When Crocodile’s evildoing is exposed, the rebellion that will destroy Alabasta just might be averted… But the Baroque Works will do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen – even if they have to kill Princess Vivi! The Straw Hats are in for the fight of their lives to keep this evil Croc from getting way!
With their individual battles against the top of Baroque Works, the Straw Hats converge on the palace square to help Vivi stop the rebellion. It becomes a race to stop an explosion somewhere in the square that will kill everyone, rebel and palace guard alike. And Luffy still has some business with Crocodile, who seems to have a second agenda in Alabasta.
One of the things that’s so great about One Piece is the action. Whether it’s one-on-one fights or big battles, Oda knows how to keep the plot moving and keep it interesting without letting the story get tedious. Even as the fighting continues both in the square, and in the palace, little bits of Crocodile’s plan continue to come out, keeping the reader interested. The reward for continuing isn’t just to see the bad guys defeated, but to also add to an ever evolving plot. I have yet to get bored with a One Piece battle.
Part of that evolving plot is the introduction of the ponegliff and the mysterious weapon, Pluton. This seems to be the true reason Crocodile is trying to take over the kingdom. It’s believed that the ponegliff in Alabasta, a large stone with ancient writings, tells the location of the Pluton weapon. There isn’t much explanation beyond that, leaving one very curious to know what it could be. It also makes Nico Robin, Crocodile’s right hand more interesting, as she can read the ancient writings. Where did she acquire this skill?
The volume ends with the start of the final fight between Luffy and Crocodile, beneath the palace in a secret chamber, with the walls falling down around them. Luffy shows his mettle as he fights Crocodile, not for freedom or justice, but for Vivi to be able to smile again. And I think that’s what really makes Luffy a great protagonist. He isn’t about fame, glory, or justice. He’s about the people he meets and the friends he makes. They are what’s most important in his life. And really, isn’t that how it should be?