One Piece Episode 704
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 704 of
One Piece ?
I didn't get around to mentioning last week that the episode dipped back into the present day as an intermission to the main flashback. Since One Piece's backstories tend to be pretty lengthy, it has become apparent that the anime adaptation doesn't like to keep its eyes off of Luffy for too long, so we see more of that in this week's episode. Luffy is currently dealing with Bellamy and Doflamingo's string clone while Law has his hands full with the real Doffy. This portion of the episode doesn't expand a whole lot on the story, but the action we saw both last week and this look really spectacular, animation-wise. I mentioned in the past that this climactic fight has definitely upped its game in the production values, and it just simply looks great.
Back in the past, Law and Corazon are now firmly on the same team. Corazon learns of a black market deal between Doflamingo's crew and somebody named Diez Barrels (an implied relative of Diez Drake, one of Luffy and Law's future pirate rivals) over a certain Devil Fruit that has the ability to cure illnesses. As Law's lead disease worsens more and more, it's a race against the clock to get the Op-Op Fruit into his hands in the hopes he can use his medical knowledge to put it to good use.
One thing I found noteworthy about this episode was the performance of Corazon's seiyuu, Koichi Yamadera (Spike Spiegal from Cowboy Bebop). In the last couple of episodes, I found Yamadera's delivery almost uncomfortably laid back. As in, it sounded like the the actor himself was genuinely exhausted and I didn't quite get why. This week he comes in bursting with energy as the character is at peak enthusiasm and full of hope. The change in delivery is noticeable and we've got ourselves a Cora whose got nothing to lose in his quest to help young Law get better.
Corazon continues to be the heart of this story. He's the one who cares the most about accomplishing this goal and he serves as a great foil for grumpy lil' Law. There's an amusing montage where he's comically demonstrating how his Calm-Calm powers can be useful in the planned heist. The image of him giving the victory sign as he fires a silent bazooka is a hard one to forget. That dorky smile of his is just too much. This guy is Doflamingo's brother?
Of course, neither we the audience nor our unamused Law are truly able to wrap our heads around Cora's cunning when it comes to attacks like this until we see it in action. The scene where Corazon sneaks into Barrels' castle, using his powers to silence his attacks and distractions, really sells the dude as a genuine badass. It's also a scene that works incredibly well cinematically, since the dissonance between what we're seeing and hearing plays a big role in telling the story. Guys will be shouting back and forth to each other “What's going on!?” while we see lanterns being shot out and holes being blown through walls all without a breath of sound.
It's a really great sequence that makes me wish we could get more Corazon-related scenarios that didn't originate in manga-form, where the concept of sound can't be played with like it can on a TV screen. It's always been clear that Eiichiro Oda really has a knack for cinematic storytelling, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was already thinking about the anime when it comes to the inception of powers like the Corazon's.
Regardless, Corazon has his hands on Law's Op-Op Fruit and is rushing down the snowy hillside. The teary eyed smile that he dons is one of the most contagious I've ever seen in this show. The sequence of him running, his feathery coat all nice and snug, is very nicely animated as well.
The scene is set for the climax of Trafalgar Law's flashback. Corazon's previously established clumsiness screws him over at the last minute, causing him to fall into enemy hands. Not only that, but Doflamingo's ship is on its way to claim the Op-Op Fruit, and the Navy is following to intercept them in return. The episode leaves us off with the possibility that Barrels' men have already struck the final blow on Corazon, but I'm fairly certain our favorite Donquixote brother can inch out with a tiny bit of fight left in him yet.
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