by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 846 of
One Piece ?
The chase outside of Whole Cake Island was never going to be easy, and even after several episodes we're only getting started. As much as I love this second half of the arc, it does a terrible job of giving the audience a sense of how much more is to come, and with how big of a pain Big Mom is to shake off. As a manga reader, I would have hated to learn at this point in the story that we still have a good 20-30 weeks left to go.
My good will for this portion of the chase is starting to run thin, since now we're on episode three of this repetitive material. The Sunny is in sight, but now the Seducing Woods are disorienting the Straw Hats to keep them from running in the right direction. It's nice to see a callback to how this arc began, and it's clear that we don't intend to stay in the Seducing Woods for nearly as long as our first time through, but this episode is out to test the audience's patience. It's a fight to keep our wits while Big Mom's children flank us from all sides.
This is a frustrating combination of issues. Not only are we stretching the source material out too much during an action-heavy chase (we've settled back into less than one chapter per episode), but the show has already covered its available b-plots in prior episodes. As is, they've animated a considerable amount of filler Vinsmoke action, and it isn't time to reveal what Pudding and Chiffon are up to either. The animation quality this week is low, save for a surprisingly good looking sequence where the crew fends off Big Mom's cronies in a series of mini one-on-ones. The animators really flesh out Carrot, Pedro, and Jimbei's unique fighting styles and body types in motion, and it looks great.
The rest of the episode, however, is less than stellar. The climax where Zeus dopily takes another unexpected bite of Nami's thunderclouds and launches a massive lightning bolt down on Big Mom herself should look a lot more thrilling and intense than it does, or at the very least it should have come sooner in the episode. This is one of Nami's big attacks for the arc (even if it was an accident), and it just feels like it's here to stall. Last week ended with Prometheus's attack on the Straw Hats and this week ends with Zeus's friendly fire, but neither bout looks cool enough to justify keeping us in one place for so long.
I'm torn because I really like parts of this episode. That one good action scene pulls a considerable amount of weight, and I think the show does a good job getting the most out of the Seducing Woods: Round Two. That sinister Disney air still has a presence this far into the arc, but as a step in the Big Mom chase I really think we need to keep things moving. The problem with good scenes in mediocre episodes is that the lackluster material only stands out more. My spirits were high with the beginning of this chase, but now it's going to be diminishing returns until the next amazing thing happens.
discuss this in the forum (576 posts) |