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Rabu Study Day
One Piece 38 
22nd-Feb-2014 12:53 pm
stealth mode
This might be a little premature, because I'm not sure if mangaroo has had a chance to read 37 yet, but having finished a draft of 39, I'm starting to lose track of where I am. So, here is 38 for all my Monday morning commenters.

Volume 38: Rocketman


Kokoro, guzzling on a bottle, is telling Iceberg that the word is Franky is dead. Got hit by the sea-train.

[T_T She never drank like that when Tom was alive.]

Iceberg says they should get together and have a drink sometime.

Silently, he vows to Tom-san that he'll change Water 7.

Out at sea, Franky's mangled body is floating on the water. He crawls aboard an abandoned ship, and finds an abundance of supplies. He begins the work of fixing himself back up.

Four years later, Galley-La is doing good business, and there's talk of Iceberg running for mayor.

A young Kalifa tells Iceberg that someone named Cutty Flam is asking for him.

[This is four years before the present, so the sleeper agents have presumably in place for a year at this point.]

Iceberg tells Kalifa to "run him off," but in the next scene, they're meeting down at the abandoned warehouse.

[Random: I have to wonder why reconstructing his body involved Franky giving himself three chins, but then again, this is Franky we're talking about.]

In no time they're fighting again. Franky can't believe Iceberg would stoop to work with the government, the very people who killed Tom. Iceberg still hasn't forgiven him for Tom's death.

Iceberg gives Franky the plans. He says it's only a matter of time before he himself is targeted. He urges him to abandon the name of Cutty Flam, leave the island, and cut all ties so that no one can connect them.

Franky's first thought is of the danger to Iceberg if the government catches him and he doesn't have the plans. (Aw!) He says Iceberg should just keep them, and burn them before the eyes of the government if it comes to that.

Iceberg says he can't do that. Tom sacrificed everything to give Water 7 a future, and that future depends on the existence of those plans.

[I may not have this right, but something is definitely wrong with the Viz translation, which makes no sense at all. In Japanese: あれだけの偉業を成したトムさんが // 全てを捨てて未来につないだ設計図だ. Very literally, "Tom-san, who accomplished so great a legacy, threw everything away and the plans are linked to (that) future."]

So long as Nico Robin, who has the ability to reactivate the ancient weapon, is alive, the world needs these plans as a counter-measure. He would die before handing those plans over to the government.

Franky says he might want to build the weapon himself - has Iceberg thought of that?

"I gave the plans to you. Draw your own conclusions."

Iceberg says things never change. They fight every time they see each other. He'll never forgive Franky, and Franky probably feels the same about him.

But (with tears streaming down his face) he's so glad Franky is still alive.

*gives Iceberg a million hugs*

(Aw, Franky's face. I think he honestly didn't expect that.)

Defiantly, Franky tells Iceberg he has no intention of leaving the city. He's staying!

**Flashback ends**

Lucci taunts Franky, saying it must have been tough to work for such a violent, unpredictable master.

Franky says government people are nothing but shit (in so many words). They don't deserve the dignity of a reply.

Lucci plans on taking Franky into custody, since they can still charge him with responsibility for the incident in which over one hundred people were seriously injured.

Blueno says he's on the line with the "director" (長官, agency head), who has something he wants to say to Franky.

The man on the other end of the line is Spandam, now Director of CP-9. He wears a leather mask (apparently because of the job Franky did on his face), and he's still bearing a hefty grudge.

[UGH, such an annoying antagonist.]

Franky still can't get his name right. "Spanda!"

When they go to tie Franky up, Usopp tries to stand up for him… for all of five seconds. (Well, Lucci IS really intimidating.)

Kaku recognizes Usopp as one of the Strawhat pirates.

Back at Galley-La, the building is an inferno, but Chopper leaps out of the flames, carrying Paulie and Iceberg on his back (and Zoro's sword in his mouth, omg).


Chopper collapses, and the shipwrights rush to treat Iceberg and Paulie - and Chopper, too, because he saved the lives of their comrades.

[I can't believe how many re-reads it took me to notice this, but in the frame where Iceberg is lying unconscious on the ground, the mouse is watching over him. Mouse!]


Cover arc: There appears to be a wax house in the jungle.

Kaku defeats Usopp easily and takes him into custody, since he's still a pirate, Strawhat or no.

Seeing the Merry, Kaku says he should discharge his proper duty as a shipwright and dispose of it. He opens the channel to let the Merry go out to sea.

As Usopp watches in horror, the Merry plunges into the sea below and disappears.

[That last shot of the Merry "looking" up at Usopp, OMG.]

Usopp screams.

