The CP9 are the strongest enemy the Straw Hat pirates have faced yet and they are about to lose their crew mate Nico Robin to them! With the tidal wave Aqua Lagoon coming and the CP9 taking a sea train to another island, how will they catch up and save her?! Volume 38 begins.
This is perhaps the weakest part of the arc, at least with the disappointment of the tidal wave Aqua Laguna merely being a plot point to delay the Straw Hats from catching up with Robin. It looks nice on the page but the build up doesn’t seem to be the best pay off the series has had when it comes to these things. Still it is a visually exciting moment and brings a nice heavy atmosphere to the proceedings. Luffy and Zolo getting strength back after Nami finds out Robin is just trying to protect them is a killer moment. Fully powered and ready to go on a run away train!
The second half of volume 38 is the best part by far as Sanji takes it alone. He has been quite quiet since reaching Water Seven with only the Franky House destruction being part of his feats, but he has snuck on the train Robin is being taken away on and to see him take out a carriage full of government guards is incredibly cool. Visual fun comes into play again as he takes out a guy too big for the carriage he’s in and the colourful and amazing Sniper King comes to aid Sanji and Franky! It is obvious who this Sniper King is but that only adds to the hilarious situation, things may be getting serious in the story but One Piece still knows how to have a good time.
While the volume may be one big build up to the action and feel a little bitty as far as key events go, the action and jokes stuffed into the pages make for an excellent read, if not as excellent as the other volumes in the Water Seven saga. Treat this as the transmission between events as the finale is being built up and the crazy events are about to get crazier.