Yes, this is still happening. It just takes me a while to get anywhere when reading this manga. Remember when I said I was reading three episodes a day? I keep forgetting how long this manga really is. Alabasta is a saga that lasts 118 chapters. Chapters 101 to Chapter 218. I’m not saying because I don’t like One Piece, I do. A lot. It’s great and does some innovative things I didn’t expect. I am just saying that a lot of manga only last about 218 or even 118 chapters and are completed. Alabasta has five arcs and/or locations in different arcs in it that build up to the great, finale arc where everything is on the table. It’s one story in a manga of many stories.
Sigh, maybe I should start writing segments whenever I finish one small arc within a saga so I don’t have to look up my thoughts on the arc as a whole. You just ever wish that you were smart or something? Nah. Anyway, let’s talk a little bit about each arc now with what they set up, explore, and so on.
Reverse Mountain Arc
After defeating the fishman Arlong and freeing a village, the Straw Hats on the Merry Go start their travels toward the Grand Line. These chapters not only set up the weird nation of the grand line by the strange storm which almost sunk the Merry Go and then went away. Same with having to travel up and down the water on the Reverse mountain to get there. Traveling up happened with no problems. Traveling down was different. Very much greek mythology to me. At least in how the story is written.
There was a whale on the way by the name of Laboon. A whale that that’s been hitting its head on a mountain for fifty years because it’s still waiting for its old crew. Also, it did eat the Merry Go for a while. This is one of those moments of One Piece that is very cute, but very sad. So Luffy does his thing and punches Laboon and tells him to wait until the Straw Hats return. I hope that happens. It’s such a touching moment and I am glad that Laboon isn’t trying to kill himself anymore. I hope Luffy returns. One Piece is going to have a long epilogue when it finishes. If it finishes.
Other things of note. Crocus is a man who lives right next to Reverse Mountain and watches over Laboon. He’s the one who mentions the Log Pose. A device that is used to navigate the Grand Line by capturing magnetic poles of differing areas. Also, the two stranger Mrs. Wednesday and Mr. 9 were beat up by Luffy in the beginning and join the crew on the Merry Go for a little bit as they head to a place called Whiskey Peak. A place that is said to be their home. Two things that play into the story later.
Whiskey Peak Arc
I smelled that something was wrong with this town on the Grand Line as soon as I saw how nice they were. Maybe I have seen too much anime or cartoons and general, because I had a feeling they would try to rob the Straw Hats blind before they even got the chance to do that. This is like the Grand Line hazing ceremony or something. The town did their best to get the Straw Hats drunk, but that didn’t turnout like the villagers planned. Zoro turned in early for some reason while drinking.
So…I just wanted to say that Zoro was completely awake and fought over a hundred or so bounty hunters. It was great. Some fascinating and fun manga art work and creative fight sequences. Plus, you can see how strong a fully healed Zoro is compared to a cut up one in Arlong park. Emphasized even more when Luffy and Zoro fought after Luffy woke up from his meat eating and the two were dead even. Such crazy times for sure.
We also learn some things too. Mrs. Wednesday is Vivi, the princess of the Kingdom of Alabasta. It’s under the attack from a rebellion and the evil organization called Baroque Works. The men are numbered in the form of Mr. (insert number here) and the women are Mrs (calendar day or amount of special time) like Vivi was. This is where we see the plot come into play and actual pirate things happening in this pirate manga. You know, for the Straw hats because they are very not pirate like at all. Nami extorting the transport of Vivi to the capital of Alabasta for 1 billion berries was amazing, but they have to do it. There is a nation at stake.
Plus, there are some other moments to discuss like Ace, Luffy’s brother first making his appearance AND Mrs. All Sunday giving the straw hats a Log Pose to go straight to the capital of Alabasta and Luffy completely ruining it because he didn’t ask for help. I think we are seeing some of Luffy’s stubborness on display for how many times? Anyway, this was a short arc, but one that set up a lot of things for this arc to come for good and for bad. The first thing that happened? Visiting an island of giants and some Baroque works appearance.
Little Garden Arc
The other title is “one of two arcs we could have avoided if Luffy didn’t break All Sunday’s log pose”. They could have done so many things if they made that trip like stopping Baroque Works early by reuniting Vivi and Koda together. They could have possibly fought against Baroque Works themselves at their door step and known of this would have happened maybe. You know, unless that was an actual plot and some other things happened. It’s hard to tell when you have no knowledge. Instead, we visit an island of giants.
So yes, the island of giants is huge, very jungle like, and even has a large assortment of different creatures. The giants Dorry and Brogy have been fighting each other for one hundred years and it permeates throughout the story here. Plus, Luffy and Vivi get to know each other by wandering the jungle by themselves for a while plus make friends with Dorry, Zoro and Sanji have fun beating up monsters contest then meet Brogy, and the rest hang around the Merry Go to make sure it feels safe. You know, until the plot really happens. Baroque Works has a presence on the island itself.
Mr. 3 and Mrs . Golden Week are on the island too. They make an appearance and show off the abilities they have plus the technology they bring. Mr. 3 and is controlling of wax by the power of the devil fruit and Mrs. Golden Week paints change how a person acts. They also poisoned Dorry and caused Luffy fighting for them at Baroque’s works AND that also reunites the two giants together after who knows how long by one seeing the weaknesses in others. The fight between them ended through the symbolizing of their weapons destroyed by helping the Straw Hats leave. Plus, the fight with Luffy against Baroque Works’ different abilities to save his friends was great too.
