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ComicX62011-08-28 18:48:41

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507: Reunion with the Dark King Rayleigh! The Time for Luffy's decision Has Come

The still and placid waters of the Calm Belt are broken by a large Sea King breaching the surface. Much to the surprise of the Heart Pirates watching from their little cordoned-off area of Amazon Lily, it soon comes back up hemorrhaging blood, dead. To their further surprise, a man emerges from the sea and scales the island’s cliff face to reach the shore, who the pirates realize as being none other than the Dark King, Silvers Rayleigh. He recognizes them from Sabaody, and explains that he had to swim all the out here because his ship had sunk. After wringing out his shirt he addresses Law and says that Luffy should be on the island, shouldn’t he?

Meanwhile, Hancock and her sisters are in a procession heading through the jungle, with the empress angsting over being apart from her beloved. Elder Nyon tries to set the record straight that just because Luffy hugged her and said her properly, does not mean that they are married. Luffy and Jimbei emerge from the jungle at around this time too and find that the Heart Pirates have departed (most of them sore that they never once got to go into the land of women) and that Rayleigh is there waiting for them. Luffy exclaims that he was just about to follow his Vivre Card back to Sabaody and asks Rayleigh how his friends are. Rayleigh says that the others aren’t back yet and that he left his own piece of the card with Shakky so that he could move around freely before returning Luffy’s hat to him.

They soon meet up with the Boa siblings, and it is a time of reunion as Rayleigh had apparently sheltered the three sisters for a time after their escape from slavery, though as always, Hancock herself only has eyes for Luffy. With them is a small mountain of food, of which Jimbei urges Luffy to partake in, for ‘’to eat is to live!’’

While this goes on, Nyon notes that it is a little worrisome that Rayleigh manages to deduce Luffy’s location so easily, and worries that the Navy could find him just as easily. Rayleigh says that there’s no need to worry; during the climax at Sabaody before, Bartholomew Kuma told him that he was part of the Revolutionaries and where he was helping the Straw Hats escape. After the commotion from Kizaru’s attack had died down, Kuma went to Shakky’s bar and divulged the locations of where he had sent the Straw Hats. Afterwards, with a little help from Shakky’s ‘’woman’s intuition,’’ Rayleigh deduced that Luffy had enlisted the help of Boa Hancock in order to have pulled off his feats at Impel Down and Marineford, thus leading to the present.

With the explanations out of the way, Rayleigh then addresses Luffy, asking him about his plan to return straight to Sabaody. Luffy says that he wants to see his crew. Rayleigh asks if that’s really what he should do.

Eyecatches: Luffy and Usopp

Rayleigh asks Luffy to think back to his struggles on Sabaody, and to ask himself whether he can truly face such power as he is now, or will he simply repeat that tragedy all over again? However he, Rayleigh, has an idea.

Elsewhere in the Grand Line, the armored Heracles dashes through the food-laden jungles of the Boyn Islands, calling for Usopp. The morbidly obese Usopp runs ahead of him, desperate to escape the island, before being tossed back into the jungle by a giant beetle. Heracles admonishes him, explaining how that, because of the numerous fierce beasts roving the island, no one has every escape it alive, and that his name is Heracles, before realizing that Usopp has run off again without listening. However, there are larger problems emerging.

A giant sea beast, lured by the forest’s aroma, comes ashore, and the island reveals its true nature, that of the carnivorous Stomach Baron plant. The flower’s ‘’petals’’ raise, sending whatever’s not tied down tumbling into the gaping maw below. Usopp almost falls in himself, but is saved thanks to a vine thrown by Heracles. Suspended above the abyss, Heracles asks what has come over Usopp, as he’s been desperate to get off the island ever since he saw that newspaper. Tearing up in frustration, Usopp blubbers that Luffy lost his brother in the Marineford war, and if he can’t even be there for his friend, what kind of friend is he?

The art for this episode wasn't all that great, but that wasn't really a big deal, as this was yet another info-dump episode. I was both right and wrong here; I had thought that Rayleigh would've had some sort of connection to the Amazons since Shakky's full name is derived from a flower as well, but that was apparently a red herring and she herself had nothing to do with them. It's just like Oda to have everything connected like this, even when it isn't strictly necessary for the story.

Usopp's part...well, it was a little strange to see it finally drawn in a more standard manner and not by Naoki Tate, and it wasn't played for laughs now that things have gotten a lot more serious. Usopp, the poor guy. He's always had that BFF relationship with Luffy and has fretted over his well-being before, and now that the worse has happened, he can't do anything to help his bud out.

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