It's pure chaos in Impel Down as all the beasties we've seen before are now out in full force.
What They Say
Three battles are raging throughout Impel Down - Luffy tackles the demon guards, Ivankov squares off against Sadie-chan, and Shiryu reaches the gate of Impel Down to meet Blackbeard and his crew. But are things really as they seem? Meanwhile, Buggy's bright ideas are close to freeing him and Mr. 3 from Impel Down.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though the show is focused entirely on fighting at this point, something that could drag out too much, it's entirely far too much fun. The amount of sneaking around before was fun to watch but the shift to more straightforward action is very welcome here, especially as we're getting large numbers of characters running around and getting involved with all the prisoners and the wide variety of guards that are here. It's not exactly a free for all at this point, but it's a mixture of seriousness and hilarity with how everyone is reacting to events.
The episode can be split into a few different story arcs, each of which has some good material to it. The Luffy arc has him with Jimbei, Ivankov and Crocodile along with numerous residents of New Kama Land trying to make their way further up from the bottom of Impel Down. They're facing some of the tougher beasts and creatures that reside down there so there's a lot of fun in seeing big action scenes with them. The added fun is in watching Luffy working alongside Crocodile who has a very amusing feel to him as he works this angle. The two have such a history to them but Luffy's ability to co-opt anyone to his cause at almost any given time serves him well here. It's hard to imagine Crocodile working with him for long, but while he does it's just perfect.
The other really fun arc, more fun than the others in fact, involves Buggy as he and Mister 3 continue to make their way towards level one. They've managed to survive on level two pretty well with the small group that's now with them but they're finally running up against the challenge of dealing with Magellan's poison walls that he's put up at all the entrances. It's a significant challenge to be sure but what makes it positively hysterical to watch is how Buggy's offhand comments get turned into orders or suggestions to the others and they view him as becoming a great leader as they further their escape. Buggy was one of the earliest people that Luffy had to deal with and watching him gain stature from this prison break and quasi-friendship with Luffy is cementing him as one of my favorite characters, which says a lot considering I hated him at the start of this whole series.
The third arc is the weakest which is unfortunate as I want to see more of what Blackbeard is up to and Jail Manager Shiryu who is certainly being portrayed as a big bad to be deal with. That arc only gets a little bit of time as does Hannyabal's goofiness as he sees Magellan taking control of things and feeling relieved by it. The big question after all this time is that I want to know where Bon Clay is and what he's up to while all this chaos ensues in the prison. There's so much good action here, so many fun moments and individual fights as well as group segments that it keeps you paying very close attention. In the sneaky arcs you could miss stuff as it stretched out but here you miss a lot if you take your eyes off the screen even a little. This is turning into a very solid arc overall and I can't wait for the next episode already.
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.