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[personal profile] sara_tanaquil
Whoa, where did May go?

Besides end of semester craziness and beach travel, I've been having a little motivation trouble because Thriller Bark has never been a favorite arc of mine. It has some great moments, to be sure, but zombies are just not my thing.

I had hoped to make more progress at the beach, but we had such a run of good weather that I couldn't do much of anything on the computer at all. Not that I'm complaining.

But the arc isn't too long, so, on with it!

One Piece 46 "Ghost Island Adventure"


[I'm probably not going to have much to say about the cover arc with Enel and the little space General Pattons because it confuses the crap out of me. Maybe I'll figure it out eventually.]

The showdown between Ace and Blackbeard on Banaro Island continues.

Blackbeard boasts about having acquired the Yami-yami no mi (Darkness Fruit), the most villainous (凶悪? not sure how to translate that) fruit in the history of devil fruits (according to him). He prepares to show off its power.

The villagers, and Blackbeard's own crew, head for the hills.

Blackbeard's "darkness" can suck in everything it touches and behaves like a black hole, crushing everything under the force of its immense gravity.

He calls his attack "Black Hole" (in katakana - the kanji read darkness-hole-road).

A single attack sucks in all the buildings in the village and spits them back out as scrap (which he has the gall to call "Liberation," ugh).

When Ace counterattacks, he discovers that Blackbeard, unlike most logia types, can't simply dissolve to allow an attack to pass through him. Instead, his darkness absorbs attacks into his own body, causing intense pain. In exchange, however, he can can also suck the power out of his devil fruit user opponents.

When Blackbeard touches an ability user's body, his opponent temporarily loses all ability to use his own power. Blackbeard is able to hit Ace, and Ace has no ability to avoid the attack by dissolving into fire.

The first clear hint, I think, at Blackbeard's later ability to actually take the power from other Devil Fruit users and keep it for himself, though what he's doing here doesn't go quite that far. Here it seems he can only absorb the power while he's actually touching the other devil fruit user's body, and he can't use the power himself, only prevent the other person from using it.

Even without the full benefits of his power, Ace is able to battle Blackbeard for some time. When he seems near defeat, Blackbeard invites him to become his nakama, but Ace rejects him with scorn, saying he's vowed to live a life with no regrets.

As the chapter ends, the entire island is consumed by a confrontation between "sun" and "darkness" (looking disturbingly like a nuclear blast). We don't see who won the fight, but the last panel is of Ace's hat lying on the ground.

The great battle between the two pirates on Banaro Island would later be described as the trigger for momentous events yet to come.


Life on the new Thousand Sunny is full of energy.

(I would LOL at the shark that Luffy tossed in the aquarium eating all the other fish, but poor fishes! Then again, I suppose Sanji would have cooked them eventually.)

While the various crew members are exploring their new digs, Zoro (up in the crow's nest) spots a strange barrel marked "treasure for the sea god". Nami explains that this is not treasure, but an offering of sake and food to the seas in exchange for safe passage.

Zoro figures they should open it anyway. Why waste good sake? (They have an argument about whether it's okay to drink the sake if they pray over it first. Zoro insists he's not praying to any god.)

Luffy: "Oi, Kamisama! Thanks for the snack!" (LOL)
Zoro: "Didn't you just get done kicking Kamisama's ass on Sky Island?"

When they open the barrel, a flare goes off. Everyone knows this can't be anything good. A trap to summon the marines?

Nami senses a storm coming, and yells for everyone to batten the hatches.

Luffy says he can't see anything, but none of them are about to question Nami when it comes to weather patterns.

Franky shows off another new ability of the Soldier Docking system, a paddle system to get them out of danger quickly. The ship makes it back into calmer waters, but everything is now obscured by cloud and fog.

They begin to suspect they've entered the Florian Triangle, the "ghost sea" Kokoro warned them about.

Luffy can't wait to see some ghosts (and skeletons). Usopp is terrified - he had missed the whole Florian triangle explanation, since he wasn't with them at that point.

Sanji scolds Luffy for scaring Usopp with ridiculous stories about living skeletons he made up in his own mind, but can't resist putting on his own horror show (love the match for the flashlight effect).

Usopp is wailing that they should have told him about this - he would have stocked up on exorcism supplies! (Chopper: "LEND ME SOME TOO!")

Through the fog, they hear the eerie sound of music. "Yo-ho-ho-ho…"

An enormous ship with rags for sails looms over them. (Yikes, that ship is BIG. The Sunny is already way bigger than poor little Merry was.)

While Chopper and Usopp freak out, Robin, Zoro and Sanji try to figure out if someone is on the ship (and if so, can Zoro cut it?).

A skeleton is leaning against the rail, sipping tea and singing.

Binks no sake wo
todoke ni yuku yo…

[This really needs music, although arguably it's more effective in the light of *spoiler* later. The anime did an excellent job of adapting this scene from the manga (spoiler free).]

Luffy, Sanji and Nami scale the rigging to check it out. (Luffy wanted to go alone, but Sanji said he couldn't be trusted on his own, and they were the ones who drew the short straw.)

Usopp is back on board the Sunny, feverishly performing exorcism rites. (LOL "Rest in peace, Luffy…")

"Gentleman Skeleton Brook" introduces himself and apologizes for his rudeness in not greeting them at once.

(How many skeletons would greet a person with "go-kigen-you"? Brook's polite speech is hilarious.)

