One Piece
Episode 783

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 783 of
One Piece ?

As we begin the Whole Cake Island arc I'm reminded just how many moving parts there are to keep track of from the get-go. Here's a basic refresher on what's happening: Luffy and Law's pirate alliance are now the targets of Kaido's wrath, and Luffy has plans to regroup with the rest of his crew and his samurai allies to fight Kaido in the land of Wano. Whole Cake Island, however, is a detour, resulting from Sanji being pulled into a political marriage by his father that would bring their family's forces together with Big Mom, another pirate on Kaido's level. Sanji is being escorted to the island by Bege Capone, a gangster-themed Super Rookie whose crew works for Big Mom's greater alliance. Caesar Clown, the Straw Hats' former hostage, is also along for the ride because he seems to owe a lot of money to just about everyone.

Since this is Sanji's arc, it's refreshing to see him again after he's been out of the limelight for the past few months. We saw his departure over a dozen episodes ago, so there's been an air of mystery over what he hopes to accomplish by going along with this wedding request. It's clear that Sanji's relationship with his family is tumultuous, and there's a reason why we hadn't heard of them until very recently. It turns out that the Vinsmokes are the leaders of a military nation known as Germa 66, whose claim to fame (among many) was their portrayal as villains in a classic in-world comic strip called "Sora, Warrior of the Sea." It's also worth mentioning that this comic was published in something called the World Economic Journal (WEJ) which I'm going out on a limb and believing is a sneaky nod to both Weekly Shonen Jump and the Wall Street Journal (both WSJ).

Sanji's goal seems to involve reuniting with his family in person and telling them to shove it, but there's a complication once he's is given a photograph of the woman he's scheduled to marry, because it turns out Charlotte Pudding is drop dead gorgeous. What's the infamously lovesick cook to do in a situation like this? I'm guessing Big Mom's crew made sure it was an especially cleavage-revealing photo in order to sweeten the deal, but if you can pull your eyes from Pudding's rack long enough, you'll recognize she bears a suspicious resemblance to that three-eyed girl we saw hanging out with Big Mom, back when the character was originally being teased a few hundred episodes ago. Conveniently, her bangs are in the way of her forehead, so we're left to speculate if this is the same person, or if maybe Pudding has another three-eyed sister we haven't met yet. Also on the track of family resemblances, there's a woman on Capone's ship who looks identical to Lola from Thriller Bark, another character famously assumed to be related to Big Mom.

On that topic, I think that goes a long way in describing the appeal of this upcoming arc. In many ways, Luffy's choice to focus on Sanji is a distraction from the long built-up Kaido fight, but Big Mom being one of the Four Emperors still means that there're all sorts of character connections and unexplored subplots in play here. What feels like a detour is still a major stepping stone in our journey to learn more and more about what's really going on in this crazy world. Big Mom's sphere of influence is on par with Kaido, Shanks, Blackbeard, etc., and we're already being bombarded with all the ways that previously established storylines will be a significant factor.

There's also a noticeable freshness to the art style this week, as it's adopting the style of the recent TV movies which have always looked pretty solid. There's a much more deliberate sense of color and a distinct use of hatching for some of the shadows. I wish I knew more about the production process of a show like One Piece, but I'm told the man responsible for those TV movies is in a higher directorial position now, which reflects even in the new animation done for the opening. It would be neat if the overall style of the TV show became a little bolder and more stylized. Speaking of, I'm also itching for a proper new opening sooner than later, because as much as I like the song, 'We Can!' is one of the most embarrassingly amateurish openings in the entire series, and getting new Whole Cake Island-specific footage only makes the whole thing seem even more unfocused.

Luffy and the rest of the Sanji Rescue Team have not arrived on the island just yet, but they're on their way. The next stage is to start meeting Sanji's father and siblings, who have not been revealed in the show, but they're in the new opening footage and all the promotional material being released. One Piece is still being its usual self in terms of production quality, but this is one of those examples where I'm reminded just how much fun I still have watching this show every week, even though I already know what happens next. I'm a real big fan of this arc, and I'm just excited to experience it all over again.

Rating: B+

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

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


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