One Piece Episode #491 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, March 28, 2011
Release Date: Saturday, March 26, 2011

The recovery phase begins for Luffy as he's brought to Maiden Island.

What They Say:
The War of the Best has left the world out of balance. Pirates are marauding the coastlines of the world. In this new, dangerous era, Boa Hancock brings Luffy to the Maiden Island to recover - but if and when he wakes from his coma, will he be able to deal with the death of his brother, Ace?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The fallout from the battle at Marineford is an area that's definitely interesting to explore. We've seen so many people, regular citizens, excited about the end of Whitebeard since it takes a significant pirate out of the way, based on the information that they have and understand. What Whitebeard's absence does however is to create quite the hole in the balance of power out there and that leads to quite a number of pirates wanting to move up and acquire territory, leading to plenty of marauding which we see right from the start. It's an expected point, but one that's good to see actually explored even a little to make it clear that the world is entering a different stage of violence and upheaval.

One Piece does move to some lighter material as it progresses though, which it definitely needs to do to some degree, as it's been pretty heavy for awhile. Focusing on the ship that Luffy is on, Hancock wants to ensure Luffy's safety by bringing him to Maiden Island so they can help him finish out his recovery since he's still in his coma. There's some difficulty with it though as the elder won't let any men on the island outside of Luffy and they're making the point that they need the doctor on the ship to go. It's a nice bit of work in trying to come up with a compromise to get Luffy back on track while dealing with cultural issues and the whole problem of staying out in the open sea with the Sea Kings out there. With the ship being there for the long haul in order to get Luffy moving again, it's something that needs to be settled and settled without any questions.

Luffy's recovery after a few weeks leads to a couple of awkward situations to be sure as well. His wounds are still significant, enough so that if they open up again he could die, but he's in such a state of panic and disconnect that he's off running around and not listening to anyone who is telling him about Ace. The fact that he seems to have blacked out on what happened at the end there isn't a surprise, but leads to potential additional challenges. The same can be said for Hancock as she's intent on seeing him as soon as he's awake, but there are so many issues about the presence of men on the island, discipline and cultural asides that she's being regularly held back. The men, of course, are quite eager to see more of these tall, beautiful women, especially after the risks they've taken. Seeing the way they work through both issues is pretty nicely done, if a bit short overall.

In Summary:
One Piece hits a difficult episode as it's one of the bridging pieces that's very key and important to the series, but slows things down a little. It's incredibly necessary to deal with the fallout of Luffy's wounds that are physical but also the incredible emotional ones that he can't contain once everything starts to sink in. Luffy has been through so much, gone to such lengths and dealt with an incredible amount of obstacles, but it all ended in the way he didn't want. He has a great support system though, ones that won't back down at this point, and the potential for an amazing relationship with Jimbei to be formed here is really powerful. With all of this, the time spent with Hancock and the lightness included with the Maiden Island women, this is a wonderful episode that takes its lumps from what has happened and starts to show the next path in a very light way.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: One Piece