It's been decades since he saw another human. All he ever meets up with are ghost ships, and he just HATES ghosts.

I'm not sure which thing excites Luffy more - that the skeleton can talk, or that it has an afro.

He notices Nami, and compliments her on her beauty. "I have no eye for beauty… well, no eyes actually. Yohohoho!"

[First of one million SKULL JOKES.]

Brook always asks everyone woman he meets to show him their panties. I don't know why he bothers; he has yet to meet one that has said yes.

Luffy thinks Brook is hilarious. "Hey, do you poop?"

Sanji starts peppering Brook with questions that he thinks are WAY more important than whether the skeleton can poop or not, but Luffy doesn't really care about any of the answers.

"Never mind all that. Hey, come be my nakama!" Brook: "Sure, ok." (ええ、いいですよ.)

(I love the two page spread on this.)


Luffy brings Brook back to meet the rest of his terrified crew. (LOL Robin being the only completely calm one. That joke just never gets old.)

Usopp's exorcism gear is a very peculiar mixture of Christian, gothic and buddhist. I love that he found a smaller cross for Chopper, somewhere.

Brook asks to see Robin's panties (見せてもらってよろしいですか?) and gets a boot in the head from Nami. (Needless to say, he's getting zero reaction from Robin.)

Luffy: "Isn't he funny? I made him our nakama (仲間にした)."
Zoro: したじゃねえよ!! (I can't translate this. "Made, my ASS!"?)

Nami and Sanji miserably apologize to Zoro for completely failing in their mission to keep Luffy from doing anything insane.

They all settle in for dinner (Usopp now has even more exorcism gear).

Brook is still making jokes about how hungry he is, except he doesn't have any of the appropriate body parts to fit the idioms for hunger. (These puns are impossible to translate because most of them don't have an immediate equivalent in English. Apparently the idiom for hunger is "the lining of the stomach is sticking to the skin of the back".) First one to be identified as a "skull joke," which is his usual tag line after making one these awful puns.

Over dinner, Brook explains that he ate the Yomi-yomi no mi (the "resurrection" fruit - from yomigaeru, to come back to life). While he was alive it did nothing but make him a hammer, but after he died, its power kicked in.

He was once a pirate, sailing the sea with his comrades aboard the ship they found him on, but all his comrades perished at the hands of a powerful enemy, and he with them. His soul tried to find its way back to his body, but got lost in the fog. By the time it found him, he was nothing but bones. Hence his nickname, "Just-Bones Brook."

(I love the illustration of the distressed little soul finding the skeleton body.)

Luffy: "Haha, you're such an idiot! Just like Zoro!" Zoro: "Ano na."

Zoro questions why a skeleton would still have an afro, but Brook just declares that his hair had a mighty will to live (毛根強かった, literally, "the roots of the hair were strong"; I think this is a pun on 根, "root" [as in root of the hair] and "stubbornness"). Zoro: "Um, yeah, whatever."

Usopp can't figure out if Brook is a ghost or a human or what, but Brook says he hates ghosts. So scary! Nami asks if he's looked in a mirror lately. Sure enough, he has no reflection (terrifying everyone even more - is he a vampire too?). His shadow is likewise missing.

Brook calmly explains (sipping his tea) that his missing shadow and reflection are a separate matter from his existence as a skeleton. He encountered a foe on the sea that stole his shadow from him, a few years before.

Robin appears intrigued, the first sign of animation she's shown throughout the entire conversation (she's pretty much been examining Brook like a mildly interesting bug since he came aboard).

Now that his shadow has been taken, he can't enter the sunlit world, or his body will burn up. He's seen it happen to others.

Brook seems maniacally cheerful for someone whose life has been stolen/ruined in every way possible, but after joking about it at length (godawful skull jokes and all), he admits that this is the happiest day of his life. He never thought he would see another living human being again. He's spent so many decades drifting rudderless through the fog, scared and alone.

[Oh, Brook.]

He thanks Luffy humbly for inviting him to become nakama, but the truth is, he can't really join them. He can't leave the world of the fog and survive. He has no choice but to stay and search for the man who took his shadow.

Luffy immediately declares that they'll help him find it, then. But Brook refuses to give the name of his enemy, saying he can't lead them to their deaths.

But no more of this; they should sing a song to celebrate this happy meeting. He is the ship's musician, after all.

(LOL at the way this is just dropped out of nowhere. Luffy has wanted a musician since, what, volume 3?)

Luffy redoubles his pleas to Brook to join them (a MUSICIAN!), but suddenly Brook starts screaming in terror. A ghost is hovering overhead.

Too late, he realizes that the Sunny has already been drawn within the orbit of the wandering "Ghost Island" Thriller Bark. The barrel they picked up, he explains, was a trap designed to lure them in.

[Oh, I almost missed that Brook says the wandering island of Thriller Bark came all the way from the West Blue. Filed away for future reference.]

Telling them to escape while they still can, Brook runs off, chasing after his enemy who might finally be within his grasp.

The others try to persuade Luffy to take Brook's advice and flee, but Luffy's already got the ghost island bug. He smells adventure!


Robin calmly remarks that it's too late, anyway - they've already been swallowed by the giant "mouth" that serves as the gated entrance to the floating island.

LOL at the various reactions. Why is Franky posing? And why does Luffy immediately arm himself with a net and cage? Is he planning to catch ghosts instead of beetles?

