Luffy gets ever closer and finds himself in the presence of one of the few people he seems to genuinely adore.
What They Say:
Boa Hancock finally comes face to face with “Fire Fist” Ace while Luffy must rely on another old friend to get him out of a jam and deep in Impel Down the Warden's true strength is revealed.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
The Impel Down arc moves right along here as Luffy is continuing to make his way down the prison, though sometimes he ends up going upwards as well which confuses him some. He’s made it through several levels now, including the really creepy Starvation Level where we discovered that the sand is made up of the dust of those who have died. For better or worse though, Luffy has ended up separated from Buggy and Mr. 3 as those two are simply trying to find their way out of the prison now. They tend to draw a fair amount of attention to themselves though but it’s all to set the stage for what’s next.
The big reveal of this episode involves the discovery of yet another famous pirate from the past, which was telegraphed pretty easily previously. Mr. 3 and Buggy end up coming across him first, but Bon Clay makes his delightfully unique appearance as he’s teaching the other prisoners to do his particularly happy dance as he struts about. The other two are really unsure of him in a way, but Bon Clay has such a positive attitude that he’s, well, positively infectious. An extra hand for an escape isn’t a bad thing but it all turns positively silly when Luffy runs across them and he’s reunited with someone from the past that he has a true affection for. We do get a brief flashback, which is helpful as I’ve only see his initial appearance as of this writing, so it’s good to get a brief glimpse of the bond that the two of them have beyond what I’ve seen.
One bit of real fun in this episode involves the downward trek that Hancock is on with the Warden and others as she goes to see Ace for the first time. There’s been a lot of learing and such when it comes to her by many people, including a lot of prisoners, but the result of it in this episode is very worthwhile as we do see the Warden finally let loose with his strange and gooey ability. Seeing him use this is obviously the big attraction, but what worked most for me during this segment is seeing Hancock use the distraction to her advantage by conversing with Ace so only he can hear her. And her words, whatever they may be, appear to be positively surprising and shocking to him to the point where it almost renders him speechless. It’s likely obvious that it’s all got to do with Luffy making his way through Impel Down, but without the context of the last three hundred episodes or so, I can’t be entirely positive since I’m not as familiar with the brothers relationship.
There isn’t a huge amount of really engaging material in this episode in terms of actually moving events forward, but it is an episode that revolves around moving the characters to where they need to be. Fans of Bon Clay must be thrilled to have him back and to have him meeting with Luffy and the others. The sequence with the Warden and Hancock as she finally meets Ace is really well done as well as it changes everything for Ace in how he views what’s going on. Toss in the little moments such as the Marines wanting to come inside to help and being rejected and there’s a lot of tension building in this storyline overall and it’s likely going to explode pretty soon, to wonderful effect. Hopefully sooner rather than later however.
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.