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ONE PIECE #577 - - Special Review

The secret of special attacks revealed?!

I’d be curious to find out how the practice of announcing special attacks evolved in shonen anime. You know, like Luffy shouting “Elephant Gun!” and “Second Gear!” and such. If you put this on a scale with YU YU HAKUSHO, I suppose there’s been some twenty years of incremental progress, bringing us from special attacks being identified by captions on screen to there being so many thrown around in this episode that they could very well take up a quarter of all the Straw Hats and Neo Navy’s dialog.

For American boys toons, there are two main motivations for this sort of thing. The first is to clearly identify the products in the toyline - - to clearly delineate the regular Luffy figurine from the “Elephant Gun Luffy” figurine (or the “Elephant Gun” accessory in the Luffy action figure, maybe). The less mercenary reason is that the highest point of hooking kids’ imaginations is to have them playing as your characters during recess. At that point, all the attack announcements become like RPG rules, making sure that all the kids are on the same page about what they’re pretending to throw at each other, instead of there being any vague disagreement about what “Luffy’s arm stretching attack!” could mean.

This episode’s almost entirely devoted to a chaotic, multi-front brawl, so there isn’t a lot of plot to comment upon. (I did think the flashback where the multi-armed bad guy looks like he’s getting captured in some cyclone turd attack and subsequently driven by revenge for that turd-ing was pretty amusing - - but, again, that’s a battle scene). There are a lot of special attacks being announced and thrown around, of course, so that’s what my thoughts dwell on.

It’s actually kind-of funny, because ONE PIECE isn’t tied to any action figure line that I’m aware of, but it’s structured very much like a “toyetic” show with its endless parade of new characters to sculpt. I’ve always thought “toyetic” accusations were a little chicken-or-egg - - what else do you expect from an action-adventure but a wealth of colorful, memorable characters? - - but it’s still worth noting that ONE PIECE has qualities that’d allow it to absolutely clean up with toy sales.

Would any of you more learned fans care to enlighten me, once again?

Watch this episode, "Z's Ambition! A Great and Desperate Escape Plan!” 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

FoxxFireArt moderator on Dec. 19, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.

Tom, you can't imagine the depth of merchandising behind ONE PIECE. There is an entire store that opened this summer dedicated to selling just ONE PIECE merchandise. This is a set of figures they are selling that are based on the crew's look in ONE PIECE FILM: Z. This is only set one. There is another set with different outfits.

I like the concept of named attacks. For me, it's about building a sense of drama and anticipation. It also highlights new attacks. If you ever saw Luffy's fight with Rob Lucci. I think you'd understand.

This whole Z's Ambition arc feels like something that was made to fill in for December. They aren't going to show re-runs, but they make fillers.

Ain's abilities aren't completely understood - - well, unless you saw the movie this weekend in Japan. From what you can tell in the trailers, she can turn back time on the things she touches. Even if that's inanimate matter ot humans. Seems Nami gets touched by Ain and is transformed into a child.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 19, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt:

Well, it seem Ain's powers are to turn back time about 12 years. (The One Piece Podcast have a review for the movie)

In the movie she hit Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook making them 12 years younger (Nami 8, Robin 18, Chopper 5 and Brook 78)

I can't really picture a toy of Luffy's Elephant Gun, it be to unbalance

Petiewon Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.
Characters in One Piece have A LOT of attacks. If you're reading the manga or watching the show it'd be kind of hard to tell what was going on without all of the attack names being shouted out. Guys like Zoro and Sanji in particular. Sanji's kicks are often targetting specific body parts and he shouts it out (In French) as he hits his enemy. If he was just silent it'd have less impact and be hard to tell exactly what he was doing. But this way he seems like a fighting cook tenderising the opponent, rather than just a pirate kicking some dude in the neck
 
I guess its all about the "cool" factor as well. There's a scene in an earlier arc where Luffy and the big bad are fighting it out and Dvorak's From The New World kicks in. As soon as you hear "Gomu Gomu no" and "Desert" on cue to the music you know shit just got real. 
  
Lurkeroon Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:57 p.m.

I think you are heavily underestimating the toyetic ability of One Piece in Japan, Tom. And move names just make things cooler. In Kung Fu movies they can be mostly silent during fight scenes, but if you really want a cool fight scene you gotta make up names for your special moves and alert your opponent of your intentions.

xMusicxHoboxon Dec. 20, 2012 at 1:54 a.m.

Nami is my FAVORITE!

ComicMan24on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:18 a.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

Tom, you can't imagine the depth of merchandising behind ONE PIECE. There is an entire store that opened this summer dedicated to selling just ONE PIECE merchandise. This is a set of figures they are selling that are based on the crew's look in ONE PIECE FILM: Z. This is only set one. There is another set with different outfits.

These look very nice.

YotaruVegetaon Dec. 23, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.

Multi-limbed, not multi-armed. Don't be racially insensitive. ;)

I think move announcements should never go away. Kids need something to say when they're pretending to be their favorite character!

The new costume and visual changes of the character lend themselves to merchandising very well. I think OP might have gone through the most character changes I have seen in any anime.

YotaruVegetaon Dec. 23, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.

@Destinyheroknight: What figure creators can do to make an asymmetrical or oddly shaped character stand up is not to be underestimated. For an action figure to just play with, yeah, that's not a good toy to have.

zaldaron Dec. 24, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.

Didn't the naming of attacks come from martial arts though? I mean "dragon kick" or "crane attack" were real martial arts moves as many of the moves were modeled off of things in nature I think...(I could be very wrong here). It has crept into western media as well, at least in Robert Jordans books he names his sword moves.

YotaruVegetaon Dec. 27, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.

@zaldar: Not directly. I mean, we have the "kiyah!" the shout of spirit, and all moves are named. So that combination could've inspired attack names.

zaldaron Jan. 16, 2013 at 9:46 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta: Ah yeah that's probably true I suppose martial artists don't actually shout the names of the moves while they do them. Might be more interesting if they did though heh.

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