Sunday, April 14, 2013

Art What I Like: One Piece Is Awesome, Example #26

In Eiichiro Oda's One Piece, Luffy and company get into plenty of fights, and while they occasionally suffer setbacks, one can pretty much guarantee that he's going to win the battles that really count. What this means is that much of the enjoyability of such fights comes from seeing how Oda delivers on the promise of victory, such that even when a win is assured, we still sit at the edge of our chairs to see how it's going to happen and stand up and cheer when it does. It's pretty incredible that he can manage to deliver on these expectations time after time, making the inevitable poundings as mind-blowing and heart-pounding as possible.

A case in point: in volume 34 of the series, Luffy (while wearing an giant afro wig, because why not?) is fighting a weirdo named Foxy the Silver Fox, and due to the latter's power to zap him with a beam that freezes him in place (it actually slows him down for thirty seconds, after which any punches he takes while he was frozen hit him all at once), he's taking a pounding. But he refuses to give up, of course, and it comes down to a slobberknocker of a punch-out that leads to an amazingly executed delayed reaction:

As soon as Foxy get hit with his own beam, the ending is all but assured, but Oda plays it out with perfect timing, giving Luffy a big windup and punch, and then just letting the audience and the characters wait until the effect is felt, ending on that awesome image of Luffy standing in triumph as Foxy is sent flying. It's so wonderfully done that I'm left in awe, even though you would think I would have gotten used to this sort of thing by now. That's what I love about this series; it never stops surprising and delighting me. I can't wait to see what happens next.