Dressrosa, a Disappointment that shouldn’t be
Dressrosa Arc Information
700-801, 102 chapters
One Piece is my favorite shounen manga. However, I feel that the Dressrosa arc was a disappointing arc. It had the potential to be a great arc; however, there are many factors which caused this arc to be a mediocre arc, at best, a terrible arc, at worst.
The pacing of the arc in the beginning was fine. However, from chapter 740 onwards, it started to go slow. Really, really slow.
There are some scenes which are completely unnecessary and should be merged into one chapter instead. Some examples are:
- The fights at the Coliseum
Some of the fights are totally unnecessary and slows down the pacing of the story.
- Bellamy’s whining
Bellamy kept worshipping Doflamingo despite the fact that Doflamingo had no use of him. Although one might pity his situation, it does get annoying after a while.
- The length of time to destroy the Birdcage
Towards the end of the arc, the pacing got extremely bad. One chapter covers a few minutes of the story as they all make an effort to destroy the Birdcage. Come on, you have an Admiral, some Vice Admirals, lots of mid-tier fighters, and you still need a lot of time to get rid of the birdcage? This is ridiculous.
To conclude this point, if a story gets too slow, the readers will eventually become impatient. They will be bored and in the worst case scenario, they will disengage from the story.
Rehash of Alabasta
There are many similarities between Alabasta and Dressrosa.
Honestly, if Oda is really trying to recreate Alabasta, all I can say is that he failed. Dressrosa is inferior to Alabasta in terms of character development of the main characters and the fights are less exciting.
- Rebecca’s situation
Although the similarities are not 100%, there are nevertheless things which mirror Nefertari Vivi’s situation from Alabasta. Both are related to royalty, lost their mothers when they were young. Both also tried to dethrone the Shichibukai but failed miserably and needed our protagonist’s help to save the day.
Unlike many people in the One Piece fandom, I actually liked Rebecca. I find her to be a capable fighter and honestly I wouldn’t mind at all if the she joined the Strawhats. However, as a character, I can’t help notice the Vivi-Rebecca similarities. Finally, Vivi is a much more developed and well-liked character than Rebecca.
- Shichibukai takes over a country and fools its citizens
Crocodile and Doflamingo shares many similarities. Both attempted to take over a nation, fooled the citizens with propaganda. The Government also closes one eye to the crimes that they are taking part in. And last but not least, Monkey D Luffy beats them both to a pulp.
The only real difference is that Doflamingo treats his subordinates better than Crocodile did and the fact that Doflamingo actually did succeed in dethroning the King and rule the land for nearly 10 years before collapsing. Doflamingo is an upgraded version of Crocodile, someone who is more strategic and careful with his schemes.
- Fujitora = Smoker
In Alabasta, Smoker encounters Luffy. He initially wanted to capture Luffy; however, as Crocodile is the larger threat, he decided to let Luffy go to deal with Crocodile. In Dressrosa, the same happens with Fujitora, although Fujitora has the capability to beat Doflamingo but refused to. Congratulations Fujitora, because of your principles, more civilians died when you could have just killed Doflamingo with a swing of your sword.
Although I don’t see Fujitora completely replacing Smoker as the Straw Hat Hunter, Smoker has been too weak in the New World. His Logia trump card against Luffy is gone as Luffy knows how to use Armament Haki. Fujitora would probably play a much more prominent role in chasing down the Straw Hats than Smoker in the New World Saga.
So to sum it up, Dressrosa is a carbon copy of Alabasta. If an arc is similar to another arc, it gets repetitive and predictable. The readers will become less captivated to the story and this will overall affect they enjoyment of the series.
Over the nine mountains, across the eight seas, there is nothing I cannot cut.— Roronoa Zoro
Overall, the fights in Dressrosa fights were disappointing. The fights that I looked forward too, such as Sabo vs Fujitora, Zoro vs Pica and Luffy vs Doflamingo were terrible fights. This is due to the fact that Oda has a bad habit of teasing fights then skipping them to a less interesting scene. As a result of that, the readers didn’t get to see a nice, clean and full fight between the characters. The readers also will get distracted with other scenes instead of being engaged with the fights. As a result of being disengaged, they will end up being less satisfied with the fights.
I honestly wanted 1-2 chapters of with only Sabo fighting Fujitora. Unfortunately I didn’t get that. As mentioned earlier, there were too many skips and distractions for me to engage in the fight.
Zoro didn’t even struggle much against Pica as compared to when he struggled against Kaku, Mr 1 and Ohm. He easily wrecked Pica at the end.
As for Luffy, his gear fourth was cheesy. Although it is powerful, the design is just too…goofy, even by One Piece standards.
Luffy's Gear Fourth
Was Luffy's Gear Fourth cool or goofy?
Too many characters
As mentioned earlier, the pacing in Dressrosa is too slow. The reason why it is too slow brings us to the fourth and final point. There are too many characters in the arc. From the Tontattas to the Coliseum fighters and Doflamingo’s executives, Oda has to juggle time between these characters. As a result of that, the character development for many characters is sacrificed. The readers will have to also juggle concentrating from one character to another. This makes it confusing for the average reader. Also, some of the characters, due to the lack of development, will just be forgotten and serve as fodder in the arc.
To conclude, Dressrosa has a lot of potential to be an epic, but it collapsed due to the fact that Oda was too ambitious and tried to create a greater version of Alabasta with a truckload of new characters. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the next arc and the potential that it will bring to the story.