With a most perfect airdrop occurring at the end of the last episode, it's time for One Piece to kick it up a few notches.
What They Say
Luffy comes face to face with Ace after we learn how the crew "fell" into the battle. But before Ace can be saved, Crocodile makes his move against Whitebeard!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The battles so far at the Navy Headquarters has been a lot of fun, if lacking in connection for me for some of it because of a lack of familiarity with some of the characters. But there's been a great deal of emotion throughout and a lot of fun with the fights because of the diversity and the scale of it. A lot of heart came through with Ace and Garp in the last episode which, while slowing things down, added the right tenor to the events as he's been forced there to watch all of this happen because of what happened to him and it's not just gnawing at him, it's consuming him, especially after watching Oars go down so hard and brutally. But the idea that things are going to change, and quickly, happens right at the end of the last episode with Luffy and his gang suddenly appearing. Very suddenly considering they were just moving right along the last time we saw them.
Watching how they went from racing right along to suddenly being airborne is pretty priceless as Whitebeard's wave caught them and they ended up riding along the top of a tsunami. It's wholly appropriate, especially the fear you get from some of them like Luffy with the real fear of water overall that he has. Having it all turn to ice, as we saw in the battle previously, right above the HQ only adds to the amusement as they try to figure out the best way to get back down, only to have it all go to typical Luffy levels and it comes crashing down hard as we saw at the end of the last episode. There's a lot of humor in watching it all play out as well as the way the incident is being broadcast around the seas as well since there's such an unexpected incredulous incident like this playing out with a ship falling from the sky.
Luffy's arrival is most definitely a game changer for many. Considering how many of these Navy Admirals, captains and Warlords he's come across so far, seeing him standing in the middle of it all is a shocking moment, especially when word was that he was captured at Impel Down. There are some longstanding grudges here as well, which is made worse when they realize that he's not with his normal crew and has quite the diverse group of escaped prisoners with their own varied histories with the Navy on his side, as well as other pirates. And agreements that have been made among Luffy's current crew are essentially over and that adds a new level of excitement to it as plans and plots by some of those start to come to light. And even worse, Luffy makes it plain to Whitebeard what he intends to be one day which adds another dimension to the fight that makes you grin like a fool.
One Piece continues to find the perfect balance between the humor and serious material, going only to the right level of overdramatic when required. There's been a fair bit of humor along the way since the start of the Impel Down storyline in the main show, excluding the side stories and fillers, and that's helped to keep it light while still focusing on the serious nature of what Luffy is trying to do. While Luffy's gotten close to Ace before, when the two come across each other in the midst of this carnage, it's a powerfully charged moment that has the right emotion and tension to it while also making it clear the stakes are raised. Luffy's crew from Impel Down being added to the fight is a great bit of a wild card that I can't wait to see how it plays out even more, especially with what Crocodile makes clear upon their arrival.
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.