by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 848 of
One Piece ?
It's easy to forget that all the living objects and trees within Whole Cake Island are animated by the souls of individual people. Pudding reminds us of this when she creates a clearing for the Straw Hats in the forest by using her Memo-Memo powers to return the attacking trees to their original consciousness, at least for the time being. It's a little tragic to think that this arc is basically Thriller Bark 2.0, but without the happy ending where we see the souls return to their original owners.
This is a surprisingly good-looking episode, despite how little story progress is made. This is my platonic ideal for how I'd like the anime to look on a more regular basis, where even the less animation intensive scenes look nice and polished, like the artists actually had time to draw multiple drafts before airing. This would be a perfect episode if anything happened in it, but sadly this is about half a chapter's worth of running forward. Thankfully, this seems to be the end of the Big Mom foot chase before we transition into naval combat, as the rest of the Straw Hats finally arrive to assist Chopper and Brook on the Sunny.
Chopper and Brook's side of the fight continues to be really cool, with Brook now fighting with his Soul King ghost hanging off him like a JoJo's Stand. I hope that's just how he fights from now on. It's a little frustrating to know how strong Katakuri and Perospero must be and for them to not just murder Chopper and Brook with the blink of an eye. Part of that is the anime's pacing, but Perospero's involvement in the fight includes trapping his opponents in candy and then literally putting a clock on their heads to wait for them to suffocate. I believe circumstances demand a little more efficiency on the villains' part at the moment.
Still, the villains' lazy confidence does lead to the highlight of the episode, where Perospero watches the Seducing Woods from a distance and assumes Mom has killed the Straw Hats by now, only for them to emerge intact in a sequence that has some real kick to it. We get to watch the enemy's stunned face as they realize their barrage of obstacles hasn't slowed Luffy and company down at all, and it feels great. The finale also tops the episode off with a well-animated action scene where Luffy plows his way through Perospero's giant candy attacks. It really gets your blood pumping to see the heroes putting so much effort into avoiding Big Mom, as well as trying to throw the other powerful villains off the ship so they can finally take off.
So the Straw Hats sans Sanji have at long last made it to the Sunny, meaning we can only change gears from here. Sanji, Pudding, and Chiffon are off to Cacao Island to rebuild Mom's wedding cake, so the crew's best bet is to sail between the various islands of Totto Land while the baking commences. I'd really prefer that we not still be taking things this slow, but I have a lot of affection for the execution of this episode in all other regards. That fun adventurous spirit can finally breathe, and I hope we get to spend at least a few more episodes at this level of quality as the story delves into heavier stuff up ahead.
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