Saturday, March 9, 2013

Art What I Like: One Piece Is Awesome, Example #5

Shonen manga isn't exactly noted for its subtlety, but there was one nice, simple moment in the tenth volume of Eiichiro Oda's One Piece that I liked quite a bit. In this scene, a battle has been raging between the good pirates and some evil fish-men pirates, and we check in with the semi-cowardly Usopp, who has spent most of the fight running from a pursuer (amusingly, there were several chapters where the only glimpse we got of him was a single panel in which he was running and screaming). Here, we find him having apparently been defeated and killed, but it turns out he was only playing possum:

I like the building sense of guilt over his cowardice before he finally explodes and confronts his opponent, but my favorite thing about the sequence is the second-to-last panel, in which Usopp sees a punch coming right at his face and knows he's going to get clobbered. That look of resignation as he finally receives the punishment he's been avoiding is perfect, and it goes by without comment, which is rare in this comic, where nearly every action any character takes receives an astonished, shouting response or a screamed bit of narration. It's mostly all awesomeness, all the time, but I like that we get to see little character moments and bits of body language throughout. As loud and boisterous as the series is, it's the little, simple bits that make it deep enough for us to care.

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