The shock of events starts to settle in and Luffy begins to lose his connection to reality.
What They Say:
Ace has made the greatest sacrifice in order to save his brother, Luffy. At the site of his "son's" death, Whitebeard unleashes the full might of his power on Navy HQ - but things get more complicated with the arrival of some horrible villains as the walls of Navy HQ crumble!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the events of the previous episode, it's pretty damn hard to follow it up with anything too big right away. One Piece appropriately gives us some quiet time to digest things within the show as we see a mixture of thoughts from Luffy's point of view as he remembers childhood days with Ace involving them playing together and the firmness of Ace saying that he'll never die and leave Luffy alone. It's a heartbreaking sequence in its own right, but also for the small piece we see of Garp where he recalls being asked to watch over and protect Ace. You can see just how much it affects him from such a brief moment and it looks as if it may call into question what he's done up until this point because of what's happened. At the least, Ace appears to have passed on peacefully as he lays there in front of Luffy with what seems to be a smile on his face. The love between these two is so strong, which is why Luffy is completely losing it at this point.
What's not dealt with for the first half of the episode is what Whitebeard's reaction to all of this is. With what they all went through to free Ace, and with Ace certainly being one of his special sons, Whitebeard is going to snap in the opposite way of Luffy and even as wounded as he is, he's going all out on Akainu who still intends to take out Luffy as well. Akainu has rarely shown fear of any kind that I can remember but up against Whitebeard, he's not as certain as he has been in the past, though it doesn't stop him from going full throttle against him. Whitebeard has had his share of powerful moments in this arc, but the rage of a 'father' over the death of his son is very strong here as he intends to stop Akainu and have his revenge.
It's the kind of event that really puts everything on the line as the two go against each other and nothing that happens to Whitebeard will stop him. Though he's not excessively bloody, watching him unleash his rage, cutting down Navy men wherever they stand while everyone else gets away is a powerful moment. He's at that stage where nothing will stop him from letting it all be felt through his fists and weapons. The visuals are certainly powerful as he stands here, bloodied and bruised, gaping holes in his body, as he deals out his vengeance. There's only one thing that appears to be able to slow him down in his tracks at this point and that's the sudden arrival from the ruins of Blackbeard, along with quite a few other 'horrible villains' so evil they've been erased from existence by the Navy with San Juan Wolf, Avalo Pizarro, Vasco Shot and Catarina Devon standing with him. And tying back to the Impel Down storyline, Shiryu finally rears his head as well, which totally throws the direction of this storyline up in the air..
One Piece certainly has a difficult choice in deciding what kind of episode to have after something so dramatic, but I think they mostly nailed it pretty well. Taking the time to let it sink in that Ace has died, watching Luffy spiral into despair and to see Akainu doing what he can to eliminate him is all the right moves. Letting Whitebeard finally cut loose is definitely a required moment, but it felt a bit restrained overall, even with the powerful moments it has. There's a good deal of action through the second half of the episode here that works well, though you really want to see him more bloodied and causing a lot more specific blows against people, but it's the ending that makes you pull up and stop, much like Whitebeard, with wonder as to what's going to happen next. One Piece hits all the right marks with this episode with what it really needed to do and sets up for some potentially huge moments still to come.
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.