One Piece Episode 761
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 761 of
One Piece ?
So the story of this arc so far has included a lot of sitting around and flashing back to the events on Zou shortly before Luffy's half of the crew arrived. So far we've learned that Kaido's pirate crew, a section led by Jack, went on a rampage in search of the absentee ninja named Raizo (friends with the Straw Hats' ally, Kin'nemon). Jack's onslaught was so vicious that it left the Dukes Dogstorm and Cat Viper near death and each missing a limb. It also ended with a poison weapon going off and nearly killing many of the Minks before Jack had to leave to rescue Doflamingo from the Navy.
This is where Sanji's half of the Straw Hats arrive. We learn that the crew's local hostage, Caesar Clown, was responsible for making the poison that Jack and company used. I tend to half-joke (but maybe I'm not actually joking) that I want to see Caesar join the Straw Hat crew at the end of some kind of redemption arc, but this scene felt suspiciously directed at me, reminding the audience that Caesar is a remorseless, scummy villain. The creepy music revels in his skeevy-ness and we get a debriefing scene where all the Straw Hats sit around in a circle and take turns explaining all the different ways that he's a jerk. I just want this beautiful, gassy man to be deserving of love, dang it!
The episode features a lot of Caesar begrudgingly aiding Chopper in coming up with a treatment for the poison, and they make a real fun duo. The crew, currently consisting of Sanji, Nami, Chopper, Brook and their tagalongs, Caesar and Momonosuke, all work together to restore the Minks back to health, using their trademark talents in a nice and cozy montage. This story mostly serves to explain why the Minks are so trusting and friendly with the Straw Hats.
I was really happy to see just how on-model this whole episode looked. In most shows that's a given, but One Piece always had some difficulty with consistency. Every shot of every character looks "right", like the way you imagine them in your mind's eye. If more episodes looked like this people wouldn't feel so down on the anime's modern art style. This isn't an especially animation-intensive episode either, so I wonder if a balance like this could be manageable for Toei on a more frequent basis. With this show, it's always hard to tell what's the result of time constraints, directorial decisions, or animator skill/effort. Both this episode and the last are good "bare minimum" goalposts I would want this show to follow. Either a messier but thoughtfully-directed episode like last week, or a very well held together one like this week. "Neither" just happens too often for my comfort.
Production aside, the star of this episode is definitely Wanda. When the crew happens upon the dying Minks, it's Wanda who attacks in teary desperation, thinking that these new people are just more of Jack's men. We get a great One Piece-patented ugly cry scene from her, and both the voice acting and art are at a 10/10. Wanda's design is in this perfect middle ground between human and animal (her being a dog Mink and all), which really comes through in this scene.
There also seems to be a lot of love between Nami and Wanda. Nami was the one who held her off when she attacked at her most desperate state, and since then the two have grown close. There's a noteworthy moment where Wanda is garchuu~ing Nami in the present day, and Nami seems pretty into it. There's a ton of evidence in this show that lets you headcanon Nami as super gay, and it's always cute to see. Speaking of Mink love, Pedro the sexy Jaguar man has been given an Antonio Banderas-esque voice that comes across even in Japanese. I know some friends who are pretty into Pedro so it's fun to see Toei be so aware of that. (Also, I've been told that Pedro and Wanda's VAs are Mustang and Hawkeye from FMA: Brotherhood respectively? So there's a nice bit of trivia.) The Minks are total furries, though they're still very Oda-like furries instead of your usual Dreamworks or Disney kind. Even if that's not what you're into, the show is so casual and inviting about it that it's hard not to like. I'm a Carrot guy all the way.
This is a pretty feel-good episode. It's nice to see more of the non-Dressrosa crew interacting again as the interim flashbacks get a little more interesting. The episode ends us off on Luffy and the gang off to meet the Cat Viper, now that they've met Dogstorm, and the next episode preview teases the explanation as to why Sanji is currently missing. That's the big mystery that still hasn't been addressed since the beginning of this arc, so hopefully we'll get to see some exciting stuff.
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