So I haven't made a long or thoughtful post on recent OP chapters or OP in general for a while now. I think part of that stems from being exhausted from the work on revising the crew profile on my site. After finishing those I don't even want to 'think' about OP and would rather just sit there enjoying it with drool slowly draining from my pie hole.
The other major contributing factor seems to be two-fold in how I choose to experience the series. It seems that many of the speculative and minute details are all tucked away in the spoiler threads, taking much of the insane joy away from the chapter thread. Not complaining, that's just how it is. The other would be my choosing to wait for JUMP to come out which significantly staggers the time I come into the chapter conversation, which is usually in a 4chan-inspired dual over some perverted aspect of the series.
But anyway, I figured it's been long enough.
I think I'm starting to get bored of several aspects of One Piece. Such a megaton comment from the likes of myself is no doubt bound to call cries of blasphemy from the Church of Oda which I helped establish. No, stand down those of the cloth, I am not here to spread blasphemy. I just think Oda's established, proven, endearing and successful formula is starting to grow a bit old. And that formula would be, his 'exploration' chapters. Following the SH crew in their 'off time' is important. It gives Oda a chance to give characters that haven't had much interaction together new quirks, we get to learn a little bit about the island or region and its people and culture, and most importantly he can set up his new and exciting arc.
Now I'll be fair. The last time Oda actually gave his crew breathing room to explore a new 'non-hostile' island was way back in 2004 when they entered Water 7 so it's not like he's jamming these experiences down our throats. But WHEN they occur, they're starting to grow a bit dull. There's obviously a few things we need to accept, yes the SH crew will fuck shit up and get everyone pissed before making them happy. That's part of the blood-life of the story, don't like it? STFU and read something else. But the pprogression from, "Gee isn't this swell!", to, "OMGWTF!", is getting more of a yawn out of me than anything else these days. It's amazing that Oda literally creates AN ENTIRE CULTURE FROM THE GROUND UP and has our heroes interact with it, but his almost cookie-cutter approach is drawing thin. From an author who creates what are easily the most surprising twists and turns in shonen comics today, it just stands out when he isn't doing just that. Which is half compliment and half criticism really.
That out of my system, I'd like to leave that realm and head over to something more positive. When Oda unveiled 9
new characters in 498, I think I shat a shit of joy. I was reading it in the car on the way to Tokyo Disneyland and instead of helping Haruka with directions, I was busy fangasming at 60mph to do much else. She forgave me.
You do realize he's had some of these characters in his head for over a decade.
Usually when Oda unveils a character, you know he knows exactly what he wants to do with them, be it fodder [Hildon] or integral to the overall story [Sengoku]. Needless to say, even if they will end up as fodder, Oda has NINE individuals that he KNOWS will play an important part of the arc and I dare say to the finale of the series. This shows that Oda has no less than 9 ideas in his head. 9 climaxes and 9 conclusions. They don't need to be fights or what have you, but it just shows how WELL he knows his own damn story and how much confidence he has in it.
Not only did he unveil a number, (because we've known about Shichibukai from early on), but he gave us names, faces and personalities to boot. That's just fucking amazing. Respect.