[Most definitely my least favorite Kaku moment. >.<]

Back at Galley-La, Iceberg recovers consciousness [mouse!], and asks to speak with Nami alone.

He asks if Robin started acting strangely when they first came to Water 7, and Nami says yes.

She can't understand what Robin meant by saying that her wish couldn't come true as long as she was with them.

Iceberg fills her in on the existence of the ancient weapon, and on the conversation he had with Robin just before CP-9 was unveiled.

[This picks up from the moment in the last volume when Iceberg told Robin she had fallen into his trap, and the others discovered from Paulie that the plans were a fake. We never heard anything they said to each other between then and the point when the CP-9 agents gathered in his room.]

Robin says she has no interest in activating an ancient weapon; she only wants to know history. To Iceberg, that sounds like utter selfishness. She'd risk the safety of the world to satisfy her curiosity?

When he mentions the demons of Ohara, Robin flies into a rage.

"What do YOU know about Ohara! You have no idea what the government did to my life!"

When Iceberg asks her why she's working with the government, then, Robin looks utterly miserable.

She says that CP-9 agreed to grant her wish, on two conditions: that she pin the blame for the assassination of Iceberg on the Strawhats, and that she turn herself in.

Iceberg knows that turning herself in means a death sentence.

Robin explains that the alternative was that the government would activate a Buster Call against the Strawhats.

No target can stand against the combined force of five Vice-Admirals and ten navy warships. They would have been obliterated.

[Marineford]It's kind of funny how later arcs sometimes have the effect of decreasing the drama of earlier arcs on a re-read. I mean, I totally believed in the horror of the Buster Call when I first saw this arc, but now I'm like "Ten ships and five vice admirals? But there were way more forces than that at Marineford…?" And a little bit further on, when Nami is trying to explain the ultimate horror of Impel Down, I'm thinking "Oh, no sweat, Luffy can just break in there!" I think I'm kind of missing the point.

Aokiji was the one who granted Spandam special dispensation to use the Buster Call, just once. Normally only an admiral would have that authority.

As soon as Robin heard Aokiji's name, she knew she was finished. For twenty years, she survived by betraying and using those she was with, always running away and leaving someone else holding the bag. Now that's no longer an option.

[Enies Lobby]I find it interesting that Robin says she immediately gave up on hearing Aokiji's name. Was this because she realized - rightly - that he had her checkmated, since he may well have guessed that she would not betray the shipmates he saw her with? Or is this another manifestation of the trauma-induced helplessness that she shows in the face of the Buster Call in general? I find the way she freezes when faced with Aokiji heartbreaking - it's like she temporarily reverts to the defenseless child she was back then.

"The life I threw away, the heart I lost, the dreams I had given up on… they gave them all back to me. I had nakama who trusted me — a person like me!"

(こんな私, oh, Robin.)

Her one wish was that the six Strawhats, apart from herself, be permitted to leave the island unharmed.

As for what might happen to the world if the ancient weapon is reactivated… she doesn't give a damn. (構わない.)

Back in the present, Iceberg tells Nami that he couldn't pull the trigger.

"She chose the six of you over the lives of every human being living on this planet!"

Now that it seems likely that the government will get its hands on his plans, he's hardly in any position to blame her, but…

Nami crumples to the ground. Iceberg thinks something is wrong, but she's just relieved.

"よかった… Robin didn't betray us after all."

[Such a lovely, lovely frame. Nami so often puts on a tough face and shows the less-pleasant sides of her personality that these moments of genuine vulnerability are rare. It wasn't until this point that I realized how upset she really was about Robin leaving. She still tends to bottle things up and hide them from everyone.]

The next moment, she's on her feet, full of renewed energy. Iceberg is bewildered, but Nami says the only thing holding them back before was doubt. Now that that has been removed, there's nothing they can't do.

(And then she starts harassing poor Chopper to wake up, oh dear, haha.)

In Chopper's memory/flashback, Sanji is telling him to get back to the others and report exactly what Robin said. Sanji himself has something he needs to do.

When Chopper asks if Robin hates them now, Sanji says:

"It's a man's job to forgive the lies a woman tells."

[We were having a huge discussion about this line in the comments to Volume 36, and I still hate all the sexist implications, but one thing strikes me now that didn't before — seeing it again in context, it's clear that the "lie" he means is the lie Robin actually did tell, which is that she no longer wants to sail with them. I have more things to say, but I'll put them into a comment at the end, so this doesn't turn into a dissertation.]

At Blue Station, the 11 pm train to Enies Lobby is getting ready to depart.

Hiding in the shadows, Sanji sees Robin walking toward the train, surrounded by government agents.

