by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 956 of
One Piece ?
The episode begins with Hiyori bowing and asking Zoro to help save Wano. Back At Kinemon's camp, everyone is moved to tears by hearing Kawamatsu recount this. There is a brief discussion of the timing on Hiyori and Momonosuke's ages naturally involving Sanji, but soon the focus is on Zoro. The green-haired swordsman uses Enma and cuts a huge chunk off of a cliffside, his arm shrivelling from expending so much energy. Zoro is nevertheless excited about wielding it.
While Zoro and Momo go off into the forest to train more, Kinemon receives a call from the former crime bosses – they have even more troops than expected. Luffy arrives at the camp as well, and after gathering supplies the groups split up to head in their separate directions for the ports. At this stage the Akazaya Nine are all reunited and heading into battle against Kaido himself. Zoro is continuing his training as he learns more about the history of the blades that he wields, while across Wano the power players are moving into position for the final battle. Hiyori's shamisen plays over Luffy training and the land of Wano returns to full bloom as the To Be Continued card flashes.
And with that, another act draws to a close in the story of Wano.
A fine episode that ends up being largely Zoro-focused. If you like seeing training montages and hearing about the legacies of legendary blades, then this episode has you covered. I personally find it all engaging, but I can see how for certain viewers this might be a lot of exposition with little payoff. There isn't a whole lot to comment on either, as this continues to be a broad overview episode that reminds us where all the major parties are. Wano is big! Wano is a lot.
The visual highlights in this episode are still remarkable. Zoro testing out Enma after deciding to save Wano (by rather unceremoniously cutting off a huge chunk of it) is bombastic and marvelous. Zoro has consistently been given amazing moments and this is no exception. I think introducing significant drawbacks to Zoro's use of the Enma blade is quite interesting; Zoro has been pretty much a one-man wrecking crew for a long time (minus that ego check at the bridge) and having his abilities cost him in a tangible way is a welcome wrinkle to his considerable strengths.
I also really enjoyed the theater-like elements on display. The imagery of Wano coming back into full bloom in those final moments of the episode with accompanying shamisen music and curtain imagery is very pleasing. It's all present in the manga but the added impact of hearing it in the anime is great. In terms of cinematography, the top to bottom screenwipe of the falling snowflake was a really nice touch.
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