we_are: (GL)
[personal profile] we_are

As we draw to a close on the Whiskey Peak Mini-Arc we'll discuss the depth of Vivi's characterization, talk about revolution, look at Luffy's continuing steps to becoming a captain, and be introduced to the enigmatic Miss All Sunday.

Before we head into the chapter itself, let's take a brief look at the title of Chapter 113. “It's Alright” This serves to add a gentle undertone to the chapter. Of course it directly addresses something Nami says later – but I wonder if it also speaks to the fight between Luffy and Zoro that takes up the bulk of the chapter. It's as if the title is saying: 'this will work out, too'. And I just really like that.

But also we'll see how it's applied throughout. Firstly, though, let's look back at this.

 photo 1_zpsnubk5vcl.jpg

Nami's approach to negotiating with Vivi is markedly different than Igaram. If you remember the last part, with Igaram she was super aggressive, thinking nothing of blackmailing and emotionally manipulating him to get her way. Here her approach is meeting Vivi on the same level (as opposed to completely dominating the conversation) There's still a bit of a smirk to her features. Nami knows she still has the upper hand, but she is far less snarky and evil than she was.

The reasons I feel are various.

1) Nami certainly knows how to tailor her approach to her audience, since being hyper aggressively sneaky with Vivi will likely only work against her.

2) I think that in dealing with a woman she doesn't have to be so snarkily aggressive. Nami's experience dealing with men is having to assert control right away and letting them know under no uncertain terms who has the upper hand. We've seen a bit of that before with her first interactions with Luffy-- though not quite as aggressive as it is with Igaram.

3) I think in a lot of ways, Nami feels a kind of sympathy for Vivi even now. Granted at the moment Nami is mostly looking after her own skin-- but at the same time knows that Igaram cares about her and that her kingdom is going to crumble to dust without her. Though not so sympathetic she's willing to get involved for free. XD

All this considered there's also a marked difference in how Nami treats Vivi as an individual. To Miss Wednesday she was bitchy and snarky and aggressive, with good reason since, aside from Laboon, Wednesday wasn't exactly their friend. Now its like Wednesday is someone else (and moreover a potential client) and someone who likely has more complex reasons for doing what she does which is something Nami can understand.

On the other hand Vivi is still guarded. She's been so blinded by everything that's happened with the attempt to escape and the monster battle that she can barely keep up and yet she's still composed enough to keep on her toes.

So we have a time skip in which Nami presumably explains the deal.

 photo 2_zps3vdlmald.jpg

But damn when Vivi understands the deal Nami made with Igaram, she has no hesitation in knowing what she wants to do. She point blank refuses (or says: Viz: It's impossible, Stephens: I cannot do that!) We'll unpack her refusal as we go-- but what's significant here is that she thanks them and we all know how big gratitude is thematically.

Again interesting with Nami? She doesn't like what Vivi is saying but she doesn't try to press or manipulate her either. She might think Vivi is being a little cheap, being a princess and all, but while she certainly has the capability of preying on Vivi's emotions, she doens't.

Vivi asks if they have heard of Alabasta, Nami says they haven't and Vivi proceeds to explain that Alabasta used to be a peaceful country.

 photo 3_zpsdwde56wo.jpg

This discussion is interesting on two levels, both of which raise questions we can't answer yet.

First for Alabasta itself. Going strictly from what we know here, Baroque Works are bad and are stirring up the citizens to be rebellious. In other words, Vivi believes that were it not for BW, the citizens wouldn't rebel at all. That they are sort the victims of this mess. The question that applies here is: Is that true? We'll have to see when we get there but I think it's a little more complicated than that.

Another question here, does Vivi say this because her love for her people is straightforward and uncomplicated so she believes in them utterly? Or because she feels as royalty it's her responsibility? Or both? We'll unpick that as we go on.

The second level is world wide and perhaps even story wide. Here, revolution is depicted as something that one wants to avoid or stop. But Revolutionaries lead by Dragon are certainly a thing and have a more positive connotation. When is revolution good? When is it not? What drives it and what puts a stop to it? It's too early to try any of these questions here again, but they're important to keep in mind as we carry through.

 photo 4_zps7zv4reoj.jpg

I like how Luffy is invested in this conversation. He is listening to what is going on and not just flying off and doing whatever. (That comes later)

But predominantly I like what this says about Vivi. She's proactive in her country's protection, but she's also analytical and intelligent. It's well within her power most likely to call out this Baroque Works, rumors or not, and set the Marines or at least the royal guard on them. But that would perhaps drive them into hiding.

No, she wants to find out if the rumors are true. She wants information before she acts. Moreover, though she depends on Igaram for help, she is the one who takes the steps to begin this investigation and shoulders the burden of responsibility. She is a princess hardcore invested in her country's future stability and more than willing to get her hands dirty.

Also note her expression in the far left panel. She is glancing downward, sweating, there is something rigid about her expression-- as if she's reliving this moment or feeling the enormity of the task shes' undertaken. Either way she's largely existing in her own head right now I feel, even as she speaks to them.

 photo 5_zpsxqprrsva.jpg

First, Zoro's line. What exactly does he mean: “pretty brave for a princess?” This line is the same in both Viz and the scanlation with Stephen's saying: “Pretty proactive for a princess” which, to me, makes less sense.

This line reflects that Zoro normally doesn't consider princesses to be as brave as Vivi. But then, before Vivi, what princesses does he even know? Barring some surprising backstory (and that seems more than likely to come up these days) we can fairly assume I think, none—or if so only from a distance. Perhaps all of his knowledge of princesses comes from various fairy tales or “common knowledge” which depict them in a light of waiting for their prince and/or waiting to be rescued. This is all conjecture of course, but for now I think it stands.

Also I would say he's fairly impressed by this because Zoro doesn't throw out words like that lightly.

Then, Nami's line. I was confused by it a bit at first but I assume she means: “Why would he want to take over Alabasta?” Which is probably obvious but it confused me for a bit so...

And Vivi...

