The Straw Hats are keeping the Officer Agents preoccupied while Vivi makes her way to the Palace. Sanji’s got his hands full with Mr. 2 Bon Clay while Zolo battles mano a mano with Mr. 1-or rather sword to sword body in this case! That leaves Nami on her own with Ms. Doublefinger-a prickly predicament with only her wits and Usopp’s special weapon to depend on. Can the Straw Hats prevail against the best of the Baroque Works?!
The fight for Alabasta is in full swing as the rebels charge for the capital, and the Straw Hat Pirates battle Baroque Works, giving Vivi the time she needs to try to stop them. The boys do their usual best, but it’s Nami finally stepping up to fight for herself that really makes this volume shine.
This volume pits the best of the Straw Hats against the best of Baroque Works, which is fine for Sanji and Zolo. Both are skilled fighters and can handle their opponents. Sanji and Mr. 2 Bon Clay are fairly evenly matched with their hand to hand techniques. Mr. 2 Bon does get the upper hand for while, using his shape-shifting ability, it doesn’t take Sanji long to find his weakness. Zolo sees a chance to become stronger in his fight against Mr. 1. His swords can cut anything but steel, and to defeat Mr. 1, he must overcome this and finally learn the lesson his teacher tried to teach him long ago.
Nami, on the other hand, isn’t a fighter. She has always managed to stay out of the fights, or been protected by the guys. She has no such luck this time as Ms. Doublefinger, whose power is turn any part of her body into a spike, goes after her. But Nami is prepared, or so she thinks. She asked Usopp to make her a weapon, and this battle is her first time using it. And…things don’t start out as Nami had planned. It’s really quite funny watching Nami try to use her weapon and Ms. Doublefinger waiting somewhat patiently for it to do something. But once Nami figures it out, she proves her worth as more than just a navigator.
One thing I really appreciate about all the fights in this volume is that there isn’t a lot of jumping around. Each fight is run pretty much from beginning to end, with maybe a break or two to what’s happening with Vivi. But there isn’t a lot of switching between fights, not even between Nami and Zolo, who’s fights are happening pretty close to each other. It’s nice to able to concentrate on one fight, seeing it complete, before going on to the next.
Overall, it’s another great volume of One Piece. This story arc in Alabasta is coming close to it finale, as Crocodile has finally revealed this true motives, and everything comes to a head at the palace. A final battle is definitely in story. One Piece is such great and exciting storytelling. It really deserves a spot on the NYT Manga top 10 along with Naruto and Bleach.
Review copy provided by publisher.