This arc and the larger nature of the grand line itself reminded me of something like the oddysey. Strange beasts, sea voyages, and the unnatural and godly nature things here and there. It’s pretty great. Plus, a few major things happened here too in which pushed it forward to the next arc and beyond. Nami got bit by a bug, Usopp wants to be a warrior like the giants, and THERE IS WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IN THIS SERIES OF SAILING SHIPS? WHAT? The Snail Phone is incredibly powerful and let Sanji mess around with it and ruin Mr. 3’s reputation.
Anyway, onward to the
Drum Island Arc (The second arc we could have skipped if Luffy didn’t break All Sunday’s Log Pose)
After Nami gets sick almost immediately after leaving the last island, the troop must make their way to another island in order to find a doctor. The island they find is a winter island called Drum Island. A former island of doctors until Black Beard raiding it leading all the nobles taking their doctors into the sea in an attempt to do piracy. Also known as the Wapol pirates that the Straw Hats encounter along the way there.
When they land, only one doctor is on the island named Dr. Kureha and she’s considered a witch by the inhabitants. A doctor that lives on top of a mountain which leads to Sanji and Luffy carrying Nami up a mountain with giant rabbits attacking them. It’s one of those large, emotional moments that you know that this crew of three will make it on time. Just that you don’t know how it’s going to happen. Luckily, the three are found and Dr. Kureha is able to work on a cure for all of them.
There are some larger emotional journeys then that in this arc too. This arc is also Chopper’s arc. A reindeer with a blue nose who ate the Human Human fruit and was taught to be a doctor by someone who is former sea traveler. It means he can turn into various forms or even change his size at will. His arc of deciding whether or not he should go with the Straw Hats on their journey or not is a strong, emotional situation that I didn’t expect. Yeah, he joins with the blessing of Kureha and everyone else.
A war for the countries heart is in motion too. The Wapol pirates come back with all their advanced technological weapons and such while Luffy and friends just have themselves and techniques/skill. The fight? Fighting over what the skull and crossbone means and how taking it up means something. Pirates don’t usually need a reason to be pirates, but this time I am with him. This is his series, so he sets the ideals of freedom and fun that other pirates don’t want to have. You can guess who wins the fight, the Straw Hats.
With their acquirement of a doctor and everyone feeling ok, the Straw Hats can finally make their voyage to the kingdom of Alabasta itself.
Ok, the Alabasta arc is really long and a lot of things happen so I am not going to go everything in too much detail. Just know that when they made port in the first city of Alabasta, they met Luffy’s brother Ace who is extremely cool. After that, they cross the desert into a city plagued by drought, then they head to Crocodile (who is number 0 of Baroque’s Works, former hero of Alabasta, and one of the 7 top warriors of the sea ) compound which is a casino. They get captured for a while at the casino, Sanji (Mr. Prince makes them), and then they have to rush off to Alabasta’s castle to save it.
The situation is more complicated than that. At the same time, Alabasta is having its own civil war led by Princess Vivi’s friend Koba who got tired of Alabasta being ruled incorrectly. The Straw Hats, the soldiers of Alabasta, the rebellion, and Baroque Works make it to Alabasta’s capital to duke it out. This is also the second and third time Luffy fought Crocodile and his sand powers, but the rest of the Straw Hats take on Baroque Works for their own stories and character arcs. Of course, there was the possibility of the bombing of the capital and such happening. Plus, Mrs. All Sunday (Nico Robin) betrays Crocodile and joins the Straw Hats.
There are a lot of those details in here that I am missing, but that is mainly everything that happened in Alabasta and it’s completely nuts and everything. I honestly like all of this poltical sort of things with characters being in different alignments and such. Having 7 war lords of the sea, people aligned with White Beard, and stuff like that. Those small interludes of “this is attached to this” really do help the world feel larger without even mentioning that an entire kingdom was at stake here from a three-sided conflict. It got so busy, I forgot to screen caps on my phone a lot of the time. Still very followable, but very busy.
We also got some great character moments too. Luffy went all bad ass like usual against Crocodile and got Nico Robin to not kill herself, but Zoro got to cut steal with his abilities from one of Baroque’s work, Sanji fought a typical person who can transform to anyone so the guy transformed to the Straw Hats girls (gah), Nami got to fight with a weapon that Usopp created which was interesting I guess, and even Chopper and Usopp got some fun fights to win.
Though, the real person that has shown some growth in this arc is Vivi. She got solidified in her beliefs and worked endless towards saving her kingdom by any means she can. I really do love seeing her come into her own and take her place as Princess after wandering the seas for so long. She is that lost princess who was a bad ass and then found her own way too rule or get herself ready for it. I think she’s grown enough from her encounters with Luffy and the Straw Hats to accomplish that. Though, seeing her say goodbye to the Straw Hats and the Straw Hats doing their salute with a little heart breaking. I did want more Vivi. Well, they have an adult in the form of Robin now so everything else is ok I suppose.
One thing I keep forgetting. The pirate hunter, Smoker and his assistant Tashigi have been following Luffy and his gang through out this arc. I’m sure something will happen with this later.
I think I said enough the Alabasta in little bits, but it was pretty fantastic honestly. It feels like that perfect combination of adventure, fun, politics, and adventure that I haven’t seen in a lot of things that I enjoy. Even more Shonen Jump titles besides Yu Yu, Kenshin, and FMA things. Ok, never mind. I can think of quite a few like that. I also liking seeing the things lead to a larger world and some small, interesting things like the villains having technology versus the Straw Hat’s usual rawness and such. Fun times all around. On to Skypiea.