One Piece Episode 757
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 757 of
One Piece ?
Once again we're entering the wonderful world of One Piece flashbacks. Luffy's half of the Straw Hat crew arrived on Zou in the aftermath of a lot of unseen drama, so everything is presented as vague and mysterious as possible while the characters in the know slowly fill us in, story by story. In the last episode we got the explanation as to how Sanji's group outran the Big Mom pirates, and now this week we start to learn what went down in the recently destroyed Mink city of Kurau.
The ones responsible for the destruction are the Beast pirates, the crew led by Kaido of the Four Emperors. The man leading this specific faction of the crew is a mammoth man named Jack, who's referred to as one of Kaido's top henchmen. We saw a tiny glimmer of Jack's human form during the end of Dressrosa when he and his crew went to rescue Doflamingo from the navy's hold, but the newspaper claims that he has since died at sea. In this flashback, Jack remains in his mammoth form throughout. There could be some poetry in a mammoth being the villain of an arc taking place on the back of a giant elephant, but maybe that's thinking too much about it.
Jack is looking for the ninja, Raizo, who we remember is the friend that Kin'nemon and Kanjuro were hoping to reunite with on Zou. The Mink's swear up and down that they know nothing about a ninja, and this episode mainly exists to demonstrate the Mink's fighting power as Jack and his men are unimpressed by their lack of information. The ordinary citizens have no trouble fending off the lower rungs of Kaido's crew and we're told that Minks are born as natural fighters. Even the babies are strong. One of the most entertaining scenes in this episode is one where a mother and her child fight side by side, beating up pirates in a decently directed and staged fight sequence. The implication of this story, however is that things take a turn for the worse as the stronger individuals of the pirate crew start to take center stage.
Having read the manga, I'm noticing how weird this arc is regarding the mysteries that it's laying out for us. A few episodes ago we were being asked to wonder if the Minks would be enemies of the Straw Hats, only to unveil that they're extremely friendly. Before this reveal, there was Wanda's line "You'll find the corpse of your friend there!" and then, of course, the twist is that she was talking about Brook the skeleton, who is otherwise safe and sound. This is a pretty funny set-up and payoff, but it highlights the thing that's starting to bug me: how vague and mysterious the characters are being about everything, when they actually have no reason to be other than to trick the audience. There's another, much more dramatic twist to come in a few weeks and currently I'm seeing all the ways that the show is milking the setup and realizing how inelegant it is.
After three stellar episodes introducing the Zou arc, we've fallen back into completely competent and average production quality. That's to be expected, so I'm not too let down, but it still doesn't leave me a lot to write home about. Seeing the Minks in their daily life, and then later seeing them kick ass together, was pretty entertaining, though it's all starting to feel like a low budget Disney show with all these anthropomorphic animals in the spotlight.
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