Trafalgar Law may have the powers of a devil fruit, but he doesn't have the time to learn how to use it. If he wants to save Rocinante in time, he's going to need someone's help, but there is no one to be trusted on Minion Island.
One of the touches that I really admire about Oda is in his willingness to showing people, heroes or villains, being clumsy with newly acquired power. He's displayed this when Luffy had to train his power as a kid to get a handle on it, Sabo was fumbling, and who doesn't remember the hilarity that came out of Kaku's giraffe power? Oda continues that tradition with Trafalgar in this chapter. Law has the fruit and thus has the ability to save Rocinante. That makes it all the more tragic that he doesn't know how to use it.
Far too often, shonen series will just hand a character new power, and they have a handle on every aspect without fail. Even some of the best series gets away with that troupe. Making mistakes is a particular touch that I feel really grounds what is easily the bizarre array of abilities that can be granted by the Devil Fruit. He takes what could easily be summed up as magical and makes them real-ish. It would be nice if more authors took this under consideration, but not many are willing to allow their heroes to appear anything less than heroic all the time.
Under normal circumstances, I might find Vergo's appearance on the island a bit too coincidental. However, isn't that part of writing fictional drama, putting characters in a certain place all at the same time? I also think Oda earns this with the situation that was created. This certain would explain how Doflamingo heard about this deal for the Op-Op Fruit.
It's not a perfect chapter, but it certainly doesn't have much in the way of flaws either. The pacing is good, it builds the drama, a good turn part way, and the emotions feel genuine. I came into this flashback arc completely confused how Oda was gong to redeem the child beating Corazon. Well, he's certainly pulled that off. It's one of the writer's better qualities. Even though this isn't my favorite flashback story, I'm still enjoying the events much more than I thought going in.
I now understand Law's admiration for Corazon, and his absolutely brutal treatment of Vergo on Punk Hazard all starts to make sense. It also wouldn't surprise me in the least if Trafalgar took inspiration from Cora's use of the Calm-Calm Fruit for his Room ability.
Aside from the review of this particular chapter. I'd feel bad if I didn't acknowledge the cameo Oda gaveNaruto in the opening splash page. This isn't the first time the ONE PIECE creator has used his opening page to acknowledge certain landmarks in publishing. ONE PIECE Ch. 519's opening was colored red, grey in the volume edition. This was to mark his series passing the final chapter for DRAGON BALL.
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