(ETA next page: apparently, yes. He wants to keep one as a pet.)

Robin shows up carrying the lunches. She can't wait to explore. She likes thrills.

(She would…)

Franky announces that it's time to unveil another feature of the Sunny's docking system. He introduces… the Miny-Merry!

(AWWWW forever. Love Chopper hugging the masthead.)

Nami, Usopp and Chopper get the first ride on the Mini-Merry. They just want to try it out before their stronger crewmates go off to the island.

While they wait for the others to return, Franky explains the docking system more fully. (I really cannot summon up the energy to go over this in detail, though the shark submarine is admittedly kind of cool.)

Sanji is growing worried - shouldn't Nami and the others be back already?

The boat has disappeared in the fog, and they hear screams coming from the direction of the island.

Sanji is smacking Luffy, because Luffy is just yelling at them to get back and let him have a turn while Sanji says he should be more worried about Nami-san.

Franky: "Shouldn't you be a bit more worried about the OTHER two?"

Robin is wondering if they've all been cursed to death by ghosts already.

Weird things start happening on board - the anchor drops by itself, a door opens without anyone touching it. Luffy's face starts moving in weird directions, as if something is pulling on it.

Sanji thinks Luffy's just playing around, but he's not. Robin hears a beast growling. Something grabs one of Zoro's swords from his scabbard and hurls it at Luffy, who only just dodges it.

They're sure that something is on board with them, but no one can see it.

Sanji tries to dive overboard to go after Nami, until something trips him up and slams him against the side of the ship (Zoro mercilessly makes fun of him for making a sound like "hoge~!" when this happens.)

Something starts grabbing Robin and licking at her (EW).

Finally, the invisible attacker disappears.

While the crew on board the Sunny is frantically trying to figure out how to follow Nami and the others, Nami, Chopper and Usopp are regrouping after running ashore. They find themselves at the bottom of a dry moat.

While trying to figure out how to get themselves out of the ditch, they are attacked by a three headed guard dog wrapped in bandages. (Er, two of the heads are dogs. One is a fox. Wan! Wan! Kon!)

They run for their lives, pursued by "Cerberus". They finally succeed in escaping by climbing a tree.

A little bat-like man (who introduces himself as Hildon) suddenly shows up and offers them a ride to his home in his creepy carriage. He lives in Dr. Hogback's mansion (a name that Chopper immediately recognizes).


Usopp, Nami and Chopper gratefully accept the offer of a ride and pile into the carriage.

Chopper is starry eyed at the prospect of meeting the famous Doctor Hogback, an idol among his peers who suddenly vanished from the scene a few years back. Maybe the doctor will even give him an autograph!

(Chopper must have quite the autograph collection.)

Nami glimpses a stitched-up zombie lion (with a human face) outside the window, and panics, but the others won't believe her, even when she draws a picture.

[I kind of love when they draw pictures for each other. Do they all carry drawing-tablets on the off chance that they'll be needed?]

Then they all look out the window, and see a parade of freakish creatures. (Which, for some reason, are posing, Franky-style. LOL, and I just now looked back and noticed that there's a chorus of EMONO DA! EMONO DA! over their heads. "We have prey!")

After a momentary delay, they collectively freak out, but Hildon assures them it's just a hallucination.

Usopp and Nami insist on turning back, despite Chopper's wails of disappointment at not being allowed to meet Hogback.

[Love how Usopp patiently talks sense back into a distraught Chopper. Such a good big brother!]

Finally Hildon agrees to stop the carriage, and says he's just getting out to tell the driver to turn around.

After ten minutes have passed without Hildon returning, they start to realize that something might be wrong. They discover that Hildon, drivers and suspiciously monstrous horses are long gone, and the carriage has been left in the middle of a graveyard.

(LOL Chopper desperately hoping that maybe they just went off to pee.)

Zombies begin to emerge from the graves.

They fight off the first wave of zombies and make a run for it.

[I kind of like that although they spend most the rest of the volume screaming and running, and the big joke is that the "weak" crew members have been separated from the "strong" ones, they actually do a pretty darn good job of defending themselves. Especially when one of them sees another one under attack. Go, weak crew members!]

They decide that the creepy-looking haunted mansion is the nearest refuge, and finally make it to the front gate. (The zombies initially proved unexpectedly fast, but rapidly ran out of steam. "Time out!" Usopp: "Where's your stamina??")

Usopp is begging the others to put him out of his misery if he turns into a zombie, since he got bitten. Nami: "For someone who gets scared of everything, you read WAY too much of the wrong kind of books."

They summon up their nerve and knock loudly at the door of the castle.

"Anyone home? Might this be the residence of the esteemed Doctor Hogback? Please, open up! We're just traveling pi~, er, wayfarers!"


[Love the cover spread of the Strawhats as Vikings - I really need to pick up the rest of the art books, that one would look awesome in color. Zoro looks HOT as a viking.]

Finding a tunnel leading into the mansion, they nervously proceed further in.

Part way through the tunnel, they find a spotlight shining on a well. A zombie-like woman suddenly appears in the light. "Irasshai!"

Then she starts firing plates at them, meticulously counting each one. ("One flat thing, two flat things…")

Oddly, all the plates seem to be aimed at Usopp; she leaves Nami and Chopper unharmed and invites them in. Usopp is most emphatically NOT invited.

Another voice intervenes, telling "Cindry-chan" that it's okay to make an exception just this once.

