An unleashed Hancock is one of the scariest things in this series so far.
What They Say
In the heat of the battlefield, Boa Hancock's true love blossoms in the nick of time, the shocking secret of Bartholomew Kuma's transformation is revealed, and a dark sword's blade may be all that stands between Luffy and saving Ace.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One Piece rolls through the lengthy fight sequence pretty well in this episode again as there's a good number of things going on. The one that was the most exciting to see in the previous episode was to watch Hancock step out of her zone and launch herself after where Luffy is once he was getting attacked. She's got such a love for him, one that's so intense since her introduction a few arcs back, that seeing Smoker attacking him has her attacking Smoker to save her beloved. Luffy's attitude towards her is so innocent after that, especially when she gives him a key, that you can imagine her, um, exploding with joy once he wraps his entire body around her in thanks. It's so priceless, especially the reaction others have to seeing her cope with it.
Hancock and Luffy as bride and groom is priceless. And she still stands as the only woman in the series that I think really works with Luffy in a way as well where I'd actually want to see something progress there. She's got it really bad for Luffy but she has the confidence to pull it off, especially considering what it may cost her with her position, but she amusingly says she can do whatever she wants because she's beautiful. And many of the Navy men enthusiastically agree. Though the segment is pretty comical overall as it fills up the first half of the episode, it hits all the right notes to balance the more serious material playing out around it. It provided the right material to compensate for the darker moments when Luffy catches up with Ivankov who is facing off against Doflamingo and Kuma.
This piece has some revelations to it about Kuma made by Doflamingo who talks about how Kuma signed up voluntarily to become a human weapon under government direction, giving the feeling that he's nowhere near the same person he was before on a couple of different levels. Since Ivankov and Kuma have a past of sorts, it pushes Ivankov to really do what he can to try and draw it out of him while using it as a chance to give Luffy a chance to get closer to rescuing Ace. It's also an opportunity to show off other fights going on across the bay, such as Crocodile's move further in and his meeting against Doflamingo as well as the creative way that Mister Three has managed to miss some of the fight after events got a bit overwhelming for them. There's even a really nice call back to someone we haven't seen for an age as Luffy gets closer to his next fight.
One Piece really does continue to amaze me in how it's able to keep up the energy in an arc like this so effectively. Riding off of the really strong Impel Down storyline and then having some side stories while taking their time getting to the Navy headquarters, it still managed to show enough things to build up the momentum. And once it hits its stride, as the battle got underway and then Luffy and his new crew showed up, it just went over the top. There's so many characters here, so many intertwined relationships and fights, grudges and more from the past seeping into it that it's the kind of fight that can go on for a long time and still be exciting. This episode has some great material and continues to make Hancock one of my favorite characters, one that I want to see more of.
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.