by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 855 of
One Piece ?
As of right now, the Luffy vs. Katakuri fight seems really at war with itself, since it's so long and slow without a ton of variation in the material, but even when it gets repetitive, the action manages to be interesting and engaging. The fighters have cool powers, and there's a much greater emphasis on the actual choreography than we often see in One Piece. Right now Luffy's greatest challenge is out-speeding Katakuri's Observation Haki. Since his opponent can predict his moves, he has to exhaust twice as much stamina to dodge. It doesn't help that now we're learning Katakuri has "awakened" Devil Fruit powers like Doflamingo, meaning he can turn the physical world around him into mochi as well.
Once again, there's not a ton of story movement as much as now would be the time for things to get going. I think the scene I actually appreciated the most this week was with the side characters chit-chatting on the shoreline of Whole Cake Island. Charlotte Montd'or and the Artist Formally Known as Baron Tamago (now "Count Niwatori") talk about the Straw Hats' chances at victory. An element that really gets lost when you're watching this show week-to-week is that enormous sense of gutsiness and achievment. Niwatori is looking back at recent events and remarks that Luffy's crew has already accomplished more than any other rookies could dream of, between breaking into the Emperor's lair, knocking her castle down, and (mostly) surviving all the way to this point. Montd'or doesn't wanna hear it, but the reminder is in the audience's head.
The biggest change this week actually comes with the Germa 66 fight, which finally concludes this week. It's funny, in the manga this whole fight was off screen until the very end where we see them chilling on a mountain pirate corpses. I didn't mind some of this filler but it really undermined itself by showing us the same batch of match-ups over the past several months, so the ending feels so much more extreme by comparison. Each Vinsmoke kid took several episodes to defeat their given opponents, and now they've suddenly taken out hundreds of people.
The episode ends with the Vinsmokes calling in and tricking the rest of the Big Mom pirates into thinking they were victorious on the Germa side of the fight, and now they're planning to make their next move. They're still in that quasi-ally state with the Straw Hats, so who knows what sort of help they might lend, if they're even in the helping mood at all after all this.
So we're two-for-two on Luffy vs. Katakuri fight episodes where not a ton happens, and we've had little of the other Straw Hats present to balance it out. There are parts of this fight that are definitely a long-winded grind, and if the show had the luxury of trimming it down, I think it'd improve the experience a lot. That said, the fight has yet to get boring per se, and it helps that the animation hasn't bottomed out, but we're in desperate need to get some of that oomph back soon. It's an acceptable episode, but I'm hungry for a lot more substance at the moment.
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