A man in a feathery cloak appears, looking very much like a much uglier vampire Tim Curry from Rocky Horror.

He apologizes for Cindry's bad manners, saying that she has a trauma from her past related to plates because her rich fiancé (and master? I think she was a servant who got engaged to the master?) drove her out for breaking ten pieces of his ancestral tableware to test his love for her.

[I have long been confused by this unusually detailed backstory, but more of that later at an appropriate time when we have more… information. Also, LOL at Usopp(?) saying, "Not like we care that much" (いや、どうでもいい… (sweatdrop).]

Vampire Tim Curry introduces himself as Doctor Hogback, genius surgeon.

[He has a very peculiar shrill voice and an even more peculiar laugh: hosu, hosu, hosu!]

Cindry fires the tenth and final plate at Usopp's head while her master is distracted.

Chopper is starry-eyed at meeting his idol in person (and furious when Nami comments that he seems like kind of an idiot, マヌケっぽい).

Cindry finally relents and invites them in (Hogback hastily endorses the invitation - it's pretty clear he only barely exercises any authority in that household).

Usopp and Nami agree that anything is better than the zombies waiting for them outdoors.

Around the dinner-table, Nami explains that they were attacked by zombies in the graveyard, and Usopp says that they saw even more freakish creatures in the forest. Would he happen to know anything about them?

Hogback says he's living on the island *because* he doesn't know anything about its strange inhabitants. He's been researching the subject of eternal life. Zombies make the perfect research subjects.

Everyone has one or two people in their life they'd do anything to get back, but research into resurrecting the dead has long been considered taboo, so he withdrew from the public eye in order to conduct his research in secret.

Hogback is creepy as &*#$, but his alleged goal is rather poignant in the light of nearly all the Strawhat's backstories, and certain other events to come.

Chopper is enchanted by this, er, lofty goal. "I'm rooting for you, Dr. Hogback!"

He does his happy embarrassed dance when Hogback returns the compliment by calling him Dr. Chopper.

Hogback cheerfully signs Chopper's autograph book (seriously, do they all carry bottomless backpacks?) but turns suddenly fierce when Chopper innocently asks to visit his research lab. "Absolutely NOT!"

Cindry interrupts them to serve pudding (which she refuses to serve on a plate, dropping it on the tablecloth instead). Hogback tells the others not to worry. "We keep our tablecloths squeaky clean for just this purpose!"

Usopp and Chopper happily start licking it up - Nami is grossed out. "At least use a SPOON!"

Usopp asks if a skeleton happened to show up before them. ("Afro, gangly-tall, weirdly cheerful…?" I love how "can move and talk" is an afterthought.)

Hogback is nervous and evasive.

Nami goes to take a shower, while Usopp and Chopper stand guard outside.

[Character trivia: Chopper comments that he has no interest in seeing *human* females - Oda later explains in an SBS that he'd probably react like a normal adolescent if he saw a cute reindeer female. This is somewhat inconsistent with the Alabasta scene where they're all peeping on the girls' bath, but that scene has long since been retconned anyway.

Also: there is something so hilarious about the tenor of this entire scene. Usopp and Chopper are such little bros, more interested in making fart jokes than peeking on the beautiful woman in the shower.]

Usopp complains that he doesn't know why they have to hang around. Not like Nami is some brat (gaki) who's afraid to go to the toilet alone at night.

[LOL. Are we supposed to have forgotten that Usopp was the one begging Zoro to go with him into the forest when he wanted to pee in the middle of the night on Skypiea?]

Nami tells them that she's planning for them to sneak out of the mansion as soon as it gets dark.

Usopp protests loudly (as a zombie cat patters by unnoticed in the hallway).

Nami, however, points out that the inside of the mansion is no safer than the outside. Have they not noticed that the place is FULL of zombies? And Hogback is the most suspicious of all. He has to be connected to the zombies in some way.

Her plan is to pretend to be oblivious, and make their escape at the first opportunity.

There is a growl in the room, and a deep voice. "Clever girl."

While Usopp and Chopper are giggling over fart jokes outside the door, something grabs Nami and slams her against the wall.

[This scene has been much discussed by fans, but gross as it is, it doesn't seem to go past the point of brief groping.]

The invisible voice of the thing that is restraining her proposes marriage. "Be my bride!" (He consistently refers to himself as "oira" - I don't know if that signifies anything particular in terms of dialect or whatever.)

Usopp and Chopper finally decide to investigate the strange noises inside the bath.

[Usopp's reaction to seeing a naked Nami restrained to the wall and only barely concealed by clouds of steam indicates that he's not entirely immune to female charms, but then what even-remotely-bi/straight seventeen year old boy would be? Unless you're Zoro, apparently. I love that he bows and thanks her!]

Nami kicks the invisible man in the nuts (to stop him from covering her mouth) and screams for help.

The invisible man escapes through the window, dodging Usopp's gunpowder star.

Nami realizes that whoever he was, he was there long enough to overhear everything she said.

Meanwhile, back on the Thousand Sunny…

Luffy and the others are now stranded, with the ship entangled in some sort of spiderweb. The skeleton's "ghost ship" is snared in the same web, as is the Mini-Merry.

Zoro is still trying to figure out what's going on (evidently everything is conspiring to entice them on to the island), but Luffy coaxes him to join the rest of them in exploring the island.

They explore the same dry moat that Nami and the others escaped from earlier, and discover Cerberus.

