Anime Reporter brings the word on One Piece Collection 12 (episodes 276 – 299). Spoilers abound, so watch your step!
Well, as folks are likely to remember from the events of Collection 11, the Water 7 Arc is well under way at this stage. The crew has parted ways with Usopp, but gained new allies in the cola-powered cyborg, Franky and the incredibly Usopp-like masked hero, Sniper King. They’re also hot in pursuit of CP-9, who’ve taken Robin and are about to bring her through the Gates of Justice, from whence (I had typed “where”, but damn it, the opportunity to say “whence” presents itself so rarely!) no prisoner has ever returned.
If you’re a One Piece fan, you know the drill, CP-9 splits up and faces off against the Strawhats separately and, really, truly, this is some of the best One Piece action there is. We know that CP-9 are trained with some serious superhuman abilities and two of their number have sampled Devils Fruits, giving them some brand new, and surprising powers. I won’t spoil exactly what those powers are, it’s really worth finding out as you watch. I will say that, while every match is great, it’s Zoro and Sniper King’s fight against another duo that steals the show for me.
It’s not all about action though, when the collection actually starts off, we’re still in the process of unravelling Robin’s backstory, exactly why she became an archaeologist, how she became such an infamous fugitive and why the World Government wants her so badly. Following that, there’s a refresher course, for anyone who might have forgotten about the backstory of so many of the Strawhats and, bizarrely enough, in the middle of a pretty explosive part of the main story, there’s a delightful little two-part filler story set in an alternate, (but very familiar) world where our Strawhats are replaced with doppelgangers in a very different setting.
There’s little I can say about this collection that I haven’t said time and time again about One Piece. It’s possible that I’m biased, of course, but I truly think this series deserves every bit of its acclaim and popularity. The Water 7 arc continues to blow me away the second time round with some great pacing, a truly suspenseful, high-stakes rescue mission and some of the best characterisation and battles this series has yet to offer.
There are quite a few surprises surrounding even longstanding characters and naturally, there’s more humour than you can throw a barrel of humour-squids at (at the standard humour-squid barrel measurement of 19.3 gallons). If you’ve enjoyed this series so far and you’re somehow unsure about picking up this collection, I can promise that it won’t disappoint.
I can’t pretend that it moves the plot much further than a host of fights taking place, and not all of these are even resolved by the collection’s conclusion but it really is high-quality One Piece on display and it shouldn’t be missed!
One Piece Collection 12 is currently available on DVD from the awesome otakus at Manga Entertainment UK, so get on out there and pick up your copy!