A thrilling, fun ride that twists the zombie genre on its head.
One Piece Volume 46 Review
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Genre: Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy
MSRP: $9.99 (USD)
Contents: 9 Chapters / 200pg.
Fresh off the Straw Hats' greatest victory against the Marines and the World Government's CP-9, Luffy and his friends are thrown into another adventure on their way to Fish-Man Island. First, they have to cross one of most mysterious sea in the Grand Line, the Florian Triangle, where ships have been disappearing by the hundreds every year. Through a dense fog, they cross paths with a ghost ship run by a talking skeleton named Brook with no shadow, and a giant floating island filled with wild zombies called Thriller Bark, home of the Shichibukai, Gecko Moria.
Elsewhere, Ace has finally found the traitor to the Whitebeard Pirates, Blackbeard; and his devil fruit powers are revealed. It's Fire versus to the incredible power of Darkness. The outcome will be the precursor to the events that will shake the world and could be the end of the Great Pirate Era.
I have to say that this Thriller Bark arc is one of my favorite parts of the One Piece story. I really wish FUNimation would hurry to this portion of the story, but we're here to talk about the manga version. This volume start is the beginning of the Thriller Bark arc, but the very first chapter was closing out the Enies Lobby arc (though VIZ calls it the Water Seven arc) with the closing chapter of Ace's fight with Blackbeard. It's exciting, but the context is missing.
The story and art in this volume are great. So many funny moments. If you are a person who thinks zombies are over used in stories today, This volume really mixes up the theme in wild ways that only Oda could think of. Who else would have a patchwork Cerberus who's sensitive about being part fox, talking zombies who get offended when you attack them with fire, and ghosts that break your spirit if they pass through you?
The story starts off with the crew on the way to Fish-Man Island, but get detoured when they sail through the Florian Triangle. They come across a living skeleton who's been sailing adrift on a ghost ship for over fifty years. After that, they're caught in a trap that leaves them no escape from the floating island called Thriller Bark (who's name is more than likely yet another little nod to Michael Jackson from Oda. The man loves his pop-culture parodies.). Nami, Usopp, and Chopper get separated from the rest of the crew and are washed ashore. This puts the rest of the crew into the position of having nothing better to do than head in to save them. It's funny, but Nami has a lot of Luffy-esque scenes this volume that got some laugh-out-loud moments from me. Included are some great scenes for those who enjoy Luffy's innocent personality. Some of the best entertainment is in either the best zombie reveal scenes ever; or Zoro and Sanji's ongoing banter.
There is something in the translation work that doesn't make much sense. In the Skypiea section of the story, VIZ went out of there way to avoid ever using the word "God" to describe the villain Eneru, despite the fact the name "God" was just a job title in that world. They replaced it with "Kami", but in this volume they use the word "God" when talking about that same character. In Chapter 442, Zoro says to Luffy, "Which one of us here beat up a 'God' on Skypiea?". Why is it alright to use "God" here, but never in the part of the story it was actually involved in? VIZ just seems to be incapable of any level on consistency to anything. They do something in one volume, then do another thing later to contradict it.
The first chapter feels a bit out of place when you are just reading this volume. It's pretty short but intense. If you were to start here, you wouldn't have even the slightest clue why they are fighting so intensely. It shows you the real difference between manga volumes and trades of comics. Trades are intended to be a completed story, but it's not uncommon for a manga volume to end in a cliffhanger to entice you to buy the next one to see how it all ends.
This is a great read if you love zombies and are sick and tired of how they're overused and do nothing new with them. It's a fantastic place to jump into One Piece if you've been curious and don't want to start at the beginning. Everyone in the crew gets some really good moments. Luffy trying to tame the Cerberus, and the first time he sees a zombie are two of my favorite scenes of the volume.
The SBS (Question Corner) section is replaced in this volume with a new feature. Where Oda normally answers questions from his fans. This volume gives you highly detailed sketches of the new Thousand Sunny ship of the Straw Hats. I love detail work such as this. It's volumes like this that really make me regret how VIZ Media is the licenser in the U.S. for the series and not a better company. I'll admit that this volume seems to be done pretty well. It's just too bad they don't use this as an example of how the rest of the series should be done.
This is a great part of the story and you're going to find things in this volume that you'll never seen in any other series. That's the fun of One Piece. I'd rate this a solid 5 out of 5. I've read it five times since I got it.