Quite possibly one of the worst kinds of reunions to ever have.
What They Say:
As time ticks away until Ace's execution, Luffy races to the rescue - and meets an old acquaintance along the way.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
After getting back on board at a relatively decent place with the previous episode, One Piece moves forward a little bit more with episode 423 as Luffy is finally and truly inside the Impel Down prison. So much of the previous episode revolved around the ever so slow infiltration into the prison that I wondered how slow the next couple of episodes might have progressed. I didn’t really have to worry as even though this episode is a bit slow in places, and surprisingly quiet for a show that I’ve only known to be loud, it does start moving along at a decent pace.
The main thrust of the show continues to be Luffy making his way towards rescuing his brother, Ace, who we have learned is on the fourth lower level of Impel Down in the “fire fists” area. There are a few little nods here and there to other events going on, such as the talk that Ace is having and some of the quirky moments as Hanabayal talks about the prison and his place in it, but by and large it’s about Luffy sneaking down. He’s close to being caught at several turns, particularly right at the start when he’s hiding under Hancock’s skirt and she’ being told to remove her cloak so they can put special handcuffs on her.
While Hancock is getting a pleasant escort down into the lower bowels of the screaming prison, Luffy has to make due with sneaking in as best as he can with the Vivre Card in hand to help him. His luck continues to be one of the worst out there in some ways as his adventure coincides with Captain Buggy finally deciding to escape himself, which means they invariably run into each other after Buggy sets off all manner of alarms. Having not seen Buggy since way, way, way back in the series (though fresh to me), it’s highly amusing to see Luffy remember him briefly and then essentially dismiss him with incredible ease. The two do make an amusing pairing as their flight through the first level goes on, but it’s only towards the end that it actually turns to action. But that’s all secondary as the way the two interact is the highlight, as well as seeing each of them going about their plans in their own way before that.
Though light on real content as it’s mostly just a piece with Luffy and Buggy on the move, it does have a good sense of fun about it. One Piece does annoy me to some extent as the first four minutes is the opening sequence and brief series recap and then we get a decent bit of an ending sequence as well, so the episodes are pretty short. This viewing was also problematic as there were several commercial breaks in it, something I don’t think I saw in last weeks presentation or with other FUNimation streams. I’m certainly all for monetizing anime streaming shows, but make sure they go at the beginning and at the eye-catch area, not seemingly randomly in the middle of the show a couple of times where it breaks the flow of an otherwise fun if simple episode.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.