It must be nearing Christmas because Hancock's chest size just grew a few sizes.
What They Say:
Garp, who trained Luffy from a young age to be a great Navy soldier, stands toe to toe with his grandson who has chosen to defy his grandfather's wishes to become a pirate. Now the two are pitted against each other with Ace's life in the balance, while Fleet Admiral Sengoku looks on - and finally shows the world his astounding powers!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Luffy's struggle to get closer to Ace has been a hard fought path and he's faced a number of powerful and intense obstacles. Some of them have been more personal than others, but along the entire way he's been focused solely on getting to Ace and setting him free before he's executed. As he gets ever closer, and essentially just about there, the biggest challenge he has to face may be there in the form of Garp, his grandfather. Garp's role has always been one I found fascinating since he's the big man on campus within the Navy yet has these boys in his life who have become well known and powerful pirates in their own right. And he knew this from the start, especially with Luffy, who has wanted to be the king of pirates since he was a little boy.
With the two just about to face off, it's not surprising in the least that we get a fair number of flashback sequences to when Luffy was but a small lad and Garp has black hair instead of the heavy grays he has now. The two have had a number of flashbacks over the years to their relationship at this stage and each time you see it, you can't help but to really enjoy it as they're so close and comfortable with each other. Contrasting that to the present where the two have to face off in a very serious manner, and with Garp conflicted in a way because he must fight him in order to push him into saving Ace, it's positively Shakespearian in its nature and comes with all the emotional intensity that you'd expect. You can feel for Luffy pretty often, but here is where Garp truly shines and helps to raise the emotional level of the series.
What has been lacking in this arc is seeing how Ace is truly feeling. He's hated to see everyone fighting for him, bleeding and dying for something he doesn't want. But watching the fight between Garp and Luffy has woken him up some and we get a bit more of his mindset as he reveals that he really does want to live now, to be a part of all of this that's going on. His anguish has been apparent from the start, but that's all that we've seen out of him and it's felt like he really needed to emote more, even just internally, with all that was playing out in front of him. Of course, everything's about to go to the next level as Sengoku isn't exactly the type to just let things happen in front of him. Some of it feels overly forced, especially with the key, but the humor that comes out of it in a surprising twist is simply spot on and eases the tension in just the right way. At least for a moment'
One Piece hits so many amusing and good points here, from Buggy to Mister Three on top of all the fun with Hancock and her magic breasts that you can't help but to smile and enjoy it. Having Luffy finally reach the top of the execution stand, to finally be able to put his hands on his brother, is a huge moment and the culmination of a very large fight. Not that we're at the end of it as this is just setting things for the next stage, but it's all tied together so well and with such an interesting and complicated emotional context that it really manages to keep you completely enraptured in a way many shows can't. And it's done that for dozens upon dozens of episodes now which only speaks of the real power and allure of One Piece. If there is a series that deserves the title of series of the decade, it's One Piece.
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.