Is under an enormous amount of stress. You wouldn't know that just to look at her but the clenched fists is a sign of it. She's pissed... as for the reason why... A large part because Crocodile is trying to take over her kingdom...

But also? Well I think Stephen's says it best:

“That's right. The Boss keeps his workers under the impression that they are FOUNDING the ideal nation.”

 photo 6_zps498xnymw.jpg

In other words I think Vivi is roughly sympathetic to the Baroque Works members plight. At least some of them. Founding a new nation has nothing at all to do with Alabasta.

There was no talk of actually conquering Alabasta. In other words, the members of the BW may just think they're building a utopia somewhere else and may have no intention of taking over a country.

Though that is conjecture and when I say rough sympathy I do mean rough. Vivi will not hesitate to give them what-for for the sake of her people. But perhaps her sympathy is reserved for the members she knows like 9 and Monday who are fighting for a utopia for their own reasons. Or maybe the other residents of Whiskey Peak who are a bit gruesome but at least legally bounty hunting.

Basically I'm saying that I think Vivi's anger at what Crocodile is doing is far more varied than just taking over Alabasta and instigating rebellion (Which is huge enough)

 photo 7_zpsuz23iokj.jpg

So back to Vivi's refusal. Nami understands the reasons for it now – and Vivi never refutes this but she never acknowledges it either. I think money is part of it though; of course. The other part is because she doesn't want them to get into trouble. This is part of Vivi's overall problem-- she tries to look out for about everyone.

Naturally it speaks well of her that she looks after the Strawhats too. Probably because she not only likes them at some level but they did save her life (not only here and returning her to Whiskey Peak) She does not want them to waste their lives unnecessarily for her. They are not even Alabastans let alone connected to her in any way. At the same time I feel that how she is looking after them is very much in line with a princess looking after her subjects. Even though she understands that they aren't, she still, almost instinctively, shoulders the responsibility.

Finally I think this says that Vivi is a character of high morals. She could very well use their help, stringing them along with talk of promised payment... Instead she tries to keep them safe.

Aside from that? Nami is a damned intelligent and analytical person herself and I love Luffy's question. XD he's kind of riveted by this story in a big way. He can smell the adventure in it and he definitely wants to hear who this super dangerous guy is. =D =D

 photo 8_zpsb69xvafh.jpg
Favorite is Luffy's expression. Like: What the heck?! I wanted to know! Don't just tell a story and hold out on the best part!

And Nami's like: Dodged a bullet here. Though of course going with the theme here... she's glad she has the knowledge to quickly adjust the course she set out on and glad to be able to nope out of it. Though she feels sympathy for Vivi she's not sticking her neck out for it.

Vivi, as we will see, is a very intelligent woman but sometimes has little to no brain to mouth filter once she gets into her headspace. Like she geared up to tell them the reasons why they shouldn't get involved and perhaps tells them a biiit too much. I wonder if part of it is due to the fact that the Strawhats exist in this weird kind of in-between space for her at the moment. They're not enemies anymore, but not quite allies. So it's not as if she's talking to members of the Baroque Works but someone more like Igaram –where, perhaps she's used to talking about Crocodile in looser terms.

Also I love how much Zoro is paying attention to this. He might be low on the adventure scale, but I think he's intrigued with the politics of the world-- especially when it comes to the movement of strong people. We'll see more evidence of this throughout. Essentially though as boneheaded as Zoro can be at times, he's pretty well informed.

 photo 9_zpsiju7poim.jpg

Let's just take a moment to appreciate the expressions we're given here. XDD all of them but Luffy's especially. He is having an adventuregasm right there. Rofl.

And Zoro's just like, are you a dumbass? (He's one to talk)

And Nami and Vivi XDD frea king out.

It's amazing.

After this, the unluckies show up, take stock of the situation and then fly off.

 photo 10_zpsp1e4seh9.jpg

We'll get to Nami's emotional breakdown in a second.

First of all, Luffy and Zoro's conversation. Short as it is, it's important to keep in mind that they both have a good idea just how strong Crocodile should be. Back in chapter 60, Yosaku suggested that in terms of strength, the Shichibukai are on par with Mihawk. (Who Zoro had absolutely no chance at defeating) Yet they are both super excited about this turn of events. Rofl.

 photo 11_zpsf6xvvato.jpg

Meanwhile, Nami is really coming to regret offering saving Vivi's butt. She went into the Grand Line accepting it was dangerous, but she obviously never expected to be dumped in the deep end so soon. I mean she has to know the Shichibukai are pretty strong, even if she doesn't know how much just yet.

But what's interesting to me is that she's a bit broken up about this. Like obviously not in emotional despair, but a great deal of fear. (and obviously played for a comedic beat, I am well aware rofl) But in a way it's a good sign. Nami is terrified, yes. But she's terrified for her own well being. In other words, she doesn't have to worry about keeping her sister or a village safe. She just has to worry about herself for the first time in a very long time. So she can break down and have a moment.

 photo 12_zpsmfsv9sga.jpg

Not that these jackasses are helping at all. XD Obviously not taking the utterly terrifying situation anywhere near as seriously as they should.

I love how Zoro, who was nearly eviscerated by a Shichibukai not too long ago, is so looking forward to this. I mean it's no surprise because it's Zoro, but it does show Zoro may not be into adventures for adventures sake. Like he's okay with exploring but more okay with taking a nap. If an island doesn't offer an obvious challenge, he's more 'meh' about the whole situation. But he's all for encountering dangerous people and testing his strength against them.

Also, Luffy wondering what kind of person Crocodile is. Again we're seeing that even though Luffy does listen to what's being said and taking it into account, he still doesn't assume what kind of person Crocodile is or what he's like. And moreover is curious about him. Also we're seeing that Luffy is not even attached to the idea of kicking his ass or helping Vivi out. As far as he's concerned, this is just an interesting story. In other words, he's no hero to get himself involved in something he's not interested or has no personal stake in. Though of course he is involved now with potentially being hunted down by/encountering the guy but that's somewhat different.

