Little Ace and Little Luffy continues, but it's not all sunshine and lollipops.
What They Say:
Luffy has discovered Ace and Sabo's secret pirate treasure, and the two decide that the only way to keep Luffy quiet is to silence him - forever! They may not have a chance to put their plan into action, however, as Bluejam's crew finds Luffy and tortures him to find where the treasure is hidden. Will Luffy betray Ace and Sabo and tell the pirates where the treasure is? His life hangs in the balance!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching the previous episode, it almost felt like it was a little too soon to be giving us some flashback material to Luffy's youth ten years prior when he first met Ace. Granted, it's been several episodes since we saw Ace die, but we haven't had much in the present with Luffy after that being conscious and actually dealing with the events that transpired. I want to see how he's going to work through it and his reactions. And after seeing Ace die, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to spend a lot of time with his younger self just yet either. It's not exactly a raw feeling, and it doesn't feel wrong, it just feels out of place at this stage.
This episode shows further progress on the relationship between the two, though it does also show that Ace is very much going on with his own business and keeping Luffy away from him as he goes after other pirates that are out there and builds up his own booty. There's a really interesting no mans land of sort called the Grey Terminal where it's filled with debris and has a very murky and foggy look about it where less than savory events occur. While that is a big part of it, for the young boys of Ace and Luffy, it has a sort of magical feeling that's really engaging since it's like a whole wide world of adventure, especially for Luffy, while Ace treats it seriously. Especially when comparing his score with his friend Sabo, who is also ten years old. It's interesting to see someone that Ace is fairly open and free with as the two of them build their treasure chest together to achieve the dream they share of escaping the East Blue.
Naturally, the pair end up getting into much bigger trouble with one of the people that Ace swiped some treasure from and that has the pirates making their way into the land to find them. Luffy's the one that's found though and he's roughed up by them to try and find their prey. Prey that is quickly moving their treasure since they don't want Luffy to know where it is since he came across them. What the episode paints is just how loyal Luffy really is to Ace with the way he takes on the beating he gets (which might have been less if he was a better liar), and highlights the kind of suffering he'd go through even at a young age. It's fairly brutal, but it's the kind of life that he grew up with and survived. It says a lot about his personality in the present with the way he smiles so much but metes out justice when required yet still engages in proper pirate adventures. It certainly makes him a bit more of a complicated pirate.
Though I'm still somewhat undecided on the use of Ace so soon after his death in a youth based flashback, the adventure here is a good bit of fun and it really does showcase the kinds of things that define Luffy as a person in the present. There's some real fun to be had here in watching Ace and Sabo but especially with Luffy as he plays the younger type tagging along and trying to include himself in someone he really idolizes in a youthful way that's very special to watch. They do bring in a fair bit of brutality to it, something that you can definitely understand in context when you have hardened pirates wanting their treasure back, and it sets things up to really make an impact when Ace gets to seeing the results of all of their actions. You really feel for Luffy as this progresses and it really makes him even more of an interesting character.
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.