Yay, a new chapter to entertain me on a snow day here in wisco. Also, the broad themes of the arc are coming into focus:
Shirahoshi is an even weaker version of camie: a girl who has dreams but has never even made the slightest attempt to follow them. So luffy doesn't like her, but he does pity her and thus encourages her to rebel against her restrictions and follow her dreams. She'll be visiting the surface by the end of the arc, that's a promise.
I also love how luffy makes no claim to virtue. Is he bad? That's your call. People always seem to forget around here that he's an antisocial miscreant of a pirate… and revels in it.
Similarly, now that Luffy is helping shirahoshi go on an adventure, damn the consequences, he'll of course be blamed for her kidnapping. The entire poseidon army is going to be mobilized to take down the strawhats, leaving them completely vulnerable to whatever scheme hodi and Vander are planning.
Speaking of whom, they are being set up as a too stereotypical of villains for my taste. Mad man and supremecist partnering up, with the typical variety of sidekicks to fight the rest of the crew. I'm currently hoping that Hodi's crew end up like the General class zombies of Moria's, and are matched up against the poseidon army in the end.
It is hard though to argue against hodi's assertion that the poseidon army lacks racial pride. They were formed only to search out Vander Decken and to protect the FI royalty. Why weren't they defending the mermaids from pirates? Why are they so reliant on pirate protection? It is somewhat pathetic for a supposedly strong race. The seahorse and carp advisers are almost guaranteed to be corrupt too. They are the real rulers and the king does as they command. What a wussy royalty.
The crew power ups so far are looking impressive. It's nice that everyone can hold their own now against entire armies worth of enemies. Nami and Usopp used to run away from scrubs when they didn't have one of the three monsters at their back. Now they can kick ass in awesome fashion. Got to love it.