One Piece Episode 711
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 711 of
One Piece ?
So, no one's really hiding the fact that One Piece is in a tough place these days, pacing-wise. Since we're adapting a weekly manga that had to take a lot of breaks over the last few years, the gap between where the TV show and comic are at in the story is as small as ever. Unfortunately, that means in order to keep the anime from overlapping the manga, Toei either has to introduce filler or pad the material at hand out even further than they normally would. This is all basic stuff that any fan of shonen anime is already aware of and has likely made peace with, but I feel like it's important to mention this week because that's… mostly all we have to talk about.
This episode mostly consists of the aftermath of Sai and Lao G's fight and cutaways to the same fights we've been watching from an arm's length for dozens of episodes now. I'd say the most screen time gets awarded to Luffy and Bellamy's continued smack talk as Bellamy winds up his big finishing move, which still has not concluded. We even re-revisit those re-animated flashbacks I liked so much from few episodes ago. Again. It's not the most refreshing episode.
The way this section of the story worked in the manga was that each chapter would focus on the victory of one of the good guys. It was pretty patience-testing week-to-week considering just how many good guys there were, but the effect that Eiichiro Oda was going for was very clear: He wanted a sense of momentum when read in tankobon formant. When you read the chapters in succession (as you would in a collected volume), each chapter would carry the energy of the last, leading up to Zoro and Pica's enormous finale before letting the energy reset for Luffy vs. Doflamingo.
Suffice it to say, this has always been a difficult proposition for the anime adaptation in general. You could read this entire series of fights in manga-form in the time it would take you to watch one or two episodes. There's a lot of room for the individual fights to be entertaining and exciting (something the show has succeeded at for the two demonstrated so far) but that sense of momentum got shot pretty quickly. Nothing happens in this episode. No victory, no interesting details, just the same cutaways to a bunch of fights that are exactly where we left them.
I'll often defend the pace of the anime because, most of the time, it holds up surprisingly okay. The fact that the individual manga chapters are so dense means that adapting them can go pretty smoothly without resorting to DBZ-style staring contests too often, but every now and then fate just isn't kind to this show. There's some pretty spiffy animation this week (lots of cool, thick outlines) but the fact that this is the second episode in recent memory that you can pretty much skip without missing a beat has me a little heartbroken.
Most of the content in this episode is taken from the manga, with the more innocuous scenes from multiple different chapters being frankensteined together, so if you're the kind of One Piece fan who worries about canon being represented to that granular of a level, it's all there. However, as a piece of entertainment it's all filler to me.
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