Anime Reporter continues the Saga Project now with a look at the second arc of One Piece, namely the Orange Town arc. This arc is twice as long as its predecessor, spanning from chapters 8-21 and appears across the manga volumes 1, 2 and 3.
In the last (and first) instalment of the Saga Project, I took a look at the very first arc of One Piece, going all the way back to its humble, but wholly impressive beginnings. Feel free to check out my introduction to the Saga Project here and my first instalment in it here.
For those sticking around here, let’s hit the next arc!
Story Arc Two- “Orange Town”
Published in Chapters 8-21
Incredibly Quick Synopsis
Pirates! Clown! Dog! Thief! Action! Adventure! Hilarity!
Somewhat More Comprehensive Synopsis
Orange Town starts off with Luffy and Zoro adrift at sea, which makes a lot of sense, given Luffy’s general failure to pay attention to anything and Zoro’s horrendous sense of direction, which will unveil itself more down the line. Zoro reminds Luffy that they should probably do what they can to get a navigator on their crew soon and Luffy rattles off that they need a cook and a musician as well, though Zoro is insistent that that might not be as urgent.
Starving, Luffy attempts to catch a giant bird flying overhead and manages to get carried away by it, leaving Zoro to follow afterwards in the boat. While chasing Luffy, Zoro comes across a trio of sailors adrift without a ship and kindly rescues them, though, not wanting to slow down, he takes them on board without stopping at all. The three men reveal themselves as crew members aboard the pirate ship of the infamous Buggy the Clown. Unfortunately for them, they’re dealing with Zoro the Pirate Hunter, and he promptly makes them his servants, able to put up his feet as three very sorry pirates row for all they’re worth. The three pirates grumble, understandably enough, about the young woman who robbed them, leaving them without all of their treasure and their ship.
Meanwhile, in Orange Town, Nami, the thief of whom we’ve heard so much, has just managed to steal a map of the Grand Line from the rest of Buggy’s crew and, running into Luffy, loudly names him as her boss, setting the pirates after him instead.
Once Luffy takes care of the pirates, (was there ever any doubt that he would?), Nami asks him if he fancies teaming up and declares herself a thief who specialises in robbing pirates. Once Luffy learns that she’s also a top-notch navigator, he immediately asks her to join his crew, but, when she learns that he’s a pirate, much like Zoro, she refuses him on the spot. Luffy, with his usual charm, utterly fails to acknowledge her refusal. This should be somewhat dampened when Nami tricks him and turns him over to Buggy’s crew, saying that she’s decided to betray him and join up with Buggy. Meanwhile, Zoro comes ashore and decides that Buggy, being the big bad pirate in town is probably his best bet in finding out where Luffy’s got to. It’s just as well too, because Buggy has decided that the best way to test Nami’s loyalty is by getting her to kill Luffy, and he’s got a special cannonball called the Super Buggy Ball, capable to decimating entire towns, therefore being by all accounts being more than enough to kill the average swashbuckler and, seeing as how Luffy’s trapped in a cage, there’s not a huge chance of missing.
Nami refuses to kill Luffy and is about to share his fate when Zoro shows up and slices Buggy to pieces. Unfortunately, this is just a side effect of Buggy’s Devil Fruit power. Having eaten the Chop Chop Fruit, Buggy is able to separate pieces of his body without damage and let them move and float around independently. Taking advantage of Zoro’s surprise, Buggy stabs him in the back, though Zoro still manages to flip the cannon, aiming it at Buggy and his crew. Zoro and Nami escape, with Zoro carrying Luffy’s cage, despite his grave stab wound. Nami, seeing Zoro risk his life for Luffy, begins to lose some of her assumptions about the villainous nature of pirates.
Zoro eventually collapses just outside an old pet food shop in the town and Nami shows her gratitude by giving Luffy the key to his cage… which a wonderful little dog outside the store eats. The town’s mayor arrives and fills Nami and Luffy in on the dog’s story. Standing outside the store ever since his master, the store’s owner, died, the dog fiercely guards the store against any and all threats. Buggy’s first mate, the animal tamer Mohji, shows up with his lion, Richie, (get it?), and they destroy the store when Chouchou (didn’t I mention the dog’s name?), refuses to be tamed. Luffy, upon seeing the dog’s treasure broken, beats the living crud out of Mohji. Nami is disgusted at the violent nature of pirates, but warms somewhat when she sees that Luffy’s attack was only to save the one remaining bag of dog food left from the store.