"Bingo." (This is the title of the chapter - in Japanese too.)


Cover Arc: Baroque Reunion - Miss Golden Week is taking delivery of the paper.

[Is there a pun in the title? ミッツバロック, "Mittsu-Barokku." Since the arc deals with the adventures of Miss Golden Week, Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine, I assume the "mittsu" (3) might allude to "three people" (normally sannin, I know), but it also kind of sounds like "Miss" - and of course, she was Mr. 3's partner. I believe that Mr. 3's whereabouts after Alabasta are unaccounted for.]

Sanji is assessing the situation.

Robin clearly is being taken away under duress, but with her powers, she would be perfectly capable of resisting if she chose.

While he's still pondering what she might be up to (idiotically drooling over the possibility that Robin is just waiting for him to save her), he hears someone saying that CP-9 has arrived.

[You know, it's the utter idiocy of Sanji's fantasies, and the way Oda makes him look ridiculous for having them (Sanji starts choking on his cigarette smoke and the smoke comes out heart-shaped!), that makes me think Oda can't be quite as clueless about the sexist implications of Sanji's behavior as he sometimes seems. But who knows.]

Usopp, tied up in a bag, can be heard shrieking threats halfway across the dock. Franky appears to be out cold. Blueno is carrying both slung over his shoulder like two sacks of potatoes.

The navy flunkies are quick to show respect. Someone brings Lucci's coat.

[Lucci looks pretty hot in the coat, I will give you that. Scary and creepy, but hot.]

Hearing Usopp making a fuss, Sanji looks grumpy.

"Whaddya mean, 'All I did was cause you trouble to the very end'? You left the crew, and you're STILL causing trouble."

[He looks grumpy, but this comes out sounding affectionate in my head. Also, love for the underlying assumption that Usopp's meiwaku is still their meiwaku.]

Chopper is starry-eyed X1000.

"Robin doesn't hate us after all!?"

[AW, CHOPPER! He usually reserves that many stars for robots and Zoro.]

I love all the shipwrights gaping at the fact that the reindeer turned into a tanuki. (And then a gorilla. 俺がんばるぞ!)

Iceberg's mouse is back in his pocket. (Iceberg X Mouse 4VR!)

[This was the first time I originally spotted the mouse. I actually went back to earlier frames LOOKING for mouse sightings, and it still took me forever to notice them - I finally caught them on the fifth or sixth re-read. Sometimes I feel like reading One Piece is like doing a hidden object puzzle.]

He tells Nami that the chances are high that Robin will be leaving on the eleven o clock train for Enies Lobby. They have only a half hour to catch it, and they still need to find Luffy and Zoro.

Paulie (crawling back to his feet) orders the other shipwrights to help out. He says the Strawhats weren't the criminals. The real criminals who attacked Iceberg were… wearing masks, and now they're gone. He and Iceberg owe the Strawhats their lives.

Lucci and Kaku have, er, gone home. They probably won't be seeing them again.

Paulie to Iceberg: "No need for everyone else to feel like we do." ;_;

The shipwrights break out the yagara bulls and scatter to search for the others.

LOL, Chopper: "LUFFY! ZORO! SANJI! Psst… (tiny voice) Usopp, please come back!"

[The best part is when everyone else imitates him because he told them to call the Strawhats, too. "LUFFY! ZORO! SANJI! (whisper) Usopp, come back!" They're still doing it three pages later. I think it's even funnier in Japanese because "Usopp, please come back!" is written in this tiny, light print compared to the big bold font. You can barely read it.]

Usopp, trussed up with Franky in the cargo car, is torn between wanting to yell at the government people and trying to get Franky to tone it down a notch (Franky was calling them kuso again - 政府のクソ共!).

Nami is racing to catch up with the Sea Train before it leaves.

The mouse is trying really hard to cheer Iceberg up. :-( He's desperately worried about Franky. (フランキ、てめー、無事なのか!?)

Sanji is waiting outside the train at Blue Station, trying to figure out if anyone else is coming.

Luffy is stuck between two buildings… again.

Zoro is stuck in a chimney. Upside down.

[I am laughing SO HARD right now.]

[Also, at first I was wondering if I misinterpreted the shot of Zoro falling into the ocean, but a later SBS confirms that that was Zoro and explains how he ended up in the chimney. Oh, Zoro.]

SBS: I love the drawing of the long horned cowfish, which is saying "Do it with a DON!"


Cover arc: Miss G-W, Miss Valentine and Mr. 5 had never seen their fellow agents' faces before they appeared in the paper.

Chopper is still searching for the others. (I love that he's sitting on some guy's head.)

