
dancing_moon

[One Piece] Re-read & Movie 5

Watched the fifth One Piece movie, The Curse Of The Sacred Sword, because it was about a cursed sword and Zoro.

Not really worth all the effort I had to go through to download the darned thing. For one, the animation is pretty bad, the female lead is such a wishy-washy meh character and the plot is full of characterization errors.

Basically, Zoro gets a message from an old friend that he needs to repay a life-debt which, uhm, leads him to just abandon the Strawhats. Yeeaaah, no. They search for him, in an admittedly pretty funny little sequence, then meet a priestess and scare her. She, by the way, has a character design that wouldn't look odd in something as old as Tenchi Muyo or El Hazard, really weird. Zoro's old childhood pal is possessed by an evil sword, wimpy priestess thinks suicide is the only solution and there's fighting. Meh.

The best thing about this movie is absolutely Luffy. As he runs through some caves with Usopp and his idea of how to find Zoro (run around yelling, basically). And, uh, that's basically it. The movie feels subtly out of character regarding Zoro, Sanji and the others are used too little, the movie characters are flatter than pancakes.

But I've also been re-reading the One Piece manga! And that gave a lot more ^_^

DM's unorganized One Piece re-read: From the beginning towards Little Garden
I have a feeling that I need to "clean up" my impressions of One Piece as compared to all the fanon one gets clogged down with, so I thought I'd go back to the beginning and see what happens, now that we're entering the New World. Also, school holidays and it's bloody hard to download anime here, why not re-read One Piece?

- Zoro and Luffy express an interest in fishing between Whiskey Peak and Little Garden. They're still wildly enthusiastic about this hobby two in-series years and half a world later. I go "awww".

- I remember that I found Usopp's introduction, and the Black Cat pirates pretty boring. I like Usopp better this time round, but the fights d-r-a-g. Might be because only the Captain is there for a reason, and that reason is that he's giving up on the pirate dream. Heck, cowardly and greedy old Buggy has more dreams than that! Compared to the fights against Don Krieg (which, admittedly, I skipped some pages of) and Arlong, there's also far too much effort spent on quirky mini-bosses who don't really interest me and don't even fight in a fun way.

- Sanji and Zoro don't really argue at first, until Zoro "insults" Nami. And in the manga at least, they're not even fighting that much at the beginning of the Grand Line. I get the image they don't interact all that much yet - whiich changes pretty rapidly once Zoro drops a line about being a better hunter than Sanji. Poof, rivalry is born.

It's quite interesting to see this too, because it's such a thing (especially in fandom) that you kind of don't remember how it started or who does what, only that it exists. Both cases seem to be a bit of Zoro being thoughtlessly rude (he ttly is, loads of time. Mostly at the start/end of fights, but in general as well), Sanji taking offence, then it leads to aimed insults. After a while, they're both much more quick to take offence but here at the start, the fights are clearly escalating step-by-step.

- I forgot how cool a character design Bellemere had *starry eyed gaze at ex-soldier punk mom* Also, Nami's background is so sad ;_____;

- A lot of Luffy's silent rages, "weird instincts" and so on that we see here (and which sometimes confused people, including me, since he was so silly otherwise) make oodles of sense once you have the childhood flashback backstory.

- "A hero only dies once, a coward dies a thousand times". Or he overcomes his fears ten thousand times...
I had completely forgotten Usopp's stand against the kissy-faced fishman in the Arlong arc, but it's actually a really nice scene, despite a pretty boring enemy. Usopp wavers back and forth a lot, but when it matters, he's there for his friends. This is the first times Usopp goes back to take it up with a scary opponent solely for the sake of the crew. Well done!

Then a bit of opinon.
I've seen, on TVtropes and elsewhere, that people claim that Zoro gets more grumpy as the series processes. True, he's openly laughing more often back in East Blue, in the very first chapters, but that seems to cut down already by Usopp's island and almost feels like Oda getting a handle on his characterization.

There's also a distinct lessening of freak-outs, from Zoro but I think Sanji too. When they try to enter the Grand Line, everyone goes completely OMGHOHSHIT!!! with huge cartoony eyes and whatnot. There are still such moments later, but Zoro rarely participates (Robin, never). And Sanji, while more easily flustered, doesn't end up in the same amount of panic over unforseen wheather and weirdness either.

Part of it is simply that they've gotten used to weird stuff, but part of it is also how they react in crowds, I think. Will keep an eye on this later.

