by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 720 of
One Piece ?
So I did the math and I learned that Bellamy has been in the middle of his big finishing move against Luffy for the last 12 episodes now. We've been cutting to this background scene of Bellamy bouncing off all the walls as Luffy shouts “Don't do it!” and other similar phrases for an exhaustively long time. Generally, I'm pretty at peace with the show's pacing, I've accepted that it is what it is, but every now and then some things just feel so ludicrously ill-fit for such a slow speed that it has to get mentioned.
Before we dig deeper into the Luffy vs. Bellamy shenanigans, there's some aftermath to the fight we saw last week with Zoro: Pica has fallen, and for the most part it appears as though all the good guys can call this day a win, sans the big man Doflamingo himself. There's a cutaway flashback that shows a snippet of Zoro's training with Mihawk during the two years before the time skip. This was really surprising since all the stories about what the individual Straw Hats went through during that time has remained incredibly vague up until this point. It's been so long since the time skip actually happened that it's easy to forget Oda likely considers this arc the “early days” of the New World saga, and still feels comfortable drip feeding information we could have gotten a lot sooner.
In the scene itself, there's a conversation about Haki and it's application to swordplay. If I remember correctly, last week's fight was also our first time actually seeing Zoro use visible Haki as well. The main idea that Mihawk was trying to get across is that applying Haki to your sword pretty much guarantees that you won't break it, a problem that Zoro has faced in the past several times. Looks like that's a problem that's in the past for the ole Pirate Hunter.
Another signifier that we've reached a significant checkpoint in this final battle is seeing Franky and the Tontattas working together to destroy the SMILE factory that Señor Pink was defending. One by one all the little subplots that have been with us since the beginning of the arc are beginning to tie up.
The main focus of this episode, as I've already highlighted, is that we're also reaching the end of Luffy's conflict with Bellamy. The endless cutaways, the same-y smack talk that we've been subject to for a dozen episodes now finally reaches its conclusion, which goes down pretty much how you expect. Luffy decks him nice and hard, creating an obvious parallel to how their fight ended way back in Jaya. However, the Jaya fight ended in a satisfying, standing-up-to-a-bully sort of way, and this time it ends with one friend defeating another. There's continued re-animating of older scenes from the show, including a moment where a younger Bellamy sees Luffy's giant silhouette in the clouds at the end of the Skypiea arc, putting to rest all doubt and disrespect Bellamy felt for the Straw Hat pirate. I really like that scene because I always liked the original version of it, and finally seeing it from Bellamy's point of view was a nice touch.
So Luffy has caved Bellamy's face in yet again, but he's not too happy about it this time. The absolute destruction that Doflamingo has had on Bellamy's psyche is clear, and now there's nothing in Luffy's way from giving Mingo a piece of his mind. Luffy has a big “KHHHAAAAAAN” moment here, so he's going into this fight with a little more aggression than we've seen in a while.
The cliffhanger cuts back to Doflamingo and Law's fight, and last we saw of Law he had an arm sawed off, so you know things probably have not shifted in his favor since we last saw him. The episode ends with Doflamingo promising that Luffy will return to the scene and see Law's dead corpse, but I doubt any of us here really put much credence into that threat.
The end of Luffy and Bellamy's fight definitely lifts a kind of suffocation that it had created slowly over time and, while I definitely think we got a few too many cutaways to this fight in the lead up to this final punch, the actual scene itself looks as cool as it did back in Jaya. The Dressrosa arc is at a point where there is so much mixture between the good guys winning fights, but also the lasting damages that Doflamingo himself has caused that it's setting up an interesting final battle. The number of subplots is finally dwindling, but the number of different emotions that can be felt against a single villain is as high as ever. I'm just glad we're at a point where Luffy vs. Doflamingo can shake down for real at last.
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