by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 862 of
One Piece ?
The Thousand Sunny crew is being swarmed on all sides. Big Mom is right on their tail, and big shots like Daifuku and Smoothie are bringing in massive fleets to surround the Straw Hats. What once began as a wedding assassination gone wrong in the early morning has turned into a giant naval battle that's persisted into the night, long enough for the clear full moon to show itself and for Carrot to demonstrate the long-teased true power of the Minks. It's kind of odd, because the revelation that this particular night happened to be a full moon means there must have been an entire month since our adventures on Zou, which doesn't sound quite right, but whatever.
Before we get further into the Carrot stuff, I feel like it's worth noting that we're also seeing a pretty noteworthy change in Big Mom herself. She's been rampaging for so long that she's actually losing weight from all the calories burned. (Luffy's already done something like this a few times this arc alone, so it's not abnormal for One Piece.) But her demeanor is changing too—she's growing tired and sunken-eyed, much more demonic and witch-like. She's like an extreme version of what we see in our heroes, where she's so headstrong and determined to get what she wants that she's willing to rampage until her body just withers away and dies. If the Straw Hats were willing to survive long enough for that to happen, that could possibly be the way to beat her.
And on that note, we have yet another example of such a character in Carrot's new "Sulong" form. If untrained, a Sulong (aka "Moon Lion") will fight until they run out of stamina and get themselves killed. Carrot's been trained by Pedro, but even if that's the case, we don't want her staying in this new form for very long. The transformation sequence is much more Super Saiyan than Sailor Moon. The latter seemed likely to me since her new form is so beautiful and elegant, and we all know how much Carrot loves drawing her sparkly shojo fanart, but the former makes sense with the intended animalistic nature of the transition.
As Carrot Fanboy Numero Uno, this was a highly anticipated episode for me. I assumed it was the kind of episode that would get top priority production values, but the adaptation honestly leaves a lot to be desired. I appreciate the emphasis on atmosphere, but the accompanying action scene's animation quality can't keep up with the choreography at all. Not only is Sulong Carrot incredibly fast and powerful, but she can straight-up fly and take on fleets of pirates on her own. She's on a time limit because of that whole possibly-dying thing, so she uses her brief window to kick a bunch of goons' asses and pick off the steering wheels from their ships. The Straw Hats can't overpower the Big Mom pirates, so this chase is all about doing what they can to stay several inches ahead. That's what Carrot's movement emphasizes, but too much of the fluid motion is implied instead of demonstrated.
This is a huge moment for Carrot. It's her biggest showstopper of the arc and our formal introduction to what the Minks might be capable of in the future. Now we get to sit and wonder what the other Minks might look like under the full moon, so get your Moon Lion Dogstorm and Cat Viper fanart ready!
Personally, I wish I walked away from this episode with a lot more excitement. It's similar to the sake cup scene with Jimbei earlier, where the elation I felt while reading the manga could never be taken away, but this episode doesn't have the oomph I need in order to go all in with these reviews. The material being covered is really neat, I just wish I could say the execution went the extra mile.
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