(It's an interesting parallel to current series mark [Feb. 2017] where he wanted to go after the yonko and Nami and Usopp both freaked out XD)

 photo 13_zps9ivuwqjt.jpg

This is a beat that calls back to all we've seen of Nami in Whiskey Peak thus far. She's one of the crew, undoubtedly, but she's still not part of the crew exactly. She still is operating in the mode of a free agent, looking largely after herself. This was how she operated for not an insignificant portion of her life after all. I don't think she would have left, of course, (even if she could have) but I can see her definitely taking time to stew and wonder why this is her life. After all, she just wanted freedom to sail and shop and steal and now they're right back in the thick of it.

Of course she's prevented from going too far since directly after this she runs into the Unluckies who sketch her face, thereby preventing her escape-- from a situation she, more or less, manufactured for herself. Though she wasn't the driving force to getting Vivi and 9 to Whiskey Peak, she was the one who got them intimately involved with Vivi's problems. In other words, you have to sail the course you set.

 photo 14_zpsbo1zdvne.jpg

Alas, poor Nami. No escape for you. Also I disagree with the “interesting bunch, those animals” translation. Viz goes with: “Funny, isn't she?” Which I like a bit better but Stephans is just: “That was funny” I don't think there's an actual great translation for the situation; though overall it means he's amused at the whole thing.

Also Zoro pointing out the practical of where would she go? Supposedly she could follow the log pose but she'd still ultimately be on her own. Speaking of Zoro he once again shows that while he might not care for adventure, he really is an adrenaline/danger junkie. Dat eyebrow. Dat smirk. He's looking forward to whatever's going to be thrown at them.

Luffy is also super excited, and adorable.

But I love how Vivi tries to comfort Nami, since she obviously blames herself for the slip-up and getting them involved. Here also she's acting like a princess and taking responsibility. Though her country is in danger, she's comforting Nami and trying to make her feel better. Again, she's treating Nami almost like a subject, putting her needs/comfort first.

Anyhow Igaram shows up and says he has a plan.

 photo 15_zpsdyub3j4z.jpg

It's hilarious for a lot of reasons. One of which because Vivi is so taken aback-- but another because you have to wonder how long Igaram took putting this outfit together. Like was it last minute? Or did he always have a Vivi impersonation strategy? Either way it's pretty funny to think about.

Also Nami's: I'm surrounded by idiots line rofl.

And... Luffy... Luffy is just really super impressed Igaram's look. This kind of varies across the translations a bit with Viz: You look good, Mister! Really! Stephen's: Whoaaaa!! You could fool me, man!! And even the Sweedish Translation: Wow! That looks cool, old man!

I am not sure why Luffy finds it so damn awesome, other than the fact that he does. Maybe because it's kind of dynamic on Igaram and almost theatrical? Maybe he thinks it's hilarious Whatever the reason I just love that Luffy is so – almost enchanted with Igaram's style choices.

But I love that he does love it. And I love that though Vivi is taken aback and it's a funny situation, Igaram is still being taken (and treated) seriously. (He even gets more than one don) Because it's also an intense situation-- and we'll definitely see more about it soon.

First though, Igaram explains that Crocodile's bounty (before it became inapplicable) was 80 million beri.

 photo 16_zpspqpboudw.jpg

XD and Luffy is so blasé about taking her along. Just as blasé as he was when Vivi and 9 asked him to take them back to Whiskey Peak. So long as he doesn't dislike them or it's not out of the way of what he wants to do, I love how Lu just agrees to do it. Like it's no big deal.

And poor Nami tries one more time to seriously backpedal on the situation she started-- and I love how furious she is about it and how much she's screaming at them for being so dumb as to think this is actually a good idea. Because now she knows just how scary powerful Crocodile is meant to be.

As for Igaram, I feel like he's both being a good person and subtly manipulating them. Because if you look in the selection above, he's telling them that they are now hopelessly involved. They will be tracked down. Their lot is cast with Vivi's whether they like it or not. Though he does tell them the specifics of how dangerous Crocodile is to make sure they know just how much danger they are in. But then afterwards brings up the subject of taking Vivi home. It would be easier for them maybe to get away but in taking Vivi home they will be sailing right into the lion's teeth.

 photo 17_zpspbudxknn.jpg

Two interesting bits of characterization here.

Vivi seems to be super reluctant about doing this. Her stance is rigid and her hands into fists. But at the same time, there's the sense that she knows she has to do it anyway and send Igaram toward a very dangerous path with a high probability of death. But in order for her to get away, she will have to let him take that risk.

Meanwhile, I love how Nami is pinged out of her freaking out at the mention of a new kind of log pose. She doesn't let her stress blind her to the important things-- and something she's interested in besides.

Igaram explains the nature of the log pose and that his plan is to continue to impersonate Vivi and take the three dummies (to represent Luffy, Zoro and Nami) and use the Eternal Pose to get to Alabasta, and Vivi will travel with the Strawhats along the normal route. (following the regular log pose)

 photo 18_zpsuiftj1gy.jpg

This is important for issues of translation really. I mean also because Luffy is just so encouraging of Igaram's outfit which makes me laugh every time. Also Igaram with a kind of court formality leaving the princess in their care and maybe trying to impress upon them the weight of this care. (by being so formal)

But what's most important for me is the dialogue, which is supported in Stephen's as well... Luffy just saying Igaram could fool anyone and Zoro being completely skeptical of this.

Only Viz has Luffy say: Mister that outfit looks really great!
Zoro: On who?

Which just sort of turns the character nuance to a place I don't agree with. Especially for Zoro. Ultimately it doesn't matter what Igaram looks like because he's doing it for an important and noble reason. (though even if he wasn't it wouldn't matter)

Vivi and Igaram shake hands and Igaram tells her the way ahead may be dangerous so take care. Vivi tells him to take care of himself as well. And then:

 photo 19_zpsxmlrfl4g.jpg

Another translation issue to bring up... aside from Luffy's “aw he left' which is better translated elsewhere as: Stephen's: 'he's gone' or, Viz: “There goes a funny guy”. But my problem again lies with Viz's translation of Vivi saying: He may not look it, but he's very reliable.

