Does the start of a war really need to kick off with a lot of back story?
What They Say
Whitebeard has arrived at Navy Headquarters, throwing the execution plan into disarray and the secret history of Ace and Whitebeard is revealed, along with the key to the mysterious bond that holds together Whitebeard's crew.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though it is kind of goofy in a way, the arrival of the Whitebeard pirates at Navy Headquarters is something that definitely changes things considerably. While Luffy and his current crew are getting ever closer to the HQ and rescuing Ace, having Whitebeard pop out of the ocean from below is certainly a surprise and fun to watch, but I'm just not a fan of the actual method that they use to do it. Still, the result is the same in the end as everyone at HQ is standing there stunned for the most part and there's a great moment of tension as both sides stare each other down, wondering just what will happen next.
Just as Whitebeard is about to get this war going, the show decides to go backwards instead, as it shows us when Ace left Luffy as a young boy to go head out into the sea and eventually gain some amount of fame as a very up and coming wanted pirate by the Navy. Enough so that he's invited to become one of the Warlords but he refuses such a thing. Instead, he's off on his own mission but he becomes the interest of Whitebeard as Ace's Spade pirates are gaining more and more attention. What's interesting is that in one segment we get a clear understanding of his goal to beat the strongest man in the world while talking with Luffy's dad, making it clear that it's Whitebeard that he intends to best someday. Ace's journey takes him to a lot of places and we see a lot of familiar characters appear that helps to flesh out the bonds that he has with them in the present. Naturally, some of this may have been covered in past episodes, but it's fresh to me.
Seeing the way the two men came together and the way Whitebeard managed to acquire Ace's crew is fun to watch, as is the way Ace copes with the whole situation one he finally wakes up after being beaten down. The start of Ace's life as part of Whitebeards crew is well done, seeing the shift in personality and approach to do so as he finds a place that he hadn't thought possible before. While he's had friends among the Spade pirates before, this one becomes an even more intense family because of the way Whitebeard runs it, and how they all call him pops and he takes them on as sons of sorts. And after watching Ace go through such hard times for the last, what, fifty episodes or so, it's good to see him in good spirits here and having fun, enjoying life. With so much time spent in bonds and in prison, it's a chance to show him in a new way.
This episode is one that is definitely a good one, but it's not what you'd expect at the start of a war arc going by the episode title. So much tension has been built up and we get Whitebeards sudden arrival which adds to it even more that you're ready for everything to snap and go wild. His history and the journey he eventually took with Whitebeard is what we get instead and it is a lot of fun as it covers so much time. So much so that they could have easily taken a few episodes to really flesh it out and have fun with it. Yet it has to be said that the final minute of this episode leaves things just perfectly and sets the stage for it to be an even more emotional and intense fight, and reunion, as the two men come together again. This is yet another episode that is helping to clean the taste of the recent filler material and gives us something exciting an engaging to watch. I would have rated it higher if it hadn't felt so rushed at times, especially the earlier part of Ace's life.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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