by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 945 of
One Piece ?
As the dust settles on Big Mom wrecking Queen, she… continues to wreck Queen. He doesn't let up though, and does a mighty leap into the sky to drop down on top of her. Barely managing to hold up his huge brachiosaurus frame, Big Mom is forced to listen to him chuckle about how she'll never touch that red bean soup.
The laughter does not last long.
She soon grabs him and begins spinning him around full Yonkou Wrestlemania-style. Big Mom proceeds to chuck this jurassic into the prison wall so hard that the entire complex starts crumbling. Towers fall, cells break, and Kid and Killer end up freed from the water.
Across the compound, Raizo and Caribou are playing Metal Gear Solid by taking out guards and breaking communication lines. Raizo is quite impressed with how useful Caribou is turning out to be. The squishy creeper mentions that by taking out the boss snail they can cut off communications to Udon.
Back in the prison yard, Big Mom finds that the red bean soup container is empty. Luffy tries to “subtly” say that he did that, but Big Mom hears him because Luffy's dump stat is whispering. It turns out she was not in a soup rage for her own hunger – rather, she wanted to support the people of Ebisu who were so kind to her. She begins attacking Luffy and Hyogoro, sending them flying. Before their collars explode, Luffy manages to rip them off in a heightened state – tapping into the Ryou/Haki that Hyogoro was trying to get him to access. Hyogoro decides not to run and instead stay in the path of Big Mom to increase Luffy's need to succeed. Luffy rises to the challenge, blossoming with newfound power, and preparing to take on an Emperor of the Sea head-on.
What a phenomenal episode with excellent animation, direction, and character moments. Big Mom is one of the story's most fascinating villains and any time she appears it's a treat. Finding out that her hunger rage was for the people of Ebisu rather than herself was a big o-o-f in the heart and the anime did a terrific job rendering the impact of that scene. Luffy's hilarious inability to have an internal monologue and the bit where he thought Big Mom didn't recognize him because of his “disguise” had me rolling.
Speaking of impact and rolling, wow the fights this week. The titanic, screen-shaking battering Queen took at Big Mom's hands was glorious to watch. All the shaky cam POV shots from low angles really made Big Mom feel appropriately terrifying. It's hard as a viewer not to get the sense that you are right there in her shadow as she begins her rampage, and the pressure is on. The absolutely absurdity of the events – kaiju matriarch versus punk-rock dinosaur wrestling match – does not feel out of place at all, because the execution is flawless.
Luffy's Ryou awakening was the cherry on top. The black screen with the burning hot pink blossoms coming up from the depths, then the way they rippled across Luffy's body as his armament activated… just wow. Again, hats off to the Toei team for elevating the (already excellent) source material. Even as someone who has already read these chapters in the manga, it was something special to see it fully realized on the screen.
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