Which... is just not something that Vivi would say. Especially because it implies that just because he looks silly (or sillier than normal) that people might not think he's reliable. But I don't think that would enter her head. Either way, I like the idea better that she's sort of wistfully thinking of how reliable he is. How proud she is of his reliability which is reflected in her smile in the upper left panel. She has faith in him.

Also, Igaram has complete faith in her. I mean I love that it's stated but it's also implied in the way he takes so many personal risks for her to complete her goal. Vivi is as reliable to Igaram as she is to him and that really speaks to Vivi's abilities as a leader and as a person and we start to get a glimmer of just how she is as a princess rather than a BW agent.

And then he blows up. In a really epic shot I might add. You can really feel the impact/devistation of the explosion just from that panel and it's excellent.

 photo 20_zpsls2vyx2t.jpg

Their immediate reaction to the explosion is also pretty interesting. They're all completely blindsided by this. (maybe all of them) For Luffy it's like for a moment he hasn't entirely processed what just happened. Like he almost can't believe it. Zoro has a definite 'oh shit' face, because he was caught completely off guard by this. (And perhaps a sense of, though he's prepared to face someone with an 80 million beri bounty, maybe not right at this split second) Nami is surprised at the retribution already. (Though to be fair she doesn't know anything about 5 and Vday) and Vivi is just trying to hold it together. I love that you don't see her face. It could be anything. Tears. Shock. Fear.

 photo 21_zps5d4inqx8.jpg

Luffy <3

Again I don't like Viz's translation for this where he's just: 'I liked that guy!' Which, yeah, Luffy does... but also realizes that Igaram is a good man and I like more that it's reflected and that's why he's pissed. Not just because Igaram was funny but because he was a good man and this kind of death is a waste.

Of course Igaram isn't dead, but they don't know that and they won't for a long time yet. But it still follows that, on the Grand Line, death can happen in an instant.

Otherwise, while Luffy is being mad at the death of a single person, Zoro (just behind his right shoulder) is taking charge-- though in this case gathering the crew so they can get out of there. So while Luffy focuses on the individual, Zoro keeps in mind the safety of the others so they can regroup and find out what they're up against.

Nami is so out of sorts at the moment she can only answer.

 photo 22_zpsj7uektee.jpg

But then comes back to herself in order to get Vivi moving along.

Significantly? Vivi is not crying. She pulls it in rather than letting it out and giving into the anger and grief. Because as unexpected as this was? She knew it was a huge risk. She knew how big a gamble Igaram was taking. And though a great part of her is grieving, another great part of her is seething in anger at what Crocodile has taken from her... But she refuses to react. She refuses to give in to the feelings because they might overwhelm her and she has things to do. She remains standing...

And in this moment, Nami recognizes something of herself in Vivi. Someone who stands up to enormous pressures and grief on a daily basis and then has to keep doing it because to let go, even for a moment, means everything will be destroyed.

And, in another parallel to Zoro.. Nami is at her best when she has someone to look after. When she has someone to fight for. Which is not to say she doesn't love her crew, but right now with three monsters and an Usopp who is just as strong as she is (though wouldn't mind looking after really if you know she needs to look after someone >>) there's not much call to be worried about them.

 photo 23_zpsvicthgn6.jpg

But here her compassion moves her, and not because Vivi is weak of course, but that she's gone through the same situation. Because she knows just what Vivi is going through and how hard Vivi is trying and can help her. And god to I love the hug. It's completely unexpected (for Vivi) but for Nami it's almost a symbol of her promise.

And of course the chapter title: It's alright!

And why?

Because she has faith in her crew, much like the same faith Vivi and Igaram had in each other. She believes in their power to beat Crocodile, even if he does have an insane bounty, because that's just what they have to do and Nami has no doubt that they can do it. Also worth noting is that Usopp is very much included in this. He is not a monster, but he fought and saved the East Blue just as much as Luffy, Zoro and Sanji. And that's worth remembering.

 photo 24_zpsp36l1ft3.jpg

Other things worth noting? Zoro is giving Luffy orders, but again so they can collectively keep going and get out of here.

(and it's probably nothing but it's interesting that he chose to go toward the ship. Maybe because he is the one who pulls up the anchor. Though Luffy could do that just as well. I headcanon it's because he has no idea where the hell he left the tavern but he can see the ship or has a reasonable idea how to get there and so he makes Luffy go where he might get lo... turned around.)

Also worth remembering? Usopp is hanging half off a considerably lofty balcony.

 photo 25_zpsadvbykb5.jpg

Which makes this shot even more incredibly painful. XD Since not only was he hauled down to the floor but broke a doorframe on the way out. Being a Strawhat is suffering. Though I also like how Sanji is asking what's going on since this is an incredibly not normal situation (even for them) and he'd like some communication and not to be dragged around like a dead shitty rat pls.

We cut to a scene of Nami and Vivi heading toward the ship with Nami telling Vivi to hurry and Vivi thinking she can't find Karoo anywhere.

 photo 26_zps7774m2ua.jpg

Also let's just enjoy the moment of Zoro struggling to bring up the anchor. Considering what a tank he becomes this is adorable. (and also sort of hot. What? Gotta love seeing a man strain. /popcorn gifs)

 photo 27a_zpszw0kc1mf.jpg

This, kind of because it's hilarious XD but also showing that Nami (who is talking about Karoo) may have compassion for Vivi's plight and is determined to get her out of here doesn't have the same patience to look for a damn bird. Of course she doesn't know his significance to Vivi or his significance overall to the Alabastan court, but the fact is they have to move.

 photo 27b_zps9qzswez8.jpg

But Karoo is already pre-moved as it were. XD Though I really do love how much Vivi cares for him. And I do wonder if she could elaborated on what he was. Not that there was much time. Though why is Karoo there anyway? According to two translations (and loosely implied by this one) he was already on the boat before they got there. Which seems weird to me. XD But I suppose he overheard the conversation from somewhere well hidden and decided to hide pre-roost there.

