by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 881 of
One Piece ?
How would you rate episode 882 of
One Piece ?
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Boy, the Reverie arc sure is getting slammed by the filler gods. I was wary of something like this happening since we're bringing together a plethora of characters who haven't been seen in ages and some catch-up is appropriate, but there's definitely an upper limit to what they can get away with. There are scraps of canon material between these two episodes, so they can't be skipped entirely, but there's hardly a meal's worth to talk about. To be completely fair to the anime, this is far from the worst this series has ever gotten. Remember when they paused the action in the middle of Enies Lobby to do five straight weeks of clip shows?
The conceit is that we're spending time with the upper echelons of the Navy as they recount the entirety of the Impel Down/Marineford saga. The stars of this episode are Fleet Admiral Sakazuki (formerly "Akainu"), former Fleet Admiral Sengoku, and Admiral Kizaru. Since Kizaru was voiced by the late Unsho Ishizuka, this is our first time hearing him being performed by Ryotaro Okiayu, who serves as a remarkably close voice match, if considerably softer-spoken. The specific story arc being recapped is a weird choice, since it informs very little of what's actually going to happen at the Reverie outside of being Navy-centric. I'm getting itchy because I know there are going to be more openings for clip shows in the future, and if they're already reaching this far off the bat, then I worry about the kind of reputation this arc is going to suffer.
The more interesting Navy material this week comes from Admiral Fujitora, who's arriving in Mariejois despite Sakazuki ordering him to keep hunting Luffy and Law. He's meeting with the mysterious Ryokugyu ("Green Bull"), who remains in the shadows, and their conversation is a landslide of intrigue. Fujitora mentions having visited Vegapunk recently, which is a big deal, and Ryukogyu is said to be in the middle of a three-year fast. He claims he's just been too lazy to eat, but whether that's to be taken literally or he's just being glib is unknown. Regardless, even in the One Piece world of tough manly men, you can't survive without food for three years without some kind of supernatural catch—or can you?! Ryukogyu staying in the shadows means the series is still being coy about his appearance, but we can assume he follows the pattern of the Navy admirals being based on famous old-school Japanese actors. His silhouette has long flowing hair, so I imagine his true design is locked down to some degree.
Elsewhere, the monarchs of the world are starting to arrive at the Reverie, and they're a gaggle of goofy national stereotypes: "King Taco" is Danny Trejo in a sombrero, "King Ham Burger" is Abraham Lincoln, etc. Fishman Island's Ryugu Kingdom is also arriving and being chaperoned by Luffy's grandfather Garp, which is a character team-up I never knew I wanted.
I worry that the Reverie is going to be a tough arc to review, because even when it isn't just a bunch of clip shows, it's all exposition and setup with nary an idea of how it's all going to tie together and pay off. The plot thickens and thickens, but what it all means and where everything is going remains as elusive to current manga readers as it will be to people watching the anime now. Ryukogyu is a good example of a character whose introduction suggests we're going to see a lot more of him soon, but "soon" in One Piece terms could still mean years from now, so the audience is left to simply shrug and be patient.
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