Volume 36 reveals that Oda, the man behind this great series was 30 by this point. So with One Piece starting in 1997 he would have been 21 when he started. I’m 21 and when I think about this fact it makes me feel a little bad, I want to write stories but when will I actually be finishing and delivering my content to the world? I need to work harder!
Volume 36 continues the mess the crew ended up in 35. Usopp has left, Robin has been accused of attempting to kill the mayor of Water Seven, Iceberg and the ship cannot be repaired. Luffy and his crew must flee as they become the most wanted people in the whole city but first they need to find out if Robin is guilty or not and the way to do that is to break into Iceberg’s mansion one more time. With things generally going pretty rubbish for the Straw Hats and the impending tidal wave expected to land in the evening, this volume has a feeling of nervous anxiety, the calm before the storm (literally in some cases here). Other points of interest in the volume would be the character development of Franky. While the Ace Ventura/Popeye alike character has been a bit of an angry bad dude up to this point, this volume shows another side to him as he talks to that drunken lady Kokoro from volume 34 in the bar. He seems to have some importance and knowledge to the plot and he comes across as a rather nice guy when he isn’t dealing with pirates. These moments help add extra depth to the story outside of Luffy’s pirate crew and a guy who powers up with cola deserves to get his own panel time.
The volume finishes off with the attack on Iceberg’s mansion. Here we finally see the villains of the arc reveal themselves as well as their plans. Things begin to click together and the way the villains hide in masks creates interest on who they actually are, you don’t hide faces from the reader if we don’t know who they are. One thing I noticed though is that Oda likes to delay Luffy in numerous ways before he can face the enemies. In Skypiea he had a golden ball stuck to his arm and this time he gets stuck in-between a building, it would be nice if he could get somewhere on time but at least it lets us see other characters in action while he gets out of his sticky situations.
With the bad guys finally out in the open, the plots revealed and some smackdown ready to go down, the arc is going to get a little crazy. This volume helps create suspense, mystery while providing good characterisation and revelations. Water Seven looks to be the best arc in the series if it keeps this quality up.