One Piece Episode 719
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 719 of
One Piece ?
Going into a One Piece arc, there are certain things you can expect to happen: You know that there's going to be a flashback, you know that there's going to be a country in need of saving, and lastly you know that Zoro's inevitable fight is going to be rad as hell. Today marks the finale of Zoro and Pica's fight, which was one of the confrontations that began way back towards the halfway point of Dressrosa. This is also the finale of all the one-on-one match-ups between the Doflamingo crew and the Colosseum fighters.
When we last left off, Pica, in his giant stone titan form, was threatening to squash King Riku and Usopp and all the townsfolk on the plateau with them. Zoro didn't seem to have many options for saving them, but he did decide on “Fly through the sky and chop him up!” What exactly that means, we get to learn today. A few episodes back, Zoro saw the adventurer Orlumbus throw a guy like a bowling ball through the air, and since Zoro is insane, he decided to inquire the man for a similar feat. Yes, this episode is mostly about Zoro flying through the air at top speed because a really strong dude threw him.
This is a really monumental episode because the beat-down that Zoro delivers on Pica is jaw-dropping. I spent a long time trying to imagine how this fight would play out, considering it's been a long time since Zoro's had an enemy who's ever gotten so much of a scratch on him. I figured Dressrosa would be the arc where we finally see the limits of Zoro's two years of training, but instead the show decides to run as far away in the opposite direction.
As of the Dressrosa arc, we still have no idea where Zoro's ceiling is. Pica's titan form is as huge as can be, and yet Zoro manages to slice his entire body in half, leaving everybody down below speechless. That's not the end, however, as Pica's human body is still moving between the stone halves, prompting Zoro to slice the leftovers in half again and again and again, all within the time it takes for gravity to pull him down to earth. Pica's room to move gets smaller and smaller with each cut, so he finally decides to show himself, confident that his full body Armament Haki would save him when… Zoro just cuts through that too, winning the fight almost effortlessly.
In theory, there's a lot about this that's amazing. The enormous gap in power between Pica and Zoro combined with the physical size of the battle is enough to make your heart explode in excitement, especially considering this win is practically a victory lap for all the Colosseum fighters down below. In practice, though, there are a lot of Toei-isms that dull the blade a little bit.
The entire first half of this episode is pad-central, which makes sense since you wouldn't want to stretch Zoro's mid-air battle out the entire twenty minutes. However, that still leaves the fight to be dragged out a lot more than in the manga, which already displayed the ideal pacing for such a scene.I think this is the kind of episode that you'd want to put your best directors and storyboard artists on. I think the right kind of focus could have really sold this scene in anime form, but instead we got one of first really vanilla episodes we've gotten in a while, production-wise.
That aside, it's still a pretty crazy scenario that doesn't shy away how goofy Zoro looks while flying through the air. The detail of his lips trying to fold back as he flies at top speeds was a nice touch before things get gnarly for the final blow. I'm interested in how an anime-only watcher will respond to this episode, since it is a pretty interesting event, but I can't help but imagine the weak direction failing to inspire the enthusiasm manga readers had a few months back. I've been wrong about that stuff before, though…
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