One Piece Episode 770
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 770 of
One Piece ?
Last week introduced us to the Road Poneglyphs, the stone tablets written in an ancient language that, when collected, could potentially spell out the location of Gold Roger's treasure. This is a monumental revelation, but the surprises, and their implications for the future of the series, don't stop there. These past few episodes have mostly taken place in the same little cavern where the Minks' Poneglyph waits, but there manages to be a ton of information to unpack regardless.
First up, Cat Viper and Dogstorm reveal that they know the locations of three of the four Road Poneglyphs. The first is the one in their possession, and the other two are in the hands of Kaido and Big Mom, the two Emperors in most immediate conflict with Luffy and the Straw Hats. This little detail does a lot to establish how important the upcoming Emperor-focused arcs will be in Luffy's climb to the top of the pirate food chain. Not only are we getting into fights with them for personal reasons, but crossing paths with them is now a straight-up requirement if we ever want to see Luffy become Pirate King. Obviously, Luffy was always going to fight these guys for one reason or another, but this is an incredibly elegant way to make the stakes big and easy to understand.
There's also further discussion about what role the samurai trio will play in the bigger picture story. In a scene filled with as many big ugly tears as you've come to expect from One Piece, Kin'nemon reveals that Momonosuke's father Oden, a man who traveled on Roger's ship and saw the truth of the world, was executed by Wano's current shogun alongside Kaido himself. The information given here is brief, but it's safe to expect some kind of big tragic backstory about Oden whenever we get to the upcoming Wano arc. This arc has also now been properly established as the point where we'll confront Kaido face-to-face. There's a lot going on for the immediate future of this series, so it can get kind of complicated.
If there's a chance that there are any uninitiated viewers reading this review, and because I love explaining this story just for the fun of it, the Straw Hats' adventure in the New World has gone like this so far: Luffy picked a fight with Big Mom over the phone, then proceeded to get sidetracked on Punk Hazard, an arc that went on for about 50 episodes and connected us with Trafalgar Law and our samurai friends. Luffy and Law entered a pirate alliance with the overall goal of taking down Kaido, another Big Mom/Whitebeard/Shanks-level foe, for the sake of moving up the political ladder. In order to screw over Kaido and his use of artificial, factory-made Devil Fruits, they picked a fight with Doflamingo and that was the infamous 100-episode Dressrosa arc that also happened to split the crew up between several locations. (There was also the whole deal where it turned out that Law's exclusive goal was taking down Doflamingo, but that's pretty much moot at this point.) Now the crew and their larger alliance, including Law and the samurai, has regrouped (sans Sanji), preparing to face Kaido's wrath after they'd cut him off from his black market connection in Doflamingo. The samurai have mostly been tagalong support characters up to this point, but now it's clear that the impending Kaido fight is going to be intertwined with their story. It took them a while, but they're now super duper important characters.
So the immediate plotlines that our heroes have to concern themselves with are the stuff with Big Mom (whose family Sanji is currently on his way to marry into) and Kaido, who's after their heads right this second. These are two independent and equally scary threats that can't be brushed aside or saved for later. Luffy has never fought anyone close to an Emperor's level of power before, but the day was going to have to come eventually. The question is, how are we going to hash these multiple subplots out? The current plan seems to be for Luffy to save Sanji from Big Mom's crew, make a copy of her Road Poneglyph, and then beeline straight to Wano where we can deal with Kaido and all the samurai stuff that the series has building up for a while. Obviously, all of this is going to be easier said than done, so the world is Oda's oyster in terms of how much chaos happens between points A and B. The only things we can be confident in are the order of upcoming arcs: Whole Cake Island and then Wano. How many years will pass before all that has been punched through? Who honestly knows at this point?
For an episode that's mostly just the characters standing around talking, there manages to be a shocking amount of variety in the content. We start out with some fantastic Nico Robin love as we're reminded that she's the only living person who can read Poneglyphs, and the crew gets all excited thinking about the ways they're going to protect her from potential kidnappers looking to use her abilities. There's also a cute little fantasy demonstration of how one might copy the text off of a big slab of heavy stone, much to Luffy's chagrin and "just beat everyone up!" attitude. In the midst of all these crewmate shenanigans and emotional samurai tears, we also get a cool little filler-y nightmare sequence where Jack, of Kaido's pirates, remembers his defeat by the Navy when he was trying to rescue Doflamingo. This sequence gets points for being one of the rare examples of an onscreen ship-on-ship battle in this action cartoon about pirates.
Although Zou counts as its own arc, it's primarily an extension of the post-arc info-dumps that the series has turned into a thing. Usually, the connective tissue between the ending of one story and the beginning of another are where the big-picture stuff is given the most breathing room. After Dressrosa turned into the massive chapter that it was, and now with the Straw Hats getting ready to fight the cream of the crop baddies, it makes sense that the series would take an extra amount of time to really get the audience's imagination flowing for where the story could go next. That's where my head's at with One Piece right now. It's about imagining the crazy places that Eiichiro Oda plans to take us next and trusting that the real game plan is even better than that. There's where all the fun lies.
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