If there is anything that bothers me about standard comics. It's that publishers are under the impression that every character they publish has the gravitas to support their own individual books. On the other hand, manga uses their supporting cast sparingly, and they are integrated where best needed for the plot. That balancing act is probably one of the best tests of a manga author. Are they able to create large supporting casts and using them effectively? This week's ONE PIECE didn't even have Luffy appearing. The focus was on the secondary players.
I'm actually impressed with Oda's timing. Just as I was getting a bit weary with the whole tournament, and I wanted to know what everyone else was up to on Dressrosa. I got my answer right away. Zoro's caught his thief, Kin'emon is surrounded, Franky has a clue on the SMILE factory, Sanji took out a sniper for love, and things are hopping on the Thousand Sunny. They all have their own little side stories at high pace.
Do you all remember that moment when the Straw Hats first broke into the New World and the fish they caught kept getting swallowed by progressively larger fish? We had the human equivalent in this chapter. We're introduced to two characters using these full page panels. Maynard beats up Gambia, then Maynard is beaten up Bartolomeo, a character we never even get a clear look at. All in service of building this mystery man as a bad ass. He beat up the strong guy, who beat up that other strong guy you've never heard of before. It baffles me that this chapter was titled after Maynard.
Fujitora's official introduction has to be the most lackluster reveal in ONE PIECE. I don't see anyone being surprised about this. Not unless they were surprised by how predictable it was. Oda is usually not this obvious. As I think about it, I now wonder how such a considerate and honorable man ever rose in the ranks of Sakazuki's regime.
The cast was on fire this week. It didn't bother me in the slightest that Luffy never appeared. Events are getting crazy in Dresrosa, and I'm loving it. Not only is their a tournament for a powerful logia fruit, the Marines are preparing for an all out assault, and the World Government has sent in the CP-0. All these forces wouldn't be converging in one place if things weren't about to get crazy at some point.