After nearly half a year of episodes dealing with the Impel Down prison, Luffy and the gang are finally out of there as they return to the sea.
What They Say
The stolen Navy ship carrying Luffy, Jimbei and all the rest dodges Navy gunfire on it's dash to escape Impel Down. It's anything but clear sailing, however, as the Gate of Justice, and a furious Warden Magellan are still standing in the way! A friend's final sacrifice is the only thing that can save them!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometimes miracles are fun to watch, such as having Jimbei save the day right at the end with his calling out to the whale sharks to help the final escape. It's not an escape without some losses though as Inazuma doesn't look too good but these motley pirates have finally made it out and are once again on a ship, feeling alive as the wind blows through their hair. It was a goofy, corny escape with Ivankov and Luffy going over the top to accomplish it, but it still managed to have a sense of fun and excitement about it as they landed outside of the prison walls and onto the ship.
There's still more to do though as they have to make a good escape on their captured Navy vessel. What's going to make it difficult is something most have forgotten in that there is still another gate to get through, the massive Gate of Justice that they should not be able to have open with their own power and ability. What's fun is that we do get some good naval battle moments as the full on fleet of Navy vessels is now in pursuit of the Jimbei captained vessel. Cannonballs are flying everywhere and panic ensues about the gate, both within the Navy and back at the prison with Magellan who is shocked by how events are playing out. The pirate crew is pretty goofy at this point as most seem to have forgotten basic pirating elements since they don't even think to fire back for awhile, but just having everyone out and manning stations awkwardly is a lot of fun.
The best part of this episode for me though is to see Bon-chan pull another one out of the hat as he works up a really good plan to help move things along. Bon-chan has been such a strong supporter of Luffy since forever now and the time they've spent together in Impel Down has only drawn them closer. Both of them are goofy yet pure hearted souls that would do anything for someone. With what he's done here and what we see in the flashbacks, it's really pushed hard that Luffy and Bon-chan will do anything for each other, even at risk of their own life. Some of the impact is lost in one of their conversations when you have the pirates behind Luffy and they're wearing their prison outfits but with stockings and garters, but overall it's a great sequence as we understand exactly what kind of plan Bon-chan had in mind for his friend. After nearly sacrificing himself to save Luffy before when it came to getting him healed from the poison, it's no surprise that he'll go even further.
While there are segments of the Impel Down arc that were drawn out more than I cared for, I'm surprised as how quickly this particular part of the arc has played out. But it's been done with such an over the top dramatic set piece, especially in the last couple of minutes, that it's all worthwhile. Impel Down has really made me a big fan of certain characters I haven't card for from the early episodes that I'm watching on DVD, but now I want to see more of Buggy and Bon-chan than I do the Straw Hat crew outside of Luffy. So the end of this episode has me wondering how the show will progress from here. I love that disparate crew that they now have together and there's so much potential for fun and excitement here with where they can go.
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.