Dangerous ploys need to be used now in order for Luffy to truly do what he's set out to accomplish in Marineford.
What They Say:
With only steps to go before being able to save Ace, Luffy has been trounced by the Navy admirals... While the allied pirates push on with renewed strength to save Ace, Luffy may have to call upon Ivankov for a hormone injection one more time - even if it means risking his life!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the Marineford battle has gone on, one of the things I like similar to Impel Down is that Luffy is not an overpowered character like some of the Admirals or Warlords and can take a beating. Granted, he does keep on ticking, but he's slowed down repeatedly and faces people with powers that outclass him and have an immense amount of experience to back it up. He doesn't come in and suddenly trounce them instead. While he may have the devils own luck at times, it's his persistence that keeps him going more than anything else in his efforts to save Ace. Keeping the Marineford battle from focusing solely on him has helped as well so that he hasn't dominated the scene, making him seem more powerful than he is.
Not surprisingly, One Piece makes a bit of a diversion to the past with this episode, something it's done regularly in big arcs. With Garp becoming more involved in what's going on, his standing presence enough to slow down the pirate advance even a little, he tries to understand what Ace is going through up on the platform above him. Ace is feeling very emotional with all he sees and we get a look to his much younger days as a boy looking for Gold Roger and getting into fights like crazy, going out of control in the view of others. It's an important piece in Ace's history as we see things that defined him, especially whether he truly should have been born into the world. Seeing the people dying and in pain in front of him because of his situation calls all of that into question in a good way here.
A lot of varied material is used in this episode to cover a fair bit of ground. Buggy's being frozen is dealt with to good effect and it again paints him as quite the amazing legend in the eyes of those who follow him. He's got his own kind of awkward good luck that serves him well but puts him through the ringer. Whitebeard himself has a good scene as the fight he's in gets much more intense and threatening since it's one of the few fights where there's a real sense of intense power behind everything. Along with all that there are some other side stories brought in as well, including an interesting request made by Luffy to Ivankov that could change the direction of his part of the story going forward.
One Piece inches ever closer towards the much bigger moments and it's reaching the point now where it truly needs to. There's a lot of really good material here across the various characters that are involved in the battle and it's all moving forward really well. Ace's bit of back story slows the show down momentarily, but not in a bad way as it's very useful to have a little more showing his state at the moment and what it is he's feeling in watching all this carnage out in front of him. And how it may be affecting Garp as well, which could be key. Luffy's role is smaller here, but he's making a play now that is dangerous yet needed in order to accomplish his single goal that he's focused on for so many episode snow in saving Ace. Marineford continues to be a strong arc overall and this episode is no exception, but it needs to get to the next level soon.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.