What They Say:
Penned in at the bottom of a well, Luffy and Law are caught in a trap! But someone has come to save them who they least expect! Meanwhile, the Tontattas help Franky break in to the SMILE factory, and Bartolomeo resorts to tactics he used in the Colosseum to defend himself and protect Robin and Rebecca! less
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though there weren’t any huge strides the last time around, One Piece worked well to nudge things forward enough and reaffirm positions so that there was a lot to like. In particular, just getting some time with Sabo and seeing him using his abilities and holding his own well was a big plus. But also getting the reaffirmation from him on what brothers do and how far they’ll for each other was a really great part, because it made the time investment in the lengthy flashback arc almost two hundred episodes ago really worth it. I struggled with it at some points because it did run for awhile, but it brought that trio together in a way that really worked well, both as a kind of closure for Ace’s arc and its tragic ending and to set up for Sabo in the future while playing Luffy in the middle. There’s a long game at work in this series to be sure, obviously so, but I enjoy these kinds of emotional payoffs that you can read a lot into when they hit.
While Luffy has made some progress, he’s also hit a trap with the direction he, LAw and Moocy ended up going down believing it was a shortcut. A shortcut that lead to a dead end that has Doflamingo coming up behind them. With dark purpose, Moocy is taken down quickly and brutally, which isn’t shocking but it still hurts! Doflamingo is interesting at this point as he talks down to the pair of them and how poorly they fared since he expected more from them after the War of the Best. There’s plenty of pointed little moments that Doflamingo gets to throw out while having the superior position here to tweak both men, and Law in particular since he has a lengthier history with him. Of course, Doflamingo can do only so much here since this is just another of his clones, but the psychological damage is well played in setting the tone and just how far he’ll go.
With a lot of the groups making their way to the Sunflower Fields, it’s interesting to see how some things connect up here. While the clone is dispatched, it doesn’t take long for Kyros to get closer to where they are and the potential with that. But we also see Luffy undeterred by there not being a shortcut as he’s just more intent on making one himself. And he does so in such a big way with his Elephant Gun that it does remind why he gained such a reputation at the War of the Best on top of everything else. Movements like this with his massive iron fist are impressive and draws a lot of attention to him, but also those that will admire and want to follow him because of his strength and accomplishments.
It’s interesting to see the scale of destruction that’s flowing within the birdcage trap, a lot of which is now caused by Luffy, but we also get some time with Sabo as he goes up against Fujitora. The two have a more hellish landscape to work with as they’re using their powers to win, though Sabo is still likely learning with his. Fujitora’s impressed with him overall though as what the next generation represents, but it doesn’t dissuade him from the fight itself since it’s a proper challenge. The two are a real treat to watch, especially since more time with the Tonatta’s and those that they and Franky are fighting just isn’t all that interesting to watch. Between that and a couple of other catch-up moments, we again get those bits of small progress for a lot of the cast, but no real gains.
Everything is moving towards the Sunflower Fields part of the island at this point and the inevitable fight that will happen there, one that may not play out in expected ways. Progress is naturally slow, or rather One Piece Paced, but it’s still mostly working for me at this stage. Luffy gets to have more time this episode than he has in some others and it works well with what he has to face and some of the trappings off it all. Sabo and Fujitora could just have a couple of episodes to their fight and I’d be delighted. But beyond that there’s just a lot of little things, from Kyros and what he has to face as he gets close to Luffy and some of the others groups with what they’re coming up against for opposition. It’s solid and fun to be sure with some really comical moments, especially just the visual of the last couple of frames.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.