by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 760 of
One Piece ?
I think there's a baseline standard that I hold for One Piece episodes. I know that the show doesn't have the privilege of looking expensive and slick every week, nor is it able to play around with the pacing a whole lot, locking it to about a manga chapter's worth of content per episode. That said, I still expect a level of care and attention to detail that I know this series is capable of. I don't agree with the assertion that the One Piece anime is an example of a bad adaptation, because it's often been very smartly directed despite its minimal resources. At least, that's true about half the time.
Right off the bat in this episode, I'm seeing the direction that I look for in One Piece. We continue the story in the middle of Cat Viper's fight with Jack, who has now revealed his original human form. The fight feels tight on those aforementioned resources, with what feels like some missing frames of animation, and yet the energy and momentum of the fight comes through completely. This is in notable contrast to the last couple episodes that felt so lethargic. An episode of One Piece may not be able to jam more than a chapter's worth of story into an episode, but it can pace individual scenes like a dream when necessary.
The story plows forward as we learn about the several days and nights spent fighting off Jack and his crew, with Cat Viper and Dogstorm switching in and out. This gives the fight a somewhat mythical quality that also paints Jack as a sturdy beast who seems impossible to take down. This alleviates the “just some guy” vibe I had been getting from the anime previously. The only reason the fight was ever able to end was because Jack had to leave to attempt to rescue Doflamingo from the Navy, a fact that Dogstorm in the present day recognizes is thanks to the Straw Hats.
The second part of this episode centers around Sanji's half of the Straw Hats happening upon Zou for the first time. This is a breath of fresh air, both because it feels good to see some Straw Hats be the center of attention (especially with Sanji, who has been M.I.A. in the current storyline) and because I love seeing Caesar Clown begrudgingly operating as a crew member, as they make their way to the top of the elephant. This scene, if nothing else, gives some variety to the story content we're seeing in this episode.
I'd hate to sound like I'm gushing over what's ultimately just a pretty good episode, but this is what happens with One Piece. It'll be super awesome and creative (i.e. the first three episodes of Zou) and then it will fall into a rut that makes its audience question if it's even worth continuing to keep up with, and then it will swing back around and remind us that yes, it does in fact know what it's doing. It's an okay episode by a lot of measures, the animation is mostly still subpar, but it's well directed in the ways that matter.
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