One Piece Episode 796
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 796 of
One Piece ?
Sometimes when you know specific details about stuff that's supposed to be a surprise for later, it can be hard to tiptoe around. That's been the case for a couple of things that get confirmation here in this episode, most notably the name of Big Mom's Devil Fruit: the Soul-Soul Fruit, a.k.a. a more than fitting power for an Emperor level enemy. I think of it as a beefed up version of Gecko Moria's shadow fruit, where she uses the power to remove pieces of people's personalities and put them into inanimate objects or animals, which she calls her "Homies" (I think it's short for homunculi). The fact that she can put souls into animals and not people is kind of a creepy detail. Do animals not already have souls? Does Chopper have a soul?
It also raises the question as to what Brook's role in this arc is, since his Devil Fruit seems to give him dominion over his own soul, but not others. Whose power beats whose in that rock-paper-scissors match? This revelation comes thanks to the large man in the ground who Luffy keeps running into in the Seducing Woods, shortly before we learn that this whole time he's been a former husband of Big Mom's.
This episode spends the entirety of its time in the Seducing Woods, the most tiresome part of the arc so far, but this is just as that subplot starts to get really interesting. There's a lot of on the ground action with Big Mom's daughter Brulee, a woman with mirror powers who has no problem fending off Carrot, and the episode ends with Big Mom's son Cracker arriving on the scene. Cracker is especially dangerous as one of the "Sweet Three", and we'll get to see exactly how enormous this person's physicality and stature within the family are soon enough.
As far as I can tell, we're pretty much back to one-chapter-per-episode in terms of pacing, which at this point feels like a victory. In manga form where you can breeze through the Seducing Woods easily in one go it's fine, but in the anime the hijinks have to get drawn out so much the story loses a lot of steam easily. The humor with Luffy and the fake Straw Hat animals has been really tight in the last couple of episodes, but maybe not so much so that it makes up for the repetition leading up to now. I did get a great laugh out of Luffy mistaking the real Nami for a fake, though.
One Piece continues to trod through the Whole Cake Island arc, alternating between using its slow pacing elegantly and otherwise. I look forward to seeing some proper drama and action now that Charlotte Cracker has arrived, and I've enjoyed the myriad of plot details we've been getting as of late, but it needs to pick up the slack soon lest this part of the arc be more exhausting than fun. Not enough of the Seducing Woods has been outright bad enough to criticize, but even my iron-clad patience can only handle so much, especially when there are so many bigger picture ideas being teased elsewhere.
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