PAGES:   208
  RELEASE DATE:   02/03/2009
  REVIEW DATE:   01/13/2009

Luffy has been swept off in to the desert by a hook trailing sand!  He did save Vivi, the Alabastian princess, from the fate that awaited her at the end of the sand trail.  It was Vivi who was hooked first, but Luffy grabbed and threw her back on to the Moving Crab they were on.  The trail of sand led to Sir Crocodile, aka Mr. Zero, and now Luffy has to fight him. After an intense fight, Luffy seems to be mortally injured, but gets help from an unexpected corner. 

Meanwhile, on the Crab, Zolo explains why Vivi shouldn’t worry about Luffy, but she should worry more about his opponent, and that no matter happens to them, she has to live to stop the war.  Even after those encouraging words, everyone is worried and dealing with it in their own way.  When they reach the river, the Crab couldn’t swim, so they tried to swim across, but nearly got killed!  They got help from some old friends and made good time.  When back on land, Karoo, Vivi’s spotted bill duck friend, comes with his companions to help.  Vivi and the Straw Hats devise a plan to confuse and separate the enemies as to who is Vivi. 

The plan seems to work, as the Straw Hats break off into pairs and force the enemies to do the same.  After a while, the Straw Hats reveal themselves to the enemies.  Ussop and Chopper end up fighting Mr. 4 and his partner, Miss Merry Christmas.  After a brutal beating, Ussop is very hurt, but when Miss Merry Christmas says something devastating about Luffy, he didn’t believe it!  He keeps going and figures out how to defeat them.  With Chopper’s help and another transformation, they win the battle of the West Gate.

Meanwhile, Sanji goes against Mr. 2, and Nami and Zolo fight Mr. 1 and Ms. Doublefinger.

During all of this, Vivi tries to stop the final battle by yelling to the rebels to stop.  Her voice could have been heard, but the Baroque Works made sure there was too much noise.  She and Karoo fail to stop the battle and nearly get trampled in the process.  Then she goes to find the rebel leader in the city.

The art is still wonderfully quirky and full of expression, especially when Luffy recovers from a drying attack from Sir Crocodile!  Many Important things happen in this volume that you really don’t want to miss, such as the fight between Ussop and Mr. 4 or Luffy’s and Sir Crocodile’s fight.  Both are crucial to the Alabasta storyline.  This volume is one that shouldn’t be missed!

The final battle begins and the Straw Hats prepare to fight their respective opponents in this latest, exciting volume!

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