One Piece 11 by Eiichiro Oda: B

onepiece11From the back cover:
After almost drowning at the hands of “Sawtooth” Arlong, captain of the nasty Fish-Man pirates, Luffy bounces back with a few tricks up his sleeve. The fate of Coco Village, if not the rest of the East Blue, rests on the outcome of their final battle!

After a fight involving lots of chomping and a completely silly move known as “shark darts,” Arlong Park is destroyed and the villagers rejoice. Nobody seems too concerned that they don’t recover Arlong’s body, which I suspect they will regret later. Luffy is kind of awesome in this fight, in that he takes special care to destroy the room in which Nami was made to draw charts for the fish-men, and declares from atop the pile of rubble that used to be Arlong Park, “Nami! You’re one of us now!” I swear, I actually got a bit teary. Shounen manga is so wonderfully uncomplicated.

A corrupt naval official wants to take credit for defeating Arlong, but when he is prevented from doing so, he takes his revenge by issuing a world-wide all points bulletin for Luffy. As our heroes set out for the Grand Line, they stop over in Roguetown, where Luffy is recognized by some past foes as well as the naval presence and is about to be executed upon the very spot where the last king of the pirates met the same fate. Meanwhile, Zolo acquires some new swords with the help of a knowledgeable young woman (in a chapter that is oddly fascinating), Sanji buys a big fish, and Shanks finds out (courtesy of Luffy’s wanted poster) that the boy he met long ago really did become a pirate.

Some very interesting things are afoot! I’m glad to see Shanks again, and the naval captain at Roguetown also seems to be a pretty decent guy. I’m kind of bored by the return of Buggy and Alvira, but it brings up an interesting point. Their meeting and cooperative efforts were documented in a series of splash pages, which Oda-sensei likes to use to tell stories about minor characters. Does that mean these stories are canon? If so, based on the splash pages going on currently, another foe may reappear at some point after escaping the clutches of a Vice Admiral whose ship has Triumph the Insult Comic Dog for a figurehead.

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