You get an alliance, you get an alliance, everybody gets an alliance!
We start out viewing the brokers, including our old friend Captain Eustass Kidd, who is interested to see the return of Luffy and his imprisonment. But it’s of no consequence to him, so he meets with the two members of his newly formed alliance, Scratchmen Apoo and Basil Hawkins. In the cage, Law puts their counterattack plan into action. He has Franky blow up a nearby ship to create smokescreen cover and reveals that earlier he had swapped a pair of kairoseki handcuffs with normal ones as precaution. Law frees his fellow cage mates while the other two halves of the Straw Hat crew, including Brownbeard and Kinemon, finally arrive at the main laboratory. Now that they’re all together again, a battle of epic proportions is about to begin.
In this chapter, our locked up heroes are finally given the spotlight so we get to see the fruits of Luffy, Law, and Smoker’s epic alliance. It’s not the most secure alliance Law could have made. So far it looks like Law is calling the shots, Smoker stubbornly tags along while repeating the same stubborn “I hate pirates” mantra that he seems to have problems proving, and Luffy continues to be Luffy. Which is why we love him. And as much as I can’t wait to see them all standing back to back, kicking butt, and taking names, I find that I’m more interested in learning who else among Caesar’s inner circle is a double agent and what the heck happened to Chopper. There are a lot of important elements that deserve a little screen time.
Earlier in the arc I remember being interested in the Smoker-Tashigi dynamic. They make a great duo, but Tashigi tends to come off a little week when facing opponents such as Zoro and Law. Throughout the entire body-switching ordeal she pretty much just sat around and fumbled clumsily with Smoker’s powers. It’s because she hasn’t been doing anything that I find her outburst so fascinating. She comes off as impulsive and shy, but when it comes to her fellow Marines and Smoker she’s willing to put anything on the line to save them. In this chapter, she gets right into Smoker’s face and tells him that they need to do whatever it takes to save their crew, even if it means bowing down to the pirates they swore to hunt. Tashigi really knows when to use her girl power.
The arc is starting to consolidate all of the little mini stories and bringing the characters to one place for what will prove to be an explosive climactic battle. It’s too soon to say if Captain Kidd alliance will help or destroy the Straw Hat alliance, but they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Not a lot happened until the last few pages, but I think from this point on the action is going to go into full throttle. Though it would have been nice if some of that full-throttle had been included in this chapter.
GO Rating: 3/5