The battle rages on and some surprises definitely enter the picture as the pirates and Navy fight on.
What They Say
The battle rages on as showdown after showdown re-opens old rivalries and creates new ones! But Luffy's battle with Smoker hits a climax as an old friend comes to the rescue - one who shocks the Navy and Warlords alike!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While this particular arc had a bit of a slow start with things, One Piece has been giving fans what they want for the most part since then. Action, action and more action tied with the emotional context we saw between Luffy and Ace as well as reaffirming things with Garp. Losses are building up on all sides and for Ace, watching all of this happen in front of him while he's chained to the ground, unable to get anyone to stop or end it in any way, is simply brutal. It's the kind of situation that means so very much to him in a way, but he doesn't want it to happen, doesn't want to see all of this carnage over him taking place.
Another part of what makes this arc so much fun, especially for those who have faithfully followed the whole series, is seeing various people come across each other again or for the first time. And a lot of that fun for me comes in watching Buggy deal with what's thrown his way. When he comes across Whitebeard, someone he so completely fears because he's not stupid, his crew of prisoners gets the best of him again and he ends up challenging him, though it works out in a fairly amusing way. Buggy was the pirate I hated the most at the start of the series, enough so that I fell out of the show for awhile, but he's completely redeemed himself since Impel Down. He's gone over the edge here for a number of reasons and seeing how he's being manipulated is rather amusing in total.
Some of the battles are interesting to be sure, though most of what we get are the grunts running around and a lot of movement as traps are figured out and new maneuvers are planned. One of the creepier battles with an Admiral I don't care for is between Jimbei and Moria. Moria's the kind that uses his own guys to power himself, which you'd think would be against how the Navy would work, but many of the powered men and women on the Navy side are obviously just as cruel as the pirates. It doesn't help that he has a generally creepy look about him to begin with and his personality is even worse. It fits in with the way that many of the pirates are being shown as being more honorable though, at least in their own way, and again highlighting that much of the upper echelons of the Navy have gone bad over the years for various reasons.
The rematch between Smoker and Luffy is one that I've been looking forward to since it was one that I did enjoy back in the Alabasta arc when the two first met. Though it's kept to the end of this episode, it does start off well and brings in Hancock as well which throws off people considering her position. With her adoration of Luffy, she's a wildcard that some in the Navy hadn't thought about and it could be a pivotal role in the battle for Luffy. This episode does a lot with old rivalries and new ones, bringing so many characters together that may not have shared time on screen before, or even met prior to this, but it's the kind of arc that has the potential to shake things up even more. Right now we're in the midst of the action and it's well balanced by the character motivations and histories as well as the emotional weight of Ace who you can't help but to feel really badly for.
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.