One little Kuma, two little Kuma's, three little Kuma's, a whole army of little Kuma's, oh my!
What They Say
The Navy's human weapons continue to force the allied pirate army into a corner while the full complexity of the Navy's plan is revealed. Only the solidarity of the pirate army will save Ace from execution, but that solidarity is in question as one of the most shocking events of the war unfolds!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With an arc like this one, similar to Impel Down to be sure, raising the stakes every couple of episodes is a necessity in order to strengthen the challenge and keep the viewer really wondering what will come next. With the end of the previous episode, the introduction of a fairly significant army of Kuma's walking onto the stage, it was certainly an attention getting feature. With the original Kuma being a significant enough threat, one that Luffy and the others had a hard enough time with before on Sabaody, seeing this many of them appear is enough to really make them all take notice and the Sabaody residents themselves watching this through the monitors are certainly surprised and concerned by this.
The Kuma force is pretty indiscriminate as well, since it's essentially a gambit kind of last resort weapon. Throwing them into the mix of pirates and Navy men that are fighting, the Navy men themselves aren't in any better of a position since they'll get caught in the crossfire with no remorse or concern by the Kuma's. And even as this new element of carnage plays out, there's a significant amount of other fights in play that are keeping things entertaining as well. Mihawk has found himself going up against the master swordsman of the Whitebeard pirates and Smoker is in his standoff against Hancock that's been interesting to watch. And in the midst of all of this, most of it is getting aired so that a lot of the population can see it, though I'm not entirely clear how far it's getting.
And that aspect is something that is wonderfully taken advantage of by Buggy who is presenting himself as a legendary pirate for them all to see. He's actually looking pretty good while wearing a converted Navy coat and taking on a very serious role, though it ends up going for comedy instead. But the whole incident is pushing the Navy command structure into a fit since it exposes things they don't want to everyone to see. Sengoku's pushed past his tolerance limits with everything and seeing him get a bit frantic is welcome after all the time spent with him looking on with a sage and wise look as if everything was going according to his plan.
The introduction of the Kuma army certainly adds a lot more darkness to this episode since they're an oppressive force. Unfortunately, they don't really add a whole lot to the episode outside of the first few minutes of carnage as they lack the presence and threat of the Kuma we've seen for awhile. They're an interesting addition but feel like a much scaled down version of the original. Beyond that, there's a lot of good action and stories being touched on and Buggy really steals the show once again before it all turns very serious at the end with scenes that definitely put you on the edge of your seat for the next weeks episode. With Luffy being mostly out of the picture this episode, not a bad thing really, we get a lot of ground covered and some straightforward setup moments before it gets ready to move things into the next gear and really start going to town. One Piece continues to be the most exciting show I watch week to week and this episode is no exception.
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.