Kyros was a hero of the people who many adored and just as many reviled. The family he created for himself was destroyed byDoflamingo, and the first true step in the final revolt is in the hands of Usopp. Everything depends on his victory.
This chapter very well started out as a yawn. I had little interest in the story of Kyros and how Rebeccawas born, but it did start to impress me as we drifted away from the wacky origins of how this royal family unit was formed and started delving into the drama of how it all fell apart in Doflamingo's scheme. Originally, I thought Kyros lost his leg in his post transformation life. Imagine my surprise to discover he chopped the thing off himself as a man just to take a shot at the wicked feathered one. It's not soon after your heart has to bleed for him as he's holding his dying wife in his arms who's lost all memory of him.
The real saving point for me in this chapter was in the final moments. I knew the tension of everyone depending on Usopp in the end would have the reveal of his failure and capture. That's just sort of his lot in life, and he certainly looks as if he went down fighting hard. Yet pulling victory out of the jaws of defeat is a theme we always love out of our shonen heroes, right? How can you fault Oda from straying from the norm in his outcome? What makes this better is how unexpected it was. I swear to you. I was chuckling for a solid 30-40 seconds after that conclusion.
The biggest complaint about this issue is focused on the flashback. It starts off in such a rushed way. It lacks some of the creator's normal depth. Though, I appreciate this getting over and done with in a swift manner. Rebecca's perspective on many of these events just felt far more tragic. So that dulls some the impact this time around. However, I see why Kyros' side needed to be told.
The second point of contention is its placement. This really doesn't feel like the time to be wondering back. It's almost ironic that this is probably one of his most ill-placed flashbacks since the Noland back story interrupted the finale of the Skypie Arc. I parse all of this by fully admitting that I don't know what would have been a better place for what I understand is an important piece of the puzzle for the narrative. It just doesn't feel as if it fits "here".
Doflamingo also seems to have improved on his villainous negotiating skills through the years. You don't ask an honorable warrior to side with you then immediately tell him that you're going to kill his wife and child regardless of who he sides with. It seems a bit counterproductive.
I have to admit that I was very quickly losing interest in this chapter in the few opening pages. Things steadily improved as events were allowed to unfold. While I think the flash back lacked some of Oda's usual depth. At least it was over quickly enough. Still, what really saved this chapter from obscurity for me was that finale. It's been a while since a scene in a WSJ series has given me such a natural belly laugh. It makes it all well worth the time spent. Looks as if this war really kicks into high gear next week. Look forward to it.
Follow along with the latest ONE PIECE chapters yourself, tune in for the SJ Podcast, and check out the free starter pack sampler at ShonenJump.com here. You can download the free app for both iOS and Android devices.