Sanji: "Cerberus, huh? He was probably better off in hell."
Robin: "Aw, how cute!"
Franky: "Is that thing picking a fight?"
Zoro: "Cheeky brat."
Luffy: "Ooh, wonder if it tastes good?"

Cerberus: freezes in terror

[The collective reaction to Cerberus underlines the running "strong/weak" dichotomy joke. Which is still darn funny, even if Usopp and the others aren't really that weak.]


Luffy insists on trying to tame Cerberus (but ends up beating it up when it bites him).

[LOL at Luffy's "down boy" to the now unconscious monster dog, or rather at the others' reaction to it.]

Examining it closely, they notice the stitched-up wounds and the fact that one of the heads is a fox.

With Luffy riding on the now thoroughly cowed monster's back, they proceed to explore further.

Luffy: "We just got here, and already found such fun things! This island is gonna be awesome!"
Franky: "First a moat, now a forest…"
Robin: "You seem a bit down, Cerberus-san."
Zoro: "You shouldn't show sympathy to a defeated warrior. Hurts his pride, you know."
Sanji: "Nami-san, yoo-hoo! Where are you, Nami-san?"

[LOL forever.]

Luffy stumbles across a unicorn (?) and a tree (?) sharing a drink.

He and Franky promptly catch them, though Zoro and Sanji have to scream at Luffy to stop him from inviting them to join his crew.

Outside Dr. Hogback's mansion, Hogback is talking with the invisible man, whom he addresses as Absalom.

The ghost (?) that appeared on the ship announces that there are six bounty heads on the ship, one over 100 million, and the captain is worth 300 million.

[I gather it's not counting Chopper? Poor Chopper! 6 + the captain would be seven of the eight present crew members.]

The invisible man tells "Perona" not to take the enemy lightly. The government doesn't go around hanging 300 million bounties on ordinary pirates.

Hogback tells Absalom to use all his considerable ability to catch them, then. They've got a big task ahead of them this night.

Back in the mansion, Nami and the others are arguing about whether an invisible man can exist or not.

Nami: "You saw him holding me down!"
Usopp: "I didn't see anything!"
Nami: "You did so!"
Usopp: "This is entrapment! You're trying to make me admit I saw you naked so you can charge me for it."
Nami: "How much of a villain do you think I am! (pause) Though I am gonna charge you."

Usopp announces that he's made up his mind not to believe in ANYTHING he's seen on this island. OK, granted, they did meet a living skeleton, but that was totally an exception.

Chopper says he wouldn't accept it normally, but Hogback is a genius. There's no telling what he might have accomplished.

Nami complains that Chopper trusts Hogback too much. Chopper gets mad at her, again.

[It's kind of adorable when Chopper actually gets mad at one of his nakama. So rare!]

They find themselves back in the dining-room, but it's pitch dark and empty now.

Hildon, hanging from the chandelier, informs them that Hogback and Cindry have already retired for the night.

(The critters on this island are giving my super-keigo a workout, geez.)

When they reject Hildon's offer to lead them to their rooms as another trick, one of the portraits on the wall starts to mock him. "You got dumped, Hildon."

Suddenly, the figure in the portrait attacks Chopper, the mounted pig's head attacks Usopp, and the bear rug attacks Nami.

The three of them battle the army of zombies that has appeared from the portraits and statues all around. They try to escape, but find themselves trapped by the locked front door.

When the three of them are cornered in the fireplace, the fireplace abruptly flips around and deposits them in a hidden corridor.

The creatures left behind are dismayed - that corridor leads to Hogback's lab!

The pig's head (which is apparently the squad commander) is undismayed, saying their fellow "surprise zombies" will hunt them down wherever they go in the castle.

Running for their lives, Nami and the others find themselves in what is apparently Cindry's bedroom.


[In one of the few details I think I understand so far in this weird cover arc, it appears that the little mini-General Pattons are all in fact robots created by a genial-seeming mad scientist guy.]

The room is filled with pictures of a younger, prettier Cindry-chan, with none of the horrendous scars she now has.

Nami finds a stack of newspaper articles identifying her as Victoria Cindry, a famous stage actress.

Usopp is puzzled, because Hogback had said she'd previously been in service somewhere, and got kicked out because she broke her masters' plates. According to the newspaper articles, though, Cindry was born to a noble family and had never been a servant.

Nami is shocked to discover from one of the articles that Cindry died ten years earlier in a freak accident.

They are all terrified to realize that she is one of the zombies, and that all of the zombies they've seen on the island are actually living dead.

Usopp stumbles over some lock-boxes, which activates Nami's unfortunate treasure quirk.

[LOL, I love how her nakama always comment on Nami's beli eyes - so meta. Chopper: 変わり身早え! "That's a quick change of appearance!"]

Unfortunately, the box turns out to contain a jack in the box zombie.

[In Japanese, jack-in-the-boxes are called "bikkuri boxes," so it's a true bikkuri [surprise] zombie.]

The chase is on again, but as they flee screaming, Nami notices that the zombie said "The treasure room isn't HERE."

In the shadows behind them, a man in traditional samurai garb appears. (The picture-zombies seem to recognize him, calling him "Yojimbo" - possibly a joke? - and commenting "Oh, it's you.")

The samurai says (his speech is courteous, but not overly old-fashioned) that he'll take care of the wanderers in the mansion. Yohohoho~!

