From the back cover:
Luffy narrowly escapes being executed by his old nemeses Lady Alvira and Buggy the Clown, but now he has the Navy hot on his trail. Leading the hunt is the relentless Captain Smoker, a man who has never let a pirate escape from his jurisdiction!
There’s no other way to describe this volume than “ridiculously fun.” Where else will your heroes battle an opponent who can turn into smoke, encounter a lonely whale and give him a reason to hope, and drink themselves into a stupor in a town full of bounty hunters?
While I have to cringe at some of the idiocy the boys get up to—like picking a fight with said whale or destroying a valuable navigation tool—there is still plenty of cool stuff to make up for it. The method of navigating the Grand Line, for example, is pretty sweet. Strong magnetic fields make an ordinary compass useless, and instead, a ship must pick one of seven paths and then travel from island to island along that path, logging each island’s magnetic field somehow (a process which can take days or hours) before moving on to the next one. All paths ultimately converge and the final island is the mythical Raftel, which has only been visited by the king of pirates (and thus may be the location of the One Piece). I’m sure the science here is a bit dodgy, but it’s fun nonetheless and provides a handy excuse for encountering lots of kooky people along the way.
Although One Piece seems to shun the power-ups that other shounen series employ, Zolo did recently buy a couple of spiffy new swords. The scene in which he finally tries them out, against a hundred bounty hunters, is rather awesome, as well. It feels like we haven’t really seen him fight in a long time, since he was so injured during the Arlong Park stuff. His prowess convinces the villagers that the wanted poster must be mistaken, that he must be the captain worth 30 million berries, so they decide to focus their efforts on him while a bloated Luffy snores away unheeded.
So, yes, nothing incredibly deep here but that didn’t prevent me from being thoroughly entertained.