by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 755 of
One Piece ?
Last week, the show left off with the promise of a “rain-ruption.” We learn that Zunesha, the giant elephant that this country sits atop, does its elephant thing and sprays itself with water several times a day. Since Zunesha is huge, this simple act looks like a volcano erupting to the people below, as water violently floods the area without prejudice.
Right off the bat, one of the most grabbing scenes of the episode is actually a filler sequence where Luffy gets washed away from his new Mink friends, and Carrot has to quickly jump through the trees to save him. The animation is super cool, and this time it's unmistakably the work of Naotoshi Shida (the Fourth Gear transformation sequence guy, among other scenes). I couldn't name any other sakuga artists from this show, but I'm going to point him out any chance I get, darn it!
The episode ultimately ends up feeling shockingly varied compared to most installments of the show. There's the aforementioned rescue scene, exposition scenes, comedy scenes, and all that's before the very end when Luffy and company finally reunite with (most of) their remaining crew. It turns out that the Mink tribe are not the human-hating group we were led to believe, and in fact are extraordinarily affectionate across the board. There are Minks of all kinds of animal species, and as far as they're concerned, humans are just monkey Minks with less fur.
The concept of race relations has been very prevalent in One Piece, especially since the time skip. The Minks' carefree attitude toward humans and their expectations of racism has just a twinge of judgement to it, similar to the response that Den from Fishman Island had to the same question. Since Minks and Fishmen/Merfolk are generally born with a random “species”, the need to divide between groups isn't as ingrained in their culture. In the One Piece world, racism is a uniquely human creation.
As it stands, the affection that the Minks give to the crew seems suspiciously furry-friendly. We've already seen Wanda and Carrot licking and nibbling Luffy, and we soon learn that Nami and Chopper have more than embraced all the “garchuu~”ing that their new friends have given them. This show wants you to think about these humans and animals banging, basically. Still, it's done with such a harmless sense of fun that I'm happy to go along with it.
The episode ends with most of the Straw Hat crew reuniting. Luffy, Zoro, Usopp, Robin, and Franky were together through most of Dressrosa, and now Nami and Chopper are back with them as well. Their reunion is heartwarming and full of happy thoughts, but once Luffy asks about Sanji, things take a mysteriously dark turn. Clearly something has happened to him, and we'll have to wait and find out.
I'm loving all of these Zou episodes so far, and this one is probably my favorite. Overall, the production just looks so polished, and the variety of content is incredibly satisfying. This is a perfect example of an episode that pads the story out and injects filler in a way that feels both creative and natural. I had to double-check the manga to see how much content was new because it all felt equally “real,” even if some of it is just killing time. I'm loving Zou, loving the new characters we're meeting, and I can't wait to see the mysteries continue to unfold.
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