I had to take a break from my manga reading streak due to unforeseen circumstances.
Well, unforeseen in that I didn't except these circumstances to arise so quickly! I made it through the first 32 books in my newfound One Piece manga collection way too fast, and suddenly I was stuck. Books 34-37 were missing. Of course I knew this from the beginning, but I thought it'd take longer to get there, so...
For weeks, I kept watch. I waited, restlessly. Browsed, attentively. Then finally, books 30-34 and 35-39 popped up at Tradera - the local auction site! 260 SEK for all ten books. I bought them. Compared to my previous deal it wasn't such a good price: 26 SEK per book compared to 12 SEK, but I have no regrets! Retail prices are way higher anyway.
So... where did I leave off? Sky Island. The most exciting arc of the story so far. A battle against the great lightning God Enel, a battle without comparison... the only disappointment being how all the symbolism I saw in this segment of the series was quickly washed away in the author Q & A. Oda didn't have any real message there, no symbolisms and metaphors, it's all just fantasy and random wordy inspiration... though even though he says that, that fantasy must've been derived from somewhere right? Maybe somewhere deep within? His uttermost fears and thoughts ported into the form of this grand adventure? That's what I'd like to believe anyway, because if you want it to, this arc can mean so much.
Well. Tears fall. The Strawhats jump down from the clouds, and moments later they are off to their next adventure! At this moment, the arcs start increasing in length a bit. The Skytopia arc was quite a few books lengthy, and after their short stop at the looooong island and their Davy Jones battle against the Foxy Pirates subsequent run into Aokiji the ice man, they reach their grandest arc of adventure yet!
Water 7. A massive story, one I'm surprised never made it to a movie! Though maybe it'd be too big a story for just one movie, unlike the Alabasta Rebellion or Drum Island Arc.
On Water Seven they meet Franky, a cyborg demolition man, and Iceburg - a builder man, and what starts as a quest to have their ship - the Going Merry - fixed, soon turns to tragedy and desperation. Robin disappears. They are told their boat can't be fixed - that it's broken beyond repair. Usopp leaves the crew, and duels Luffy for the boat. He loses, but Luffy gives him the boat anyway. They have to get a new one.
All of a sudden there's an assassination attempt on Iceburg... and Nico Robin is the culprit! The whole city's after them, as are the Galley workers at Dock 1, a team of crazy strong workers who go from friends to enemies, to friends again when it's discovered that the entire thing is a complot by the government; part of the workers of the Galley were CP9 spies, a team who had been in hiding for five years attempting to find the blueprint for a weapon of mass destruction that Iceburg supposedly had. They figure out Franky has the blueprint - also revealed to be Iceburg's bother, and capture him. Robin goes with them of her own free will, in what's later revealed is a sacrifice in order to save the rest of the crew. The CP9 eventually rise from their cover; attempt to kill Iceburg again, but the Strawhats intervene. Iceburg is saved, unbeknownst to them, and the government officials leave on the sea train towards Enes Lobby - the island of justice - the Strawhats on their tail. At the same time, the Aqua Laguna, a vicious storm, sweeps over the island.
The crew get it together, with newfound purpose and with Usopp joining them masked as the master sniper Sogeking, they take it to the Government - the impenetrable Enes Lobby. Crashing through the toughest Aqua Laguna ever on their way, just to get back one of theirs. Confronted by Robin's fear and desperation, Ruffy asks Sogeking to shoot down the World Government's flag, waging war on the world. Against powerful enemies, they overcome all odds, get Robin, and escape under a siege of cannonfire. Merry appears at the last moment and takes them away, a boat with a soul - she thanks them for this time of adventure; they say farewell on a sea of flame.
Their farewell to Merry was the most memorable, most tear filled moment of the anime, and even though I've seen that episode a few times already, the manga was no different. Just writing this blog is enough to get the tear ducts working again.
Well, they return to Water Seven, Franky builds them a ship, and (after much protest) joins their crew. Usopp does too, though his return is all but easy. Just before they leave, Luffy's grandpa Garp makes an appearance too - he's a marine legend! And it's revealed that Luffy's dad is Drake, the revolutionary, known as the most dangerous criminal in the world! The comedic levels flare high, as do the emotions, and the books just flash by - numbers 26-45, before they fly off to their next great adventure!
Not many books remain of what little One Piece was published here in Sweden now (66 was the last one, and I'm missing a few at the end)... but I guess I'll have to jump onto the English translations when I reach the end. No matter the cost. That's hoe exciting this is getting! I'll keep you posted.