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Thread: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

  1. #1
    Desire's Bland Moon puffing.cinema's Avatar
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    Default Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    One of the things that I like the most about being a long-time OP fan is that you get to appreaciate the effort the author made to pull things through in a conceptional level. When I see readers dissecting the narrative skills Oda used and compare them with how they would have done I'm always amazed. So I though of bringing up a thread to discuss and expose precisely that: with the gift of hindsight, what would you have done differently regarding past arcs and characters development?

    For instance: It's commonly agreed that Dressrosa is a bloated arc, and now we know for a fact that Green Bit should have been it's own thing. So, how would you tackle it? How would you bring this arc to life?
    Someone in the forum brough up the idea of Viola being a main villain in GB - in a mastermind position, moving the Donquixote Combatents to do the job while she covers the area with Senringan; and sugested that after being defeated, she would start to believe the Strawhats had the power to bring down the Donquixote Family, going out of her way to make it a reality.

    Robin's, Franky's and Brook's stans are constantly trying to make peace with how little spot-light these characters have; so, given they would have more screentime, what would you like to see them doing? Which kind of quirks, behaviours, interactions would you like them to have?

    Being myself a Robin fan I'd love to see her getting more screentime. A quriky behaviour of hers that I think would be complementary to the crew's shenaningans would be that after a life of hiding and living in the dark she is addictive to being misterious. So we would have scenes were she deliberately seems to try to hide and object, or leave writings in poneglyph in the ship's log or Chopper's notes and seems amazed when people point it out, or misteriously seems to disapear only to act with some aloofness in a way when confronted about it; even when it comes to simple things like, "what's for breakfest today?" she goes "things from a time long gone..." and it's just leftovers time.
    When it comes to interactions I'd gladly see Robin and Usopp teaming up to create the most disturbing stories during a bonfire. Or Nami in absolute need to fetch a book she lent and being utterly affraid of breaking the unspeakable ship's rule to never ever try to pry on Robin's research cabinet.

    Well, if given the pen, what would you change?
    Last edited by puffing.cinema; May 7th, 2021 at 05:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Button Pusher Shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Easy answer: have Jinbe just join back on Fishman Island and deal with the Big Mom stuff later.



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  3. #3

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    I’d have made this entire act in Onigashima shorter for sure. I feel it’s taking too long to start the real action.
    Wano predictions: There will be 5 acts; All Straw Hats will get fights, some in Act 4; Big Mom Pirates will arrive; Carrot will have her moment, but won't join; Yamato will be a Kouzuki samurai and Wano's Guardian; Shanks will visit Luffy in Act 5; Next arc is Mary Geoise.

  4. #4
    Omne ignotum pro magnifico Zik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    More (and actually threatening) bounty hunters. I probably would've added them to Punk Hazard. At least one new character that's specifically hunting down the supernova with goals of taking down the yonkou.

    I'd probably make the Reverie 5 or 7 chapters longer or more around the world coverage with w/e BB and the Marines are after.

    I don't know if it'd fit better in the anime as filler but I would've gave 1 episode to each strawhat during the timeskip or just give 6 episodes to Robin with the revolutionaries.

    Regardless of them being defunct, I would've made the shichibukai 7 actual warlords again after Dressrosa. New character or an old one/seen or talked about before making a come back. Some pirates that would've really pissed off Fujitora and even Kizaru. It just nagged at me that for awhile they were only 5 or 6 members. As a world power you'd think there would've been more urgency to fill out the ranks.


    Like I said before find some way to rework Fishman Island arc and Dressrosa to make them better.

