After a crushing defeat, the Straw Hat Pirates are back on their feet and ready to strike back at the zombies of Thriller Bark. A race against time begins as they rush off to save their missing shadows and a kidnapped Nami, before the sun rises and kills them all! Things are tough enough already, but the giant zombie with Luffy’s shadow, Oars, is causing some extra problems.
The one on one fights take place this volume and finishes them off with a furious pace. Usopp’s pessimism comes in use for once as he fights the Ghost Princess Perona and her negative hollows, Sanji takes on Absalom to stop his wedding with Nami, Chopper takes on Doctor Hogback and Zoro faces a zombie samurai! The fights range from serious to hilarious and each one has draw dropping moments which will have you stumbling back to gape at the comic panels. Fighting a top a castle peak which is falling apart is one such highlight. Usopp and Sanji take the crown for best fights of the volume though, with Usopp’s negativity and Sanji’s perverted dream, the two provide some side-splitting moments and some insanely cool moments weaved between the jokes. The creativity of fighting with inflatable hammers and invisible bazookas is something only Oda would come up with. A true genius in manga.
Volume 48 also shows how connected the actions of the characters and the world are. With giant zombie Oars going on his personal and amusing adventure, his chaos affects other parts of the ship and even switching up character locations. There is a sense of place which is rarely apparent in other series I’ve read, and it helps create an absorbing world. Past arcs have shown that events can cross and change thanks to the environment, yet every time it happens it feels like something worth admiring. Oars rampage interacting with events helps show the huge scale of the zombie and what trouble the crew will soon face.
The meaty eleven chapter volume ends on a cruel cliffhanger showing the crew in a pinch, a surefire way to get everyone rushing to the shops to buy the next. Main character Luffy stepped aside to allow his friends to shine this time round and it shows how perfectly crafted everything is in Oda’s pirate world.