Back in the forest, Luffy is getting yelled at (by Sanji, I think) for trying to invite every freak on the island to be their nakama.

Sanji: "We've already got a tanuki and robot and I don't know what all on our crew!"
Franky: "I'm not a robot, I'm a cyborg! Jerk!"
Sanji: "Well, you sure ain't human any more."
Franky: "I'm human underneath!"
Sanji: "You're a PERVERT underneath!"
Franky: "Fine, as long as we got that straight."
Sanji: "It wasn't supposed to be a compliment!!"

[Sanji's lucky Chopper isn't around to hear himself being called a tanuki. Also, LOL at Sanji and Franky's entire conversation.]

Robin points out that all the strange creatures they've met have had numbers on them, along with the bandages and stitches. Someone's keeping track of them.

More ghosts like the one they saw on the ship pop up, chanting "Negative, Negative!"

Luffy wants to catch one and keep it as a pet, but his net passes through them.

Franky tries to shoot them (why would that work when the net didn't), but they pass through his body, leaving him in a state of utter depression.

[The negative-ghosts are simultaneously one of the most hilarious and most disturbing parts of this arc, especially when we get to certain later events. Talk about Fridge Horror.]

"This week's me is totally useless." (LOL, poor Franky.)

They pass through Luffy next, leaving him in the same state.

Robin quickly realizes that physical contact with the ghosts is causing the unnatural depressions.

Zoro is just saying that he'd never be weak enough to succumb to that when they get him too. "I'm sorry for being born…" (LOL at Sanji's rapidly escalating exasperation.)

Fortunately, it turns out that the effect is temporary, and the victims are out for blood as soon as they recover (at which point Sanji is no longer furious, but doubled over with laughter).

Unlike the forest creatures, the ghosts don't have numbers. They seem to be in a different class, possibly employed as observers. Either way, someone else is pulling the strings.

Stumbling across the same graveyard where Nami and the others were attacked, Luffy thinks it's got great atmosphere and proposes stopping there for lunch. (LOL. The others don't agree; Sanji(?) says it would make the food taste bad.)

A zombie busts out of the grave (and resists Luffy's firm attempts to push it back underground). When it finally emerges, Luffy thinks it's a "badly wounded old man".

More zombies pop up. (Sanji: "Well, they're a lively lot.")

Cerberus runs for its life. The five warriors crack their knuckles (or rather, prepare their respective techniques - Luffy is the only one who's actually cracking his knuckles).

They unleash the full weight of their collective 600 million beri bounty on the hapless zombies.

The entire horde of zombies is quickly forced into submission, and Luffy interrogates them. When they're stupid enough to admit they attacked Luffy's nakama, they all end up reburied upside down in the graveyard.

Luffy and the others all head off toward the mansion, in the direction Usopp and the others were headed, and run into another heavily bandaged figure - this time, he turns out to actually be a badly injured old man.

He's seen how strong they are, and he begs them to strike down his enemy. There are countless victims, but they could all be saved if their enemy was defeated and their shadows restored to them.

The enemy, the same man who stole Brook's shadow, is named Moria.

For once, Robin actually shows signs of fear. She knows who that is - the shichibukai, Gekko Moria.


The old man tells them of the wretched plight of Moria's victims. If they stay in shadows of the forest, they spend their lives running from zombies; if they go to sea, they have to live in fear of the sunlight. All he wants is the chance to walk in the sun one more time before he dies.

Franky, typically, is bawling in sympathy. (Aw, Franky.)

Zoro and Sanji are initially less sympathetic (for rather different reasons, haha), but Luffy figures this is the enemy they've been looking for from the start (on account of Brook), so why not?

When the old man thanks him, dozens of voices join his from the forest, urging Luffy on (they were all hiding).

[This is such an obvious feature of the whole series that it hardly requires comment, but I love how, everywhere Luffy goes, he ends up rescuing entire populations, and it's usually just because he happens to care about one particular person/objective. The fact that dozens or hundreds or thousands of people end up regarding him as their deliverer is always a 'Oh hey, we're already here, so why not?' kind of effect. So hilarious and so endearing.]

Back in the mansion, Usopp and the others are peeking into Hogback's lab (Chopper's eyes are full of stars).

Hogback is gloating over his latest creation, a zombie-like creature on the table, though Cindry could care less and is mainly focused on serving dinner.

(Spaghetti soup, this time. Hogback pleads with her to at least choose different menu items, if she's going to refuse to serve anything on a plate.)

Like the others, the zombie on the table bears a number. It's clear, now, that Hogback is the creator of all the zombies on the island.

While they're still hoping to gain more insight by spying on the lab, the samurai shows up behind them. The voice sounds like Brook's, but the creature attacks them and breaks down the door to the lab, exposing their presence to Hogback.

Usopp swears to Hogback that they totally did not see him creating zombies, no sir.

Hogback says there's no further point in keeping secrets, since the "night attack" is about to begin, anyway. (The clock points to a few minutes before midnight.)

The invisible man called Absalom appears in the graveyard to summon the "soldier zombies."

His physical form gradually appears, revealing him to be a man with the face of a beast.

The zombies hail him as their leader Absalom, when they're not grumbling about their work being too much trouble, or Absalom being a well known pervert. (Zombies seem to be a rather troublesome lot to govern. They lack motivation and focus.)

The ghosts gather in a room in the mansion, where a giant stuffed bear welcomes "Perona-sama" back. The ghosts (Perona?) scold the bear ("Kumashi"), telling him to shut up.

