by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 978 of
One Piece ?
The Worst Generation and their crews have arrived. Zoro and Usopp launch an attack and damage one of the Beast Pirates' ships, which is the signal for everyone else to join the fray. Kanjuro is surprised that the Thousand Sunny is here, since Orochi sent agents to destroy it at the port. A flashback reveals that the Straw Hats were relaxing at shore when they were alerted by an explosion near the Sunny, but since it is crafted from the Jewel Tree Adam, it easily survived the explosion (save the sails, hence the Straw Hats' tardiness). The Straw Hats wonder where everyone else is, and Kinemon admits that it was his blunder that exposed their plan.
The Straw Hats join the fray, with Nami, Robin, and Sanji getting a chance to shine. The Beast Pirates reveal that they sunk all the ships docked at the port the night before, and that Orochi destroyed all major bridges connecting the regions – no one else would be coming to their aid. They fire a barrage at Kinemon and crew, but Bepo and the Heart Pirates deflect the cannonballs. The Beast Pirates further reveal that Kaido and Big Mom will be sealing their alliance tonight. All hope seems lost.
The rest of the Worst Generation engage the enemy while bickering the entire time. Law, Kid, and Luffy annihilate the Beast Pirates in a methodical, super-charged display of their martial prowess. Finally, Kyoshiro arrives on his ship, but betrays the Beast Pirates by launching an attack that shatters the ship – then the To Be Continued card flashes.
I am no longer asking you to watch One Piece, I am telling you.
A visual feast for the eyes – I don't know how else to describe this episode. Every week that passes since I brought up the comparisons with the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie, the gap between this weekly(!) production and that high watermark gets smaller. I don't know how the Toei team is doing it – it's truly astounding.
What can I say? The cinematography is as beautiful as it is hilarious. You've got the Worst Generation captains overlaid in rainbow outlines transposed over their readier crews. You've got cut-in reaction shots from Luffy where he is grabbing the edges and practically about to break down the fourth wall before cracking an enemy skull. Nami and Robin getting their own lavishly animated monstrous attacks.
And that finale.
Usopp above, what a finale.
If last week leaned a little heavy on the flashbacks, it makes more sense in the context of this week's episode. I imagine the team needed a bit of a lower ebb to build up steam for this tour de force. I don't know if I can find the words to adequately describe the majesty of the sequence wherein the Worst Generation attack the Beast Pirates. Every frame a painting, every movement a flourish, every impact a bone-breaker. It's 90 seconds of pure heaven, the nectar of the gods poured through your irises. I cannot believe this is weekly television, my God.
And on a strictly personal note, this episode had numerous Nico Robin smiles and a Beast Pirates goon licking a weapon (even if it wasn't strictly a blade), so I was more than satisfied.
Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.
One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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