by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 955 of
One Piece ?
We open with Hiyori, Zoro, and Kawamatsu discussing her father's blade Enma. Kawamatsu objects to giving such an important blade to Zoro, but Hiyori insists. She also underscores the importance of returning Shusui to Wano, and Zoro agrees – since a replacement is involved.
Back at the prison quarters in Rasetsu town, many samurai are still being held captive. The samurai attempt to explain that it was all just a prank by Yasui, but the guards aren't having it. Meanwhile, below ground Law has Hawkins subdued. Hawkins reveals that Apoo betrayed them for Kaido, as well as his belief that Kid will die trying to defy Kaido. As Law goes to leave, he tells a shadowy figure that he knows of their plot to let him escape.
Kinemon calls around Wano to the various co-conspirators. He notifies them that they need to change the rebellion's symbol by adding two lines at the bottom. The various leaders recognize the coded meaning right away. Nami tries to decipher it but Kinemon explains that it only makes sense if you know the names of the ports of Wano. By adding two lines, the snake becomes a lizard, and this changes the rendezvous point from Habu Port to Tokage Port. The Akazaya Nine are thankful for Yasui's brilliance in designing the flyer for such an eventuality.
Back at Onigashima, waves crash and alcohol flows. Apoo arrives via ship and breaks through the waterfall thanks to Kaido's permission. He even has Numbers in tow, enormous monsters that shake the earth beneath their tread.
In the final moments, Kaido and Big Mom announce that they have formed an alliance. The Big Mom Pirates and Animal Kingdom Pirates have joined forces as the title card flashes.
An entertaining enough episode for what was essentially exposition.
I have said in the past that the care involved in the creation of the series keeps even this from being boring, and I stand by that. That being said, Wano does have a lot of moving parts and it can take an entire episode just to touch base with everyone. The vast majority of the runtime is Kinemon making snail calls to his lieutenants, so of course your mileage may vary in the excitement department. The direction and cinematography in these scenes are also standard fare to ensure clarity.
That being said there is still the trademark One Piece creativity and drama on display. The explanation for the ingenuity of Kinemon's change to the flyer was neat (if a bit long-winded for my tastes), and likewise the one about the importance of Shusui to Wano was a fun look back at Zoro's duel with Ryuma. This episode was heavy on the maps and diagrams too, with plenty of detail provided in regards to the secret waterfall entrance in Kaido's fortress. These details are part of the series DNA, but it is a touch dryer than the emotional or political stakes going on elsewhere.
The episode was not entirely dry though. The constant joy of the transponder snails will forever be a joy, and watching all the little snails take on the aspect of the caller makes me smile every time. Law fans will be pleased with his dramatic scenes beneath the prison and their accompanying gravitas. Mitsuaki Madono's line delivery as Scratchman Apoo is terrific and brimming with his signature energy. And lastly, the alliance between Big Mom and Kaido cannot be overstated in its importance. Luffy and crew have quite the challenge ahead...
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