A woman in loli-goth attire arises from the bed. Apparently, she was controlling the ghosts by means of some sort of astral projection while her body was unconscious.

She complains that Kumashi's deep voice doesn't match his appearance. It's not cute at all.

A bunch of weird critters (what are those, zombie vegetables?) rush to wake their master Moria. It's time for the night attack!

Moria seems to be a monstrously large man, many times human size. He's been asleep for four days, since the last night attack.

The servants excitedly report that the prey this time is really something - the pirates who've just been winning fame for attacking Enies Lobby. They'll be useful to Moria, for sure!

Outside the mansion, it's starting to rain heavily. The fog lifts just enough for them to see an enormous pirate flag flying behind the castle - or rather, a sail with a pirate emblem on it. The old man (who was still following) tells them that Thriller Bark is, in fact, a giant pirate ship, too large to take in at a glance.

Absalom of the Graveyard (with Oda-box, at last) is introduced as the commander of the Soldier Zombies and the General Zombies.

Ghost Princess Perona (with Oda-box) is introduced as the commander of the Wild Zombies and the Surprise Zombies.

[Her characteristic laugh, which previously appeared to be the voice of the ghosts, is horohorohoro.]

Moria's face remains in shadow over the faces of his followers, Perona, Hogback and Absalom.

This is Thriller Bark - the land of nightmares!

Luffy: "Let's go! Into the haunted mansion, everyone!"

Date: 2014-06-09 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Never mind all that. Hey, come be my nakama!" Brook: "Sure, ok."

It's hilarious that after all the times Luffy has casually thrown out invitations (while the rest of the crew is horrified) and been turned down, he finally found someone who would (just as casually) agree to join them.

I can't translate this. "Made, my ASS!"?

That's exactly how I would translate it.

Something starts grabbing Robin and licking at her (EW)

UGH. Welcome to the part of Thriller Bark I really hate! (I do love the rest.)

re: Cindry -- part of her backstory is related to the Japanese legend of the ghost who counts plates, right? Umm...this one.

I gather it's not counting Chopper?

Or possibly he didn't recognize Sanji?

Date: 2014-06-09 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, how cool about the ghost story! I didn't know that one at all. I've always wanted to read more Japanese ghost stories.

Hm, you might be right about Sanji. Though one would think process of elimination would be enough - they seem to have researched the whole crew.

(I need to diversify my icons - Mihawk is the closest thing I have to gothic.)

Date: 2014-06-09 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Though one would think process of elimination would be enough

Do the wanted posters identify which crew the person is a member of?

Date: 2014-06-10 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Now that you mention it, perhaps they don't. I've always just assumed that everyone knows who is on which crew, but that might only be because of a handful of people we see in-series who seem to know everything while most people are clueless.

Also, something that came up in the volume I was just reading (early 48?) seemed to confirm that Sanji was the one they weren't counting, so it seems you were right.

Date: 2014-06-10 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Besides being hilarious, I think the point of Sanji's wanted poster was to let him keep flying under the radar. Because that's Sanji's job. (When he's not being stupid.)

Date: 2014-06-09 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is embarrassing, because I'm really glad to see a new post, but I can't think of anything to add!

Love Brook's introduction though. Already we get to see a bit of how strong he is and how sad and touching his story is, though we only see the barest bones (whistles) of it here.

Luffy pushing the zombie back into the ground is such a classic. :D

Pretty sure the bit where he's trying to tame Cerberus, before he smacks him into the wall, is a homage/callback of a scene from Nausicäa of the Valley of Wind, where Nausicäa befriends the little animal Teto (but unlike Luffy, doesn't smack it into the wall when it bites her).

I really do like the sense of darkness and mystery in this volume, as we only slowly learn about what's going on but in a very different - a more gentle, ghost-story manner than the "agent thriller" feel of the Water 7 mystery and reveals, heartbreak aside. If that makes sense.

edit: Oh, re the peeping scene in Alabasta - Chopper expresses a question mark there, I think? And the next moment, post-Happiness Punch, he shows no remnant of nosebleeding unlike the other peepers. I do think Oda retconned Luffy's participation there later on (he did nosebleed!), but I don't think Chopper's was needed - it looks pretty clearly to me like Chopper just went along with what the others were doing, as an SBS a couple of volumes later on also stated./edit
Edited Date: 2014-06-09 09:47 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-06-10 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, your interpretation of the Alabasta peeping scene sounds about right. I haven't reread that in a long time. Anyway, in this scene there would be no pressure for him to follow the crowd, because Usopp has better sense than to try to intentionally peep on Nami ever again even if he wanted to. She'd charge him!

It's interesting to compare Thriller Bark to the mystery reveal in Water 7. It does seem to take a long time to put all the pieces together - I had to resist the impulse to cross the t's and dot the i's by explaining things the reader isn't supposed to know until a certain point. But yes, much less tension behind waiting for the reveal, I guess because there's less at stake?

Date: 2014-06-23 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
the last panel is of Ace's hat lying on the ground.


he had missed the whole Florian triangle explanation, since he wasn't with them at that point.

Apparently, neither was I. Dagnabit.

Chapter 443…what? Not even a moment to appreciate the three…erm…yins in Eneru's exclamation point thought bubble?

And now, at the start of 444, I must pause for sleepies. Find your shadow, Brook! Come be a strawhat musician!