  5. #5
    Desire's Bland Moon puffing.cinema's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Shift View Post
    Easy answer: have Jinbe just join back on Fishman Island and deal with the Big Mom stuff later.
    So instead of a Sanji rescue arc, we would have a the whole squad acting as shields so that Jinbe can go into BM turf, say bye and move out unscatered. How would they do it without Germa? How would you introduce Tottoland then?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deicide View Post
    I’d have made this entire act in Onigashima shorter for sure. I feel it’s taking too long to start the real action.
    I find it funny that Onigashima is the focus of the shriking when we had such an weak first act for most characters! But, ok, how would you shorten it? How would you retell the arc to achieve the same beats that Oda cracked?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    You all know what i would have changed lol

  7. #7

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Oh, I love doing stuff like this. It's one thing to criticise a plot, but actually dissecting it and trying to "fix" it is where you learn the most. And it puts you in the shoes of the creator and makes you understand better why they did what they did. I was the one who suggested the plot with Viola, and I've actually been toying with that idea more since then. I'd like to "fix" the Dressrosa Saga by structuring it more like Alabasta, with 3-4 smaller islands and then Dressrosa as the big finisher.

    One of the big things I wish for would be Law and Chopper clashing. Not as combatants but as doctors.
    What made Chopper so endearing prior to the time-skip was how much he learnt during all of his fights. Drum had him make his first friends. Alabasta and Skypiea was about self confidence. Enies Lobby had him hit a wall and have to face his inner monster. And often overlooked, the tag-fight he had with Robin versus Hogback was great because it came down to his ideals as a doctor and realizing his idol was a bad person. Now Law isn't bad in the same way Hogback did, but I doubt he has the same standards Chopper does. Not to mention he has a fruit that at first glance appears to be a magical all-cure and he's the guy who saved Luffy's life. There's a lot there for Chopper to unpack. He could be jealous or even angry of Law's power. He could argue with him about being a doctor, and later bond over it. They could teach each other stuff - Law being a surgeon, Chopper with his specialization in medicine. He could be thankful that he saved Luffy, or maybe even feel guilty because he wasn't there for Luffy when he needed him. And it would be a good way for Law to feel like a more natural part of the cast during Dressrosa rather than the slap-on guest he kinda ended up being. Hell, he could probably learn a few things from Chopper.

    Just do something with all that. Not just a gag with Chopper liking to sit on his head (even if it was hilarious). Have them interact over doctor stuff, be it a fight or just bonding.

    Another thing would be to have Momo and Luffy interact. Those two have a great dynamic together. I'd like to see Luffy teach Momo to respect others and be brave. Instead of him having all that self-loathing now during Wano, have him go through it earlier and let Luffy help sort it out, so when he goes into Wano it's with Luffy's courage burning within him. It's make Momo a lot more likeable and give Wano the emotional supporting character it desperately needs.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfwood View Post
    You all know what i would have changed lol


    I dont.

    "Easy answer: have Jinbe just join back on Fishman Island and deal with the Big Mom stuff later.

    THIS.

  9. #9
    Button Pusher Shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by puffing.cinema View Post
    So instead of a Sanji rescue arc, we would have a the whole squad acting as shields so that Jinbe can go into BM turf, say bye and move out unscatered. How would they do it without Germa? How would you introduce Tottoland then?
    Okay, didn't realize you were gonna be quizzing us, but here goes:

    Jinbe joins in Fishman Island, PH goes as normal, DR goes as normal, Sanji gets taken as normal, Jinbe goes to settle things with Big Mom, maybe swims on ahead to do it. Germa's still there, Tottoland's the same, Jinbe can still have the wheel of torture and sake cup scenes.



