by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 847 of
One Piece ?
┃┃╱╲ In this
╱╱╭╮╲╲ we love
▔▏┗┛▕▔ & appreciate
Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, the Big Mom chase rages on as usual. Nothing can stop Big Mom from chasing that delicious (nonexistent) wedding cake, not even being blown into the ground by a giant lightning bolt. The Straw Hats stop, thinking they must have slowed her down, only to hear her thumping footsteps as she walks through the crater walls like they're made of cardboard. By this point, most of the audience is probably tired sick of hearing her scream "wedding cake!!!" over and over again in a half-conscious tantrum, but each successive example of how ludicrously unstoppable she is gives me goosebumps.
Some progress is made elsewhere since Brook and Chopper have secured the submarine and arrived at the Thousand Sunny only to discover the enemy on board. Katakuri and Perospero are watching from the side for now, but the action scene with the smaller grunts looks fantastic. There's something really exciting about seeing Brook and Chopper, two of the more scaredy-cat members of the crew, fail to miss a beat in taking the enemy head on. The adrenaline is rushing through their veins and the rest of the crew is counting on them to keep the ship safe, so their decision to go head first into the fight is awesome. This sequence makes for a great companion to the better-looking scene from last week.
From there we reach the next significant development in the story, with Pudding and Chiffon flying into the middle of the chase and begging Sanji to help bake the cake that will calm Big Mom down. We've already learned by now that Pudding is a flustered mess around Sanji, but only now that she's actually confronting him again do we meet hyper-tsundere Pudding, flip-flopping between blushing adoration and throat-slitting villainy.
In a stroke of happenstance, I actually prefer how this reveal got spaced out in the anime. In the manga her feelings for Sanji leading up to this moment were split between two cliffhangers: one showing "good" Pudding and one showing "evil" Pudding. The reveal that she's still juggling her evil side is a lot funnier when it comes all at once like this, because it's so comically futile. Normally tsunderes act mean because they want to hide their true feelings, but Pudding's already vomited hers for the world to see and now it's just damage control. "It's not like I didn't want you to die or anything!" What's the point of saying that?! Everybody just saw you talking about how great he is two seconds ago!
Pudding really strikes a nerve with me. Despite the cartoonishness of her personality, I find her incredibly sympathetic. She's spent her entire life playing a character for everybody else, only truly existing in her own head, and now the facade is broken and she can't go back to the way things were anymore. Anything that isn't the raw id-fueled acceptance of another person (which Sanji can offer in spades) just feels like loneliness to her now. I have a love-hate relationship with tsunderes, but I like how this cuts straight to what I've always believed was the most relatable aspect of the trope—it's reaction-formation, a conditioned hatred of your own feelings. I also like how Chiffon gets to play the straight man act opposite her. They have this entire plan to calm Big Mom, and she'll be damned if she lets Pudding get in her own way!
This tsundere-twist is definitely not for everybody—many will be disappointed that this is the destination of a character who was the secondary antagonist of the arc not too long ago. To me, the tsundere thing feels like a deliberately sensationalist spin with the intention of pushing the trope to its logical extreme and bending it into a new shape as a result. I always got the sense that the author sees a human being underneath her wackiness, and the audience is given every opportunity under the sun to understand her situation and feelings despite appearances, which is frankly a very Eiichiro Oda way of telling a story.
So the Straw Hats may be closing in on their ship, but the battle isn't ending any time soon. The argument that Chiffon and Pudding make is that the crew would have no way out of Big Mom's territory even if they could make it to sea. Big Mom is just that good at finding and killing people. Their only course of survival is to hold the fort and wait for Sanji and the girls to bake the most delicious wedding cake in the world, praying that it gives the crew a chance to skedaddle. This episode is the feeling of taking another deep breath to hold. We were so close to victory and now an entire cake has to be made while we twiddle our thumbs and hope the rest of the cast doesn't die.
And I am here for it.
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