Edit: I would bring the book to bed (because ghost story!), but this is a particularly disgusting specimen of library book. Already, three pages have been stuck together. *shudder*

Edit#2: So I went to bed last night super-happy about the existence of the mini Merry, but I woke up this morning with mixed feelings. I think it was a lovely gesture by Franky, but it's not any part of the real Merry, which was burned (right?). So it's like seeing the Strawhats super-excited over a vastly inferior replacement. I want to compare it to replacing a crew member, but it's just too cruel. (Oh, good grief, I just realized I wrote this edit without finishing your summary. I'll be back.)

Edit #3: Zoro looks HOT as a viking. - OMG, yes! Do the Japanese editions not show the color images? The Viking image is in color on the back of the English volume, so I assumed it was the frontispiece (or whatever that first color page is called) in the Japanese version.

It's kind of adorable when Chopper actually gets mad at one of his nakama.

It's adorable when Chopper does anything! (I hope he's still adorable post-skip.)

it appears that the little mini-General Pattons are all in fact robots

Yay! 'cause it was so sad when the little General Patton was killed by the space pirate.
Edited Date: 2014-06-24 05:15 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-06-24 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I assumed it was the frontispiece (or whatever that first color page is called) in the Japanese version.

"Color plate"? (That's a stab in the dark guess.) But: Shounen Jump manga (and other manga at the ~¥400 price point) don't usually come with color pages. It's the bigger, ~¥600 manga that do.

Date: 2014-06-24 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In my mind, Sara texted you and begged you to stop my editing (I was on Edit #5).

Wow...interesting that the English edition has one tiny benefit over the Japanese. (Well, the color image on the back + the fact that I can actually read English.) But the important thing here is Viking Zoro is hot.

Date: 2014-06-24 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee! In reality, I track these posts and was waiting for you to stop editing so I could post my comment. sorry for being a creepy stalker

Date: 2014-06-24 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could have sworn I replied to this comment...? *scratches head* I guess I meant to but got caught up in travel obligations. Maybe I didn't click "post"?

Anyway, YAY that you are reading again. I didn't get any summarizing done while I was traveling, but I did get five volumes of One Piece read, so I'm itching to get back to summarizing.

the three…erm…yins in Eneru's exclamation point thought bubble

I did love the yins in the exclamation point. The arc grew on me in later volumes when I finally started understanding the point of what was going on.

I woke up this morning with mixed feelings

I know what you mean about the mini-Merry, but I guess I think of it as a tribute rather than a replacement - like keeping the photograph of a beloved person on display. I think you're right that it doesn't contain any material part of the original, though. (In a way, I think I might be more creeped out by a mini-Merry built out of scrap from the original. That would be like... cannibalism or something.)

Do the Japanese editions not show the color images?

No pretty color pictures in the Japanese editions, alas. I am definitely itching for some more art books on my next New York visit.

It's adorable when Chopper does anything! (I hope he's still adorable post-skip.)

Chopper is genetically and constitutionally incapable of being anything other than adorable.

Date: 2014-06-24 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"This week's me is totally useless."

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this was the first time I picked up on Franky's "This week's me…" speech gimmick.

this time, he turns out to actually be a badly injured old man.

I possibly loved this more than I should have. (In the spirit of always assuming that Hannibal Lecter is serving people and being surprised when he's not.)

Spaghetti soup, this time.

So it's really called spaghetti soup? I thought it was just the world's worst -- and most unnecessary -- translation of ramen.

Hogback is the creator of all the zombies on the island.

I meant to say this earlier: this frankensteining is what I hate mos…well, second-most about Thriller Bark so far. Most hate Absalom's assault on Nami in the shower.

Apparently, she was controlling the ghosts by means of some sort of astral projection while her body was unconscious.

I found that very confusing. Took me forever to figure out who was Perona, even though someone said earlier that the ghosts were being controlled like puppets.

Date: 2014-06-24 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So it's really called spaghetti soup? I thought it was just the world's worst -- and most unnecessary -- translation of ramen.

No, that's actually what she calls it (well, "soup spaghetti," in katakana). I feel like I need to google it now.

I meant to say this earlier: this frankensteining is what I hate mos…well, second-most about Thriller Bark so far.

Yes, I feel sorry for the zombies. :-(

I found that very confusing. Took me forever to figure out who was Perona, even though someone said earlier that the ghosts were being controlled like puppets.

I think it's supposed to be confusing, right up until the point where the three enemy leaders are revealed at the end. Especially when Absalom actually addresses one of the "ghosts" as Perona (because they're all projections of her).

It was interesting that [ profile] serrende compared the handling of suspense in this arc with that in Water 7. Water 7 had a genuine combination of complete inability to put the pieces of the mystery together + stunning reveals when you didn't expect them; this arc felt to me like it was trying to drag out the suspense past the point where the audience has already guessed half of what's going on (or is just plain confused, as opposed to really wanting to know the answers to the mysteries). In general, Thriller Bark is stronger on humor than on plot (with a few very significant exceptions).

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this was the first time I picked up on Franky's "This week's me…" speech gimmick.

I love that quirk! Sadly, Viz doesn't generally translate it, so I try to get it into the summaries where I can.

Date: 2014-06-24 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Soup pasta is totally a thing in Japan! It was just getting popular around the time I left (2006--I guess that's long enough ago now that it might not be a thing anymore?). But I could never try it because in Japan, soup = meat broth.

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