A couple weeks back, I saw a few graphs on one of our boards which broke down how BLEACH, NARUTO and ONE PIECE each handled the challenge of plotting hundreds of continuous volumes. I forget how NARUTO’s flow worked out, but BLEACH’s was essentially a continually-repeating cycle. ONE PIECE, though, didn’t even resemble a chart. It looked like an exploding atom with plot threads shooting off into their own wild directions and then exploding again and again. The sub-title described it as an “Infinitely-Expanding Universe” and, even after watching only a handful of recent episodes, I can totally understand why.
I don't know if Big Mam’s catman and eggman cronies and these two naval captains were just introduced in these last two outings, or if they've been around for a while, but they’ve all got enough incidental personality quirks between them to sustain plenty of stories of their own.
I’m not really about to start gushing about Oda’s talent for character creation - - I don’t know how quickly the novelty of this would wear thin - - but it definitely deserves comment. Hell, the scuffle between the shape-shifting creep and Mam’s enforcers seemed to result simply from everybody realizing they had some unaligned bad guys in close proximity. I imagine Oda just sits down at regularly-assigned intervals, starts doodling on his sketchpad for a little while and then walks away with a new hero or villain (or three) to introduce in the comic.
Some of you lunatics clarified last week that the next arc wouldn’t actually be about the Straw Hats taking on Big Mam and her goons - - and that’s a little disappointing. I’m so tickled by the prospect of Luffy, out of righteous indignation, just kind of bungling into a feud with a major mob boss and then bashing his way out of the natural social order, yet again.
But I suppose that particular plot pot’s going to be put on slow simmer on the back burner and checked on periodically whilst Luffy’s dealing with the current villains on the front burner. If it turns out to be the Naval heavies, then that’s kind of interesting. If it’s this conspiracy that King Neptune having such heavy-hearted discussions about it, though, then I’m a little less excited, honestly.