shandians

half-man-half-lime answered: Spoiler: Enel’s plan totally involves a porno magazine. By the way, when you say “First Nations” do you mean Native Americans/American Indians in general? I Googled them and learned they’re only one northern section, while Shandians seem to be based on Native Americans in general. Sorry if I’m misunderstanding something.

Argh, I mean Native Americans in general. That’ll teach me for getting all of my cultural information from Tumblr. You’re right. First Nations refers to Canadian natives, while Native Americans is a more general term. I’ll use that from now on. Thanks!

Oh, and I totally believe you about the porno mag spoiler. If it doesn’t happen, I will be heartbroken. xD

blogquantumreality answered: The filler after Skypiea will be pretty cool. Also, this arc was what really made me realize how much of a rich and diverse historical background Oda draws upon to create the One Piece world.

A lot of people have said the next filler arc is good. I’ll definitely watch it then. :) Totally agreed about the diversity of sources Oda draws from to create One Piece. Apart from the pirate history, he also uses a wide range of cultures too. The way the Grand Line works also helps. He can pretty much use whatever he wants. It’s awesome. ^_^

hylidahlia said: Never underestimate Oda’s ability to take a (seemingly) mentally unstable antagonist and turn him into a fully fleshed out human being with complex motivations who you begin rooting for. I’ll say no more.

If you’re talking about Wiper, I am totally rooting for him. He deserves to win and his people totally have the right to live on Upper Yard. I just don’t want him to sacrifice his fellow warriors or his own sanity to do it. I have my fingers crossed he’ll come round.

tempus-nexus said: *Disclaimer: Not an actual ghost child. It’s… something else. But if you think you didn’t sign up for angst, I’m sorry to say that you done goofed. There will be sorrow, and joy, and fear and courage and all kinds of emotions. The next major arc after Skypeia is both one of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming arcs in One Piece, and easily one of the best. Adventure there will be, but it comes with feelings you will never be prepared for. Loss, and gain, and loss again. And I wager anything that by the end, you will NOT regret your journey through it. (Sorry for the long response, but I love that arc SO MUCH. And, come on. Every arc has its share of heartbreak, but they usually end positive. Enjoy Skypeia for now.)

Joy and a positive end are totally key words there. As long as there’s some joy and courage amidst all the other stuff, then I am okay with that and will remain firmly on the cruise. :)

bananagator said: Oda has a LOT of celebrity inspired characters so it’s fun to look out for those.  he IS actually a fan of Eminem and other unexpected things! I found the interview for you free of spoilers: thegrandline.com/odateac…

Oooh, thanks, bananagator! I will take a look at that later. ^_^

hylidahlia said: Oh, hon, there will always be adventure and happiness, but there will also be tears. actual tears will be cried, by you. and no, when t.n. said “ghost kid” it’s not a dead person, so that’s not the kind of sad we’re dealing with.

I’ve already dealt with many tears (dammit, Chopper!) I will be able to handle a few more. Hey, if you cry, that just means that whatever you’re crying over means something to you. OP can do that, I think.

ONE PIECE 30 DAY CHALLENGE

Day 9: One thing you liked/hated about Skypiea

I’ve gotta say, I don’t remember much about Skypiea, and I’ve never gotten around to rewatching it either, because it’s so goddamn long and so drawn out!
I love the concept of Skypiea, and it is a generally good arc with a great storyline to go along with it. I couldn’t help but to fall in love with the Shandians a little bit with their unwavering loyalty, spirit and faith. And fucking BURN BAZOOKAS.

But when you really watch it you realize that at many times it is so frickin boring! There are entire episodes for when nothing seems to happen and for a long time it seems like the story isn’t going anywhere. In that aspect, it is probably the most boring arc in One Piece, and One Piece is really just a collection of looong arcs and fights with good start, middle and end scenes and a whole lot of unnecessary crap in between without a purpose.

168: "A Giant Snake Bares Its Fangs! The Survival Game Begins!"

