This week’s chapter is the exact reason why this blog is on hiatus. The longer One Piece has gone on, and the more closely I’ve looked at the series, the more disappointed I’ve gotten.
So many people were thrilled to finally have a character like Pudding in One Piece. A female character who starts out acting like an innocent, helpless damsel in distress but who turned out to be a unscrupulousness and cruel villain? She seemed like a deliberate attempt by Oda to subvert and change the predictable pattern he had fallen into. You know, the one where Dressrosa had 5 different damsels in distress on it, and not a single woman who defeated an important enemy during the entire 100 chapter arc. The pattern where Nami, Vivi, Robin, Hancock, Viola, Baby 5, and Reiju are all female characters who Oda took and went “Look at this dangerous female villain! Lamo jk they’re actually all victims who were either actually good the whole time or who switched sides.”
Not only that, Pudding seemed like a female character who might actually be used to address some of the problems with Sanji’s character and force him to develop and change. Some people were hoping that Pudding would cause Sanji to go from his “All women are innocent and sweet delicate little flowers who need men to protect them” mentality to, you know, seeing women as actual people who deserve to be viewed and treated according to their actions.
However, despite the big, exciting twist of Pudding turning out to be evil, I still couldn’t—wouldn’t—get my hopes up precisely because of Oda’s track record. And sure enough, what do we get?
We get, “That confident and malicious queen of deception? Guess what! She’s actually a sad girl who is insecure about her physical appearance and just needs to be told by a gross man who she hates that she’s beautiful!”
The only reason I’m not disappointed is because I never got my hopes up in the first place. Oda’s handling of the female characters in One Piece ranges from outstanding to depressing to infuriating. But on the whole, Oda has left me distrusting and disillusioned. I’ve long since lost my respect for how Oda writes/treats women. I’m still reading, but so much of the passion I used to have for the series is gone, and I am perpetually on my guard now so that I won’t be hit by the same intense disappointment that I’ve been hit by too many times already.
ronan lynch is the super mean, super scary kid at aglionby, and his little brother, matthew lynch, is a pure/sweet/innocent little flower child who just develops a crush on someone and wants to date them
but ever since the death of the lynch parents, ronan’s older brother, declan, has been suuuper strict and protective, especially of matthew.
so he says that until ronan dates, matthew can’t date. its foolproof, ofc, because ronan is too Emo and Scary to ever like someone or want to date them, and everyones too scared of him to ask him out
declan thinks this is a solid plan until matthew goes to gansey for help
gansey, being the Dad he is, allies w/ matthew and they come up with a plan that will allow matthew to date: pay someone to date ronan
and who better to pay than adam parrish: the only guy at aglionby who doesnt piss his pants when ronan glares at him but actually glares back instead, who could really use the money, and who (gansey hopes) would be a positive influence on ronan
adam agrees to take the money and take ronan out (a bit reluctantly, yes, bc this angel would obviously feel bad about it but he also thinks ronan would do the same to him and ronan is too Scary to care anyway)
SO ronan agrees to go out with adam (i wonder why) and the more time they spend together/the more they get to know each other, the more adam realizes he was wrong about ronan and actually really Genuinely starts to like him
eventually adam goes to gansey and matthew and says he doesnt want to play their game anymore and they can keep their money
but ronan finds out that adam was paid to take him out—cue a dramatic storming off, ronan’s faith in adam being temporarily shattered, and adam doing a gesture (mayhaps dropping the “i love you” bomb during an argument) that convinces ronan he really truly does like him
and obviously the paintball date scene and the singing scene from the movie will be Mandatory in this au
With fine silver hair spun from silk and pretty grey eyes clear as little glass beads, and just as cold. His lips are always curved into the vaguest approximation of a smile, but it never seems to reach his eyes.
He doesn’t tell the vicious lies his previous caretakers had warned them about, but he doesn’t need really to - he’s creepy enough as it is. He trips over things that aren’t there, will suddenly scream for no reason at all, will drop everything he’s doing and run as if his life depends on it.
They’ve only had him for 2 weeks, and already they can barely stand him. Unfortunately, they can’t find anyone to push him off on yet. No one will consider it until they’ve done their minimum 4 months.
So when a man appears on their doorstep - handsome and tall, dressed in a smart black suit and silky silver hair brushed neatly back - and says he’s the boy’s maternal grandfather, says that he wants to take the boy off their hands for good, they don’t ask questions, don’t even hesitate.
They yell for the boy, jot down an address to mail the paperwork to, and wave the two off with way too much enthusiasm.
(It’s ten at night and the streets are deserted.
No one sees the man kneel down in front of the boy at the end of the driveway and ask him a single, whispered question.
No one sees the way the child’s eyes widen in shock and maybe a little fear, the way he seems to consider for a moment before giving a slow, decisive nod.
No one sees the way the man - handsome and tall, dressed in a smart black suit and silky silver hair brushed neatly back - disappears into thin air.
No one sees the way the boy is lifted slowly, gently into the air by an invisible force, the way he seems to sit, legs spread as if on the back of some giant beast, fingers curled as if threaded through silky white fur.
No one sees the boy disappear into the sticky warmth of the clear summer’s night.)
It’s exactly one week later that the police knock on their door, asking questions about 12-year-old Natsume Takashi.
“His grandfather took him a few days ago,” they respond, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. They’d sent the paperwork off the very next day. Surely the man had filled it out by now?
The police officer’s expression grows suddenly cold.
“Natsume Takashi’s grandfathers are both dead,” he says.
They feel the blood turn to ice in their veins.
The police officers ask them to describe the man that had taken Natsume Takashi away.
“He was in his early forties,” they say, and it isn’t until the officers’ expressions grow tight with disapproval that they see the problem there. Early forties? Much too young to have a 12-year-old grandson. He’d have to be mid fifties at least.
The hurriedly go on to describe his attire. “The very picture of respectable!” they hurry to say, as if explaining away their oversight.
“What name did he give you?” the officers ask.
They think for a moment, trying to remember. They go over the whole interaction in their memories, from start to finish, and feel shame curdle in their stomach, averting their eyes awkwardly from the officers’ suspicious gazes.
“A man comes to take your ward away and you don’t even ask him for a name!?” the officer demands in outrage. He’s a father himself, and the complete disregard for a child’s safety angers him to no end.
The officer leaves then, outraged beyond belief and muttering to himself about getting an arrest warrant.
(And hundreds of kilometers away, a twelve-year-old child sleeps soundly on the back of a great white beast.
They’re lying in the middle of a sun drenched meadow, the sweet, heady scent of wildflowers hanging heavy in the air.
A woman in an elegant purple kimono sits nearby, smoking and chatting quietly with an enormous, horseheaded beast. Both cast occasional glances at the sleeping child, expressions fond.
Their sweet little flower child.
They can’t imagine the things he’s seen, the things he’s been through.
But he’s safe now.
And they will never let anything hurt him ever again.)
Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth: for love precedes from God, and cannot rest but in God, above all things created.