One Piece – Chapter 679
A constant presence throughout all of One Piece has been the Marines and their various levels of corruption and insanity. Even at the start of the New World, we still get to see that with the G5 Marines. More than any specific group we’ve seen so far, they seem to have taken the Admiral Akainu approach to justice by joyfully torturing any pirates they come across. Of course with a guy like Vergo affiliated with them, it’s hard to tell if they were like that even before the timeskip. From this most recent chapter, though, I managed to understand how people like this think a little better.
If there was anything that separated these marines from the ones we saw in previous arcs, it’s that they follow Smoker and Tashigi. Those two aren’t exactly lenient when it comes to piracy, but they come across as saints when compared to those around them. In fact, that’s how the other marines seem to view Tashigi in particular. At first I just wrote this off as the kind of fanclub some anime characters seem to pick up, but I later found out there was a bit more to it than that.
Among all the Marines present, Smoker and Tashigi were the only ones in this chapter who viewed their own safety and that of their comrades as being more important than capturing pirates. It’s the kind of attitude that visibly sets them apart from the cannon fodder who are always around. That’s also what let them see the survival of Tashigi as being so important that they would sacrifice themselves to ensure that she makes it out alive. It shows us that in spite of their incredible prejudice towards pirates, they still have some form of decency and respect. Not only did I feel incredibly bad for everyone caught in Caesar’s gas attack, I actually forgot for a little bit that these were the same torturers from the start of Punk Hazard.
The previous arc told us a lot about how people can look down on others to the point where they’re willing to commit mass murder. From the Marines, I can see something very similar, but instead of Fishmen being attacked, we have pirates. Even after everything we know, it’s good to see that even the people who seem so terrible still have a rational side to them. It’s what sets them apart from people like Hodi Jones, which is great because one of that guy is enough.