Anyway, with everyone gathered, it's time to set sail. Luffy asks how many people will be after then and Vivi says she isn't sure but there are 2,000 BW members. Nami asks if they could have a thousand people after them and Vivi says possibly because knowing the bosses name is kind of a big deal.

 photo 28_zpsajnaek2c.jpg

Cut to Sanji and Usopp bitching about leaving. XD and they look like they've had a pretty rough night of it-- and to be fair they had a rude awakening. And of course Sanji complaining both about the party (companionship and camraderie) and the girls-- and Usopp wanting to have more fun and just kind of be lazy because the sun's not even up...

It's interesting to me that Zoro tells Nami to explain it to them. I think it's frankly because Zoro's not all that good at explaining things. He can tell people to do things, of course, but telling them the situation is just not in his pay grade. Though we'll keep track of that and see what happens. XD and Nami's way of explaining is rather...percussive XD . Though of course there isn't a lot of time to explain and they are in an intense situation to better to knock out the complaining at it's source.

I also love Vivi and Luffy's reactions. Vivi just sort of staring at them like: What did I get myself into and Luffy sweatdropping even. Like I imagine his inner monologue going: “That doesn't look like explaining to me, but yup, guess it works”

They start down the river that leads to the sea and then Robin.
But before we talk about Robin on the ship, let's look at her a little earlier.

 photo 61_zpsczl1wv4h.jpg

Here she is, riding on Banchi in the midst of the wreckage of Igaram's ship. Her dialogue is somewhat different across the three translations I have.

In Stephan's she says: What a fool, acting as a decoy
And Viz has her say: A decoy. How silly.

The nuance is all very slight, depending on your take of Robin's inner monologue. But it seems to be clear that for a moment she was fooled. Into (presumably) blowing up the ship. And is introduced in an antagonistic light. Especially since, insofar as anyone not reading ahead knows, Igaram is dead. But of course we know better.

So what, exactly, is she up to? Does she also think Igaram is dead? Or did she save him somehow?

 photo 29_zps5mdty5zf.jpg

Here she appears on the Merry and we're kind of introduced to her push and pull as a character at this point. She's clearly antagonistic. But here she does give a helpful pointer- - as well as congratulating them. Granted all of this is steeped in the kind of laconic antagonist I'm hiding something speak where you just can't trust her.

 photo 30_zpsnexc3xvb.jpg

And, largely, they don't. Interesting to note Zoro grabbing Wado Ichimonji. To protect the crew but not necessarily to take on an adversary.

Also Luffy just looking up at her like, Hey. Someone new.

 photo 31_zps6krvwsit.jpg

So let's start from left to right.

Robin says she had an encounter with Mr. 8... which could just be she saw him, saw it was a decoy, and blew the ship up (or did she?) But mostly this is an attempt to stir up Vivi. Since, rule #1 in any encounter with Robin is, she's a troll.

Vivi, is plenty riled up. Her rage is barely contained. But as always it's checked by her sensibility and instinct for survival. She wants to kick Robin's ass but she knows that she won't survive the encounter-- so all she can do is sit there and stew.

Luffy is the curious one. In this translation, it's pretty straightforward. But Stephen's and the official Viz take an entirely different spin on things.

Stephen's: I don't care, I just wanna know why you're on our ship!!
Viz: Forget about that! I just want to know how you got on our ship!!

First of all, I think it's more accurate for Luffy to ask 'why' rather than 'how'. Because they're not terribly far from land after all. He basically wants to know what she wants. But also to let her know she's not welcome. This is their ship. And I love that possessiveness.

But he doesn't care if she killed Igaram or not? He obviously cares that Igaram is dead. But regardless of whether or not she killed him, her being on their ship is the most pressing concern. She's not supposed to be there and not welcome. Also there's a sense that Luffy isn't really involved yet. He's mad about Igaram's death, but though he's escorting Vivi to Alabasta and wanting to meet Crocodile, there's not yet a sense that he wants to send him flying. (yet)

 photo 32_zpswivhvcss.jpg

And after that, he's right back to staring at her as if waiting for an answer, though conscious of the conversation going on around him.

 photo 33_zps1aedjvqz.jpg

So, first, a translation issue, mostly with Viz, since it seems to have a tendency to rope in the narrative. What I mean is, here, Vivi says “And I bet you're the one who leaked the bosses identity” and Stephens “And you were the one who informed the boss about our knowledge, weren't you?” Both implying that while Vivi isn't completely sure, she's pretty damn sure.

Viz however just says flat out: “But then you'd told the boss we'd learned his true identity!” Which completely erases the margin of error. The only way you're going to have any second thoughts about whether this is true or not is if Vivi is set up as an unreliable narrator and so far that is not the case. (And it also doesn't really work. Vivi might be able to make an educated guess but there's no way she could have known flat out unless she was there when Robin told them –which really doesn't make sense in terms of why they went to Whiskey Peak and so on.

Moreover it takes away some of Robin's ambiguity. She never admits to telling on them after all)

But back to the topic at hand... what IS Robin's objective anyway? Why is she doing this?

Well remember rule #1: Robin is a troll.

Rule #2: At this point, Robin is still an expert on betrayal. We'll look more at this idea as we go on.

Rule #3: Robin has compassion. Though it's twisted and hard to see here. She let Vivi follow her because of Rule 2 but also because she wanted to give Vivi a hand.

(also lol Luffy going back and forth between good and bad as he learns new information. But he's not directly involved yet)

 photo 34_zpsedl5ppqt.jpg

Rule #4: Robin knows the way the world works. She's seen her entire country smashed flat by the government. Everything ripped away and only by Kuzan's mercy was she able to flee. If she had any hope that Vivi could make more than a dent in BW, than it was a small one. In a way I feel like she's reaffirming this to herself. But smiling about it because when you're that far gone, smiling is the only thing you can do.

