Just kidding. My name's Autumncomet; I'm a regular of the One Piece
thread in the forums and I decided (just now) that it'd be great for me to review One Piece from the beginning to see how far we've gotten and because I just know Oda will pull a Chekhov's Gun on us.
As of this typing we are on chapter 666 of the manga with no end in sight. I'll probably blog parts of arcs instead of going chapter by chapter like the guys over at the Unofficial One Piece Podcast
, since it's so long.
I'm a One Piece fan—it's my favorite currently running manga—but I will criticize where I feel it necessary. I don't watch the anime except to find scenes that I know will be funny or dramatic, but if Funimation finishes subbing or dubbing the 100 or so episodes they don't have, I might consider binging through the series.
Due to TV Tropes guidelines, I won't link to scanlations, although if you're reading this you probably know where to look.
I will review the first chapter in full since it sets up quite a bit of the story and it's a nice place to start. This first installment covers just the first chapter, Romance Dawn.
We start off with a very nice cover page with Luffy, Zoro, and Nami. It's so sweet, they look like well-adjusted individuals. :D
Gold Roger, or rather Gol D. Roger, your mustache is a beautiful thing to see on a weekday evening.
We get another full page spread, this time of Luffy, Nami, and the Red Hair pirates celebrating. I find it a bit weird that there's no Zoro. I can't tell what's in the bottom right—a gun?
The chapter proper starts off with a brief flashback to when Shanks and his crew arrived. Flash forward to Luffy doing stupid shit (this is a recurring thing for those who don't know) and there's lot of drinking involved. Shanks teases Luffy about Luffy's punches being like "pistol fire," and I feel like I should hold him responsible for all of Luffy's insanity.
Immediately, we get introduced to the idea that being a pirate is about freedom and some guys on Shanks' crew suggest bringing Luffy along. Shanks calls Luffy a kid, Luffy drinks the juice offered to him and gets called out on it. Hilarity ensues.
The first mate of the Red Hair pirates (I can't recall his name—although I do know he's one of the smartest men in the East Blue per word of Oda) tells Luffy that it's dangerous being a pirate and Shanks is just looking out for him. Makino enters and teases Luffy along with Shanks.
We find out that Luffy can't swim, although at this point no one knows he's eaten the Gum Gum Fruit, not even Luffy. Higuma, a mountain bandit, enters and mocks the pirates in the bar. Makino tells them that the pirates drank all of the sake, Shanks offers Higuma the last bottle, and he smashes it. Higuma offers up his bounty poster of 8 million beri.
Shanks bends down to clean up the mess and apologizes to Makino. Higuma causes another mess and continues mocking Shanks. Luffy screams that Shanks isn't a man because he let Higuma walk all over him. More pressingly, we discover that Luffy has eaten the Gum Gum Fruit. We get some beautiful face faults out of Shanks and Luffy. In the middle panel, we see Yasopp!
Luffy goes to buy some fish. He says that after eating the Rubber Fruit, he's become even happier. Luffy blocks out the mayor trying to tell him not to hang out with Shanks.
Back in the bar, Luffy tells Makino that he still hasn't forgiven Shanks for just laughing off an insult. Makino comments that it seemed pretty brave. Luffy tells Makino that she doesn't understand. Higuma and crew return.
Makino runs to tell the mayor that Luffy was kidnapped by the mountain bandits. Luffy tries to fend off the bandits badly and demands that they apologize for insulting Shanks. The mayor shows up and prostrates himself, offering to pay to free Luffy.
Shanks shows up. A bandit mook pulls a gun on Shanks. One of Shanks' crew out and shoots the bandit. Shanks tells everyone that you shouldn't pull a gun if you're not going to actually use it. Shanks reminds the bandits (and the audience) that they're pirates
. Pirates aren't supposed to play nice.
FIRST ONSCREEN CHARACTER DEATH? MAYBE?
Shanks says that he won't forgive anyone that messes with his friends. The bandits laugh and his first mate kicks bandit ass. Almost all of the bandits are defeated. The one left over takes Luffy and runs. In a boat, the bandit taunts Luffy then kicks him into the water. We get a flashback to when Luffy defended Shanks, shown to the audience for the first time.
A giant sea king appears and tries to eat Luffy. Shanks appears, saves Luffy, and tells the Sea King to get lost. I'm pretty sure this is Haki/Ambition. Shanks thanks Luffy for standing up for them; Luffy can only cry because Shanks' arm is gone.
A bit later, the Red Hair pirates set off for real. Shanks teases Luffy, and Luffy claims that he'll be an even greater pirate than Shanks and become King of the Pirates. Luffy gets Shanks' straw hat with a promise to return it when he becomes a great pirate.
10 year timeskip and Luffy is setting off. Makino, the mayor, and the fish store owner, along with the rest of the village, see him off. Luffy is just sitting alone in a small boat without any means of steering. Shine on Luffy. At least he has supplies.
The sea king from 10 years ago appears. Luffy knocks it down with a Gum Gum Pistol and two-page spread.
Luffy says he hopes to find at least 10 people (as of this writing, we have room for 2 more if he's not counting himself or any of the ships) and make a proper flag.
Last panel: Luffy proclaims that he will become King of the Pirates!
It was a plot chapter setting up what's to come, so nothing too mind-blowing. We didn't get Garp, Ace, Dadan, or Sabo. We don't even get a hint of any higher forces at work. These things came later.
One thing we did get introduced to is that being a pirate is about being free. Obviously, we also touched upon pirates not being nice, but that appears to mean not nice in a jerk ass way, not in a "rape, pillage, burn" type of way. I suppose it's called "Romance Dawn" for a reason.
One Piece doesn't get good until maybe the Arlong arc, so I hope you'll stick with me at least that far.
e: Thank you Envyus. The first mate of the Red Hair pirates is Benn Beckham.