In One Piece volume 35, the race to save Ace from Impel Down begins. With the help of the beautiful Boa Hancock, Monkey D. Luffy gains access to the underwater prison and so our journey begins.
The collection begins by pulling focus on Ace chained up, tortured and in bad shape. He’s in discussion with Monkey D. Garp (Luffy & Ace’s Grandfather). They have a brief chat about what mischief Luffy has been up to and how much he’s grown. He then goes onto saying that he never wanted Ace & Luffy to live this life as hoodlums, he envisioned them becoming great successful marines! But explains that due to their father’s (Ace & Luffy have two different ones), they can’t help but have criminals blood pumping through their veins. Ace pipes up and displays his hatred for his father and says that he doesn’t owe him a thing and his true Father is White Beard (the only person who ever gave a damn about him) – This really got me thinking, who is he? What did he do? How does he fit into the picture?
We now go back to Boa and Luffy’s entrance into the great Impel Down, where Luffy is currently hiding under Boa’s oversized coat. We get introduced to some new characters, Hannyabal the warden (Who’s comical at best) and Vice Jail Manager Domino. In order for Boa to enter the prison and meet Ace they state there is one condition, she is to be strip-searched and wear sea prism stone handcuffs (which stops devil fruit users powers). Amongst the panic, Boa has a plan and gets a one on one with Domino in a private room (without her handcuffs) and before long Domino gets turned to stone by the Love-Love Fruit. This is the perfect opportunity for Luffy to escape and with a touching moment they part ways. Before they notice anything happen, Boa changes Domino back and gets cleared and they begin their journey by elevator down the many terrifying levels of Impel Down to meet Ace. They give you a bit of insight to the levels – which fleshes out the journey. First level – the crimson floor, second level – the floor with wild beasts, third level – starvation floor, the fourth level – the burning heat floor and finally the fifth level which much isn’t discussed only that prisoners with 100 million or more bounty reside there.
From here we have a nostalgic character re-join the story, the humorous Buggy (one of my favourites), He’s managed to escape Impel Down with his chop-chop powers. While running away from numerous prison guards Buggy and Luffy bump into each other (literally) and to survive they have a temporary alliance. Amongst all the great fights and comedy scenes – Buggy notices something on Luffy’s arm, a bracelet of sorts – it’s what Buggy has been looking for all this time (and what got him into Impel Down) it’s a treasure map to Captain John’s secret treasure. Buggy on the sly tries to steal the bracelet from Luffy, but before long slips up and spills the beans. Luffy fills Buggy in on Ace and they make an agreement that if Buggy helps him get to the below floors, Luffy will willingly give him the arm bracelet. The two keep travelling down levels – battling creatures like Blugori’s (Blue Gorilla’s), Kung Fu Hippo’s and Basalisk Chickens which in their own right are hilarious. They then come across another old foe – Mr 3 from Baroque Works (Not sure if you remember, but he was the candle man). The story then reverts back to Boa travelling down to level four – the burning heat room – where Magellan (the chief warden) resides – he is one of the main antagonists of the Impel Down Arc. He seems like a quite comical but perverted character and they go quite in-depth about his digestive issues due to him eating the Doku Doku Mi (which generates and manipulates poison). But should be an interesting character to keep an eye on.
During the time that Buggy, Luffy and Mr 3 have been causing a ruckus, the guards didn’t know who the third troublemaker was and it’s comes to light that it’s Monkey D. Luffy. Sengoku and the marines get informed – What does this mean for Ace & Luffy?
The next 4 episodes of the series are fillers that lead into the movie Strong World. For those who don’t know it’s based around Shiki the Golden Lion, who is the only person who escaped Impel Down, by cutting off his legs. We have all our favourite Straw-hat crew back for these four episodes – which I personally loved seeing them all again – it brought the fun back! I won’t give too much away but it’s about a pirate crew called the Amigo Pirates, which have taken on a task set by Shiki in order to join his famous crew. The Straw hats approach an island called Konsorn Island (otherwise known as Little East Blue) where they get attacked by Yoko (a deceased marines daughter) and Boss her friend (A beastly flying insect) which pulls them into this island. The island is reminiscent to all of the straw hats hometowns. While on the island – it gets attacked by the Amigo Pirates, as they have been ordered by Shiki to capture Boss. The straw hats then enter battle to defend this fantastic island and defend their new friends Yoko and Boss.
We then get attention back on the main story, where we have Impel Down guards talking about the meeting of Boa and Ace and how something seems fishy. There is also mention of a Warlord that recently got captured (who is on the same level as Ace) who rebelled against Navy Headquarters – which has them quite on edge. The scene then changes to Ace sitting in his cell next to the Fish-man name Jimbe – The Warlord that was mentioned. You get insight it what he’s done to get there and that he’s indebted to White Beard. Over the next few episodes we get more attention of Luffy, where he gets down to Level 3: starvation hell – where it gets to a point that Luffy meets his old friend Bon Clay and helps him escape. At this time Buggy and Mr 3 see an opportunity to join forces to escape Luffy as the heat gets a bit too much for them. By the time they get to Level 4 – the burning heat floor they end up meeting each other again and helping take down stronger enemies – they must be destined to work with each to get through this?
By the end of the second disc Boa & Ace finally get to meet face to face. Will Boa end up telling Ace all about his brother? How will he react? Watch this collection to find out!
Collection 35, I thought was a mixed bag – it had intensity, fun, nostalgia – everything you wanted to progress in the storyline – even the filler episodes for the Strong World movie were enjoyable – as it at least had a good connection with Impel Down arc and was a hell of a lot of fun! The reunion between Luffy and Bon has definitely been my highlight; I haven’t laughed that hard for a long time. I’m hoping once the Impel Down arc ends that there’s future opportunities for these two to join forces.
The Impel Down arc continues to be a solid story, with lots of new characters added in which have substance! With each disc it makes me crave more to see where this crazy journey will end up! Stay tuned for the next release from Madman.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.