It's taken about twenty episodes or so but Luffy has finally made it all the way down to Level 6.
What They Say
Luffy arrives on Level 6 - but just in time to see that Ace is gone and the guards of Impel Down have one more trick up their sleeves.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I'm seriously developing a love/hate relationship with this show and a lot of that is stemming from the parallel viewing with the earlier episodes which are new to me. This episode is a frustrating one as it moves the Impel Down storyline forward in a way that I expected once Luffy reached Level 6. With all his effort to find Ace, it could really only play out in two ways once he got down there to where he is. Either it would turn into a massive fight of epic proportions with Magellan and the various guards that would involve other prisoners or' Ace would already be gone. Now, while I'm fully believing that the series creator has a big plan going on here with One Piece overall, I also believe he's a master at drawing out a storyline for dramatic effect but also to tease and torment the fans.
This is one such moment.
Discovering that Ace has already been taken up top and is being escorted to his Navy accompaniment that will take him to Navy Headquarters, Luffy is even more desperate to get to him now. With Ivankov and Inazuma alongside him now doing all they can since they've realized who Ace and Luffy are related to, they're trying everything they can to get to the top of Impel Down in time. This leads to them being a little less than cautious so they're constantly observed which makes the whole process more difficult since the guards are able to throw up more effective roadblocks. There's a good bit of fun throughout this as we get Ivankov doing more gender bending with a guard (how many people would like to go through that transformation!) as well as Inazuma shining a bit with his devil fruit power that allows him to be quite creative.
Where One Piece both won me over and made me hate it was with a couple of smaller elements here, elements that have been conflicting since early on in this arc. We do get some time with Mr. Three and Buggy as they finally make it up to Level 3 and are exhausted. As they note, it was easier going down since they often fell down accidentally than anything else. Going up is much harder and they're coming across people and creatures that they really ticked off the first time around. I hated both of these guys during their original run back in the sub one hundred episodes but they're proving to be a lot of fun here. It's why I'm also feeling conflicted about the re-introduction of another big bad guy from earlier in the series run that steps out of the shadows at the end here to offer Luffy help. Buggy's transformation to a fun character has me wondering if the same can happen here.
I knew that this arc would not go as well as I had hoped when it came to the rescue of Portgaz D. Ace. The shift in story here does have some good potential to it as we're closer to finishing out the Impel Down storyline and quite possibly bringing back, you know, the rest of the cast. The story here is pretty good and it does have a different feel. It's quieter in a way that leaves you feeling like something ominous could happen. Often it's accompanied by music when shows do this, but here we're getting a lot of silence and that speaks volumes. One Piece feels like a rollercoaster ride quite often and this episode is no exception.
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.