Also of course as stated she loves to press Vivi's buttons. Or anyone's. Just to see what they do.

 photo 35_zpsimi9cd1j.jpg

And yet another sample of Vivi's rage that simmers just below the surface. It's not that Robin mocks her dreams so much as the dreams and the hard work and sacrifice of Igaram who believed in her so much. Vivi will reclaim her kingdom no matter what it takes and I love that. Though again the translation is different from:

Don't underestimate me!
Viz: Don't underestimate us!
Stephen's: You shut your mouth!

Take your pick which one you like. For my own part I ultimately like: Don't underestimate us, but followed closely by: You shut your mouth!

Though by “us” I think she is referring to her and Igaram since she's not cohesive with the Strawhats quite yet.

 photo 36_zpsxjn3pcwk.jpg

This shot is so interesting though. At first I thought that Sanji and Usopp were acting on pure instinct. Characterization would bear this theory up. It would take instinct for Usopp to not equivocate behind a wall and Sanji to point a gun at a woman. But we'll look at that in a little bit.

If you go with the 'don't underestimate us' translation, and I do because narratively it flows better, I feel like Nami drew her weapon to show that she would stand by Vivi. She's fighting for someone she wants to help. Zoro on the other hand, well my own headcanon is he pulled his weapon because the others were pulling theirs and if there's a fight he wants to be prepared. (He also might be a little on edge, because opponents he can handle. Explosions are harder to survive)

But Luffy... just sort of stares at Robin, or maybe the others, as if seeing how it all will pan out. But certainly he has no impetus to fight on his own.

 photo 37_zps2ssd6xta.jpg

I love that Vivi is clearly shocked how they all reacted to her shout, leaping to her defense. After all, up until now she's given them nothing but trouble and the only reason Zoro stepped in that one time was because he was forced to.

But let's look at Usopp and Sanji. Specifically Sanji for the moment. So, for one, the translation is kind of a mixed bag here. With Stephen's saying; Do you even know why you're doing this? And Viz: You know what you're doing, right? Viz's seeming to imply the well known fact that Sanji wouldn't kick a woman.

Personally I think it's a bit of a combination of all three. Though less of Usopp wondering why Sanji is pointing a gun at a woman because they haven't really had a female enemy before this, nor has Usopp seen too much of Sanji's incorrigible nature. (Except for the drink incident, but that was just to Nami)

Other translations of Sanji's response are: Stephen's: I simply sensed danger to the lovely Miss Wednesday! And Viz: But it looked like my beloved Miss Wednesday was in danger!

You can kind of get an implication that this was an instinctive move. But I think it was far more calculated than that. Because, for one thing, he randomly has a pistol which is really unusual for him. Why? Because he couldn't kick her. He probably can't even shoot her. But a gun is enough of a threat that most people wouldn't risk being shot. Also the fact that he's squinting as if trying really hard not to look at her. (Because oh no, she sounds hot) But even if she wasn't, I have a feeling he knows he's up shit creek because there's no way he can actually harm her so he has to try to bluff his way.

As for Usopp-- was it instinct that made him move or not? I think maybe in part yeah. Vivi's shout galvanized him to action but I can see him debating on it. Still when push came to shove he was out there (and Sanji as well) so like it all kind of happened at once. Since, after all, Usopp has even less of a reason to defend Vivi than Sanji does as he has no clue what's going on and he's not swayed by ladies.

At any rate, Robin tells them not to point such dangerous weapons at her and flings them off the balcony.

 photo 38_zpsqyxabl2w.jpg

I love their shocked faces. Zoro is clearly taken aback by what just happened. I love that he's so startled. Nami is clearly terrified of this. It's one thing to throw over Usopp, but Sanji? Vivi is just kind of surprised but Luffy is the best. XD It's kind of an awe there, like that's so cool I didn't even see you move!

Anyway, Usopp and Sanji land hard. Zoro and Nami's weapons are knocked from their hands. Zoro is shocked that she has DF poers and Nami wonders what kind of powers she has. Sanji recovers quickly and heart farts at her because she's a real beauty. And then something interesting.

 photo 39_zpsemufaelq.jpg

Robin says she hasn't come here under any orders. So did she actually blow Igaram up? Was her encounter with Igaram actually helping him escape? Well-- I think so, but that doesn't mean her intentions were to get rid of the threat that Vivi presented.
To quote my friend Mags:

“she blows up Igaram before she tells them she's not on assignment.

so the thing is, if she'd already completed her assignment "completed" then she wouldn't necessarily have to consider herself on assignment anymore

the other thing is that blowing them up might have been a way for her to cover her tracks, since she was clearly intending to betray crocodile and she purposely went in there to save "vivi"

Meaning, blowing up the ship may have been her own idea, in order to gain a trump card

She would report to Crocodile that Vivi and Igaram were annihilated, while whisking them away to somewhere [No Name Island], perhaps so they could throw a big wrench in whatever Crocodile's plans were, right at the end “

This is what works for me. Though of course it's all conjecture since there's no proof. Still I enjoy this headcanon but everyone is free to find their own until such a time Oda provides us with answers (if ever)

Anyway so she then proceeds to steal Luffy's hat and comment on him being the captain of the Strawhat Pirates.

 photo 40_zpsfrewansq.jpg

XDD and that definitely gets Luffy riled. (though translators pls. Both other translators have Usopp saying: “get lost”. Which makes much more sense) I love how Robin basically hats herself. XD Though of course it's all about teasing him and doing it just because. Mostly she's just amused by the entire situation, probably because it's so unusual. Unusual and pretty hopeless in her eyes.

Of course it's just a leadup to her pointing out the most unfortunate part is where their log pose leads.

 photo 41_zpsumn1payj.jpg

The funny thing here is that, yeah Little Garden is dangerous-- but even if they were to survive it, it would take a year for the log pose to reset. Once again though Robin is warning them about what might happen. She gets to tweak at Crocodile's tail and extend her own amusement while still helping them along a little further.

Luffy don't care, he just wants his hat. Also, of course, he's more than ready to take on whatever situation they might fall into and come out on top.

