One Piece
Episode 896

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 896 of
One Piece ?

Occasionally, anime is tasked with asking life's biggest questions, such as "What would you do if you wielded the mighty power of carbonated water?"

This week, the battle with Cidre the bountry hunter barrels towards its natural conclusion, and the Straw Hats are finally steered in the direction of Stampede's plot. Among the plethora of movie tie-in filler we've received over the years, this Cidre storyline doesn't stand out amongst its brethren, serving as easily the most mild experience of the bunch. That's either a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether or not you like the weird WTF-ery that often comes with these specials. Film Z's tie-in filler had vore and gigantification going on at the same time! Cidre and his goons have boring ol' soda.

Spectacle-wise, this episode has a significant leg up from last week. The action is exciting an impactful, even if the story is not. Despite being the suppose "greatest bounty hunter of the generation," Cidre can't do much to stop our rubbery captain, and the conflict escalates to to a pretty standard finisher where Cidre equips himself with a more powerful battle suit that barely look different than his normal one, and Luffy one-shots him after delivering a speech about conviction. There's a surprising amount of pontificating about the differences between pirates and bounty hunters, but nothing insightful ever comes of it.

Generally speaking, these recent One Piece movies have opened the doors for a truck ton of world-building and thematic exploration, even within the confines of filler and extraneous specials. The fun comes from the fact that their main villains are fixtures of the One Piece world and you can imagine they exist somewhere in the manga's canon, even if they're never directly mentioned. Cidre is connected to Stampede's main villain, Douglas Bullet, by virtue of having been defeated by him in the past and developing a grudge towards pirates as a result, but that's hardly the hook that's going to get our butts in theater seats. The more interesting angle is how Buena Festa is connected to both Bullet and Roger. There has got a be a more compelling idea for a filler arc tie-in than a bounty hunter scrub that the show can't even pretend to care about.

As the episode ends, Luffy receives his invitation to the Pirate Festa and the events of the movie are sure to roll out from there. We get a very brief montage of all the big name characters who are scheduled to show up, but there isn't anything novel here that isn't already in Stampede's trailer. It's a little odd how none of the other Straw Hats wound up playing a part in this filler arc outside of beating up grunts on the shoreline, since I'm sure they'll all be fighting for screentime once the movie comes out (not to mention this is the rare instance where the anime gets to have all the Straw Hats in one location again), but otherwise this episode is notably more entertaining than last week's, for whatever that's worth.

Rating:

One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw


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