One Piece Volume 40: Gear

One Piece Volume 40: Gear
Story and Art: Eiichiro Oda
Release Date: 26th December 2005
Covers Chapters 378-388
Shonen Jump/Viz Media

Enies Lobby, the judicial island with no night. The small island stationed over a waterfall is the final place before the gates of justice open and Robin will be taken away forever from the Straw Hat Pirates. This is the last chance to save her but it is a small team fighting against 10,000 navy soldiers! Chaos, giants and new powers await in volume 40.

Volume 40 is one big charge to get to the end of the island and save Robin and one big fight for Luffy as he faces a CP9 one and one, and the fight leads to a victor; no stalemates here. I feel the side characters going on a rampage isn’t so interesting, it is needed to show the struggle and hectic situation but they are just pages of attacks occasionally pushing forward. The carpenters and Franky Family get their time to shine here against giants, a three-headed judge and other colourful characters but it feels like one big splodge of random fun rather than carefully thought out moments. It doesn’t really provide much other than the intensity of the situation which is a shame, One Piece tends to have these moments of madness to give a brawl like experience but I feel they are the series weakest elements. I do feel without them the whole attack would feel rather bland and static though so they are required and my thoughts on the attacks aren’t all negative as some cool lines are thrown about and it is hilarious to see the horrible CP9 director Spandam react to how the navy are faring.

The big moment of the volume is Luffy versus CP9 member Blueno. We’ve see these guys powers throughout the arc but not in a display of one on one fighting. Rather than being secluded to a couple of chapters, this fight is intertwined with the fighting from the side characters so even if I found those moments to be the weaker parts of the volume, it means each chapter has something worthwhile happening in it and not just a slow struggle to the end. The fight shows off the six powers of CP9 at their fullest with iron bodies, moon walking and shaving going on throughout. These terms may sound confusing but after slowly introducing us to these elements as the arc went along, but to see them in full force here is fine as we are now used to these terms and moves. The door door ability of Blueno is used to some imaginative effect too and it all finishes with a new power up from Luffy which is very Dragon Ball esque.

Volume 40 is one big brawl with little skirmishes and one big fight. It is yet again another entertaining read but it feels a little all over the place at times as the different groups fight forward against even more newly introduced characters set to be cast aside as soon as they were introduced. Luffy has made it one building away from Robin now though so it looks like the final battles are approaching.


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