Luffy inches ever closer to Ace but has to deal with some of the really powerful adversaries now.
What They Say
'Hawk-Eye' appears to be a more worthy opponent than Luffy may have first imagined. Will he be able to stand in the way of Ace's rescue? Even if Luffy can make it past him, however, the true horror of the Navy's secret plan is finally revealed... To what lengths will the Navy go to preserve "justice"?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One Piece has been rolling along nicely for awhile now with this particular segment of the arc, once it got past all the chest thumping as each side looked at each other. The fights have gone well and while hardcore fans may quibble about animation quality per episode, it's come across pretty well with the streaming window I have and everything has looked good. The fights have gotten more intense and the last episode gave us a lot of Hancock love and fun as she took to the fight to defend her precious Luffy. And that Luffy is now inching ever closer to Ace but he has to deal with Mihawk, someone he hasn't seen in an age who certainly has his connections with a number of people that Luffy arrived with.
Like many of the more powerful characters on either side, Mihawk really gets to shine when he gets into it, and in a way he really shows off here by using his sword to slice an entire ice ridge in half from quite the distance. It's a neat little visual piece that certainly freaks out both sides as you can see a ton of large chunks of ice all over the place. This allows the view to change for a bit as well and we get to see lots of other little events going on, such as Doflamingo trying to convince Crocodile to work with him on the new era of pirates or seeing Hancock view everything again through the eyes of love which is positively priceless. Her rose colored lenses are a fun highlight to a series that, from my experience, really avoids much to do with romance. Even Buggy gets some time as he's now wearing a Marine hat with an X through it that make him look even more fun and amusing than before.
One thing that is explored here, at least in a top level sense, is the way Luffy is able to draw so many people to his side and cause. The number of them that step in to help out during this sequence alone is pretty good with Jimbei and others trying to distract away Mihawk from killing him. Even Mihawk is impressed by this ability, something that you really don't see often to this great extent that Luffy is able to engender. Of course, some help out involuntarily like Buggy who gets all sliced up from here and back by Mihawk which gives Luffy a running chance for a bit. Buggy's encounter with Mihawk is a good spot of fun and a nice lull almost in the midst of things.
The scope and scale of this battle continues to go up, though sometimes in notches rather than large amounts, as we see so many people engaging in fighting for so many different reasons. But it's a very human fight as Luffy is continually pushed back from reaching his goal of Ace, who is kept to a minimum this episode. That works nicely as the focus is on others for a bit and as the Navy unleashes its ultimate secrete plan that has been hinted at for a bit. This serves the episode well towards the end as it gives us a bit of quiet dread as it's revealed, making you wonder just how badly things will go from here on out. And that just means either an even more intense battle to come or a quick fix to get us past it all. Both would be quite interesting I think.
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.