One Piece Episode 735
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 735 of
One Piece ?
There's something about seagulls that feels so distinctly One Piece to me. It's kind of an obvious detail, considering the setting and all, but it didn't dawn on me until now just how much they tie the atmosphere of the series together. I guess we've been under Doflamingo's birdcage for so long that just the sight and sound of such banal animals feels so freeing. There's a whole world out there! Let's go explore it! Again!
We're still in the calm before the huge post-arc info dump comes, and all the characters who need out are packing up and heading home. The revolutionaries who have been hanging around are leaving (aside from Sabo), and all the henchmen of Doflamingo's crew are being rounded up in handcuffs by the Navy. We get a little rundown of all the named officers of Doflamingo's crew as well, as we see them beaten and unconscious, being hauled off on stretchers. They're small moments, but they give us just a bit more insight into the trouble the marines have to go through in order to clean a mess like this up. Normally, stuff like this is simply never addressed, so seeing them go through the effort of hoisting Doflamingo's body out of a crater by way of a harness and crane was interesting. Also, Baby 5 is conveniently not being arrested, since she's hanging out with the good guys now. I really love her interactions with Sai as he becomes more and more accustomed to their impromptu betrothal. Seeing him let her scoot closer to him was super cute.
The most important scene in the episode is also one that highlights the fascinating political landscape of the One Piece world. After Riku is embraced by the country as the returning king, Admiral Fujitora and his men make an extreme gesture by bowing to him in unison. Fujitora knows full well that making such a humbling apology on behalf of the Navy and World Government is taboo, but it's an important statement to make nonetheless.
The Navy admirals will always be the beacon of moral ambiguity in this series, since they all represent such dramatically different viewpoints, but all with the sincere intention of making the world a better place. Fujitora strikes an interesting balance by being older in age, but also being a newbie to the Navy in general. He doesn't have the social status that the admirals before him have, but he's not slow to using his new authority in a way that makes use of his aged wisdom. He sees the change that the World Government needs, and he isn't afraid to go for it right off the bat. This hearkens back to when he decided not to intervene in Luffy and Doflamingo's fight. He knew the Government couldn't afford to take any more credit than it deserved.
Like I said, we're still in the calm of Doflamingo's aftermath, so this isn't an especially eventful episode, but it's certainly got a lot more to chew on than last week's. Since we're not drowning in cutbacks to earlier scenes, I feel like this episode is a strong example of how One Piece can be slow and drawn out, but still remain engaging enough the whole way through. Breather episodes are not inherently a bad thing.
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