I'm enjoying the story that Oda has created here. He's doing a good job of crafting a plot that explains Law's connection to Rocinante, and why Doflamingo turned on him. All with his classic style and characters. Rocinante is in a no win situation between his brother and the Navy, and it's all for the sake of saving Trafalgar.
I also enjoy how Doflamingo is proving to be the consummate villain. He knows if Rocinante disobeys he'll be confirming he's a spy. If he agrees, he could obtain immortality and be rid of someone who's a potential spy. Either way, he knows his bother wants the fruit to save Law. He just doesn't realize his brother already has a devil fruit power.
It's not that I'm not enjoying this flashback drama. It certainly paints a better picture for me of how Law and Rocinante became so close. I just can't been tense about the situation this chapter ends on. We see Law in dire straights, Rocinante has the Op-Op Fruit, but his clumsiness has gotten him surrounded. We're left with the impression of "Will he make it?", but we already know he does. That's the problem with prequel stories. Much of the drama of the characters that we know is undercut.
It's hard to decide if Rocinante's powers are the dream or worst nightmare of the ONE PIECE anime foley artists. For anyone who doesn't know, that's the person who creates the sound effects for movies - animated or live action. They go to rather remarkable lengths to create the sounds for foot steps to explosions. However, what do you do for someone who makes no sound? They could either take the day off, or the director could force them to contemplate the sound of no sound.
While problematic in some ways, I will admit that his powers aren't truly optimized. I'm sure it must be incredibly unnerving to have things explode around you but not hear anything. However, wouldn't he be far more effective to use his powers for stealth. When I ponder on silent but deadly, I wasn't thinking about flatulence. Still, Oda went there.
The story is entertaining enough, but I'm just not moved by the sort of drama we're left at. Not when I know the outcome of Law getting the fruit and surviving. It's sort of a conceit that one needs to accept in a weekly serialized story. They always want to leave things at a cliffhanger. I guess the appeal in this sort of story is more in seeing how events happened in detail. I just hope this wraps up kind of soon so we can get back to the chaos in Dressrosa.
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