One Piece Episode 705
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 705 of
One Piece ?
This is the One Piece I love the most. There's something so calm and tender about this episode as things continue to go from bad to worse. We jump into the scene with Barrels' men searching for a wounded Corazon, who managed to slip away off screen. We see the blood stained in the snow and later we find his footprints as he stumbles his way back to our shivering Law. Through it all, Corazon has succeeded in holding on to the Op-Op Fruit, but at what cost? He shoves it down Law's throat and collapses from blood loss, still trying to pacify the poor kid who is frantically attempting to figure his new powers out to save his friend. “Just a flesh wound” and all that.
This is a really beautiful episode and it has almost nothing to do with flashy animation of any kind. This is an episode that really revels in both the size of the situation, and also the calmness at the heart of it. The soundtrack is all soft and sad, even when people are escaping from Barrels' burning castle and the camera is admiring the the gigantic naval fleet approaching the island. It's rare that saying an episode stays on-model feels like a compliment, but it's true here. I really like seeing these characters drawn in a way that feels “right,” and I'm sad that it so infrequently hits me as being noticeably on-point. Well, it definitely feels right this week, allowing the star of the show to be the pace and the framing of each situation as we learn piece by piece just how sad and hopeless everything is.
There's a point where everything looks like it's going to be okay, because of course there is. The Navy has arrived and little Law ventures out into the cold, hoping that there's somebody who can help Corazon (his Op-Op powers don't seem to have kicked in yet). We know Tsuru and her gang of tough-looking naval women have arrived for Doflamingo's head, and they seem like nice enough people. We also know that Corazon is secretly a marine, so this is a problem that should get smoothed out easy enough. But of course, this is a One Piece flashback.
The marine that Law receives help from, it turns out, is Doflamingo's own double agent, Vergo. Everything becomes unraveled at this moment as Vergo, and by extension the approaching Doflamingo, now knows the extent at which Corazon is a traitor of the crew. He wails on both of them, showing us the seed of the tense relationship we saw between Law and Vergo back on Punk Hazard.
But the real threat is Doflamingo himself, now harboring a deep anger and resentment for Cora and Law breaking his sacred sense of family. We've known from the get-go of this flashback that certain things were going to happen. We knew Law and Corazon would bond and knew Corazon would die by his brother's hand. In many cases it would be considered a story-telling no-no to make those things so obvious from the start, but it's brought the audience on a very unique emotional journey instead.
Corazon has been by far one of the most likable flashback characters in the series (which says a lot) and the thing that really drives this home is how he deals with the realization of his own demise. Even in this dark hour, he knows the most important things are to get Law to safety and do whatever he can to face the reality of his brother's villainy. “If you think of me someday,” he says to an unconscious Law, “I'd rather you remember my smile.” The fact that his big, toothy grin that punctuates the episode looks really dumb and goofy just makes the scene all the more poignant. There's a gross mixture of sadness and love and humility in the air.
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