by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 713 of
One Piece ?
When we left off last week, Robin had succeeded in using her powers to nab Hakuba, who was speeding towards her with an intent to kill, right out of the air. It was a pretty cool moment (albeit, missing the swiftness of the manga), especially with Robin's confident smirk as she casually halted a character known for his superhuman speed. It turns out that Cavedish's Hakuba state really is a full-blown personality of it's own, and is able to talk and taunt as Cavendish fights to retain control of his body.
I half-expected Hakuba to be given his own voice actor, as I'm getting much more of a supernatural vibe from him than psychological one, but for now that mystery remains unclear. The exchange that Cavendish and Hakuba has, as they dip in and out of each other's control, raises a lot of questions about what their whole situation is. Bartolomeo made a comment last week about how Cavendish's face changed, so characters within the world can interpret that difference as well. It's also been made pretty clear that Hakuba is somehow faster than Cavendish is able to be on his own, as Cavendish has to take advantage of that fact in order to get himself and Robin out of a pinch later in the episode.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde antics aside, this is Bartolomeo's episode. While Cavendish and Robin are up top on the plateau trying to figure out how to deal with Hakuba, Bartolomeo is on the ground using his Barrier-Barrier Fruit to hold off Gladius, the last of Doflamingo's officers to be dealt with in this group. This is where the endless match-ups of fighters gets a little too exhausting for me. Gladius is definitely one of the more boring officers, and while I love Bartolomeo and find him to be a super entertaining character with a great design, it starts to bug me that everything ultimately amounts to his Luffy fanboy-ism.
Bartolomeo's cool because, despite being such a weirdo who's rough around the edges, he is genuinely strong as demonstrated back in the Colosseum. When it was revealed that he was a die hard fan of Luffy's and that was his entire motivation for being in Dressrosa, that was just icing on the cake. Now that he's being given a proper one-on-one fight of his own, I'm a little sad that the big finishing blow still remains all about Luffy (he uses an attack called “Barrier-Barrier Pistol,” a very deliberate homage to Luffy's “Gum-Gum Pistol”). I get that his fanboy nature is what really lights a fire in a lot of audience members, but the fact that that's all he's about now is a little disappointing.
Anyway, this ends up being a pretty slow episode, too. Things got shifted around from the order that they played in the manga, and the result is that some episodes get to be nice and packed while others have to do the usual padding. Lots of air in the scenes, lots of characters repeating themselves, etc.
The final note that the episode ends on is that Robin has now succeeded in entering the Diamante fight on top of the flower field. She swoops in just in the knick of time to save Rebecca from Diamante's slice as Kyros tries to get the upper hand. Everything surrounding the Diamante fight is a minefield in discussions since it raises a lot of questions about One Piece and sexism. Future episodes will be a better time to really dig in and ask those questions but, for now, giving Robin some agency in the fight feels like a good save.
Like I said, this is a better conversation for another time, when Rebecca and Kyros' character arcs play out a little further. I know this topic is not black and white, and no single story decisions are going to break or amend the issue. At the very least, for the time being, the Diamante fight gets to feel a little less like it's about women being protected by men.
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