The survival game has definitely begun. Enel’s priests are on the loose, the giant fauna of Upper Yard are having a field day, the Shandians are about to launch an attack, the Strawhats have split up, and Enel knows all.

I’m wondering what the priests’ ordeals have in store for the Strawhats, or if they’ll meet any priests at all. I hope Zoro, at least, meets one of them. He’s been itching for a fight ever since Nami told him a powerful god ruled over Skypiea. If he doesn’t get a fight soon, the withdrawal shakes will kick in.

The most significant thing that happened to the Strawhats this episode was that they have been scattered all across Upper Yard. Team Luffy, consisting of Luffy, Zoro, Robin and Chopper, were off to search for the ruins to the south. Unfortunately, they were waylaid by a massive python, and lost each other in the frantic scramble to get the hell away from the thing. They all intended to head south to meet the others at the ruins, but who are we kidding? There is no way Luffy and Zoro will head in the right directions. Chopper might. He can always follow his nose. I have faith in Robin’s sense of direction. She is destined to find those ruins. Out of the Strawhats, I think Luffy and Zoro are most likely to run into a priest. (Hopefully, Zoro will challenge Ohm. The ordeal of iron will be perfect for him. Not sure who would be best for Luffy).

The rest of the Strawhats (that is Nami, Usopp and Sanji) concentrated on sailing the Merry to the designated meet up point on the south coast. Gan Fall and Pierre were also aboard, which was nice, actually. (The Strawhats really are kind-hearted. As long as Gan Fall still has medicine to take, he’s still ill enough to need to be looked after).

Usopp was chatting away to Gan Fall, in that good-natured, cheerful way of his, when Gan Fall suddenly blurted out: “Let me tell you some history about this island.”

Gan Fall isn’t one for neat conversational segues. xD

I’m glad he did interrupt, though, because it filled in a few blanks regarding Skypiea, its history and how Enel arrived on the island. Thanks to Gan Fall, I now know:

1. That Enel arrived on Skypiea six years ago, with his priests.

2. That Enel and the priests arrived from a different sky island (this blew my mind. I had assumed Skypiea was the only sky island in the OPverse).

3. Vearth isn’t just soil. They’re artefacts from the Blue Sea. Skypieans consider them precious.

4. The biggest ever Vearth to arrive on Skypiea was obviously Jaya. The Skypieans were so awed by it, they considered it a miracle. It became holy ground to them.

5. Unfortunately (and I was so right about this!) the original inhabitants of Jaya were blasted up into Skypiea along with the island. These people were the Shandians. Since the Skypieans were fond of their new holy miracle island, they booted the Shandians out. Ever since, the Shandians have been fighting to regain their homeland.  The Strawhats were shocked by this, and Gan Fall was regretful. I was shocked too. It is really sad what happened to the Shandians. I don’t want to go into the plight of displaced indigenous populations, but Oda’s integrating aspects of First Nations culture into the Shandian character designs now makes a lot of sense.

6. I was probably too hard on Captain McKinley and the white berets, as Gan Fall also revealed that they are forced to work for Enel. Enel has a mysterious goal that Gan Fall knows nothing about (probably that Maxim Enel referred to in 167). The enforces are made to work towards achieving that goal. The only thing is, a lot of them aren’t fond of it. Some have even tried to escape Skypiea.

7. That Enel’s power is limited to Skypiea. Once you’re on another island, he can’t touch you. I’m guessing that’s how Gan Fall kept Conis and Pagaya safe.

8. Something is really, really wrong with Wiper. I understand his hatred. His people belong on Upper Yard. It’s their homeland and it is his right to fight for it. In the flashback of the fraught negotiation, though, his hatred overpowered his reason and he wasted an opportunity to negotiate with Gan Fall. Even the other Shandians are afraid of him. Twice now, he’s been compared to a demon. Things got even worse when he rallied the troops off the coast of Upper Yard and announced that only the warriors who would step over their fallen comrades should follow him.

