After sixty volumes, the Straw Hats do a time jump and two years whisk by at the turn of a page. The excitement of how the world has changed and what our favourite characters look like now is what makes time skips worthwhile. Seeing characters come back with new threads and physical changes is worth admission alone, even if they do spoil it on the volume cover. Still, they look pretty damn great and ready for the New World. A new saga of One Piece begins!
Volume 61 starts back at the past, which feels a little poor in terms of volume pacing as no doubt the reader will race through to get to the long anticipated time skip, but the information given before two years go by helps build up the anticipation that great changes are about to take place. Everyone is off training ready for the New World and it finishes off in a rather suitable and meaningful way. Seeing Luffy take a break from being a pirate and putting his straw hat aside gives a sense that one portion of the story is well and truly done.
Then we move into the future and everyone is back brighter and stronger than ever. We see the Straw Hat pirates reunite on the Sabaody Archipelago were imposters of themselves are trying to put a mighty crew together. They all look rather horrid, obese or with faces a mother wouldn’t love, and it is unfortunate they decide to start their fake crew gathering on the day of the real Straw Hats reunion. The bizarre humour is back full swing after the rather melodramatic war and it is great to see the crew finally together again.
Its been a long wait, but putting them back together again when they’ve all grown and changed makes it all feel fresh and exciting once more. Some of the crew have only changed slightly, Nico Robin and Nami have new hair cuts, but there is enough sense of change to make it feel new. Then you have the likes of Franky who have changed drastically. Seeing his humongous new body and buzz cut hair will take some getting used to. Thankfully he has interchangeable hair styles built into his new body…
Volume 61 ends one chapter and beings another. The crew have come back without any awkward distance between them and jumping straight back into an adventure beats standing around reminiscing over the good times. Part one is done and it is now time for new sights, obstacles and fun. The New World is an exciting place indeed. Just don’t end up following the wrong Straw Hats. Their imposter Nico Robin with the fresh cucumber in her palms is one scary woman.