The train is getting ready to pull out a few minutes early.

Lucci comments that he has no regrets about leaving Water 7 behind, though it's been his home for five years.

[Of course you don't. Jerk.]

The train starts to move. Sanji is still inside the station, watching.

[I remember being very confused by this sequence in the anime. It's confusing in the manga, too.]

Nami races into the station building.

Aw, Robin thinking back to the day she joined the Strawhats after Alabasta.

I wanted to die, and you forced me to live. That's your crime.

Two shadowy figures are yelling at a third, by the tracks. "That's dangerous!"

As the train pulls away, Nami crumples to the floor, apparently defeated.

She's not crying. She's PISSED.

Nami wants to borrow a ship to follow Robin, but before Paulie can convince her how dangerous the storm is, they nearly get swept out to sea by a great wave.

Paulie comments that this is worse than any Aqua Laguna he's ever seen, and it's not at the peak yet.

Someone comes in and says there was a note for Nami. It turns out Sanji painted a giant sign all over the side of the building, pointing to where the note was.

(When did he have time to do that? Also, I wish I could convey how much stupider Sanji's painted sign looks in Japanese. He has TERRIBLE handwriting, and the sign is addressed to んナミさ〜ん.)

Nami is not impressed by Sanji's devotion (アホめ!).

"Hang on, the first part's just a useless love letter. OK, now he's getting to the point…"

P.S. (Ha!) - Robin is on the train, so he's getting on after her. Usopp and a great big thug (でっかいチンピラ) with weird hair are on the train, too.

[Love how everyone else is all "Oh yeah, that's gotta be Franky."]

Sanji left a transponder snail so they could communicate. Nami loses interest as soon as the letter gets all goopy again. ("Wear it next to your heart, and imagine it's me…")

Sanji, soaking wet, is sitting on the platform at the end of the last car of the train. He seizes his opportunity when someone opens the back door to start kicking government agent butt.


Cover Arc: Miss G-W wants to go visit their comrades in prison.

Sanji has to square off with one particular government agent, an enormous, long-legged boxing champion from the South Blue called Jerry, a CP-6 agent who is so tall that he has to bend over double to fit in the car.

[Oh god, I had completely wiped all of the stupid fights on this train out of my mind - in fact, I didn't remember this guy at all (was he in the anime?). At least there's a lot of other fun stuff in between the stupid fights.]

At one point, Jerry has his back to Sanji and has to bend over double to issue threats from between his legs.

Sanji: "That's the first time someone has ever threatened me while looking back between his thighs."

[Now this does need fujoshi protection]Oh god the slash fruit just HANGING THERE not going to bite not going to

In the end, Sanji beats him easily.

Because this is shounen manga, we are treated to a dissertation from one of the government agents (Corgi, the one who was harassing Iceberg) about how the train is organized.

In Car #7 are the government agents under the command of CP-6 agent Jerry. Each car represents an increase in strength over the one behind it. Car #5 has 40 marines under the command of Captain T-Bone. In Car #4 is Wanze, chief waiter on board and also an agent of CP-7. In Car #3, Nero, a new member of CP-9.

And of course, Corgi himself is speaking to the four agents of CP-9 (in Car #2 - not stated here, but this is confirmed later; Robin is in Car #1). Car #6 was left out because, as we will see shortly, it's the cargo car.

"Not that we expect an attack, but just in case…"


[The pigeon coat actually appeared earlier when they are getting ready to pull out of the station early, but I totally missed it that time. I’m telling you, hidden objects everywhere.]

Nami meets up with Chopper and passes on the message that Sanji is on the train with Robin. They still need to find Luffy and Zoro before they can follow.

The two station attendants were given a job of their own: find all the meat and sake they can lay hands on. ("That young lady has quite an appetite.")

The rain starts pouring down, making it even more difficult for Chopper to track by scent.

Standing on higher ground, some of the shipwrights are shocked to see how low the ebb tide is. It's way lower than normal.

Kokoro knows, the lower the ebb tide, the higher the wave coming after it.

Not only does the ebb tide expose the parts of the old city normally submerged by the ocean - the water is stripped away right down to the ocean floor. None of them have ever seen anything like it before.

The lower city isn't just going to be flooded - it's going to be swallowed up.

Nami stops for a moment to rest, and runs into Kokoro. (Kokoro: "Hey, you're that pirate miss!" [海賊娘 - kaizoku musume.])

Chimney is squealing about having seen something stuck between two buildings. "Kaizoku no neechan, look over there!"

Nami catches sight of Luffy squashed between two buildings in the lower city.

Kokoro: "Say, ain't that that pirate king of yours?" (Hee! おめーんとこの海賊王じゃねーのかい?)

