I would not wish what happens to Sanji upon anyone.
What They Say
Further information about the friends' whereabouts! Sanji learns to relax and be himself - but what happens might surprise you! Chopper puts himself on the line for a new-found friend - with hopes that one day the friend will return the favor!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the time running short to get to Navy Headquarters before Ace is publicly executed, Luffy and the ragtag crew he's put together is racing there as quickly as they can. So what better time to do a couple of side stories with some of the other main cast of characters we haven't seen in real continuity for what, almost six months now? The last episode gave us a nice look at Nami's side story as she's continuing to train and expand her skills while we also had a Franky story which didn't do much for me because it was the first time I'd seen him in the show and there wasn't enough of a point of reference for it to work for me.
Sanji's story is fairly cute as he's got himself on an island where it's filled with all sorts of cute and girly things with a pink magical kingdom, one that looks to have been a creation of Ivankov if you go by a portrait that he runs into. Sanji's plainly disturbed by this turn of events as all these hugely manly women are chasing after him and the queen is just a stand-in for the real one and they're all intent on making Sanji happy with being in this particular place. His efforts to get away have him caught up with the stand-in and she ends up arranging a fight for him to participate in so he can find his happiness. Unfortunately, this means he has to fight in one of their costumes and he gets all girly'd up in a really bad way that's just awful to watch. It's like a really bad hyper version of Ivankov's New Karma Land segment where Sanji's stuck in a terrible dream from which he can't wake up from.
Sanji's not the only one we get to spend some time with though, similar to the previous episode, as we alos have Chopper spending some time on the Birdie Island where life has turned hard for him with constant fighting. The number of times he's nearly been eaten or cooked looks to be pretty high, but his life has turned amusing as he's now taken to caring for a chick that's the size of a small house. Chopper's done well in providing for the chick that has fallen from a great height away from its nest and going after all the food has helped him keep up his skills. The goal is simple in that he's just waiting for the bird to be able to fly, but there's also a hope that he can fly with the bird in order to find Luffy and the others. When Chopper is in his tiny form, the two of them are very cute together in how they interact.
One Piece makes me sad this week. Sad because of what they had to put Sanji through as it seems to be just cruel and unusual punishment. Ivankov's tendrils have been sneaking out elsewhere into the show since his introduction, such as the past with Luffy's father, and now he's got an island of followers out there as well. Chopper's story is nice and cute but not without some challenges for the little guy as he deals with raising a chick and worrying over it. Both are light and fluffy pieces of storytelling that are welcome for two reasons. One is that after the intensity of the escape from Impel Down, something like this was needed to ease some of the story pressures. The other is that we really do need to see what the rest of the team is up to. I just wish they had gotten full episode stories and stories that were, well, better at letting them shine and being productive out there while Luffy raided the prison.
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.