Eiichiro Oda continues his streak of not-too-bad chapters with One Piece 796 – The Soldier’s Decision. While there was little action compared to the previous chapter, this chapter drives the story onto the next arc and gets the Strawhats off Dressrosa. Here are my thoughts! Spoilers ahead!
P.S. At least there was no gorilla on this week’s cover.
We start this week’s chapter off the same way as the previous. The marines are still docked and waiting to go after the Strawhats. Fujitora is met by two of the Marine higher-ups Sengoku and Tsuru. It is nice to see Sengoku after he retired as the Navy Admiral, he seems to have a more laid-back appearance and mentality. He is now an “Inspector General” which has significantly less responsibilities. It seems that both Sengoku and Tsuru have taken on more advisory roles than active decision-making. Fujitora explains that the pirates were injured trying to save the country, he wanted them to leave the country as the heroes they were. Sengoku bursts out laughing because of Fujitora using a die to decide the Strawhats fate. Fujitora explains that he has not tampered with the die but it rolled in favour of the Strawhats twice. If the die rolled anything but one, he would go after the Strawhats. While this is going on we see that princess Mancherry and the Tontattas have been provding relief for the soldiers. Also, Riku has returned to the throne. Riku and Elizabello discuss the future of the country, Riku states that he wants Rebecca to take the throne. But Elizabello says that she might not want it. We cut to Rebecca who is hearing a rumour that her father was a prince from a far off land, and not Kyros. Apparently, this prince died in the “war”. We cut back to Mancherry who is collecting blood-donations to help her healing powers. This is sort of like how blood-donations work in the real world? Not the powers, but the need for blood-donations after a tragedy like this. Anyway, Sengoku offers his blood and the story cuts to the Strawhats.
Luffy is finally “awake” I guess. He seems to be in a part angry, part sad, part anxious and part sleepy state. He has certainly not recovered yet but he should be well enough to move. Kyros states that he was the one that started the earlier rumour because he did not want his dark past tarnishing her daughter’s name. “Rooster-kun” himself Bartolomeo barges in to deliver the news that the Navy is on the move. It seems that the Tontatta’s were also spying on the Navy from within, there were finally a bit useful! Fujitora has rolled a six! and they have decided to set off after Luffy. Luffy’s luck has run-out and the crew needs to bounce on that Island ASAP. While most of their preparations were done for departing, and Luffy was finally awake. The still did not have a boat to leave the island on. Quite the predicament. Bartolomeo wants to lead them to the port, some of their allies from the the previous battle were waiting to provide support. Bellamy is there spouting some nonsene about why Law did not kill him, but of course Luffy wanted him alive. But they all agree that it is time to go and they run off in quite a less-than-graceful way. Luffy on the other hand wants to stay behind to do one last thing, which is probably related to Rebecca. We have to wait and see in the next chapter is Luffy’s luck will run out.
I was a bit confused when this chapter started because Oda made it seem like the Strawhats had already left in the previous chapter and the Marine were kind of looking for them. Perhaps I just read it wrong. It was a good idea to show Sengoku and Tsuru and their current positions instead of introducing new characters. We already have had way too many characters introduced in this arc. Sengoku’s new appearance and sunny disposition is quite refreshing from his previous hard-assed and always-stressed mentality. He seems to be enjoying his time in retirement, and he deserves it. I was a bit annoyed that Oda is still trying to make us like the Tontatta’s but at least they were not totally useless in this chapter while providing relief for the injured and spying on the Navy. Fujitora remains one of my favourite characters of this arc. Even though his superiors have arrived, he still insists on doing things his own way for his own sense of justice, very much like Aokiji. But it seems like Luffy’s luck has run out and he will probably do everything in his power to catch him. Although! I would have liked to see how Fujitora would have interacted with Sengoku and Tsuru if the dice had rolled one again. Would he have prevented them from going after Luffy? Could he have? I feel like this was a bit of a missed opportunity.
I am still not that intrested in Rebecca’s story. I feel that Oda did not do enough to make me care about her the same way we all cared about Vivi from the Alabasta arc. Because of all the characters we had to deal with in this arc, not enough attention was placed on her and she just ended up being fan-service. But Oda is trying to make her a thing anyway. My feeling is that Rebecca might not want the princess life and decide to leave with Luffy. I would hate for this to happen, I do not feel like she has earned a place on the Strawhats. Bartolomeo played a way more integral part than she did so I hope that he joins on instead of her. Luffy is finally awake and the Strawhats are ready to go and I would like to see how they manage to get of the island without Fujitora dropping a meteor on them. But of course Luffy always has one more thing to do and it’s Rebecca related. Why? Just Why? Anyway, this was not too bad of a chapter, but certainly not as great as the ones we got before this. But I suppose you have to have a couple of slow chapters before your transition onto the next arc. Which I am hoping is pretty soon. After all, Kaido has entered and war is coming!
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Image credits: Weekly Shōnen Jump, Shueisha, VIZ media