Welcome back everyone. Last week, I began an overview for each of One Piece’s title characters, the Straw Hat Pirates, giving my two cents on their Post 2 Year Time Skip makeovers. So far, I have managed to cover Brook, Sanji, Nami, Usopp, and Chopper. This leaves only four left, and now that the new series is a good three episodes in, we’ve gotten a pretty good look at just about everyone. So, let’s waste no more time and get to it.
I love how this show never ceases to surprise me. While Nami is now 20 years old and appears to have grown up significantly during this time skip, the crew’s historian and second female member, Nico Robin, is now 30, but appears to have gotten younger. Her hair pulled back. The sunglasses. The tropical looking skirt. She looks far more free spirited and at peace with herself than she ever has in the past. And you know what, she deserves it. Robin’s had just about the worst childhood ever, if you could even call it a childhood (granted, all the Straw Hats have had it pretty rough, but she takes the freaking cake as far as tragic back stories go). What this tells me about her is that she no longer wants to be seen as the obvious black sheep of the crew and is ready to be accepted as another one of the cool kids. I know it sounds really weird talking about Robin like that, but that’s what it says to me.
It’s also kind of interesting given that during this time skip, she has encountered the most-wanted criminal in the entire world, who also happens to be her captain’s father. Interesting, because Robin herself has symbolically grown to be the mother figure of the crew. What she has been studying in this time, I really wouldn’t know, but the Revolutionaries did seem very eager to meet her, so obviously they would have some useful information to give her. Only time till tell what exactly.
(The following Straw Hats images are from artwork inspired directly from the manga, as it was difficult to find the right photos from the anime as of yet. Regardless, in the end the result is much the same.)
Oh boy, here we go. Remember last week when I said Usopp had the most outside change while keeping himself intact. Well, the crew’s shipwright here, he easily has the most change, but by all means he’s not really himself anymore. Sure, Franky has always been the big guy on campus, but at least he was still proportionate enough to comfortably fit in group photos, screenshots, and book covers. Now he might as well be a freaking ship seeing as how much he towers over everyone. I just see this creating several problems as far as fitting him into panels and screens in the future. If it were me, I would have gone with something more slick and streamline like Marvel’s War Machine or DC’s Cyborg. For instance, if Franky’s massive BF-37 arms were attachments that could be compacted and stored in, say, his chest plate and could easily be taken on and off like Tony Stark’s “suit” case from Iron-Man 2, that would be cool.
While I will admit that this kind of over-the-top is totally 100% Franky’s character, it doesn’t change the fact that this makeover is somewhere between over designed to borderline ridiculous. I also miss the hair, as that was a huge part of his character and how it would express his mood and personality depending on what drink was fueling him. That, plus the metal bars on the legs and the stitches down his chest are all just more reminders of how he’s more machine now than human, as suppose to before when he would actually surprise us with what he had in store.
At the end of the day, I’ll still love Franky, and he did design himself to work as an attachment to their ship, The Sunny, so I’ll withhold any more judgement till I see him in action. One can only trust that Odasan knows what he is doing.
Roronoa Zoro was technically the first Straw Hat to show up at Sabaody after the time skip. However, due to him doing something that (while remaining unspoiled) proudly places in the DUMBEST MOMENTS OF ONE PIECE HISTORY Hall of Fame (Up there with ‘Luffy ripping off the mast of his own ship to stab a whale with it’), we the viewers didn’t get a good glimpse of him till a bit later.
The master santoryu is fresh from his training with his very rival, Shichibukai Dracule “Hawkeye” Mihawk, and he’s got the scar to prove it. The first thing that scar reminds me of is a very similar scar upon the eye of one “Dark King” Silvers Rayleigh, first mate of the late Pirate King, Gold Roger. (Though the scar is on the opposite eye.) Ironic, seeing as Zoro himself is the first mate of the Straw Hats. The big difference between his and Rayleigh’s scar is that he is [currently]unable to open the eye his scar is placed upon. Perhaps this is a very fresh wound that will keep his eye shut for a while. Maybe he’ll have to wait till he’s Rayleigh’s age before he can open it. That would suck, but he’d tough it out, because he’s Zoro, and as Zoro, he is the show’s top badass and everyone knows it. (I believe I mentioned that before.)
And yes I am also digging the new threads, even though they deceptively make him look eons smarter than he actually is. That, or he just came fresh from the pages of Samurai Champloo (another awesome show).
And now, pirates and nomads alike, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Our hero returns. This calls for a completely random, entirely unnecessary, Monkey-Pirate-Rap-Tie-In introduction.
He’s the leader of the bunch. You know him well.
He’s finally back to kick some tail.
His Gum-Gum Pistol can fire in spurts.
If he punches ya’, its gonna hurt.
He’s bigger, faster, and stronger too.
He is the first member of the Straw Hat Crew.
Monkey D. Luffy
Two years of living on an island where the weather changes every single week, and Giant-sized predators hunt for his flesh day and night, not to mention 18 months of limit-crushing supervision by the Dark King Rayleigh himself, has hardened this boy to have a mind and body fit for a king. There are three significant visual updates. First being his red vest replaced for something with sleeves. This I can see being far more versatile given the island’s constant weather changes. The second is the yellow sash tied around his waist. Now I wasn’t quite sure of the meaning behind the sash right away, but after some quick research I discovered that Gol D. Roger wore a very similar sash around his own waist. This, like the first mates sharing similar scars, is another parallel between the Straw Hats and the legacy of the former Pirate King.
Now for the third and most notable visual cue, that being the X-shaped scar across his chest. Clearly, there could be a very thrilling story behind how and when Luffy received that mark during his training. Though I have a different theory. Pay close enough attention and you will notice that all throughout the Post War Arc that followed the War and preceded the Time Skip, not once did they ever show his chest uncovered. The whole time, he was either completely bandaged up or had his vest buttoned up, which is usually pretty uncommon. There is a very likely chance that the scar was actually acquired during the war. There is one moment when Jimbe was attempting to flee the battlefield with Luffy’s unconscious body, and Marine Admiral Akainu, in pursuit, managed to land a single attack that hit both Luffy and his rescuer. A moment where Luffy was literally an inch away from death. By the very hand that murdered his brother.
That may sound a bit dark, but keep in mind it is just speculation. On a lighter note, it is good to remember that X was the mark Luffy chose to be his crew’s symbol of friendship way back in Season 2 when they rescued Alabasta. From this, and just from knowing how Luffy’s mind works, we can assess that he will care less where or how he received that scar, and more be reminded of what the letter X means to him: the bonds and friendships he developed with his crew and why these two years of the most brutal training ever will be well worth it.
I am as new a fan as they come, only having reached my One Year Anniversary of being an official One Piece regular, yet I know twelve years of hard work and dedication when I see it. I thank my lucky stars, (and my good friend Brian Gamel) that I discovered this series late rather than never. I cannot wait to see what new surprises the crew has in store under the hood of their new paint jobs.
And yes. After anticipating it since the end of Water Seven 200 episodes back, it is finally happening.