One Piece Episode 810
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 810 of
One Piece ?
Happy news, everyone! There's going to be a wedding! Sanji and Pudding have vowed to live happily ever after, and I'm sure there's no way it could go wrong. No siree.
These are the parts of the series that get the most frustrating, because execution becomes so important. I was impressed by Luffy and Sanji's big fight because it made what was already a relatively weak thread of the arc (Sanji's departure from the crew) a lot more potent, and I wish that was the case more often. The heart of this episode lies in Sanji and Pudding's private conversation away from their parents, where Pudding sees the hurt that Sanji's family is putting him through, so they promise each other to make their marriage a happy one. They're two peas in a pod in this unwanted marriage, after all. From Sanji's point of view, there's no going back to the Straw Hat pirates, but living with a beautiful, caring young woman seems to be the next best thing. It's a glimmer of light in the darkness.
The animation's not pretty enough to keep up with the soft piano decorating the scene, so a moment like this gets lost in the shuffle given the scope of the arc. Pudding's role in this story is in a precarious position for a number of reasons, and the only thing that can save her from being a snore is to go all in. Make her so sweet my teeth hurt. Right now, I think her charms are working on Sanji a lot more than they're working on us, and I just find myself hitting my head against my desk, wishing this show could be drawn better or moved faster or something.
This conversation between Sanji and Pudding is sewn between scenes of Luffy and Nami fighting off Big Mom's army. There's a moment of empowerment as all of Mom's henchmen doubt that Luffy could have been the one to defeat Cracker, only for Luffy to put up a surprisingly good fight against so many enemies. Again, this is a sequence let down by so-so animation, and the fact that this battle of futility appears to be going on for yet another episode is disappointing. That said, it is nice to see the smaller names of Big Mom's family have a moment with Luffy before the rest of the arc happens.
We're tumbling into the lowest point of the story for our heroes, after a brief victory at the end of the Cracker fight. We can be pretty certain that Sanji will return to the crew at some point, but right now there are enough complications to keep it interesting. What would it take for Sanji to leave Pudding and put Zeff's life back at risk? What happens if Luffy can't keep his promise to stay waiting in that spot? That last one is a self-imposed rule for Luffy, who's assuming Sanji's coming back as much as we are. It's a gesture that anchors the whole story, no matter how much things go out of wack in the episodes to come.
I like the ideas behind the story enough to enjoy the episode, but am really worn down by the pacing and presentation. I really wish that Luffy vs. Big Mom's army wasn't being divided between at least three episodes, and you can feel the production running thin once again.
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