It's a good thing that the battle between Doflamingo and Trafalgar takes up most of the time of this chapter, because the latter third is sort of a disappointment. The clash of these two Warlords is on a scale that is appropriate to their positions. There's some give and take on both ends in both brutality and wit. Law gives just about as good as he gets, and I like that he doesn't fall for Doflamingo's obvious guilt trip over the past.
What's shocking in this chapter is how graphic the violence has become. The scene of Law screaming with a dismembered arm is almost unnerving. At least it would be, if we didn't know he could reattach it with relative ease. Oda has just normally shied away from intense blood for scenes not set in the past. This is something I'd more expect to see in BLEACH than in ONE PIECE.
You know what's pretty surprising. Back when Bellamy first appeared in this arc, I had been anticipating almost this very moment with an almost sadistic joy. I wanted to see the former anti-pirate trying so hard to prove his growth. Only to get crushed once more by Luffy. However, now that Oda has pulled yet another impressive redemption, I'm now bothered to see a former hope transform into a disappointment.
The biggest problem is that Bellamy lacks any rational motivation, apart of willful ignorance. He knows full well that his actions don't make any sense and says as much. He boasts about how his power has improved, but does the creator think the audience has also forgotten that he also has one foot in the grave as it is? He doesn't stand even a remote chance to win against Luffy.
I would have been thoroughly disappointed if this chapter had solely focused on the Luffy and Bellamy scene. I instead enjoyed Law and Doflamingo's fight and dialog. It's just too bad that it was soured at the end by Bellamy trying to prove what a fool he is to a man who doesn't even care if he lives or dies. I guess in one way this does leave the reader with a sense of tension. With Bellamy on the verge of death, will Luffy be able to throw a punch this time? The very question Luffy answered way back on Jaya. Can he throw a punch that would mean almost certain death?
Any closure on this moment may have to wait. ONE PIECE appears to be on break next week.
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