Hmm. Not sure about that, Wiper. Nakama are sacred. That is the Golden Rule. I don’t think Luffy would be happy to hear you say that.


Identical.

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164: "Light the Fire of Shandora! Wiper the Warrior!"

The Shandian people were definitely the stars of the show during the first half of the episode. Though I haven’t grown attached to the Shandians to the degree I was to the people of Alabasta (having Vivi around as a good example and a constant cheerleader for the nation may have helped), they’re still pretty a pretty mysterious and interesting culture.

Judging from the designs of the characters, it seems Oda has modelled the Shandians on First Nations tribes. I don’t know enough about First Nations cultures to know whether Oda based the Shandians on a particular tribe, but I spotted tipis. Wiper has tattoos that likely hold significant spiritual meaning and his hair is shaved into a mohawk. Kamakiri’s getup seems influenced by First Nations culture too.

Instead of gods, they appear to worship great ancestors. Wiper is the warrior who has ‘inherited the blood of the Great Warrior Calgara’, who is the ancestor most worthy of worship. There’s a massive statue of the guy in the middle of their land. They much prefer him to any gods: Enel or Gan Fall.

In the middle of their meeting, Aisa, the soil collecting kid revealed something very interesting. She possesses the Mantra power. Turns out this is the ability to sense people from a distance. This is pretty useful because it provided Wiper and the Shandians with enough intel to decided on storming the island. Two voices had gone quiet, Aisa said. One, Gan Fall, and the other, a Priest. Wiper was pumped by this news. Gan Fall and a Priest taken out at once? Obviously now was the best time to capitalise on the chaos! He didn’t stay to listen about the part where Aisa mentioned the fact that the strong Blue Sea dwellers took out Satori, but Laki got the memo, so at least someone will be around to stave off any potential conflict. Wiper then gathered the warriors and they zoomed off in a maurauding horde on their teeth-grindingly awesome water boards (I want one) to bazooka the shit out of Upper Yard.

The Priests were not happy about this. I say Priests plural because the remaining two have been revealed. Don’t know much about them except that the one standing over Satori’s prostrate form had a wicked cough and was called Gedatsu. The other was called Ohm had has a dog called Holy. Shura is still at large, and I’m wondering who he’ll meet first: Team Luffy, Team Zoro or the Shandians?

He seems to have lost interest in Chopper. Probably thinks Chopper’s dead, since he leapt into the water after Gan Fall and Pierre. I think encountering someone who doesn’t bother checking for corpses was a lucky escape for Chopper. In fact, Chopper has enjoyed two strokes of luck. Being pulled from the water as he was sinking and on the brink of losing consciousness by a flock of giant Southbirds was yet another lucky escape. I still don’t know why the Southbirds saved Chopper, Gan Fall and Pierre, but they seem to acknowledge Gan Fall as god, so they must hate Enel too. (Interestingly, the Southbird looks like their designs were based on First Nations art).

The sounds of the Southbirds’ calls and the bazookas going off in the distance caught the attention of Team Zoro. Still not worried about Chopper (Luffy and Zoro were the only ones who mentioned him), they were tramping through the forest searching for what Nami spotted through her binoculars at the end of episode 163.

What they found was amazing!

It was the other half of Cricket’s house, corresponding exactly with the remaining part that still stands on Jaya.

What did this mean? How did this happen? What the hell was Cricket’s house doing up in the sky?

Nami pretty much hit the nail on the head when she theorised that the Knock Up Stream current blasted part of Jaya up into the sky. This must have been the City of Gold Noland discovered before it disappeared.

Like I said, it’s pretty amazing. It explains how the Southbirds came to live on Slypiea and also how an island of earth can exist there. I wonder if the gold is still around?

I can’t wait for Cricket to find out that Noland was telling the truth after all.

The many faces of Monkey D. Luffy

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166: "Festival on the Night Before Gold-Hunting! Feelings for "Vearth!"

