All that’s needed for level three is a little bit of spice and a giant worm.
What They Say:
Luffy, Buggy and Mr. 3 have been discovered by the Navy - and they are not happy that Luffy is meddling again. The three have only one chance to avoid being caught - make their way through Impel Down's Level 3, the Starvation Hell - where it's hot enough to turn someone to ash!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
One Piece’s Impel Down storyline plugs right along with this episode as Luffy, Buggy and Mr. 3 have found themselves landed square in the next level after falling through the floor with the giant Sphinx, the boss of level 2. Level 2 was kind of awkward since it was all about the beasts and the manticores and the sphinx were really quite unappealing in terms of foes for Luffy and company to deal with. They had a rather creepy look about them, which is expected, but there was also a herd mentality for the manticores that led them to being less than dangerous and more of a nuisance. The sphinx had potential for a bit more, but it turned too comedic for my tastes at the end.
Level 3 offers an interesting premise because the entire shtick for this level is based off of what level 4 is all about. With it being shown mostly as a fiery hell, that heat has to go somewhere and that’s upwards. Level 3 is all about a desert motif as it’s a dry and arid place with nothing around for quite a bit of distance. Luffy and the others definitely suffer under it, but Luffy has that kind of strange resilience that lets him cope better than others. Mr. 3 in particular takes it hard because of his waxy nature and his generally downbeat attitude about things, especially since getting back into the same orbit as Luffy. Luffy also takes it up a notch when it comes to a particular bird that floats into the level.
The first two levels have had an interesting angle to them in how they’re managed, but it’s the third level that ups the ante with the cruelty level. With the prisoners here being from the fifty million berries range, they’re certainly more hardcore and dastardly than what we’ve seen before. What they experience on this level has a definite effect on Luffy and the others when they figure it out and it decidedly changes how you view the level as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of exploration in this episode of the level as the gang gets captured early on and we get to meet the new boss, the diminutive Saldeath. We end up with more wordplay gags than anything else because of it, but it does set things up nicely for what will happen with this level.
One Piece moves along nicely here, giving us some exploration of the next level, tackling some of the ramifications of what’s going on back on the second level as well as various character bits. It’s more Luffy heavy this time but we get some helpful flashbacks to the past and some time spent with Hancock and Garp as well. Though it isn’t a game changing episode as there aren’t any significant revelations or any really good fight sequences, it is moving Luffy further down into the prison and the guards are finally getting a clue as to what’s going on and what Luffy is really after. It won’t be long before things start getting turned up a few notches and it’ll be even more fun.
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.