Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, our weekly check in on Viz’s various Shonen Jump series. Viz has recently changed their release format, but our format will mostly remain the same. We will still review the newest chapters of one title a week, now with even more options at our disposal. The big change for our readers is that, even without a Shonen Jump subscription, you can read these most recent chapters for free at Viz.com or using their app.
This week, Rowan checks in with “One Piece.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
One Piece Chapter 1072
Written and Illustrated by Eiichiro Oda
Reviewed by Rowan Grover
Oda has been cooking hard for the last few chapters, amidst chatter that the conclusion to his 1000+ chapter odyssey is finally nearing a close. So many disparate threads cast far and wide by the author are coming home, and it’s satisfying for long-time fans. One notable mention is the mobilization of Luffy’s grandfather Garp into saving Koby, which is a great instant punch-the-air moment. The biggest beat to address here, however, is Bartholomew Kuma’s alleged brainwashing by Vegapunk, something that has been teased since roughly halfway through the manga’s run. Whilst we don’t quite get the full details of this in this chapter, Oda uses it as a crux point to give Kuma’s daughter, Bonney, a resonant emotional arc.
It’s an exquisite moment of conflicting egos without a clear moral victor. While Bonney has generally come across as shady in the past, she now has the answer to much of her family-related trauma right in front of her. She’ll do whatever it takes to get to the root of it, giving her a relatable motivation even if it appears at odds with the Straw Hat crew somewhat. On the other hand, Vegapunk wishes not to tell her, claiming that the truth will break her. Oda’s representation of Vegapunk is interesting here, giving him a dismissive fatherly tone in that though he respects and wishes to protect Bonney, he doesn’t believe she is capable of handling the emotional stress the truth may bring. It’s a palpable dynamic, and Oda plays it off superbly in the midst of explosive fight scenes.
Speaking of, Oda delivers some solid action here. It’s not his most cinematic or technical work, but I do enjoy how it employs a more comedic fighting style over an emotional exchange. To paraphrase the late, great Nicky Austin, “One Piece” is at its best when diffusing serious situations with an undercurrent of silliness. Bonney uses her powers to knock all of Vegapunk’s experiences and knowledge out of him as differently shaped gems, rendering him a child. Each time Vegapunk is hit, he’s thrown to the edge of the panel about as drastically as a Looney Tunes character. Having the juxtaposition of Bonney then grabbing him by the collar and glaring with stone-faced rage makes for some effective story whiplash that hooks the reader in hard.
Oda does splash out a little more in the second half of the chapter, featuring Zoro battling CP0’s Kaku. There are some great shots of Zoro deflecting Kaku’s dragon-like giraffe form (it makes sense, I promise). Hilariously, it almost feels like Oda got so good at drawing spiraling dragons figures fighting smaller characters during the Wano arc that he wanted to flex this skill once more. Zoro even mentions how he’s getting tired of this particular fight scene in a surprising meta moment. Interestingly, Oda then dispels all this visual bombast, having a new foe arrive and take out Kaku in a shockingly small panel, which serves well to establish a new dangerous foe.
Final score: 8.5 – A great point of development for Bonney, with a few more twists and turns thrown in for good measure.