XD and Zoro commenting on Usopp's lackluster smack talk skills. I also like Sanji just casually sitting on the deck (and peering up at Robin)

 photo 50_zps6rl5nlwn.jpg

So while we know Robin gets into dangerous situations, and is in fact in one right now-- what she's saying is not that they're foolish for getting into said situation but going in so recklessly. In other words you can spout shonen statements all you like but it's going to take more than talk (and even in a lot of cases more than physical strength) to even avoid dying. And I wonder if she knows this from personal experience. I can see her having made more than one reckless mistake in her quest for survival.

I like that she does give the hat back to him after he demands it. She's teasing him like a cat teases a mouse but not cruelly so. Maybe part of it even is to show off her own strength and how much in control of the situation she is. Well and also giving him the hat back gives her the opportunity to give Vivi the Eternal Pose.

 photo 51_zps2tl2orzo.jpg

Robin is essentially giving them a shortcut. Yet another piece of evidence that she's already backbiting Crocodile and ready to throw a wrench into his plans. Though it also goes to show just how well she knows the surrounding area-- Moreso than the Baroque Works even. And how good she is at espionage that no one else knows about this place. And also it probably amuses her that it's basically an island of giant goldfish poop.

 photo 52_zps0pu7vflf.jpg

Here is an interesting four panel of complex emotions so lets look at it bit by bit.

For Nami, at first it seems a little naive that she's so trusting. But on the other hand, who more than her understands being caught against your will in a criminal organization? It makes total sense for Nami to give Robin the benefit of the doubt at this point... Especially since the benefit of the doubt will lead them down an easy path. But she's not completely sure because she's not completely naive either.

For Zoro, his expression reads to me like he knows it's a trap and she's foolish if she thinks he doesn't know. He can't be tricked so easily. Robin, for her part, continues to toy with him, because she can't tip her hand too readily, and also toying with people is fun for her.

For Vivi, she's completely frustrated, because she has a lot of pride. She resents that Robin can toy with her despite this and also demands to know answers because she knows she can't trust Robin completely. Or if she can, that the woman is definitely hiding a snake up her sleeve. But I love that it's not so much distrust that makes her not want to follow the Eternal Pose, it's pure dislike. She doesn't want to follow Robin's advice because of who she is and the hand she's played in Alabasta's turmoil. Yet, as much considerable pride as Vivi has, she also has a dedication to her people and her cause. And also (though the translation doesn't emphazise it here) she's worried primarily because she owes the Strawhats a safer passage since they are going out of their way to help her.

She also knows it's up to her to make this decision. It's her responsibility and her burden to carry, not only as a Princess of Alabasta, but one who is relying on others for their escort so she must make the tough decision.

 photo 53_zpspqgg4qiv.jpg

Except, no. It's not her decision. Luffy ganks the choice right away from her. He's the one that makes the decision, that takes the burden of responsibility from her shoulders and so whatever happens after this, she can't blame herself because he did it. Why? Well we'll get into that in a second, but right now it's important to note that this act frees Vivi from duty. At least one duty. Allows her to be petty and not follow Robin simply because she doesn't want to. This is the first stepping stone into saving Alabasta on her own terms rather than being jerked back and forth by Robin trying to move her as a pawn. Emotionally it's huge.

 photo 54_zpsrvf3tnsl.jpg

But it's worth noting that he's crushing the Eternal Pose, not for Vivi's sake, but for his own selfish reasons. He doesn't want Robin to be the one to decide where they go. He doesn't want anyone else to dictate their adventure. It's their ship and his decision. (and where he really steps up as captain, making a decision for them all) Vivi is startled by his passion, I think. And his bravery. But also starting to realize just what a strong personality he has. He's not just some kid messing around but someone who is taking the course of what he wants firmly by the rudder.

Not that Nami is happy about this.

 photo 55_zpssrpqkwjf.jpg

The translation is a bit off, but essentially true to the tone of it. Nami is basically saying :What if she's here to help? Maybe slightly implying a lack of gratitude? Though I think mostly she's pissed at going the more dangerous route and not being able to wriggle out of it. Because shes' really not upset for Robin's sake, but for her own. Of course, Luffy doesn't care if she's here to help or not. Again, selfish Luffy wants to make his own decision about his adventure. Also?

 photo 56_zps3zpo6psc.jpg

He is just as petty as Vivi is about it. Maybe even more so. He doesn't want her help because she blew up someone he thought was cool and so he's not going to give her so much as a fingerhold in his adventure. u.u He doesn't even want to see her again. And Nami's pissed of course but there's nothing she can do about it. I think Robin is a little baffled by this, but also intrigued. Most people in dire straights don't react like Luffy after all and I think overall she's a little amused by his pettiness and his ability to still be childlike and adventurous despite the circumstances.

Anyway, Robin takes her leave on Banchi

 photo 57_zpsu5ksjeec.jpg

And Luffy is immediately geeking out over the huge turtle. XD He's still peeved at Robin of course, but Luffy lives very much in the now so it's not something to dwell on.

Vivi on the other hand can't help but dwell on it and you get the feeling that such thinking exhausts her. She's bold enough to stand up to Robin and the BW but once the threat is gone, the worries come crashing back and just kind of overwhelm her.

For her part, Nami has settled because while she might freak out in the moment, once it's passed, there's no use worrying about it. Whatever will come at them will come at them.

As for Zoro, well the translation is a bit murky, but I think he's basically talking about Nami here... Viz supports it with him saying that they're “used to scheming women.” Though on the other hand, the anime has a blinking arrow pointing to Luffy, so what the specifics are are still up in the air.

