Everything seems to come down to Magellan as freedom is so very close for Luffy and all the prisoners.
What They Say
Buggy and the others can taste freedom on just the other side of the door to Impel Down, but their escape is thwarted by Magellan's secret plan. Meanwhile, Luffy has a chance to face Magellan again - and avenge the Ivankov and Inazuma.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One Piece is now getting some diminishing returns with me when it comes to Magellan. After so many episodes of him either looming over everyone or having some bowel movements to end all bowel movements, he's become the go-to character if you want to inspire fear among the prisoners for the whole arc. That's sort of the point of him, but we've seen Luffy face him already and this new rematch that starts here just feels alright at best. There's no real tension to it because Magellan has ceased to be an engaging opponent, though I can't pinpoint why exactly. Mostly it comes down to the fact that we're just about done with this particular segment of the story as the outside is pretty much at hand and things will change.
This episode gets split into two parts, though thankfully the big sequence with Magellan and Luffy is kept kind of small in comparison. Luffy's finally figured out a way to get hands-on with Magellan after they discover that San's wax ability provides a great buffer. Unfortunately, he makes a power suit of sorts for Luffy, who finds it all terribly cool, and Luffy goes all one on one with Magellan while everyone else tries to escape. Magellan's ticked off nature obviously enters into this, though he has to admit that Luffy has found a way to give him a mild run for his money. Luffy and San really do manage to work well here and it's fun to see the other prisoners figure out how to be helpful in this fight since Magellan's got them very much worried about being brought back down to the lower levels of hell.
The best part of the episode for me though involves Buggy, Jimbei and Crocodile as they make their way further up past the meager resistance offered by the guards just before their freedom is there for the taking. Of course, it's not going to be easy as Magellan has made it so that getting a Navy ship isn't just strolling over to one and getting it. The fun with it is still in watching Crocodile out and about, taking charge, and working with such a diverse group of people. That Buggy continues to be a leading figure is highly amusing, but now that he's paired up with some real badasses, they're not viewing him the same way as most of the rabble do. Of course, he's just looking to get the hell out of dodge anyway so he isn't exactly wanting to be there, but the further away from Impel Down he can get, the better.
One Piece moves steadily along and I'm supremely pleased that at least a few people have made it out to the water so they can take stock of the situation there. I'm less than thrilled at another Magellan and Luffy match-up but it was very much expected. Impel Down has been a really fun storyline overall, but it's definitely at that point where it's starting to overextend its stay. This episode shows us the light at the end of the tunnel and it has a number of fun moments and some mild progression. The best bits continue to be watching the older characters return and interact with each other when they never have before. The difference in power and ability from the earlier villains to the later ones, and the way some of them are mildly reformed, makes it a great journey. Definitely fun overall but it's a little light on the substance here.
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.