With the trap sprung, the only thing to do is roll with it and try to turn the tide back in their favor.
What They Say:
As the assembled pirate army is finally boxed in and it seems as though there is no hope, Luffy and the others, in order to save Ace, have to rush into the face of danger risking their own lives. Luckily for Ace, Oars' dying wish to save him may yet come true.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Every time things seem like they've hit a peak point in how it can go, the battle takes things one step further. The encircling of the pirates in the bay with the massive walls, coming at the same time as all visuals are cut off to the outside world where the revelation was made about the deal between Whitebeard and the Navy, only adds to how much of a powder keg everything is. The ending to the previous episode was quite well done, particularly in showing Oars' sacrifice has a lasting impact even into the next round of the fight. The look on Ace's face as the realization of why the wall didn't rise completely was very powerful.
What it all leads into is, after a bit of chit chat on the outside world about what's going on, is a strong turning of the tide of the battle. Akainu's ability to generate the lava balls of fire has him throwing it down hard within the bay, creating massive amounts of steam, thawing the ice quickly and generally making a huge amount of chaos and destruction. The tension that it creates is palpable, especially when you have the Kuma-army standing along one side and the walls with cannons ringing around everyone. The fight has had some good crests since it began with powerful moments every few episodes, but with this move, everything gets raised even higher and it all flows well and makes sense. It's an edge of your seat move that has you glued to the screen to see how it will go next.
One of the big draws to this arc, outside of the action that continues to escalate, is the way it highlights the bonds of these pirates so well. So many have them have put their lives on the line to rescue one person and they do it with so much emotion and intensity at times. While they do try to do it logically, sometimes they get forced into bad situations where they can only just push forward into a slaughter. Yet their need to rescue Ace, even as ships they've sailed on for years are sunk around them, is overpowering and they do it without a real second thought. As difficult as it is for Ace to watch all of this, it's powerfully humbling to him as well especially as he knows he would do the same for any of them in a similar situation. While he wants them to stop, he knows they won't. And in the midst of all of this, seeing Luffy taking it even more personally only adds to the emotions of the arc.
In a sense, little progress is really made in this episode for the gang in getting closer to Ace. They've been stymied heavily by this latest encircling trap they've been forced into and the battlefield has changed for a good portion of it due to the ice melting quickly and the destruction of ships. As a stage setter for the way the arc goes next, it does a nice job since it puts Luffy into a spot of trouble that juts reinforces how intent he is. The ending minute or two with him facing off against the assembled Navy men is intense and really gives you the need to see the next episode right away. The Marineford arc continues to top Impel Down for me though I wish it had just a bit more Luffy to it. This episode gets us moving more in that direction.
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.