And poor Usopp XD so lost. A concussion is not an explanation, you know!

 photo 58_zpsps1t9nrw.jpg

And here we see another trait of Vivi's that defines her as a character. Guilt. It's sad here because she's no doubt thinking of Igaram's death and how she had put him in danger. And it also highlights how she cares for people and her compassion. But mainly this is showcasing her struggle. The constant conflict between wanting to save everyone and not wanting anyone to get hurt in the process. She wants help and needs it, but there's the feeling that if she was strong enough to get away with not asking for it, she would take the entire burden on her own shoulders. Unfortunately all she can do right now is put people in danger-- though in this case she's almost giving them the opportunity to back out. She would understand if they kicked her off.

 photo 59_zpsngfjnbbl.jpg

But Nami won't let her mope. It's pretty pointless as they are already in the thick of it. There is no turning back for any of them now since they are all literally in the same boat. Though of course, as we see in the second panel, this is Nami's way of trying to make Vivi feel better about all of this in a aroundabout way. As she has already decided to help Vivi not out of fear or monetary gain but because she feels compassion for Vivi's plight and circumstance.

Of course Lu isn't paying attention to this little drama as he has more important things on his mind.

 photo 60_zpsq8j8ny5j.jpg

And we'll end here, with Nami suggesting they set sail since they can actually see, Usopp wishing someone would just explain a thing already, and Sanji trying to get deets on the fabulous Miss All Sunday <3


You Have to Sail the Course You Set: There is no backing out, especially on the Grand Line. Hell, you can't even backtrack without an Eternal Pose. The course is inevitable So you have to decide if what you want to do is really what you want to do before you do it. At the same time, there is still an element of choice. There's always some control in how you steer and who you let steer you.

Things Are Not Always What they Seem: Especially in the Grand Line. A welcoming town is not always a welcoming town. A large rock may be a sad whale. And a swordsman with a cocky smile is not always going to fall to even a hundred members of armed bounty hunters. Overall, though, this arc introduces the idea of complexity. People have reasons for doing what they do which may not always be obvious. We see the first hint of it with Vivi acting as Miss Wednesday. It seems strange until it becomes clear what she's doing and what she's working for. Another hint is the enigma of Robin. Is she a bad guy? A good guy? Here we don't know for sure and maybe the real answer will lie in between.

Communication Is Key: It's amazing how things settle when they talk to one another openly about what is going on. Not only does Vivi explain about her plans and Baroque Works (perhaps a bit too indepth lol) but Luffy explains flat out why he was rejecting Robin's interference. Moreover, they have some idea of what they are getting into (if not the details... and not all of them quite yet) and what they don't want to do so they are able to face the decision as a group and openly. (almost)


Vivi:: Here we see the full nature of Vivi's character. Though some of it is just hints of things to come. There are things we know for sure. She is a princess, loyal and dedicated to her cause. She will risk her life for her people and she will allow others to risk their lives for her sake-- though she doesn't like to do so-- especially if they are further away from involvement. Igaram has been with her since the start, for instance, she knows tha the holds the same ideals and it's part of his pride and desire to restore Alabasta with her. The Strawhats, however, are just kind of sucked in and though she will use their talents, she can't help but feel guilty about it. We also see that Vivi is a worrier, full of guilt and turns things over and over in her head when there's no good that can come of thinking about them.

But let's not forget how fierce Vivi can be and what she's willing to sacrifice for her people. She fought hard to get Laboon in order to help the denizens of Whiskey Peak even though she had to fight Crocus to do it. Moreover, initially she didn't hesitate to let the Strawhats get caught in the crossfire and potentially lose their heads for the sake of her cover. These are not particularly lengths she wants to go to, rather she has to go to. At the end of the day, she would rather avoid as much as she can putting anyone at risk. She is full of doubt, speaks of things she shouldn't on occasion, carries too much of the burden on her own shoulders and can be petty. Though is self aware enough to understand her own feelings and rise above them.

Nami: I feel like Whiskey Peak is the place where the some of the last vestiges of Arlong Park is shaken off. While she started off running it like it was her own show, even up to and including walking off, she resolved that quickly though, largely byd iscovering something to fight for. Much like Usopp, Nami is at her best when she's fighting for something beyond herself. Here she's seeing Vivi in a similar hopeless situation with someone she cares about dying right in front of her.

We can see that Nami doesn't want anyone going through what she had to to go through, shouldering such an enormous burden on her own, and so decides to willingly help Vivi – aside from Luffy already agreeing to take her. We'll see later on Nami actively trying to cheer Vivi up, but right now she's doing her level best to get her out of Whiskey Peak-- even if some of the ways are somewhat more selfish than not. XD Leaving without Karoo for example. Wanting to take the easy way is also debatable, but Nami has to know on some level that Robin is not entirealy trustworthy. Still, at the end of the day, she wants Vivi to feel good about this decision

We also see Nami letting go a little. Though she's not altogether happy with Luffy's decision to break the Eternal Pose, she doesn't argue with him about it either.

Zoro: Of course we get to see a lot of cocky attitude from Zoro during this mini-arc and a lot of it was super fun. But his change is also subtle, mostly occurring when everyone is involved in the situation, not just him being the lone defender. I think he was startled by the danger being so suddenly much closer than he anticipated. It's not that he doesn't want to face dangerous situations, but much like facing down Mihawk he wasn't expecting it right that damn second. But we also see that Zoro shines when he pulls everyone together toward safety. We can also see how protective he is of the crew. Still it's worth being said that he has the overall impression that he's got this. Barring surprises, he believes the Grand Line is nothing he can't handle.

Luffy: Luffy doesn't change much in this adventure, except we see him actively start to take charge of what he will and won't allow for his crew. It's a small step from just letting anyone do whatever, but it's a significant one. He won't let his crew be ungrateful or hurt those who have helped them. And he won't let outsiders he doesn't like decide the course of their journey. More importantly, it shows that he's willing to take responsibility if one of his crew step out of line. It's just one more step to him transitioning to someone who wants friends and adventure to a captain.

Usopp & Sanji: They don't have much to do in this adventure only to be dragged around, but its' worth noting how easily they fell into the pace of the party style atmosphere and the casualness of it. So we'll track when and where and how that changes.

Well, that is all for now! Next time we face dinosaurs, giants and Baroque Works in Little Garden


we_are: (Default)
We Are One Piece

February 2017

192021 22232425

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags