One Piece
Episode 733

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 733 of
One Piece ?

The fated day has finally come, as the final episode of Luffy vs. Doflamingo has arrived. “Final Blow” episodes the series have always been some of my most treasured One Piece moments. The Crocodile, Eneru and Lucci finales all come to mind as examples of the show at its best. With the Dressrosa arc being so long and Doflamingo being by far the biggest major villain in the series, personality-wise, expectations are astronomical.

After a string of episodes with bottom-of-the-barrel production values in a row these past few weeks, I was disappointed that the the finale wasn't much better. In fact, the animation quality and pacing are both suspiciously poor for such an important episode, especially since I was sure they were “saving up” just for this week. A lot of time is killed on a scene in which Doflamingo has Luffy tied up in his strings and Luffy has to use his strength to resist been puppeteer-ed. It's an incredibly long scene with a lot of dead air as we wait for Luffy to return to his Fourth Gear form.

When Luffy does finally pump air back into his body in order to perform Fourth Gear, we're treated to bold-faced repeated animation from the initial transformation episode, just with the backgrounds swapped out. This makes me wonder if Fourth Gear is going to get the Sailor Moon transformation treatment from this point forward. It's hard to blame Toei, since the animation on the transformation is very cool (and I have been updated that the sakuga animator responsible is Naotoshi Shida, the man in charge of modern One Piece's flashier animation), but it's such an obvious cut corner in an episode that could do with a few less.

Regardless, whatever moaning I want to do over this episode can easily be put aside for the final two minutes or so. It's at this point that a switch is flipped and it becomes the episode that I hoped it could have been from the beginning. Luffy unleashes his “King Kong Gun” (his regular Kong Gun punch but with a bigger fist, as you do) against Doflamingo's spiderweb of strings. It's a dramatic clash with pushing and pulling as Strong World music blares and all the side characters pushing against the birdcage shout in unison about how they believe in Luffy. Even my cynical heart was moved by this scene as the drama and emotion took center stage over the production values.

Then there's the detail of Doflamingo's sunglasses. Doffy's eyes have been such an discussed about topic among the fans, any detail that draws attention to just how mysterious his face is ends up being surprisingly exciting. There are times where we wonder whether the series has any attention on showing the villain sans-shades, but during the final blow we do see them break. It's stylized in a way where we still don't see any eyes, but just seeing them break is immensely satisfying.

It's weird to say that this episode is worth only its final two minutes but it's true. Sometimes I wonder if One Piece could pull off telling it's story in short-form episodes each week, since it clearly has no intention of moving faster than the manga. If you're a fan of the anime, you won't be missing much if you only skip around, and if you're mostly reading the manga it might be worth tuning in just for the last few minutes anyway.

Rating: B

One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.

Sam Leach writes about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @luckychainsaw


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