But, my point was mostly, is that it's not true that Zoro's lack of happy faces directly connects to his defeat at the hands of Mihawk. As I said, he's doing the whole open-mouthed laugh a lot less once they've picked up Usopp already.
In Logue Town, he's getting a new cursed katana = Happy Zoro (they're all really happy in this town, aw so cute~). And then there's the Whiskey Peak fight, where he's clearly internally doing the manly version of "squee! fighting mooks with my new swords! yay fun!"
In retrospect, I really like this scene because it shows how much Zoro enjoys swordfighting. The Strawhats are usually up against such odds that it's hard to judge how much they enjoy their various martial styles, but here, it's obvious that Zoro really likes it. It's like when Sanji gets to cook that elephant tuna shortly before, he's in his element and he's apparantly having fun with this new, interesting thing :)

My theory is that Zoro's gotten more mellow after the timeskip, more balanced, although he's if anything even ruder and rougher... but I really can't remember all of this massive amount of canon to judge that, nor can I really remember how Usopp developes through the series (which are basically the two things I'm most curious about), so, back to the basics it is!

I also want to see all the leads and little details that Oda drew some eight years ago (there's a mention in something like book ten, omfg, about how One Piece has been going for two years. Ancient History, dude), which leads to my next point...

OMG! Such an early mention of Jimbei and Fishman Island! And it's Zoro's bounty-hunter pal who knows something about it!! Hm, Mihawk's words about Zoro being almost frighteningly ignorant about the big world make a lot of sense. Luffy at least seems to have made a consciouss choice in this direction: he doesn't give a damn. Zoro is just clueless.

Hacchan also talks about being the second-strongest Fishman swordsman and, indeed, that was picked up recently. Heh, you can really see how the plot has expanding on Oda while writing. The beginning of One Piece ties to tightly to the 'geographical middle' of things, which we've just left, where a lot of slightly later stuff feels much more side-questy.
I knew there would be parallels between the East Blue beginning and the "second Romance Dawn", but I had no idea there would be THIS many.

It also explains a lot of things about Arlong. His rage over humans hurting his crew, his strict insistance on keeping promises and money (while also playing foul) and his desire to create a strong base in a weak sea. Someone else mentioned how Arlong had seen the world and could accurately judge his own strenght, whereas Hody Jones, who stayed at Fishman Island, thought he was way more amazing than he was. Arlong knows that he can't go head to head with the human forces, not to mention Jimbei, and he is strategically building a base.

It also invalidates the whole "Fishman are stronger than humans" concept as a general truth. Because while it's true on average, just as the average man is stronger than the average woman, the Grand Line bigwigs and the top of the Marines are like comparing Olympic level athletes and elite soldiers to people in general - it makes absolutely no sense.

However, we as readers couldn't really judge that until we got to Fishman Island. There, it becomes obvious that it is not the exceptional strenght of the Strawhats (they're damn strong, but still far from the strongest) that make it possible for them to mess up Hody Jones plans, it's simply that the stronger (mainly) human pirate crews can completely kick the ass of a weaker group - which the frankly rather untrained New Fishman Pirates are. And the army of Neptune, while probably powerful against "regular" enemies, is not made up of a load of insanely powerful fighters. Which also makes sense, even among the strongest pirates and Marines, there are only a few individuals that reach those levels. Neptune's army probably did a great job of dealing with most pirates that come trough, but it's tellingt that they need protection from one of the Four Emperors.

And of course, we have Zoro casually taking over the Fishman palace in a nice repeat of his emptying Arlong Park of low-level fighters on his own. Now, however, he doesn't have time to get bored, because Usopp, Nami and the others are there to nag at him ;)

- Whoa, Luffy, you broke the mast off Merry to deal with Laboon? No wonder the poor thing is in such a bad shape if that's how you handle her... No, but it becomes sadly clear very early on that poor little Merry isn't made to handle the Grand Line. (Never have I felt so much for an inanimate vehicle ;_; Oda you bastard)

- I totally forgot that Mihawk and Shanks have had some kind of alteration in the past. Huh, wonder what that's about! Actually, with this and the later big fight and the whole training thing, Mihawk is totally acting like a (semi-willing) mentor to the Strawhats. It makes me curious about his motivations, because this really goes against his Icy Cool I Don't Give A Damn persona.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth.
Tags: anime: one piece, manga: one piece, movies & films, review
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