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One Piece, Vol. 22: Hope!! Paperback – October 6, 2009
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About the Author
Eiichiro Oda debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997 as a comic creator and artist with ONE PIECE. One of the most popular comic artists in Japan today, Oda started out by winning the Hop Step Award (a monthly award given by Jump for amateur artists) as well as the esteemed Tezuka Award. His art style is reminiscent of Akira Toriyama, Sergio Aragones, and the movie Yellow Submarine.
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This is honestly the most maturely and grimly written volume since the first editions of volumes 1, 2, and 3. Crocodile's dialog drips with sinister evil, and King Cobra's noble quotes are fine indeed. The only trace of 4kids here is the naming of a group of Alabastan guards called the "Kicking Claw" force, and their forlorn elixer, the "Fatal Fuel". Also, the naming of Chaka's Devil Fruit, calling it a "Mutt Mutt" type. However, none of these changes detracts from the feeling as other 4kids references have in the past.
From a plot perspective, some scenes clearly go for the emotional impact while forsaking some plausability. It's mostly not a problem, and there's really only one part that distinctly comes to mind, however, it can be explained logically. I suppose the worst culprit of this is the constant reminder of how much time is left before the bomb explodes, because it feels forced and the characters amazingly always know how time remains.
Artwork wise, Oda played with building perspective more in this volume, as many of the aforementioned emotional scenes can be considered set pieces due to the scale and imposing nature of the architectural design. The results are quite impressive.
Of course, this wouldn't be One Piece without some comic relief. And this volumes contains gems such as Luffy's "new" fighting style when confronting Crocodile the second time, and the crews bickering amongst themselves as they meet up again, arguing about who did what.
The recent volumes of One Piece, as I've stated in my previous reviews, have been exceptional in their dialog quality, which, other than the unobstructed artwork, is the most important in a manga. And this is not an exception.
Once more, I'm quite pleased to say that it has never been a better time to be a One Piece fan, and it just keeps getting better.
As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of being King of Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally gained the power to stretch like rubber... at the cost of never being able to swim again! Years later, Luffy sets off in search of the "One Piece", said to be the greatest treasure in the world!