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ONE PIECE #4 - - Watch & Learn

What does Nami think of Luffy's fragile mental condition?

At long last! The show’s intros may keep reenacting formative events in the ONE PIECE universe, like Gold Roger’s execution and the gifting of Luffy’s straw hat, but up until now, the oh-so-important eating of the Gum Gum fruit has only been in my imagination. Now that I’ve seen it, at last, I’ll be honest… I was expecting something a little more memorable than him just scarfing a friend’s lunch box. It might be one of the most incidental origins I’ve ever seen.

Yeah yeah… Luffy’s idolization of Shanks is surely much more important to his back-story than the circumstances of how he gobbled up some special snack. Once again, I can’t help but read in some semi-tragic dementia into Luffy’s personality profile here. This episode shows us that he was never just a normal kid, but this fateful meaning with a real-life pirate role model - - and, more importantly, the violent trauma that soon followed - - seems almost like a collision accident that essentially freezes Luffy in place.

See, while his body becomes super-flexible, his mind becomes stubbornly fixed. His goal of becoming King of the Pirates is essentially just a quick, fleeting bid to impress his idol - - a boyish notion that he’d probably grow out of in week. Yet, as we’ve seen, he’s stuck with it like it’s some fundamental existential obsession. It's fun imagining a connection between that and the Gum Gum fruit.

Obviously, anybody looking to write a deconstrucionist ONE PIECE fanfic is going to eat this up. If you think I’m maybe reading too far into those… well… I’ll point out the exchange between Luffy and Shanks wherein they basically just dismiss the amputation of the elder pirate’s arm like it’s nothing more than losing a fancy belt buckle. Sure, it’s funny and flippant, but it’s impossible not to raise an eyebrow over a show being funny and flippant about such a horrific moment.

Oh, and major XP to Nami for hoodwinking the clown pirates. If you’re going to turn the tables on the bad guys, better do it in a way that totally embarrasses them, too.

Watch this episode, "Luffy’s Past! Enter Red-Haired Shanks!” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Donwunon April 8, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.

At this point in the show I guess it’s fair to feel Luffy is more chasing his Idol more than anything else but as the series progresses you get to understand Luffy’s desire more as an individual.

Even more so in a further flashback into Luffy’s childhood which admittedly comes about 400 episodes down the line (smh) with the whole ace and subo arc.

One piece is certainly a slow burn for these first 30 or so episodes but by then (when they reach the grand line) you may be surprised how similar the series feels from that point on to how it is in the 500’s now

YotaruVegeta is online on April 8, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

Are you sure that's Nami? Her breasts are only 1/8th the side of her head in that pic!

FoxxFireArt moderator on April 8, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.

It seems as if Luffy hasn't really grown since then, but you also haven't seen the Dawn Island Arc. Luffy faced a rather harsh realization after the war on Marineford. There is also a really great moment in the early Arlong Park Arc.

Just to make a small issue clear. Some of the events in this episode were changed from the original manga. Though, it does capture the main points. Also, this story was the very first chapter of the series. The part with Coby and Alvida was chapter two. Not sure why they changed it to episode four, or why they felt the need to put Nami in every episode before she's officially suppose to in the next episode.

Some believe that it's partly becasue of the two original one-shots that Oda made with Luffy before the series became ONE PIECE. In each of these one-shots, there was a Nami-esque character.

Shanks is a pretty admirable kind of guy. He loses an arm, and he's just glad that Luffy is safe.

Top8caton April 11, 2013 at 4 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: lol

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