One Piece must own some heavy stock in dramatic pauses.
What They Say
Oars makes the final sacrifice to try to save his friend from execution - but as the Navy puts into play its secret strategy, it may be too late. Meanwhile Garp shows his true colors and a shocking surprise visit falls... from the sky!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The massive fight in One Piece really picked up in the last episode while still giving us a bit of decent character material. Seeing Ace watch all the carnage being waged around him because of him is crushing, but watching his friend Oars take on significant damage in the fight, combined with the flashbacks showing us the bonds that the two have and why Oars is reaching as hard as he is, adds some good impact to it. The result of that particular fight is at the start here with some good dramatic moments, even though it has a few too many dramatic pauses, as Oars goes the distance to help out his friend no matter the sacrifice.
The battle plays out pretty well across the episode with some nice little moments along the way. Coby and his friend are desperate to get away for good reason as they watch such overpowered individuals being taken down left and right around them, but it goes against the Naval code and orders from above so they could easily be accused of deserting even though they're just trying to find a safe place. When they see another soldier getting dealt with for doing what they're doing, it makes the whole situation even more precarious for them. But the hints of something larger about to happen is brought out and even Whitebeard starts to sense that the Navy has something in the works as an ace up their sleeve.
We do get a nice flashback in the midst of things when Ace's grandfather shows up and sits next to him as he watches what's going on. The flashback to when both Ace and Luffy were kids and talking about wanting to go to sea, though not explicitly as a pirate. Luffy tends to say it more and Ace doesn't want his future determined. The depth of their relationship and the pain between grandfather and grandson is really well done here as Ace continues to cope with it all. Garp's role in it as the grandfather is surprisingly good, even if it is a bit overdone and hammy in a way, as it gives the whole moment a layer of emotion that's needed since there are so many people involved in so many different ways.
One Piece hits a really high point here with some of the characters in how they handle the layering of it all. From the sacrifices of many to the fear of others and how they cope it, all of it plays out under Ace's view which wounds him more than anything that could be done to him by the Navy with weapons or torture. The action is pretty solid here when it's used and we get a number of the pirates showing off a bit, such as the ice breaking ship, but it's the character material itself such as Ace and Garp that makes it stand out even more. Of course, the final minute of the episode brings a massive smile to my face as it brings this fight to the next level even as the Navy is about to unleash the next phase of their defense and attempt at taking down some of the more troublesome pirates.
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.