Nami races down to get him, ignoring the warnings from the others, who are telling her she'll never survive the incoming Aqua Laguna wave.


Nami races down the stairs and starts leaping from roof to roof.

[What, now she's imitating Kaku? Why do I even let this surprise me.]

Meanwhile, Chopper spies Zoro's feet sticking out of the chimney ("a sea anemone…? in a chimney…?"), and goes after him ("Not you too, reindeer!!").

The spectators up above can see the approaching tidal wave on the horizon.

Nami, finding Luffy, tells him all about how Robin is planning to sacrifice herself for them. ("Tells" is not really the word for it; she's screaming, sobbing, and threatening all at once. Nami!)

Luffy (with great relief): "Then… Robin WAS lying! よかった!"

Meanwhile, Chopper is struggling to get Zoro free.

Zoro senses the presence of Kitetsu, the sword Chopper is carrying, and asks for it.

(Chopper: "How did you know I had it?" Zoro: "I can just tell… only that one. It's a cursed sword.")

[Yes, folks, it's only been some TWENTY-SIX volumes since the sword's curse was last mentioned. I don't know if it's been mentioned since (the series is currently on vol. 73). But rest assured, Oda has not forgotten. Thanks to all who pointed out this scene when I last wondered about whether the sword’s curse had ever been mentioned again. I love how this is tossed off so casually.]

The tidal wave is almost on top of them.

While the people above are watching in terror (love the surrogate "chorus"), Luffy shoves aside the two buildings that are holding him prisoner.

[Even in shounen manga, there are not that many times you can have witnesses say "Whoa, he broke the city!" and have it be true.]

They're even more shocked when Zoro slices his way out of the chimney.

Luffy (carrying Nami) and Chopper (in Jumping Point, carrying Zoro) make a desperate leap for the stairs before the tidal wave hits them.

The wave is so massive that it literally destroys the entire lower city.

Just when they think they're safe, the bridge starts to collapse.


As the wave begins to swallow up the massive bridge, Paulie pulls all four Strawhats to safety with his ropes.

[You know… I think it says a lot about the scale of the Water 7/Enies Lobby arc that I completely forgot this entire sequence. Because it is legitimately epic.]

They barely make it back up to the upper city ahead of the wave.

[Ahahaha, a terrified Chopper plastered to poor Zoro's face.]

Knowing that this isn't even the peak of the Aqua Laguna, they realize that even the upper city isn't entirely safe; they need to get up higher.

Kokoro says they're lucky to be alive.

Luffy: "Oh hey, monster grandma!" (怪獣のばーさん!)

Zoro is still trying to get Chopper off his face (he's passed out from fright).

When Luffy asks what Zoro was doing down in the lower city, Chopper (waking up) pipes up happily and says "He was stuck in a chimney!"

Luffy dies laughing while Nami points out he's hardly in a position to laugh at anyone. Zoro strangles Chopper.

(Now, now, no throttling your little brother, that's not nice.)

After everyone gets caught up on the current state of events, they try to persuade Paulie to let them borrow a boat, but Paulie says he's not going to give them a boat so they can go commit suicide. No boat could survive the storm.

He tries to convince them to wait until morning, but Nami says they can't. She knows exactly what is waiting for Robin on the other side of the gates of justice.

There are only two things beyond Enies Lobby - Marine headquarters, and the undersea prison Impel Down.

Enies Lobby is a court in name only, because every person taken before it is convicted and sent to Impel Down, a place of torture chambers and execution platforms.

Paulie says that if they know that much, then they should also realize that storming Enies Lobby would be a suicide mission for them even if a ship could make it there. It's the genkan (front hall) of the greatest powers in the world government, and it is guarded accordingly.

"Do you intend to pick a fight with the entire World Government!?"

[Enies Lobby]That's pretty much the idea, yeah.

Luffy stomps his foot and says they'll STEAL a boat, then.

[A giant explosion just went off behind the guys he's facing. Uh, was that a coincidence? Just a rogue wave?]

Chimney: "Wow, even the waves are mad."

Paulie and Luffy are getting ready to fight when Kokoro intervenes.

"If you're hell-bent on dying anyway, follow me. I'll get the sea train out for you."


[Cover arc: Miss G-W, Miss Valentine and Mr. 5 make their escape from Little Garden on a pterodactyl - Dorry is waving.]

At Enies Lobby, Spandam is gloating over the prospect of having Nico Robin, Franky and the blueprints for the ancient weapon all in his hands in a matter of hours. And he's got the power of Aokiji and the Buster Call to back him up.

