It’s volume 60 and only now do we learn that Luffy had two brothers, not one! They’ve kept this third brother in the dark, perhaps the one who lives in the cellar you just try to forget. But Sabo seems like a pretty nice guy, why no mention of him till now? And what is he up to in the present day? Volume 60 holds the answers as we stay in the past for a while longer.
Simply put, Sabo feels forced into the plot. Apart from a crossed out S on Ace’s tattooed arm, there has been no hint nor mention anywhere in the whole story till now. It doesn’t feel particularly well thought out or at least if it was planned, his implementation into the story is rough. But no matter how much time is wasted wondering why he hasn’t been mentioned prior to the flashback, he’s here and we just got to deal with it. He’s a cool guy though and the whole flashback is pretty decent, as it shows the bond of the brothers develop during a rather prickly time on the island.
A Celestial Dragon (the horrible noblemen who causes Luffy and co a bunch of trouble in the present day) is due to land, and the posh folk want to get rid of the Grey Terminal, a mountain of trash full of scavengers, to make sure everything is perfect for the Celestial Dragon’s arrival. Sabo hears of the plans while separated from his brothers and must face the fact he is powerless to do anything. Meanwhile we see Luffy and Ace work with some pirates, not knowing they are helping with the destruction about to take place. As a standalone story it is crammed with interesting characters from loving bandits to the disgusting rich(Oda seems to really hate those with money), while keeping the spirit of being a pirate alive.
The volume isn’t all flashback though and we go back into the present, Luffy still a bit of a mess over Ace’s death. After Jimbei sorts him out we see what the other Straw Hats are up to and their reactions to the news of the war. It’s good to see the crew again, and the thought of everyone reuniting is an exciting one, even if the events shown feel a little transitional. In fact, since the war ended everything in One Piece has started to feel like one big transition, leading up to something big. With the clues left at the end, it seems it is a while yet till the Straw Hats once again reunite. For now enjoy those brief moments of the separated crew trying to get back together and a tale of three brothers, one who finally broke out from that cellar.