by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 937 of
One Piece ?
The prison rumble continues. Armadillo man is upset about Hyogoro downing his good buddy alpaca man and whips out two pistols to start blasting. Luffy jumps in to scoop up the elder and dispatch the armadillo man with a massive punch. Hyogoro informs Luffy that what he calls haki is known as ryuo here in Wano. Luffy continues to put the beat down on more goons and practice with his haki as Hyogoro offers advice, but he finds himself frustrated at a lack of progress.
Back in Ebisu, Yasu is going around making quite the impression on everyone. He mentions Kinemon in relation to the rebellion, leaving Shinobu and Kanjuro shocked. Even though the villains know about the tattoo and the plan, Yasu tries to remain upbeat that more will join their cause regardless. He then sets out about town tending to the sick, providing food for the hungry, and checking in on the elderly. When the Straw Hats press Shinobu and Kanjuro to reveal who exactly Yasu is, they admit they don't know and were afraid to be rude and ask him. Usopp and Nami ask an elderly woman in the village who reveals that Toko is his daughter and she sends him money from the capital. He in turn spreads as much as he can to others in the community and eats very little for himself. We also get a brief moment of Toko dreaming of her father giving her a piggyback ride while she sleeps next to Zoro.
Back in the prison pit, Luffy is frustrated by his lack of progress. He has fought until nightfall and while he has won every encounter he doesn't feel that his haki is up to snuff yet. He and Hyogoro are surrounded by guards watching them, but when Hyogoro asks why he's so consumed with beating Kaido the future king of the pirates knocks out the guards with a quick haki burst. He explains his ambitions to be king just as Raizo arrives… inside Caribou's cloak?! It turns out Raizo had the keys to Caribou's cuffs and freed him.
Caribou grovels at Luffy's feet to join his crew. Luffy agrees so long as Caribou has really changed, which surprises everyone (Caribou most of all). Hyogoro pledges himself to Luffy as well and Raizo reveals that Hyogoro was a big yakuza boss back in the day. Hyogoro mentions that there are four other identical prison pits full of people jailed for treason against Orochi. Luffy deduces that if they free them, the prisoners will probably join their fight. Excited at this new plan, they steal a big pot of red bean soup and dig in.
Meanwhile, the Big Mom and Chopper gator-riding crew are getting closer to the prison. Charlotte Linlin is starving and can't wait to have delicious red bean soup. Kiku speaks kindly to her as they travel, but Chopper is terrified that Big Mom will turn on them at any moment – as is the reptile they're riding who is worried Big Mom might start gnawing any second. We get a final shot of Luffy licking his face clean of soup before the To Be Continued card flashes and draws the ep to a close.
Another phenomenal episode of Wano. This episode had a great mix of emotional beats and dynamic combats, with a hint of what's to come tacked on at the end. Yasu is such a fascinating character and watching his earnest attempts at helping others through the difficulties of Orochi's rule is very heartwarming. A good chunk of screen time is spent lingering on Yasu speaking with the elderly, feeding the hungry, lifting newborn babies, and it all does a great job of investing the audience in him as a character. With someone like Orochi stomping around doing all the most evil things all the time and creating nothing but anguish for the people of Wano, it's nice to have the counter-balance of Yasu providing a glimmer of hope through uncertain times.
The visual fidelity was once again outrageously good. The scenes of Luffy and Hyogoro leaping around using haki were all visceral and paced very well, with plenty of jaw dropping environmental destruction and kinetic dashing through the prison arena. The absolute show-stopper of a punch Luffy delivered to armadillo man was beyond excellent. That ripple of flesh rolling across his face like a shockwave was superb, I felt that one in my bones.
I also wanted to make particular note of a few highlights. At one point Hyogoro is recounting prior events and giving a bit of exposition for the audience. During the scene he kneels down and the events are “projected” behind him like a literal projector is just off-screen, complete with his shadow outlined against the film reel. It's a really brilliant flourish to spice up a somewhat standard flashback, and ties in very well with Hyogoro being an older character. Having this sort of classic film-style display for an aged veteran of sorts helps underscore how much older he is and being from a bygone era, as well as tapping into the chanbara/classic film vibe that Wano has going for it.
Lastly, Ikue Otani had me rolling this episode. When Chopper does this little scream/squeal as Big Mom is looming over him, she has this truly hilarious deliver that has an almost chirp-like quality. Just hearing her do that improved my day tenfold.
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