Hody Jones has made his move to take over the Fish-Man Island, but before the big battle we need to delve into the past. Why do the Fish-Men hate humans so much and what of the two key figures who tried to change things in their own way? The story of Queen Otohime and Freedom Fighter Tiger begins.
One Piece has a habit of jumping into huge volume length flashback stories before the real action takes place, and this arc is no different. With Hody in control of the castle and the crew accused of mermaid kidnapping, the great Jimbei sits down to tell the crew a story about the islands history. We fall back in time sixteen years to witness the frail Queen Otohime’s attempts to obtain signatures from the island citizens in hopes of moving above the sea with the humans. Unfortunately humans aren’t particularly popular due to the pirates who raid their land and the rich who make them slaves, and so it seems her campaign is in vain. Meanwhile the great Fisher Tiger is sailing the seas and fighting against the marines with his crew as they try to hide the slaves he freed. They aim to save the slaves without becoming like the humans they despise, though a human slave seems to change their way. The story is steadily paced and rather basic, but the twists and turns leading up the volumes end make it a satisfying tale which adds a great deal of depth to the present day chaos.
The back story doesn’t end this volume, which does make it a rather tiring affair for the less patient readers, but doing it all in one big chunk is much better in the long run than fracturing the past events as the arc moves on. Naruto is another flashback heavy series, but that constantly feels like it is dredging up the past due to the fractured nature, whereas here we get it in one meaty chunk which helps enhance the meaning behind the later actions. It doesn’t have the emotion or originality of some stories within the series, but it is pleasing to see how Arlong became the creep he is today and how past arcs still hold relevance later on.
A history lesson with a spot of Zolo being awesome. Now we just need the counter attack to take place and we have another classic saga. One with shark men and a giant crybaby mermaid princess.