I… really don't know what to say about Spandam's pet elephant Funkfreed.

Scan of the faces on the train.

[The pigeon's coat, OMG. It never gets old. Forget Lucci, I'm slashing the pigeon.]

Car #7: all agents knocked out.

Car #6 (cargo car): Sanji takes out the last government agent as Franky and Usopp look on. (I almost missed Franky and Usopp in the corner of the panel.)

When Usopp asks Sanji what he's doing there, Sanji initially pretends to have forgotten his name. (Aw, Sanji.)

Sanji is delighted to find the den-den mushi that will let him communicate with Nami.

Franky: "So, you guys are pirate comrades?" (海賊の仲間)
Usopp/Sanji: "EX."


As soon as Sanji realizes who Franky is, he wants to slice him to ribbons. "How dare you do that to our long nose…!"

I don't know what I love more - Sanji going for Franky's throat, or Usopp standing up for Franky. "Look, stuff happened! And he helped with the Merry!"

They're all yelling so loud (Usopp loudest of all) that the Marines in the next car can hear, including Captain T-Bone.

Back on Water 7, Kokoro is leading Luffy and the others to the underground warehouse. She warns them it's been 12 years, the train might not even run any more.

And even if it does, the "Rocketman" is a "runaway" train that can't be trusted to carry passengers. It was the failed prototype.

Luffy and Chopper have starry eyes for the train's shark face. "It looks so FAST!"

Iceberg emerges from the train.

Kokoro: "I see you're still in the land of the living, Iceberg."

Iceberg says he obviously had the same idea she did. "You can't leave idiots to their own devices."

The train is fully stocked and ready to go. But he can't guarantee they'll make it there alive - they never did figure out how to control the Rocketman's speed.

Luffy stumbles as he's getting on the train - he's weak from loss of blood. Fortunately, Nami is right behind them with a cartful of meat and sake.

Kokoro gets ready to play driver/engineer. She's an old hand at this! She tells Iceberg to get some rest, and look after Chimney and Gonbe.

The Franky Family shows up, badly bandaged. They beg Luffy to let them tag along. They would do anything to save their aniki.

Nami is angry, but Luffy doesn't hesitate. He tells them to get on.

Aw, Zambai's not too proud to bow his head in gratitude. Vivi would approve.

They say they don't need to ride the train, though. They'll follow on their King Bulls. They only need to latch onto the train and hang on.

Paulie is stowed away in the coal-car.

Rocketman sets off from Water 7.


[Cover Arc: Dorry and Broggy have been fighting with fists since they broke their swords.]

The train launches into the sea. Right behind them are two king bulls pulling the Franky vehicle. (I don't know what to call that thing…?)

They introduce their King Bulls as Sodom and Gomorrah (with Oda-box!), in the exclusive service of the Franky Family.

They latch two giant hooks to the rear of the train and settle in for the ride. (The King Bulls look so happy. Guess they normally don't get to take it easy.)

Kokoro gets onto the PA system to make an announcement - they're about to join up with the track, at which point the speed will increase abruptly.

"Please hang on tight so as to incur minimum injury."
Nami: "I guess that means we're getting injured no matter what."

Kokoro is horrified to discover that Chimney and Gonbe stowed on board, after all.

I LOVE that the entire Franky Family is doing that thing where you raise your hands over your head at the top of a roller coaster ride.

When the train hits the track and accelerates to maximum speed, everyone takes shelter indoors.

LOL at the scene where everyone is sitting around gasping for breath (and it takes a full extra page for anyone to notice that Lulu and Tileston are there).

Luffy: "Hmph, that wasn't my special seat. I almost flew off."


Zoro: "Something's not right here."
Lulu & Tileston: "What?"
Paulie (to Lulu & Tileston): "It's you!!"
Zoro (to Paulie): "And YOU!!"

Paulie says the enemy who took the Strawhats' nakama is also the enemy that tried to kill their Iceberg. He intended to go rogue and join the fight without telling anyone at Galley-La, but Lulu and Tileston suspected he knew something and followed him.

They want to join the fight, and so do the members of the Franky Family.

[The Square Sisters are apparently a little slow on the uptake, because only now do they notice that the guys from Galley-La are there and start yelling at them. Luffy, meanwhile, is busy eating.]

Lulu and Tileston tell Paulie to just spill the beans - they've got a pretty good idea who's behind this, anyway.

Paulie admits it was Lucci, Kaku, Kalifa and Blueno.

LOL forever at Lulu and Tileston's faces.

[Paulie: "Who did you THINK it was?" "Maikeru and Hoikeru from the lower city." "Who the heck is THAT!?”]

