by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 880 of
One Piece ?
With the Reverie being such a major world event, there were bound to be people not affiliated with the World Government who wanted a piece of the action as well. The Revolutionary Army—led by Luffy's father, Monkey D. Dragon—has been in the series for a while, but they've been biding their time in the background. Now they're finally making their move and gathering their most powerful forces together in the Grand Line to wage war against the world nobles who sit on top of the government. We're introduced to four new captains of the Revolutionaries this week as they show up in a port town being ransacked by pirates. Here's the rundown:
- Belo Betty—immediately one of the loudest (and frankly somewhat half-baked) character designs in all of One Piece, looking like a steampunk porn parody version of Liberty Leading the People. Betty is a gruff woman who insults the townspeople while also inspiring them to stand up for themselves. Her Devil Fruit is the Pump-Pump Fruit, which allows her to bring out the inner strength of people around her with a gust of air. She's also the only Revolutionary captain from East Blue, where Luffy and Dragon are from, so she feels like the most important of these four.
- Morley—a giant man wearing little more than a miniskirt. He has an affect where he talks like a teenage girl and accuses his enemies of hitting on him. "Crossdresser adjacent," let's call him. This is the same episode where we learn the Revolutionaries have moved their headquarters to Ivankov's Kamabakka Queendom after the Blackbeard pirates trashed their old place, so Morley's character quirks feel like they must be semi-related to this series' underground world of drag queens. (One Piece's depiction of gender non-conforming characters is "anarchic", to put it charitably.) Supplementary materials in the manga also suggest that his Push-Push powers were responsible for creating Level 5.5 of Impel Down, which makes the connection more apparent.
- Lindbergh—a cat mink who flies around with a jetpack, always looking for opportunities to try out the new weapons he develops. He's definitely the least interesting of the four.
- Karasu—a man in a plague doctor's mask whose body is made of crows. He would have been the person who picked Sabo up at the end of Dressrosa, and his quirk is that he forgets to turn up the loudspeaker on his mask, so the other characters spend the whole episode unable to hear him. It's something a little silly to offset his very serious design.
Oddly enough, I find myself endeared to these characters much more in the anime than I did in the manga, where their introduction feels far more mechanical: "Yup. Those are definitely some Eiichiro Oda designs." This is an exceptionally well-drawn episode that adds just enough character animation to breathe added life into the scene. They're not my favorite designs in the series, but I do like the free-spirited weirdness that they embody. Who better to take down The Man than a bunch of tacky-dressed rebels?
Their relationship with the townspeople is also interesting, as ready to help the weak as they are to condescend to them. Civilians are always caught between a rock and a hard place—between an oppressive government and the pirates eager to attack anyone who's vulnerable. The Revolutionaries are here to break that dynamic, and all they ask in return is that innocent people stand up for themselves. Luffy and the Straw Hats aren't adventuring to make the world a better place—they prefer to solve problems as they come—but the battle for a true universal justice is always happening around the corner. Let's just hope the world doesn't blow up before then.
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