by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 888 of
One Piece ?
I hope you enjoyed Shanks' surprise appearance last week, because that's the last you're gonna see of him for a while! The rest of this mini-arc will continue to maneuver various characters into place before the official meeting between kings can kick off. Sabo and the Revolutionaries are doing their thing behind the scenes, sneaking around and taking pictures of Mariejois for their intel gathering. Sabo's stealth adventures as he weaves between guards are a welcome embellishment this week compared to the manga, where we're never quite clear on the Revolutionaries' plan of attack. We just know that they're plotting to do something mysterious.
Further connecting Sabo and the gang to the cruelty of the World Government is the return of Bartholomew Kuma, whose unconscious Terminator body is serving as a slave for the Celestial Dragons. There's a lot of expositional detail here, like how Kuma is a favored slave among the world nobles because he can take such a beating, to the point where they have to take turns "renting" him. He's still considered one of the Seven Warlords despite being effectively brain-dead, and it's shocking how far he's fallen from grace since the last time we saw him. There's also a lot going on with Jewelry Bonney, who's arrived on the scene and seems to have a connection to Kuma, but we'll get to her in a bit.
- All Things Kuma: Rather than recapping a single arc, this episode opts to cover Kuma's role throughout the entire series. He's a good character to do something like this for, as I think he's the most narratively interesting character ahead of Crocodile when it comes to the big picture story. When we were first introduced to him, we were led to believe he was the only Warlord to genuinely swear allegiance to the World Government, but as we get to know his history with the Revolutionaries, it's beginning to look like he's been the government's worst enemy this entire time. I have a bad habit of comparing every double agent character I meet to Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear, but Kuma is Extremely Revolver Ocelot™, down to the part where he deliberately gives up his free will to the enemy for the sake his own secret plan that's sure to take all sides of the conflict by surprise. He's great in both hero and villain roles, an astoundingly compelling figure from every angle.
Bonney is another unexpected appearance at the Reverie, using her age-changing powers to don the alias "Connie," the queen dowager of Sorbet Kingdom. Apparently, Kuma was actually the king of Sorbet some time before becoming a Revolutionary (which was before becoming a pirate, and then before becoming a government puppet, etc). A bajillion questions are raised by this relationship. Are Bonney and Kuma related? Is Bonney an active queen dowager or does she just resemble the real Connie when she turns herself into an old lady? Bonney seems to be on a mission of her own, but her friend's misfortune is enough to make her shed a tear. Like the rest of the Reverie's surprises, there's enough to inspire that "Ooh! Ooh!" response as you watch along, because these reveals feel like such a big deal, but we're being left on another cliffhanger, so who knows what any of this means yet.
There's a lot of good material this week between the Revolutionaries, the Kuma/Bonney connection, and the princesses hanging out and getting more familiar with Mjosgard, but it's still firmly operating under the same type of nebulous exposition. Either you trust that these story threads are going somewhere or you don't. I'm pretty fifty-fifty in that regard. We've learned on enough occasions that Eiichiro Oda always has something sneaky up his sleeve when it comes to plotting, but we're at the point where so much is left up in the air that it's bemusing to see the story continue to shovel intrigue onto the pile. With Sabo's team, there's a chance to see some hell break loose, especially now that they have a comrade in need, but based on how little time we have left with the Reverie, all we can do is hold our breath.
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