Moments later, Buggy decimates most of the town and Nami agrees to join forces with Luffy, even if not actually join his crew. Zoro, falsely, claims to have recovered from his stabbing, and takes on Buggy’s second mate, the swordsman acrobat, Cabaji.
The mayor, inspired by Luffy’s desire to stand up to bullies, decides to take his town back from the pirates, decides to be the man his town needs him to be, decides to take the fight to Buggy. That’s about when Luffy knocks him out with a punch. After calling Buggy “Big Nose”, and provoking another use of a Buggy Ball, Luffy bounces the ball back directly at Buggy’s crew. Buggy and Cabaji use their crewmates as shield and Cabaji tries to take on Zoro by attacking his stab wounds. After taking a moderate beating, Zoro gives himself a slash with a sword to give himself more of a handicap before taking on Cabaji.
Nami runs off, leaving them to their fighting, so she can rob Buggy blind, and says that she’ll meet up with Luffy and Zoro if/when they manage to beat Buggy. Once Zoro defeats Cabaji, (again, was there any doubt as to who’d prevail?), he decides he’s earned himself a little nap.
Buggy, observing Luffy in action, says that he reminds him of a certain red-haired young pirate once upon a time. Buggy tells Luffy the story of how he and Shanks were once shipmates and how he blames Shanks for ruining his life and robbing him of a great treasure (or, in a more realistic account of the story, saving Buggy’s life and being responsible for Buggy’s Devil Fruit powers). In the middle of their fight, Buggy slices Luffy’s hat with three blades and… well, with the hat being Luffy’s greatest treasure, he earns himself Luffy’s wrath.
Mid-battle, Buggy spies Nami making off with his treasure and sends his upper half flying after her. This leaves his lower half quite vulnerable to a prompt kick in the man-parts from Luffy. When Luffy tells her to forget about the treasure and run, she refuses.
Furious, Buggy splits himself into several different pieces to attack, but Luffy notices that, while his various appendages and bits float around, his feet remain solidly on the ground. Entirely vulnerable to all sorts of tickling and beating. Buggy reassembles himself again to attack… but, well he doesn’t quite manage it entirely. Nami managed to tie up the majority of Buggy’s limbs and torso, leaving him as little more than a head, hands and feet. One rather spectacular Gum-Gum Bazooka later, and there’s little more of Buggy to be seen. Treasure and map of the Grand Line in hand, Luffy Nami and Zoro say goodbye to Orange Town and head off to the next great adventure (which might just include a tall tale or two).
- Buggy- naturally. Buggy’s insane temper and ridiculous style are a huge boost to the early pages of this story. His manic personality is far from out of the way. Throughout the series, he appears in several pieces of cover art depicting his journey to reassemble himself, but he’ll also be back on the Grand Line and, oh boy… is it something to see. That wasn’t strictly a question, but the answer is still yes.
- Chouchou- This feisty little doggy is really something else. He manages to be fierce, adorable and hilarious, providing quite a few tugs on heartstrings and moving moments. (The hilarious bits mostly involve biting people. I’m a man of simple tastes, from time to time.)
- Nami- Okay, while I did in fact say it in the last instalment, Nami isn’t the supreme highlight of this arc, that one’s coming up in more fish-related story, but she nonetheless manages to run circles around every pirate she encounters. Greedy, manipulative and charming, she has yet to show her very, very, deeply buried heart of gold, but she has already shown her unique style.
- The toughness- Whether it’s a dog or a wounded swordsman, this arc has a few moments of characters fighting through their pain, their injuries and refusing to give more than an inch in the process. This is going to be a recurring event in the series and it’s off to a phenomenal start here!
- Again, that lovely foreshadowing- from Luffy’s insistence that they’ll need a musician and cook to all the wonderful Grand Line references, it’s clear that even at this stage, this series had such a great idea of where it was going and so many of the places and people to come, oh joy!
It’s probably got be when Luffy dropped the bag of dog food in front of Chouchou. Such a simple little moment that says so very much. A very close second had to be the moment when Buggy managed to reassemble himself, missing more than a few little pieces.
Least Favourite Moment:
I’m not even sure it’s worth including this until I can find a story arc that doesn’t entirely knock my socks off… whenever that might be.
Most Looking Forward To:
Everything to come. Usopp the Liar! Cat-pirates! All the glorious lies! Gasp… the Going Merry! Squeeeeeee!**
Thanks for reading,
**(“Squeeeeeee” is not in fact an indication of future One Piece events or characters, but is simply an indication of my own childlike glee and excitement at all that the One Piece series has to offer. Any resemblance of Squeeeeeee to characters or events within the One Piece series is entirely coincidental and quite unlikely.)