One Piece
Episode 766

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 766 of
One Piece ?

Luffy's got a plan and that plan is to sneak into Big Mom's territory all on his own in an attempt to rescue Sanji. "I'll just be quiet," he says, way overestimating himself. It's an audacious call, but none of the crew's options really put them in a place of ease. Pekoms has just told them that if Sanji goes through with this wedding and marries into Big Mom's family, he'll cease to be a member of the Straw Hat crew, and if Sanji refuses the wedding he'll find the head of somebody close to him in a box as a going away present.

It's hard to express how big of a deal Big Mom is in the One Piece world. She's one of the Four Emperors, the leading pirate captains who claim a majority of the territory in the New World. It's common for this kind of Shonen Jump series to constantly be introducing new villains who outshine the previous "strongest", but this series has been spending the past few hundred episodes building up the fact that characters like Big Mom and Kaido are truly at the very top, and Luffy has already picked long distance fights with both of them. It's been a while since Luffy faced off with somebody way stronger than him, which used to be a signature quality of this series, but the Four Emperors are making me think that time is coming up once again.

So Luffy is dead set on putting Law's anti-Kaido plan on hold so that he can risk making Big Mom angry instead, but that's just the way things got to be. He probably won't end up going alone, but we're still left with so many questions. If Luffy ends up fighting an Emperor, can he win? It honestly feels too early for something like that to happen, but there are plenty of other interesting happenings that could propel the story forward over a win-or-lose fight. There's also the possibility that Big Mom ends up being on of the friendlier Emperors like Shanks (though, she is already mad at Luffy), and the villain role could fall to Sanji's family. That's the direction that makes sense to me.

Unprepared and easily distracted, Luffy and company get caught up in a big overnight celebration, with the Minks thanking them for their help. This is a very fun and relaxing scene, and it has the air of the traditional end-of-arc party that we've seen many times, though it seems a little soon after the Dressrosa celebration. Also, they're celebrating the solution to a conflict that happened before Luffy's half of the crew even arrived on Zou, so it's got the vibe of "Yay! We beat Dolfamingo! Let's party! Oh? We helped you guys too and we didn't even know it? Sure! Let's have another party!" If we're about to get serious with a saga of Four Emperors, it might be a while before the next party, so it feels appropriate.

The party and Luffy's eagerness to go get Sanji signals an end of sorts to the Zou arc, though there are a few more hoops that we're destined to jump through before Luffy officially steps off the elephant. It makes sense for us to get a smaller adventure more focused on antics and info-dumps after the monster sized Dressrosa arc, and I'm eager to see the few remaining Zou-based story beats before we head into Big Mom's madness.

Rating: B

One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.

Sam Leach writes and records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw


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