Bon Clay mans up at long last.
What They Say
Luffy is at the end of the line - the only thing that can save him now is true friendship. But in a place like Impel Down can true friendship be found?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I've been on a see-saw with how I feel about this arc of One Piece, the show in general is still a good deal of fun. Thankfully, this one is a more appealing episode as it isn't exactly treading water or just sitting there. The previous fight between Magellan and Luffy was good since we finally got to see both of them cut loose and a whole lot of passion out of Luffy when it comes to doing what he has to in order to rescue Ace. All of it ended badly though with Luffy covered in various poisons that'll eat away at him while Bon Clay had run off and the other two were long gone before that.
Luffy has only a minor role in this episode which is actually a good thing since we don't want to see a miracle recovery just yet for him. Where the focus turns is on Bon Clay, Buggy and Mr. 2 as Magellan is ready to head back upstairs after sending Luffy off to freeze to death in Level 5 where it's a wintry hell. There's a very amusing sequence where we see Magellan chastising Hannyabal over his performance since everyone got beat up by Bon Clay as he escaped up to Level 3, leaving Buggy and Mr. 2 behind, since Hannyabal has a very adversarial/cowardly relationship with the Warden. The truth of it that comes out shortly thereafter I will admit surprised me though it is something that works perfectly where people are using their abilities properly and to good effect.
The push by Bon Clay to go after Luffy is difficult for Buggy and Mr. 2 to go along with, but it certainly makes sense to stick with someone who can change his appearance while at one of the lowest levels of the worst prison in the world. They're nowhere near keen on trying to rescue Luffy, and additionally to help find Ace, but the situation keeps pushing them to lower and lower levels and they now find themselves willingly going to Level 5 in order to retrieve Luffy's dying body. There are some potential ways of fixing him coming to light that are explored here, but first and foremost is the rescue itself and that means putting friendship ahead of everything else, which becomes the moral of this episode as we see prisoners on this level talking about the stupidity of not looking out for yourself.
Moving Luffy out of the picture for awhile was quite the good idea here as Bon Clay really steps up his game this time around. He's got a very serious attitude based on the fact he abandoned Luffy previously and now wants to make up for it by going to the next level no matter what. It really is good to see him moving a bit beyond the blubber and manning up in this way to do what needs to be done for his bestest friend ever. What really surprises me about this arc in general is that I keep finding Buggy to be one of the best characters in the show and want to see more and more of him. I wasn't much of a fan of his original appearances way back at the start of the series, but in this arc he's spot on perfect and adds exactly the right things to the story. This is a good episode that makes some progress and gets us a good bit closer to the next step.
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.