One Piece 3 by Eiichiro Oda: B-

From the back cover:
Sure, lots of people say they want to be the King of the Pirates, but how many have the guts to do what it takes? When Monkey D. Luffy first set out to sea in a leaky rowboat, he had no idea what might lie over the horizon. Now he’s got a crew—sort of—in the form of swordsman Roronoa Zola and treasure-hunting thief Nami. If he wants to prove himself on the high seas, Luffy will have to defeat the weird pirate lord Buggy the Clown. He’ll have to find a map to the Grand Line, the sea route where the toughest pirates sail. And he’ll have to face the Dread Captain Usopp, who claims to be a notorious pirate captain… but, frankly, Usopp says a lot of things…

I didn’t like this volume quite as much as the last, even though I got what I wanted in one respect—the fighting with Captain Buggy wrapped up and Luffy and crew began to sail and explore. Now that they have a proper navigator with some sense, they’re out to gather supplies and such, since to enter the Grand Line unprepared and in their little tubs of boats would be foolhardy indeed. I wonder if, in this series, the shounen tradition of the powerup will be adapted to the acquisition of bigger and more seaworthy vessels.

The first three chapters of this volume comprised Luffy’s fight with Captain Buggy. In the first one of these, the dialogue consisted almost solely of lines like “Chop-Chop Quick Dodge,” “Gum-Gum Sickle,” and “Chop-Chop Harpoon.” Toss in a handful of exclamation points for each. It was, as ever with this series, pretty silly, but still entertaining. I did snicker a few times, at least.

There were a couple of other funny things in this volume, too. As the main characters return to Nami’s boat, some thugs who had been laying in wait emerge, and it seems like we’re about to have another series of battles. Until they recognize Zolo, that is, and run away. I also am enjoying the instructions in the back of each book for making little paper props for the series. Here’s an approximate quote from the one in this volume:

You’ll need: scissors, glue, etc.
You won’t need: Tea. (Please don’t go to the trouble.)

I guess mostly what I didn’t like were some boring bits. In the middle of Luffy and Buggy’s fight, Buggy lapses into a flashback about how he used to know Captain Shanks, which I thought was dull. Also, some later chapters featuring a mendacious village youth were rather yawn-inducing, as well. Not bad, no, just kind of meh. I think there was actually one chapter (24) where nothing actually happened at all.

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  1. mark thorpe says

    It’s sad but, it seems that all shonen manga show growing pains once in a while, usually early in the series. The Captain Buggy story, while I didn’t hate it, was one of those growing pains that tend to happen in shonen manga early on. You’ve seen this before; remember that psychic in the early volumes of Bleach? That guy who crossed his arms in front of himself and laughed ‘Muahaha’. Yeah, I don’t remember the guy’s name but he’s the reason I gave up on the series when it was first released (I came back to it later). Both D-Gray Man and Claymore have weak first volumes, but are amazing after a few books in. I think you’ll like the Usopp and the Black Cat pirates arc. It’s fun, and there are some great fights that will make you want to punch the air, ‘yaaaah’. Don’t worry, that man stuck in a treasure box, from my knowledge, does not return.

  2. That’s an excellent comparison with the psychic guy early in Bleach! Don Kannoji? Something like that. You’re right that there’s a very similar feel with this whole Captain Buggy wackiness.

    And that’s good to know a full-fledged arc is coming up. I think I’m pretty hooked at this point and can see myself getting caught up with the Viz releases over the next few months.

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