One Piece Volume 53: Natural Born King

One Piece Volume 53: Natural Born King
Story and Art: Eiichiro Oda
Release Date: 4th March 2009
Covers Chapters 513-522
Shonen Jump/Viz Media

Everyone has gone. Zolo gone, Nami gone, Usopp, Chopper, Robin, Franky, Brook and Luffy. All gone. With the Straw Hats completely eradicated, what next for One Piece. The series is moving into the unknown. An unknown with an island of women and the crew spread out across the sea. A good unknown.

With the crew split up, we see Luffy venture alone on Amazon Lily. The tropical island is home to only women, any men who ends up there is sentenced to death. We see how he must run for his life as he tries to find a way back home and he ends up facing another Warlord Of The Sea, Boa Hancock. This incredibly beautiful woman is selfish, vain and believes she can get her way in anything. Kicking kittens and turning friends into stone is only the tip of the iceberg in her cruel acts, and Luffy has got himself stuck in an arena fighting her snake powered sisters. The new characters seem key to getting Luffy off and onwards while providing hints at the power of Haki, and the upcoming execution of his brother Ace veers him onto a new path.

The events may be to set up this upcoming arc, but Amazon Lily itself tells a fun adventure. Just after the intense Sabaody, the story seems to have fallen into a rather tame and slightly boring volume. There is nothing wrong with the story, just it is hard to keep up the excitement after the all out chaos from before. The story quickly moves on however and volume 53 serves as a quiet down before the impending storm. Still fun, just a little standard, though the crew split should pay off in the long run.

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