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  10. #10

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Shift View Post
    Easy answer: have Jinbe just join back on Fishman Island and deal with the Big Mom stuff later.
    I honestly wouldn't change that. Having a New World veteran around when the crew was entering the New World would've taken out a lot of the sense of danger and be thematically inappropriate since the SH's were still rookies by then.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    1. I would have integrated Kaido's flashback while he was being attacked by the Akazaya 9 or when Big Mom showed up. I feel like Oda's waiting for Big Mom to betray him (my assumption) or after he's defeated. Either way, I think not having his flashback yet has muted a lot of the impact of the current fight. He doesn't feel like that bad of a guy as opposed to Orochi and other past villains, but he also doesn't have that devilish charm that Doffy and Crocodile had. I like the character a lot, but I wish I liked him more. A flashback would help.
    2. I would have gotten rid of the birdcage. It was a lame way to raise the stakes in Dressrossa and it made everyone look weak. If there's an explanation for its ridiculous strength, I still think it breaks the overall One Piece worldbuilding so i choose to ignore it.
    3. I would have kept Sanji from attacking Luffy and framed Whole Cake more from the perspective of him trying to infiltrate Big Mom and getting caught up in unexpected family drama. It could have extended the idea of Sanji's solo heroics (like vs Enel and Crocodile) instead of degrading his "niceness."
    4. I would have had early Wano feature Kin with Luffy, Zoro, Tama, and Kiku, so we can really get a feel for the emotional wreck and devastation everything has on him.
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  12. #12
    Button Pusher Shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by King Cannon View Post
    I honestly wouldn't change that. Having a New World veteran around when the crew was entering the New World would've taken out a lot of the sense of danger and be thematically inappropriate since the SH's were still rookies by then.
    Realistically yes, but in this hypothetical scenario of me being in charge, I would make sure to give Jinbe the proper checks and balances to ensure he doesn't simply blast everything away and just let him have some time in the sun.



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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Shift View Post
    Okay, didn't realize you were gonna be quizzing us, but here goes:

    Jinbe joins in Fishman Island, PH goes as normal, DR goes as normal, Sanji gets taken as normal, Jinbe goes to settle things with Big Mom, maybe swims on ahead to do it. Germa's still there, Tottoland's the same, Jinbe can still have the wheel of torture and sake cup scenes.
    Given the situation it'd make sense for Jimbe to say something like "I'll join you for now." hinting that he does have a conflicting obligation sort of how Nami tagged along and then cut and ran.
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  14. #14
    Desire's Bland Moon puffing.cinema's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Zik View Post
    More (and actually threatening) bounty hunters. I probably would've added them to Punk Hazard. At least one new character that's specifically hunting down the supernova with goals of taking down the yonkou.
    A squad send by the brokers to test PH defenses and to cover for Yeti Cool Bros' defeat sounds nice. It could give Kinemon a battle to show off his skills and to spark Zoro's interest in samurai swordplay and the Smiley-explosion-slicing moment would just crown it. A bounty hunter trying to take down PK candidates...this would have come from Doffy, right? Kaido would simply beat the hunter into submission, and CC already had his guard. If that happened, I we could push Brownbeard back to the lab and give Chopper some action while trying to get the kids away with Nami and Robin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shift View Post
    Okay, didn't realize you were gonna be quizzing us.
    oh man, sorry, I didn't mean to come off as some kind of forum teacher checking people's tests. I was trying to understand why it would make a better story for you, what scenes and developments you'd like to see if that happened. You don't have to go all the way down, but I think it could lead to some interesting creative choices: would Jinbe stay in Dressroa or go to Zou? What would he do if he stayed (Shichibukai clash?), or if he was gone (Vs Jack)? What interactions could come from these situations, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zar View Post
    I was the one who suggested the plot with Viola, and I've actually been toying with that idea more since then. I'd like to "fix" the Dressrosa Saga by structuring it more like Alabasta, with 3-4 smaller islands and then Dressrosa as the big finisher.
    Sorry I didn't go back to check who had the idea! And I'm eager to know more about your Dressrosa arc. The new islands would be ones already introduced but never developed (like the ones the supernovas went before the TS)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zar View Post
    One of the big things I wish for would be Law and Chopper clashing. Not as combatants but as doctors.
    oooooooh, I think we could have a really good Choppa moment when he askes Law about Luffy's health and what happened to his captain after the war. I can see Chopper being extremelly greatful to Law for what he had done but still willing to criticise his medical approach. Also, the insight about the lenghts Luffy had to push himself and his inner strenght could inspire the deer-doctor to do so with even more conviction in the near future (inspiring him to beat all odds and create a win against Queen's Ice Oni, i.e.).
    and I completely agree on the Momo part! I do believe the upcoming narrative shift will come from Yamato and Momo, so Oda may still deliver on that end! But right now it seems that he is kinda just there (even after the Udon lesson from Luffy).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    1. Have Kizaru defeat some of the Supernova in Saboady, keep them out of the story. Other than Bege who imo made the Whole Cake Island better I don't feel like any of the Supernova have improved the arcs they're in. Drake turning in Wano and Apoo being used as target practise made me wonder if Oda just didn't have any ideas for them after the introduction and just stuck them in one arc. We saw a bunch fight Kizaru and fail. Would have been way impressive to see one of the much hyped Admirals take out some bigged up rookies and have it stick. Rather than...like EVERYONE get away. Personally I'd have removed a handful at this point.

