WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece: Naoshi Komi Covers Vivi’s Adventure, Special One-Shot, by Naoshi Komi, Eiichiro Oda, Lance Caselman, Stephen Paul and Erika Terriquez, available in English via Manga Plus and Viz Media.
After the conclusion of his flagship series, Nisekoi, a reverse Romeo and Juliet rom-com manga released in 2016, things have been quiet for author Naoshi Komi. This is why it comes as such a nice surprise to see the beloved mangaka return to the pages of Shonen Jump to remake one of the most iconic chapters in all of One Piece, #216: Vivi's Adventure. This 50-page remake covers the resolution of Alabasta (chapters 215-216); an ending held dear by One Piece fans even today.
This is not the first case of a Shonen Jump author remaking an iconic chapter from One Piece. Two years ago, the artist for Dr. Stone, Boichi, remade the iconic Zoro vs. Mihawk fight during the Baratie arc. In that case, Boichi's strength lay in kinetic fights and striking panels, leaving a tremendous sense of coolness emanating from the page. It's a well-suited chapter that brings out the best in Boichi -- so how does Komi work with a chapter that relies heavily on the friendship and bonds of its cast and the bittersweet farewells between them?
Needless to say, Komi knocks it out of the park with this enchanting remake chapter. Komi's advantage as a manga artist is in genuine, heartfelt emotion. A good rom-com manga needs believable emotion displayed through the drawings, and Komi doesn't have romance to work with in Vivi's Adventure, he nails the bittersweet sendoff and illustrating the genuine friendship between Vivi and the Straw Hat Pirates.
As with the original chapter, there's a real hesitation and conflict to Vivi at the start, as she's unsure of which path to take: becoming a leader to her people or leaving Alabasta to see the world with her friends. Additionally, Komi ups the cuteness factor by 110-percent, as shown by the adorable Pirate Queen Vivi from Igaram's nightmare.
Komi is even able to bring out the best in some of Oda's less memorable pages from these chapters. When Vivi calls Igaram and her father to her room, the light shining through the window behind her and the subtle softness of her face evokes the conviction of her good heart and leader's spirit. Igaram and Cobra are in awe of the person Vivi now is and will one day become -- a feeling absent from the original page.
Komi's more exaggerated character moments are nothing to scoff at either; he can mold a very exaggerated character like Bon Clay to laugh, cry and lament just as well as Oda. A standout example comes as Iron Cage Hina is tricked by Mr. 2 and their crew into chasing after them. Bon Clay's stern expression as they take a dancing stance, followed by a taunting expression as they ready themselves to go toe-to-toe with the marine captain himself, brilliantly conveys how dearly the bonds of friendship mean to the crossdresser with a heart of gold.
The flow and page layout also leads to some breathtaking panels. In particular, the double spread of pages 36-37 leaves a major impression as Vivi recounts the memories she made while traveling with the Straw Hats. The way the page enshrouds her in a void except for sparkles of light makes the reader feel as though these memories are lights that guided her through the darkness.
The final double spread ends the same way as the crew says their goodbyes to Vivi, leaving the reader with as many tears as Vivi has on the page. The crew all stand triumphantly with their arms outstretched to show the mark of their friendship to Vivi, signifying to her that no matter how much distance or time separates them from each other, they will always be Nakama.
Vivi's Adventure is an excellent remake, not losing any of the emotion of the original while also bringing out the strengths in the mangaka illustrating it. It's clear that Naoshi Komi has a lot of love for the series, as his author's comment states, "I had many dreams when I was young of being a member of the Straw Hats and going on adventures." Hopefully, Komi's work will be back in the pages of Shonen Jump again soon.