Nothing earth-shattering happened this episode, but you know what? I’m happy with that. The Strawhats deserve a break after all the shit they’ve been through trying to reach the sacrificial altar. A raucous, fucked up wolf-juice party is just what they needed to blow off some steam.

The Shandians, however, are another story. They can’t seem to catch a break.

Episode 195 opened right smack bang in the middle of the battle between Ohm and the Shandian warriors. The Shandians were giving it their all, but Ohm and Holy were proving too strong a team. Laki, the female warrior who was holding onto Aisa’s bag of soil, screwed up and almost cost Wiper his best fighter. Ohm had caught her on his sword and the only thing supporting her were the soil bag straps. She did attempt to shoot him in the face, but when he deflected the gun barrel, she freaked, noticed the bag was in danger, and tried to save it. Ohm, of course, spotted he had an in and took advantage. Kamakiri leapt in front of her and dragged her to safety, but he was injured in the process.

With Kamakiri down, Wiper called a retreat. The Shandians fled the forest and regrouped on another island.

That said, however, the battle didn’t go too well from Ohm’s point of view, either. He wanted to stay and finish off the Shandian invaders, but another priest (I cannot remember his name. The one who is not Shura. Gedatsu?) appeared and said that he’d to chill with the fighting because Enel had summoned them.

I seriously hope that moment will not be off-panelled. After all the hype, I am desperate to see Slim Shady god Enel in action.

Back at rendezvous camp Shandia, morale was low. Laki was frustrated. She blamed herself for Kamakiri’s injuries. Wiper revealed himself to be short on empathy. He basically told Laki, straight up, that yes, it was her fault, and if she hadn’t been so concerned about that damned bag of soil, Kamakiri wouldn’t have needed to jump in and save her. Kamakiri insisted that he was alright, that he could fight, but with those wounds, I’m not sure it’d be the greatest idea to push through.

The most interesting thing revealed about the Shandians in this episode is that the Vearth itself is holy to them and that they yearn to return to their home of four-hundred years ago. That was roughly when Noland last saw the city of gold. Were the Shandians originally inhabitants of Jaya who had been blasted up into the sky along with the island? That would be awesome.

While the Shandians were licking their wounds at their dark and dismal camp, the Strawhats were having a great time at theirs! Honestly, I know I keep saying this, but the Strawhats during downtime are the best. Luffy getting bored literally watching a pot boil, Sanji keeping a close eye on him in case he eats everything, Chopper and Zoro out collecting plants, Usopp collecting wood to fix the Merry, Robin hauling home a massive salt crystal (well done, Robin!), and Nami strategising. They work so well together. I don’t want them to split up again!

Sat around the campfire, Nami chaired a revision session. The Strawhats chipped in everything they knew about the island. They knew that Upper Yard was once a part of Jaya that had been blown into the sky by Knock Up Stream around four hundred years ago. The big trees and animals are an effect of the composition of island and sea cloud, which explains the massive southbirds that arrived to save Chopper, Gan Fall and Pierre in the nick of time.

Once again, Sanji, however, asked an important question: why did the southbirds save Chopper?

Chopper said he wasn’t sure, but that the southbirds kept calling the weird ossan “god”. The Strawhats now know there are two gods in Skypiea, though there wasn’t much fuss made about it, for some reason. The most important thing to them was the gold.

Nami, being the resident genuis cartographer, spliced together the old map of Skypiea and a map of Jaya to reveal that ‘the skull’s right eye’ where Noland saw the gold referred to the skull shape both islands made when they were still of one piece.

Now they know where the gold is, I cannot see anything stopping them going for it.

Except Enel, maybe. He might like shinies.

After that, the episode turned a bit crazy, though in a totally wonderful, “damn, I wish I was there” way. Some wolves turned up, told the Strawhats to quiet the fuck down and Nami ended up punching one. For some reason, this endeared her to the head wolf and they all got together and had a massive party! I cannot even.

Robin’s chilling because she’s just danced for four hours straight. She’s wondering if it’s okay to be still buzzing from that wolf-juice.