Wednesday, January 12, 2011

that manga called one piece

I made an unspoken promise to myself long ago not to read manga or watch anime anymore. It's too addicting and it makes me feel almost physically ill. I remember when I read Eyeshield 21 compulsively, I cried for weeks when Musashi (AKA Takekura Gen/Red’s-number-one-favourite-character-ever-in-any-media-ever-produced-by-man) returned and became a completely different character. I must admit I never really got over that. Also, when I watched Fullmetal Alchemist... Hughes’s death had about the same impact on me. I'm easily moved by stuff and I always fall for the scriptwriter’s traps, as far-fetched as they might be. That’s why manga and anime are hazardous to me.

But for no real reason I felt like reading One Piece again. My past with One Piece dates way back. I started reading it around 2000-2001, over ten years ago, and it's ever since been among my favourite manga (I’d say it’s the runner up, Eyeshield 21 being number one). But One Piece consumes you, it feeds on you. Reading a whole OP saga is comparable to watching your heart being ripped off your chest and sliced into pieces. At least that's what it does to me. Everything about One Piece makes me cry buckets, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sad story or if it's a heartwarming, touching moment. I cry all the same. It’s a horrible combination, because it's exceedingly good and impactful, and I’m way too easily influenced by what I read. Reading One Piece is emotionally draining to an alarming degree.

Anyway, I felt I needed to make up for my lost time. I’m about 4 years late: I stopped right at the end of Water Seven/Ennies Lobby arc, around chapter 430. So I picked it up and, lo and behold, Smoker showed up around the second or third chapter I read. It’s hard to say exactly how much exactly but I was mad about Smoker back when I was a teenager, and he is still and will always be among my top favourite characters (and, gosh, he’s still ridiculously sexy and he's in a gratuitous shirtless scene – fanservice much?). I took it as a sign I shouldn’t drop One Piece again. Odacchi, I'll hate you forever for creating something that just so beyond what a manga is supposed to be.

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