Graphic Novel: Manga’s outlook captured in pirate tale
Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece Vol. 1 is the first manga I have ever read.
To be honest, I never got used to scanning right to left in the Japanese style, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the beginning of this long-running adventure story about pirates, friendship and magical fruit.
To enjoy this fanciful tale, you must be able to suspend your disbelief.
In a big way.
Things happen in manga that are totally unmotivated and random. You just have to accept them, like the characters do. If you can’t, you won’t enjoy it.
The hero, young Luffy, wants more than anything to be a pirate. His plans are complicated (and aided) when he eats a Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, which gives him the magical ability to stretch his body a la Plastic Man and Reed Richards.
If this were a typical DC or Marvel book, there would be some explanation for the magical properties of the fruit, like it’s radioactive.
Here, it’s just a magical fruit because those things exist in Luffy’s world.
Luffy’s essential confidence is his most appealing quality.
And why shouldn’t he be confident? When he is hit by a bullet, all it does is stretch out his skin and fling back. Using his rubbery arms, he can punch with the same power as Iron Fist.
The downside to his magical transformation is that water becomes his kryptonite, a definite liability if your life’s desire is to become King of the Pirates.
I recommend giving One Piece a look, if only to expand your graphic-novel horizons beyond the usual North American fare.
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