With the setup for understanding how big and how important Marineford is, One piece delves into a bit more character background.
What They Say
The execution of Ace looms while we learn more of his secret past and connections to Gold Roger. Meanwhile, Captain Buggy uses no less than the power of heaven to open the way to save Ace! But just as the gang continues on their way, some expected guest show up to complicate matters!!!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The execution draws ever near, with it being three hours away now, which is a step up from the four hours it was for awhile and through all the recap and special episodes. The previous episode did a nice job of explaining about Marineford and some of its history and touching on some character moments for Ace, ending with an important bit of information about his parents to the assembled Navy men, Warlords and Admirals. Revealing him to be a part of the bloodline of the King of Pirates is something that impacts a lot of those watching, likely for a variety of reasons, but it's certainly an important revelation to be made.
While most people are focused on his relation to Roger as being someone who should not be alive as all those associated with him were killed a long time ago, there are those making the connection that it means that Ace is not Luffy's biological brother since Dragon isn't his father. It's very surprising to several of those who have grown to know Luffy, Hancock included. The episode shifts to Ace's days before he was born and when people were being sought out, Roger himself as well when there is word that he was living on a particular island and not acting at all like a pirate but as a father. The roundup is interesting to watch as is the way his mother works furiously internally to keep Ace within her rather than let him be born so as to fool those who are trying to find the child. It isn't explained medically of course, but it gives us the reason why she did it and how Ace slipped through their fingers.
Just as the execution proceedings hit a high point in the revelations, the news comes to them that the Gate has happened and nobody from the control room can be reached. The mystery behind it is just a small part of it all though as Luffy and his crew watch it, mystified that it's happening, before they realize they're getting sucked in to it because of the flow of the ocean when the doors swing open. Even as huge and well defended as Marineford is, it's a moment of absolute beauty when out of the mists come a vast fleet of pirate ships, filled with people that have been seen in the past and all their ornate ships. It's also key that they're allies of Whitebeard but not his men directly, nor the commanders that work under him who have come to go up against the Navy for the sake of Ace.
One Piece gets nicely back on track, especially considering Luffy has barely a couple of lines at best in this episode, as it's getting back to our core storyline. What we get here is a fair bit of history, important stuff to help finish out our understanding of Ace's past and why he's such a hotly sought after person by the Navy, and it begins the frontal attack by those who have likely come to save him, yet without a shot fire yet. It's all about the posture and appearance of power, backed up though it is. Ace has been a fun character from the start but all of this adds some new dimensions to him that has you wanting to go back and look at his past involvement even more. One Piece is a lot of fun here, though it's firmly in the setup stage of what's really going to happen rather than all out action or progression. For a largely exposition filled piece, it's very well done though.
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.