Just a heads-up for everyone, Fall 2013 will mark the final season of my “blog-ployment”. I’ve recently taken up a directorship at a humanitarian aid foundation – between a full-time profession, having a life and now a second job, I don’t think I’ll be able to make time for anime-blogging at this juncture. I’ll stay on as a writer and complete my coverage of Kakumeiki Valvrave, but my manga coverage of both One Piece and Fairy Tail will unfortunately have to come to an end with immediate effect (this post will be the last). I’ve had an absolute blast blogging both the mangas – I hold Oda sensei’s masterpiece in the highest esteem and Mashima sensei’s beautiful art (and fanservice) has proven to be more than a great joy. Thank you readers for putting up with my rambling and thank you commenters for taking the time to share your thoughts!
Chapter 722 to 723:
“It looks like a strong one has shown up” – the Black Leg is, indeed, a bona fide badass and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had a silly grin on my face when such grand display of bravura entered our sights! Sanji intercepted Doflamingo’s incoming carnage in the very nick of time – not only saving his comrade’s lives, but also giving me yet another reason to go completely gaga over his unrivaled machismo. I’ve made no effort to conceal my profound admiration for the Kuro Ashi, but I’m also fully aware of the revulsion that exists in regard to his blown-up macho swagger. Sanji is, no doubt, a hyperbolized version of an oversexed dapper slicker – infinitely “GAR”, full of grit and virility. Some might find the portrayal of his persona rather off-putting – but a case to be made for the greatness of such pompous characterization. From where I stand, the very embodiment of his bravado makes a perfect fit for the marvelous world of One Piece – which is, more often than not, defined by its own raves of bombast, grandeur and bizarreness! Sanji is a very powerful fighter in his own right – but I’m not sure if he is competent enough to fend off the Heavenly Yaksha all by himself. At this juncture, I’m hard pressed to see the odds of winning in Trafalgar Law’s favor – an imminent “retreat and regroup” is most likely in the cards, and a more even-handed two-on-two showdown, one that pits Doflamingo and Fujitora against both Sanji and Law, should make this strategic withdrawal somewhat easier to pull off.
Speaking of Doflamingo, the Joker has proven to be an extremely fearsome opponent – having both supreme artifice and ingenuity to complement his prowess as a combatant. Doflamingo has held his own against both Fujitora and Trafalgar Law with seeming ease – the Joker has also made clear that he is not going to sell the Straw Hats short, a gross mistake that many before him have made to their own detriment. The Heavenly Yaksha has an equally colorful past to match his fascinatingly flamboyant persona – as many have correctly surmised, Doflamingo does share an intricate relationship with the Tenryuubito, and he is, in fact, a descendant of the odious World Nobles himself. There are, of course, many questions that remained unanswered – for starters, we have no idea why was his titled status revoked and what has become of his ancestral Donquixote Family, who as it turns out, is the genuine ex-ruler of Dressrosa. Doflamingo obviously knows more than he’s letting on – and I expect more of his backstory to come into play as the many mysteries of the World Government start to unravel. The Joker has apparently formed an alliance with Admiral Isshou – much of their ongoing affray has occurred off-screen and it’s not entirely clear how did the Marine Admiral come to be on Doflamingo’s side. Fujitora remains a thoroughgoing enigma — there’s s still a chance that he might turn out to be a wild card and his professed allegiance may not be as straightforward as it appears. He was, after all, the very person who clued Trafalgar Law in on the Thousand Sunny’s arrival – and nobody knows for sure if such candidness was a premeditated act or an inadvertent slip on his part.
Clearly, Trafalgar Law has found himself entangled in a rather precarious situation, but that doesn’t mean he is in any way a pushover. His Shichibukai title is not just for show and the Surgeon of Death has proven to be incredibly resilient in the face of such acute adversity. Doflamingo has one-upped his former subordinate this time around, but Law is evidently not going to give in just yet. We ought to give credit where credit is due, and the Shi no Gekai was certainly quick to improvise – that, coupled with a stroke of luck, may just be enough to snatch himself out of the jaws of death. No doubt, Violet’s unexpected betrayal has a big part to play in all of this – the saucy Flamenco dancer might have singlehandedly thwarted Doflamingo’s grand plan, providing reconnaissance and sharing invaluable intel with the Straw Hats. The revelation of Rebecca’s past has made her a fan favorite for the next Straw Hat nakama – she is unmistakably a front runner, but I wouldn’t be too quick to write off Violet or Leo, the warrior dwarf, just yet. Let us not forget – Nico Robin was hardly the one to watch when she first appeared as Miss All Sunday (Chapter 114), and her addition to the main cast has since become the very best thing to ever happen in One Piece. Rebecca has a deeply affecting backstory, Violet boasts a much-coveted Devil Fruit power and Leo is perhaps the most “Mugiwara” of them all – the three strongest contenders have more than proven their worth to be a part of Luffy’s merry crew and nothing would make me happier than to see a new addition to the core team! It’s been a good five years since Brook’s induction into the Mugiwara family (Chapter 489) – the time is ripe for an expansion of the Straw Hat crew and I really do hope Oda sensei can find it in his heart to heed our sincerest plea. Bring on the new nakama, I’m so ready for this!
- “Do us a favor and go and go get yourself passionately stabbed!” – Zoro has gotten it all wrong! Sanji is the one who’s going to be doing the stabbing, if you know what I mean!
- Sanji and Violet would make such a cute couple – I’m shipping those two very hard. Make it happen, Oda sensei! Violet’s Devil Fruit power would be a great boon to the Straw Hat’s recon effort.
- “Her grandpa’s the one who did it” – The young ones shouldn’t pay for the sins of those before them! Rebecca shares something in common with the Straw Hat captain. Always a good sign for a potential new recruit!
- “I know left from right!” – Wicca is apparently a 27-year old. Zoro should stop being a smarty pants and listen to his sempai!
- “That’s the Pirate Hunder, Zoro sempai” – Bartolomeo, the fanboy, is probably the one who’s going to help Zoro break into the coliseum. A showdown between the two Supernova swordsmen, Zoro and Cavendish, could also be in the cards!
- Don’t you dare mess with a Super Saiya-jin! – Gladius is pissed off big-time!
- “I don’t know how to appreciate art after all… because I don’t have any eyes” – The fat mermaid fell for his lies! Brook’s not quite as “GAR” as Sanji, but he can be pretty damn badass when the time calls for it.
- “I don’t have the slightest desire to peek at her grandma pantsu!” – I wouldn’t either. This, however, is a completely different story!
- “The Nefetari refused the offer to move to Mariejois” – Great shout-out to Vivi and those at Alabasta!
- “Oh my gawd, I’m like super popular!” – Prince Charming to the rescue! I wonder who’s going to emerge victorious in Block D – I’m not sure Rebecca is powerful enough to fend off Cavendish in a straight-out confrontation.
- Kanjuurou, Kin’emon’s pal, has probably been turned into a toy – It could explain why he’s being held hostage at a toy house.
- The impossible has happened. Caribou’s actually won! – Grandma must be really proud and I’m sure she’s going to make him some pretty awesome meat pies.
tl;dr: @SeishunRC – #OnePiece 722 to 723: I’ve got the biggest mancrush on Sanji! A badass enters the fray and saves the day. #Manga