by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 745 of
One Piece ?
To my dismay, Luffy denies the colosseum crew a place underneath his wing. It was naive for Bartolomeo, Cavendish, and the others to assume that he'd be totally cool with being responsible for thousands of men, and they had even broken out the alcohol already. It was a tease that got my hopes up, thinking that we'd see the Straw Hat pirates significantly grow in some official capacity. There's an exchange between the two sides about “doing what you want” and “freedom” and such, but long story short, the Straw Hat Grand Fleet is real, just not exactly with Luffy's blessing. He's being forced to have his cake and eat it too, I guess.
“I just want to become King of the Pirates! I don't wanna become someone important!” is something that Luffy says within the argument. The word “oxymoron” come to mind, but considering what we know about Luffy's attitude towards the Pirate King role, it's not exactly wrong. Luffy just likes his freedom.
A celebration commences regardless, as Luffy still thinks of the fleet as a group of friends and allies. The newfound commanders decide to partake in the exchange of sake, with or without Luffy's inclusion, and they swear their loyalty. Bartolomeo has to fight just to keep himself from happy-crying throughout the entire episode. It's here on Orlumbus's ship, anchored just a couple miles off of Dressrosa's shore, where we get the big celebration party that every One Piece arc needs to end on. Luffy's still a little peeved about the whole Grand Fleet thing, but a banquet featuring tons of meat gets him back in the party mood.
It's another episode without a whole lot of plot content to fill the runtime, though I really enjoyed the little montage at the end. I'm generally ambivalent toward the current opening ‘Hard Knock Days’, but I was happy to hear it as an insert in this episode, as we skim through the highlights of the Dressrosa arc. A little clip show from time to time doesn't hurt, especially in a series so desperately clamoring for a chance to include filler. It's a nice little look back through the longest arc in the series, and there's something that feels fittingly celebratory about it. It also reminds me of the ‘We Are’ and ‘We Go’ sequences that capped the Paramount War and Fishman Island arcs.
Lastly, the episode ends with a stinger from the narration: “These commanders will develop themselves individually and will eventually cause a major incident that will go down in history, but that's a story that no one could have known at this time.” Basically this 100+ episode arc just ended with the narrator telling us “but this was just the beginning."
So that's Dressrosa. I don't really feel comfortable declaring it as a good or a bad arc just yet (then again I'm biased and think all One Piece arcs are good), but I think it's one of the most clearly flawed in the series so far. It's insanely long and bloated, jam packed with a million characters and subplots that keep changing direction, all while rarely finding that big emotional catharsis One Piece is generally so good at. I'm curious as to what its biggest contributions will be in the grand scheme. Was it really just there to bring the fleet together and put Luffy and Law under Kadio's wrath? Feels like an awfully long-winded journey to get there. Then again, that's One Piece for ya.
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