One Piece Episode 765
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 765 of
One Piece ?
So it's time for more on the man himself, Cat Viper. I mentioned before that Cat Viper ("Nekomamushi") was invented by Oda when Brook's voice actor, Cho, made a silly little nonsense song about somebody called the Cat Viper. Oda must have been charmed by this little piece and made up the Duke of the Night as a result. In the manga, there was even a little scene where Brook sings the song on their way to go meet the cat monster, but fans were taken aback when the song didn't appear in the anime a few episodes back. I was fairly sure they were just saving it for a more appropriate episode, but I wasn't 100% convinced. Well, we can put all worries to bed, because the song is here!
It's been expanded upon, of course, because the anime needs all the padding it can get. Still, it's a fun little music video in the middle of the episode where Brook sings the song with his guitar (and other instruments magically accompanying it). I love little things like this because, as much as I adore the soundtrack for this show, I love really standout musical moments. I wish the show would use insert songs more often or take advantage of Brook's position as an all-purpose musician to play more songs than just Bink's Sake. It's also funny to see him make up the song as he goes, once he's called out on just repeating the same lyrics over and over.
This is an episode with dramatically mixed production values. The first half is stiff and frequently falling off-model, while the second half snaps back into the more solid stuff. There's also a filler sequence where the crew has to fight off a bunch of large bugs that serves no purpose other than to buy time for the episode, which wouldn't normally be too bad if it didn't look really ugly. For a moment, I thought the anime's recent good streak had been interrupted again, and I would have been disappointed were it not for the second half, when the rest of the crew finally gets to meet Cat Viper in person. I'm also thinking a bit about this show's color palette, which can't seem to make up its mind if it wants to be really soft or really bold. It's confusing because the show is capable of really beautiful color work, but ever since the time skip, it never really found a consistent look to settle on.
So the crew gets to meet the Cat Viper. Chopper has been caring for his wounds over the past few weeks, but he's still having a tough time adjusting to his missing hand. When we meet him, he's laying on the references pretty thick, both with his love of "lasag-nya" (get it?) and the fact that he is meowing to the tune of Beethoven's Fate, a reference to a jokey Question Corner answer from the manga. Cat Viper continues to be a lot of fun, combining his gruff old man and wild cat sides.
The episode ends with the crew meeting up with Pekoms, the lion man from Big Mom's crew who was abandoned by his ally. Pekoms gives us a few more hints as to what's up with Sanji's family, the Vinsmokes, claiming that they are the head of a warmongering army known as Germa 66. The name is familiar to Nami, but only as a myth that she doesn't believe is real. We've learned a lot about Sanji in the past few episodes, but there will always continue to be mysteries to gradually unfold.
This is a tough episode to give a rating because the first half looks pretty rough, but then the second half looks kind of great. It's pleasantly on-model and well-directed, to the point where I'm pretty sure the different halves were being overseen by completely different people. Overall, between the second half and the Cat Viper song, this is a very strong episode, it's just weird to take the out of place filler-y stuff into consideration.
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