[An SBS later “identifies” Maikeru and Hoikeru as a pair of teenage hoodlums who idolize Franky, hee.]

Having fully stocked up on meat, Luffy calls on all three groups - the Strawhats, Galley-La and the Franky Family - to put aside their differences. From here on in, they've got the same enemy.

Luffy claims "pigeon guy" for his opponent, since Lucci seems to be the strongest.

Zoro agrees - they're going to have to get through "those four" before they can do anything else.

Chimney and Gonbe are yelling something about the Aqua Laguna (Kokoro notices it next, and then Nami).

Love the three-way arm clasp.

"Right then, comrades!" (Not nakama, but 同志 [doushi] - people who share the same interest or objective.)

"Our nakama are on that train up ahead. We're only going to get stronger from here. Let's go!"

They all get ready to hit the Aqua Laguna head-on.

The Franky Family prepare to fire their cannon into the wave.

Nami's den-den mushi rings. [Ahaha, she was wearing it next to her heart, after all. Be happy, Sanji!]

Meanwhile, on Car #5 on the train up ahead, Captain T-Bone is distressed to see that one of his men has an insect bite. He tears off a piece of his cloak to bandage it.

"Just in time!"

Aw, T-Bone looks like a skeletal zombie, but he's a total sweetheart. He just wants the world to be at peace. (Oda-box: Hobby: Saving people. Motto: Do a hundred good deeds every day.)

[Kind of like if Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke was a six-foot-tall zombie. And a marine captain. I think I might love T-Bone.]

The marines are horrified to learn that someone has taken out all of the agents on Cars 6 and 7, and the prisoners have escaped.

Sanji is up on the roof of the train, placing his call to Nami (Franky is trying to keep Usopp from flying away).

"Yeah, sorry, I've got a bit of a problem with two idiots on this end."


The Franky Family are hitting the Aqua Laguna with all the firepower they've got. It doesn't seem to be working, but Kokoro tells them to keep trying.

Nami is trying to make herself heard over the din. She wants to tell Sanji what they found out about Robin.

Up on the front of the train, Zoro and Luffy are - I think Luffy is stretching. (It took me a while to figure this panel out.)

Luffy: "Hey Zoro, what's twice 108?"
Zoro: "216."
Luffy: "Takes too long to say."
Zoro: "Whatever."
Luffy: "300, then."
Zoro: "K."

[OMG, I don't know why I love this conversation so much. It's so them.]


With their combined attack, Luffy and Zoro punch through the wave.

[I love this scene! But I had it stuck in my head as Zoro/Sanji, because *spoiler* later.]

Everyone's impressed. (I love the Franky Family's reaction in particular, which is basically "Thank goodness they're on our side now.")

Crawling back inside, Luffy gets on the den-den mushi with Sanji. He tells Sanji it's ok to run wild.

Zoro protests, but Luffy asks what he would do if he were in Sanji's place. (Sanji: "Aw, marimo-kun, you were worried about me?" Zoro: "AS IF!")

Now that he knows how Robin really feels, Sanji says nothing would stop him. Not even captain's orders. (He crushes the receiver in his hand. I hope that doesn't hurt the den-den mushi, poor thing.)

On the Puffing Tom, Sanji gets Usopp caught up with what's been going on with Robin. (Usopp of course missed the whole thing. And Robin doesn't know about the fight between Usopp and Luffy, or about the Merry.)

Sanji points out that, not knowing about the fight, Robin sacrificed herself for the SIX of them. Including Usopp.

Franky is so moved that he's sobbing and composing a tune on his guitar. (Where did he get the guitar…? Was it in the sack with him when he was kidnapped?) "I'M NOT CRYING!"

Franky says he's in (he's now calling Sanji Eyelashes-bro, マユゲのお兄ちゃん). He has his own reasons for not wanting Robin to fall into the hands of the government.

Usopp says to count him out. He's sorry, but it's nothing to do with him any more.

He has no interest in making an enemy out of the government, and after the fight he had with Luffy, he can hardly show up to join them like nothing ever happened.

"Ja, na."

Franky: "Whaddya mean "Ja, na"! There's nowhere to run to!"

Sanji (pissed): Leave him.
Franky: Stubborn idiot.

Inside, the Marines are searching. It only slows them down a little that T-Bone keeps stopping to bandage people with pieces of his increasingly short cloak. "Just in time!"

Wanze is in Car 4.

Nero is in Car 3.

When a Marine discovers Sanji on the roof, a Metallic Star comes out of nowhere to knock him flying.

"I heard the whole story from HIM. I understand you're on a mission to save a young lady (ojousan). I need no further reason to join with such as you. I shall do battle by your side!"