    2. Sabo was intended to be in from the start. Another char that exists (and I'm 99% sure this is why he exists) because Ace died and people got upset. We needed Ace 2.0 so another boy was introduced... nah. Either Sabo goes in from the start or he doesn't go in at all. I think I'd have had more interest if Burgess actually got Ace's fruit. Because at least then we would have had an interesting dynamic of the brother's fruit being used against Luffy down the line. Koala is the more interesting Revolutionary.

    3. Probably would have removed some aspects of Dressrosa. Personally I would have been happy enough with Rebecca's story being enough for Luffy to save the country without Law being added. Also Doflamingo's powers let him use people as puppets. So... SH vs SH fights? I dunno. Doflamingo himself really feels like a missed opportunity. I was really hyped for him but then I didn't enjoy the delivery. Him literally controlling some of the crew as puppets may have been an interesting dynamic and enough for Luffy to wanna take him out. How would Sanji feel having to fight Robin/Nami? Can Robin break Brook's bones? I dunno. Doflamingo's puppet powers seemed kinda 'meh' to me and Dressrosa was bloated with so many different additions.

    4. I'd maybe have had Fishman Island take place after Punk Hazard. Sadly FI suffers from the OP Time Skip crew making all of the threats feel a bit meh. So I'd either have PH or another island before Fishman Island. Also PH doesn't have everything neatly resolved by Law. Also use the Yeti Cool Bros.

    5. I'd shuffle some fights around. In PH Monet really felt like she shoulda went against Robin, Chopper, Nami or Tashigi. But instead went to Zoro because.....Zoro needed a fight this arc. It added nothing for Zoro and I probably would have enjoyed either of these characters get a fight instead. And if it doesn't eventually happen. I'd write Brook vs Apoo into Wano.

    6. Add why Zoro got his scar and have it be something stupid.
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  16. #16
    Omne ignotum pro magnifico Zik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by King Cannon View Post
    I honestly wouldn't change that. Having a New World veteran around when the crew was entering the New World would've taken out a lot of the sense of danger and be thematically inappropriate since the SH's were still rookies by then.
    At what point did they stop being rookies though?

    I felt like anybody that joined in the NW would be too experienced unless Oda put very specific situation based circumstances on a character that blocked that. I.E. Yamato being a prisoner to a yonkou most of his life.

    Jimbe is still a big mystery though. Its kinda like what the hell was he doing while he was a shichibukai. What the hell was he doing in those two years when he was stripped of his title and back as a pirate again. Its easy to assume he's been to most NW islands.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    I would eliminate Whole Cake island arc. Or at least shorten it. It was too long to not change the story too much.

