by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 798 of
One Piece ?
Every bad guy's got to have their top officers. Doflamingo had his card suits, and now Big Mom's got her Sweet Three Generals (formerly Sweet Four, as we learn later in this episode), including none other than our current opponent, Charlotte Cracker. Luffy may be a big shot rookie with a 500 million berry bounty, but even he's a small fry compared to one of the Four Emperors who have henchmen nearing the billions range. I love it when we get a big dramatic bounty out of nowhere, just to get a whiff of the scale we're working with. Cracker's is 860 million.
Suddenly, my exhaustion with the Seducing Woods vanishes as we're able to set our sights on one very clear and challenging conflict. Nami has to remind Luffy to preserve his strength, because their goal is still to rescue Sanji and get out without a fight. If Luffy spends too much time trying to deal with one stronger opponent out of many, then this is going to be an arc of hardship like few others. The arc is still trotting along at its slow pace, but we're back to a groove I can sink my teeth into.
Also on the track of details meant to put the Straw Hats in their place is the story that Brulee tells about the other Super Rookies who have wandered into Big Mom's lair looking for a fight. Names that we know like Kid and Apoo never got anywhere, though Brulee's argument skills could use some work as she has to back-pedal on Bege Capone and Urouge. The former married into the family and Urouge was able to defeat one of the top generals, suggesting that maybe Big Mom's defenses aren't entirely impenetrable. It does make us wonder what kind of footing Luffy's pirate rivals may have found while we weren't looking, though.
Beyond that, this episode goes on to juggle the fights between Luffy vs Cracker and Nami vs Brulee. Luffy's as headstrong as ever despite his enemy not budging, but Nami is able to use her new Clima-takt to take out Big Mom's witch daughter for now. Pound, Big Mom's ex-husband and Lola's father, also finds the courage to fight alongside them for a brief moment, dooming him to an act of treason.
Multi-part fights are often hard to discuss an episode at a time, since the flow of several episodes running together is where their best qualities come out, but this is a decent episode all the same. The animation looks solid as Luffy does his best, and the next few episodes promise to escalate the action further. Now the Seducing Woods get to be what I hoped they would from the beginning: a little pocket conflict that the heroes have to fight their way through just to compete with the main story again. Before it was just a bunch nonspecific gags and challenges, but now it's got us wondering what will happen even if the main characters do win, because there's so much room for this fight to slow them down or tire them out while all the Sanji stuff continues on regardless.
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