[SANJI'S AND FRANKY'S FACES OMG. I think Franky's is actually the best.]

"My name is SOGEKING!"

His cape has its own sound effect (basa basa - flap flap).


22nd-Feb-2014 06:18 pm (UTC) - "P.S."
I almost forgot to put my comment at the end!

Some thoughts (very much the long way round) on Sanji's "it's a man's job to forgive women when they lie" line:

It occurred to me (this is relevant, I promise) that one of the things I really love about this couple of volumes is how different each crew member's reaction to Robin leaving is, and what that tells you about their character.

Luffy just flat-out won't believe it, and keeps pushing and pushing until he gets an answer that satisfies him (much as he refused to even contemplate the idea of Nami not being their navigator).

I think I had a discussion earlier with serrende earlier about how I don't see Zoro as being closed off from his own emotions. However, I do think that when he's under stress or has a difficult decision to make, he tends to push his emotions aside and apply strict principles of logic and ethics. In Myers-Briggs terms, he's a classic T (as opposed to an F), using logic and a code of principle to make decisions, rather than relying on intuition, sentiment or compassion. Hence his insistence on maintaining absolute neutrality until they've gathered enough evidence to decide whether Robin is an enemy or a nakama.

[I suddenly want to read AU fanfic with Zoro as a private investigator… nah, he'd get lost every time he tries to trail someone.]

Chopper is ALL F. He reacts like a child whose mother ran off with another man and left him. He's not so much concerned with whether Robin is good or evil. His questions are "Did I do something wrong? Doesn't Robin love us any more?"

Nami WANTS to believe in Robin, but she also has doubts, so she's conflicted and just bottles everything up on the inside, until she finds out the truth. Then she lets her true emotions show. (Apparently her true emotions frequently involve yelling at Luffy and possibly punching him. I guess he can take it.)

Of all of them, I see Sanji as the one who reacts with unconditional love and acceptance. He is often the caretaker of the group (the obsession with feeding everyone is only the most obvious manifestation of that). He chooses to follow Robin without ever knowing, or even particularly trying to find out, whether she has betrayed them or not (he leaves that up to the others). I love that about him.

Sure, he does try to figure out what's going on, in that he observes her behavior and those around her and tries to come up with a strategy that won't screw things up, but if Robin had really been what Kalifa and Lucci and the others are, I wonder just how long he would have followed and kept trying to reach out to her before giving up.

If Sanji had simply said "Robin is nakama, and it's our job to forgive nakama when they lie," I wouldn't have had the slightest problem with it. But instead, maybe because Oda envisions Sanji as someone who sees everything through his crazy white-knight chivalry filter, he has to make him put it in stupid sexist terms. It especially bothers me in that it sounds like Sanji would apply different standards to women than men, which is in fact manifestly not true. Albeit with less hearts and flowers and a lot more crankiness, he extends exactly the same unconditional acceptance and forgiveness to Usopp.

Somewhere in my head I have another dissertation about how this arc is all about different kinds of lies, but… next volume, maybe.
22nd-Feb-2014 09:30 pm (UTC) - Re: "P.S."
This is such a good PS I want to rec it all over. I almost wish it was on Tumblr so I could reblog it! (But generally I muuuuuch prefer journal space for discussion! It's so hard to follow anything on Tumblr even when there's just a few people involved.)
22nd-Feb-2014 09:41 pm (UTC) - Re: "P.S."
This is such a good PS I want to rec it all over.

Aw, thank you! I had fun trying to puzzle it out in my head.

I have never managed to figure Tumblr out. It's so confusing to me. But hey, feel free to link these posts around if you want - it's always nice to have more fans weighing in. I leave them public for that reason.
22nd-Feb-2014 10:22 pm (UTC) - Re: "P.S."
I just posted this! Let me know if anything seems amiss in it and I'll edit.

I don't have loads of followers, though, and haven't had much luck trying to drag fans back to LJ before. Still, worth a shot! (Maybe I'll make a second one later.)

[Never mind me! Just correcting an old mistake I didn't even realise until this super-late revisit of your splendid posts, go me.]

Edited at 2015-01-14 10:14 pm (UTC)
24th-Feb-2014 03:44 pm (UTC) - Re: "P.S."
It especially bothers me in that it sounds like Sanji would apply different standards to women than men, which is in fact manifestly not true. Albeit with less hearts and flowers and a lot more crankiness, he extends exactly the same unconditional acceptance and forgiveness to Usopp.

I love this entire comment, but thanks for pointing this out, because it's true and sometimes I need somebody to remind me why we love Sanji, because I can get really, really annoyed with him.
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