    I personally love Dressrosa. Would only change the pacing of the second half (after everyone is turned back to human). And show Usopp and Robin fighting Trébol.
    Oh, and make Doflamingo's ability to control people relevant to the fights. He barely controlled Bellamy and Viola.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    I think paying closer attention to the passage of time and allowing a little more in-world breathing time between major arcs (extended travel time) would be appreciated. Some of my favorite parts of the stories are the moments where the crew spend time together between arcs and I love we get to see scenes like that - the crew just having fun - on the color cover spreads. Oda really never did short fun adventure / pit stop type of islands and I understand the reason. He likes to keep the story moving at a good pace. The only case of Oda doing a short story which is really disconnected from the bigger story of One Piece is Gaimon and the island of strange creatures. It's actually a really unusual chapter from early One Piece. I'm not saying I would have liked Oda to dedicate a large number of chapters to stories like that, but I think having a few more short arcs (even one chapter) as the crew sail would have been nice. I think it would help balance out the fact that the crew get into fights on every island they visit. If some of them were just short, quick pit stops where they go on a fun little adventure, even if there's no big fight or major conflict, I think it would also allow Oda to work in some of his ideas for locations and characters that he doesn't feel he can dedicate time to in the story and thus leaves out. The first thing that comes to mind is something like the Heist part of film Gold (not the big battle at the end). Not having to worry about a big extended action sequence and major fights would allow Oda to incorporate lots of ideas.

    Only other thing I think would have been cool, a Strong World arc between Thriller Bark and Sabaody. I know we got the movie and I do enjoy it - still my favorite One Piece film. I feel like there were parts of Strong World which were underdeveloped and would have benefited from the full arc treatment. Obviously, if it were in the main series, the Straw Hats wouldn't be dropped off back in the East Blue. There would need to be changes to make it work, but it would have put a buffer between Brook joining and the crew being split up. Not a huge deal considering how quickly the Straw Hats become friends. I think for Shiki to work as a manga villain, Oda would have needed to stress that he was no longer nearly as strong as he was when he faced Roger. I actually think having a washed up New World Pirate right before the war and the time skip could have been fitting, but I guess Moria already demonstrates that concept well enough. I suppose it would've felt like filler in that nothing of narrative significance really would have happened.

    I guess my suggestions are mostly additive. I'd like to see a few more panels (not full chapters) dedicated to the fights Oda off-panels and maybe more details / short flashbacks to things like the Rocky Port Incident, Grudge War, and fight between Akainu and Aokiji. Stuff like that I wouldn't mind to see rather than be told through exposition. But ultimately, I understand why Oda leaves a lot of this stuff out.

    I really don't have suggestions to alter the stuff Oda has already drawn. For me, one of my favorite things about One Piece is seeing the crew spending time together and so the biggest thing I would have liked to see, as I said, is a little more down time between big story arcs for short adventures (examples include Gaimon's Island and the heist portion of Film Gold) with the crew spending time together.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Kill Law in Dressrosa arc, his whole purpose was to use the strawhats to defeat Doflamingo and avenge his dead brother. After Dressrosa, there was no reason for him to continue in the story.

    Law needs to go ASAP.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Holding the Pen: a "What If?" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by puffing.cinema View Post
    I find it funny that Onigashima is the focus of the shriking when we had such an weak first act for most characters! But, ok, how would you shorten it? How would you retell the arc to achieve the same beats that Oda cracked?
    Act 3 is already a behemoth larger than the sum of acts 1 and 2, and there's no sign of it reaching its turning point yet.

    I can't really say what to cut without knowing what Oda is aiming to accomplish, but I feel it's overstaying its welcome.

    For instance, do we really need Big Mom chasing Usopp and Chopper, then chasing Nami, then being thrown outside of the dome, then fighting Marco just to fly away back to Kaido, then being thrown out of Onigashima, then returning and blasting Kid/Killer, then returning to the mansion to find Usopp and Nami, then beating Page One?
    Did we need Jack defeated off-screen, just to return later?
    Couldn't the Scabbards stay down after being beaten by the Big Bad? At least for a while?

    Some of those events feel to me like they could have been trimmed down.
    Wano predictions: There will be 5 acts; All Straw Hats will get fights, some in Act 4; Big Mom Pirates will arrive; Carrot will have her moment, but won't join; Yamato will be a Kouzuki samurai and Wano's Guardian; Shanks will visit Luffy in Act 5; Next arc is Mary Geoise.

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