One Piece Episode 791
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 791 of
One Piece ?
For a series about fun adventure, the actual fun adventures seem to be where fans tense up. This upcoming stretch of episodes with the Straw Hats exploring the candy woods of Whole Cake Island has been dreaded in the anime by friends of mine because so much of the exciting big picture plot stuff gets put on hold for it. If you want to know what happens next in the story, the best stuff will have to wait. If you're down to watch Luffy and crew wild out in a Willy Wonka style environment, then you'll probably be A-OK for the next couple episodes.
Maybe that description isn't entirely fair, because what happens here is important to the main plot, but it's dressed up as a series of inconsequential children's adventures. The crew finally lands on Whole Cake itself, instead of sailing around the waters of Totto Land, so it's time for them to split up with Pedro and Brook taking off to infiltrate elsewhere, and Luffy taking the rest of the team into the woods where he's convinced he saw Sanji waiting for him. Of course, that part may have been an illusion. The rest of the episode contains a lot of of repetitive sequences where the more excitable members of the crew eat all the different kinds of novelty candy that the forest has to offer.
One of the best moments in the episode comes when Nami is freaking out about a walking, talking, clothes-wearing crocodile that nearly eats them by accident, and then Luffy has to remind her that abnormal, sentient creatures are pretty familiar in their daily lives, with Chopper and Carrot standing blank-faced right next to them. This would have been extra fun if the crew had their resident cyborg and skeleton with them at the time just to drive the point home further.
For the most part, this is a pretty good-looking slice of the anime, delivering its best at the end when Luffy comes across a mirror image copy of himself that he has to fight to no avail. I say "for the most part" because this episode also features the return of the show's extra-weird boobs. Not only do they look bigger than normal, but it feels like there's a director on set constantly asking Nami to pull her cleavage down further between shots, and the camera always makes sure her chest is in frame at every possible moment.
Other than that, every arc centered around a larger-than-life fantasy location is going to reach this particular point of the story, where it feels like the main goals get sidelined so that the cast can take in all the weird ideas that the author has conjured up for the given location. This happened in Little Garden, Skypiea, Thriller Bark, and most other arcs depending on how picky you are about defining these kinds of scenes. This is the traditional "act two" of however many acts you want to say a One Piece arc has. It usually works pretty well in the grand scheme of the story, giving us little loops to get lost in before we learn what's truly going on, but these are definitely the more challenging parts of an arc to get through on a weekly schedule.
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