by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 750 of
One Piece ?
Well then, I'm honestly surprised. I didn't expect the Silver Mine arc to end on anything resembling an exciting conclusion, but they didn't do half bad. It's not mind blowing or anything, but considering how benign and underwhelming the last three episodes have been, this finale manages to offer some interesting things to talk about.
Last week, we ended on the confrontation between Desire and Bill. Right off the bat, we get to see Desire impassioned, with an ugly cry face of her own as she attempts to attack her former boss. It's clear that she's no match for Bill, so Luffy jumps in pretty quick to lay waste to our villain. The action isn't all that well animated, with all sorts of visible shortcuts seen whenever somebody gets hit and has to crash into something, but there's an appreciated energy and speed to everything. The story doesn't unfold like flavorless fan fiction, as there's a genuine anger coming from both Luffy and Desire.
Since Bill is nowhere close to Luffy's power range, he gets his butt whooped real good, smashed back down into the mines where we start to get hints of his role in the story beyond generic baddie. Mr. Tanaka, one of the characters from the upcoming One Piece Film Gold, arrives once again to taunt Bill's failures. The implications of this arc are that Bill is some kind of underling to Film Gold's Gild Tesoro, who is ready to let him go at a moment's notice. The relationship I'm inferring here is akin to the relationship that we've seen between Doflamingo and Bellamy.
"How pathetic of you to be defeated by a damn pirate. Is that the extent of your greed?" Mr. Tanaka asks. This arc was always meant to serve as a promotion for the upcoming movie, and it feels like they had a bunch of interesting ideas for this one episode and had to go soft on the other three in order to get us here. After the fantastically written Film Z, I'm at the edge of my seat to find out what the general philosophy and purpose of Film Gold is going to be. This episode sells Gild Tesoro as a man who admires greed and entertainment above all else, and for some mysterious reason he's being called "The Monster of the New World."
Terrified that he might get left behind in Gild Tesoro's grand vision, Bill pulls himself up by his bootstraps and begins to eat as much coal as he can, using his Smelt-Smelt powers to push himself into a transformation of sorts. The new, hulking, mega-Bill returns to the surface to attack with his melting lava beginning to consume the island. A team up between Luffy, Bartolomeo, and Desire is enough to fight back, but eventually it has to return to a one-on-one with Luffy. Bill uses his powers to create another form where he covers himself in silver. The layers of transformations feel very DBZ-like.
Obviously, even in his strongest form, Bill is not strong enough to defeat Luffy. The fight ends quickly, and soon everybody's sailing off onto the sunset, as Desire and friends go their separate ways. I was ready to declare the Silver Mine arc the most painfully average filler arc in the series, but this episode was packed with a bunch of interesting new stuff that elevates the whole to a solid "decent." Again, it's nothing special that I'd recommend manga-only readers seek out, nor is it even close to the best One Piece filler arc, but I was happy that it didn't end up being completely disposable.
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