One Piece Romance Dawn Arc Review – Episodes 1-3
As previously announced, I have started my journey into One Piece from the very beginning. And for my first Arc by Arc review, it will be a bit on the short side as there were only three episodes. That said, for anyone who isn't aware, what exactly is One Piece? From what I can gather, there was a legendary Pirate who hid his fortune across the Grand Line, a landmass separating the two oceans, and whoever finds the treasure, The One Piece, will become the King of Pirates.
Looking to assemble a crew of his own, Monkey D. Luffy ate something called a Devil Fruit that made his entire body Rubber which gives him a lot of power. From this first arc, we understand a lot about the world, as well as our hero Luffy. He's not someone who is very good at planning, can be a bit oblivious to his surroundings, is a bit of a goofball, has a strong sense of virtue (in a way) and is incredibly likable and charismatic. Not the most unique of traits, even for the time this came out, but it doesn't stop him from being quite a likable lead character.
The Arc sees him saving a small child, who annoyed the hell out of me, but thankfully he doesn't seem to be part of the Pirate crew after this arc. That said, it was a decent enough way to start the story off by having Luffy save him from being a slave on another Pirate ship. He hung around for a couple of episodes, but that was largely to establish The Marines, who appear to be the government army. While I hate the kid, he does a good job at showcasing two things, what the Marines are and what they are supposed to be. The Marines are supposed to be the protectors who catch the bad guys, but we quickly see how corrupted they can be. This leads into something else that seems relevant to the series at large, though I may be wrong in the long run, the importance of power and titles.
Captain Morgan is stronger than anyone else there, outside of Zoro and Luffy, and believes his strength, and title of Captain put him above everyone else. Zoro seeks the title of greatest Swordsman in the World, and Luffy the title of Pirate King. It did not take long for this show to strongly establish important things about the world, and it did so very effectively.
What's more is Zoro joining up with Luffy ends up feeling very natural, because there is an underlying motivation to their actions that allows them to reasonably see eye to eye, and that's something a lot of Shonen I see seem to struggle with. In the case of One Piece, they both have a desire to live the life they want regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Let the world view them however they want, either as an 'Evil Pirate Hunter' or a 'Villainous Pirate' they will keep going forward. I really dig that as the underlying theme of the group thus far.
As far as the fights go, abandon any pretense of real world logic. I'm not entirely sure how this is going to play out long term, as I've somehow missed almost anything One Piece related over the years, but as you see in the picture above a man is using a third sword in his mouth. I feel this sets up what to expect from the coming fight scenes, and I am entirely on board with it. While I expect there to be a certain internal logic the show will follow, largely I'm expecting a much bigger focus on style and flash than substance.
Honestly, right after the first three episodes, I wasn't too impressed with the show, I thought it was just a decent start. That is until I took a bit of time to think about what to put in this review, then I realized just how much was actually here in the beginning. There isn't much more to say here, but it's actually a really start to the story, and it's got me looking forward to the next arc.