Warlords, Admirals and pirates, oh my!
What They Say
As Luffy and the others speed along to Marineford, we have a special retrospective look at The Seven Warlords of the Sea and the three navy admirals who are waiting for him. With so many powerful personalities on the scene, what trouble is brewing for Luffy and the others?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The special retrospective series continues, unsurprisingly at this point, as we get more things that help to flesh out the world and cast in general before moving on to the next thing. We've had a couple of episodes focusing on the Straw Hats we haven't seen outside of the movie side story about thirty episodes ago which was pretty darn awful. These haven't been bad but they've definitely felt weak overall even if you're only mildly familiar with the world. The single character stories should have had their own full episodes instead of half episodes so they could really give each of them some time to have fun and do something a bit more involved.
This episode does a fair amount of flashbacks to it with a bit of new animation mixed into it. The goal here is to talk about who may be some critical characters in the upcoming arc so that we can get reacquainted with them. It firsts focuses on the Warlords of the Sea, such as Bartholomew Kuma who had been the one to send the Straw Hats scattered across the seas to different lands. Having just read that chapter in the manga, it was nice to see it even briefly in animated form. Mihawk has a bit of time spent as well as we see him use his intense powers to destroy ships with his Hawk-Eye as he goes up against Zoro for the first time. Less familiar is the Thriller Bark arc characters which I haven't gotten to yet and Boa Hancock. I've only read Hancock's introduction in the manga but haven't seen how close she and Luffy have gotten, though it's good to see the recap of their first meeting here to see her being so dramatic as well as seeing her sisters.
The episode also spends some time with a few of the Navy admirals who have made appearances before and will be involved in the Marineford storyline. Each of the three are given a couple of minutes to showcase some of their fights in the past so we can get familiar, for the first time or again for those who haven't seen them in a bit, with their powers and style. What continues to amuse me is that as the series has gone on, and it was obvious from the start at times as well, that the Navy folks are just as weird and unusual as the pirates out there. Devil fruits abound and you'd think there'd be some form of purity within Navy ranks, but it's an interesting approach to bring some of them in to take on a role within the Navy as well. That it makes a huge chunk of the Navy look like the yakuza is just an unfortunate byproduct.
Special retrospective episodes can go so many different ways. While the character pieces for the Straw Hats were annoying because they were short and really felt like filler, these that deal with mostly recap moments are a bit worse. There's the advantage for someone like me who is missing about three hundred episodes worth of the series, but even then they don't really give you a whole lot to work with here. It's good to see the varied situations I have to look forward to in the seasons I'm watching on DVD, but it doesn't really prepare me well for the next arc if they have a significant presence in it. This episode isn't bad but it's just sort of there for me with no real impact one way or the other.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.