by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 931 of
One Piece ?
Luffy is scaling the cliffside with Hyogoro hanging onto his neck. Queen tells the goons to deal with it, and Babanuki shows us what a man with an elephant cannon in his chest can do by blasting them off the wall. Luffy is surrounded by goons, and Queen announces that he has something to say.
Back in Ebisu, the fellahs are getting nice and comfortable - there's plenty of open housing, what with the starvation and all. Zoro is MIA again and Sanji has also managed to disappear. Without skipping a beat, we jump to the bath house at the flower capital. Nami, Robin, and Shinobu are at the bath house, and half of Wano has come out to ogle them. Shinobu uses a patented ball-crusher jutsu to make them regret their choices, and our trio sits to have a giant octopus wash their backs (as one does). Shinobu takes this opportunity to talk about how legendary Hyogoro was and express her concerns of being able to recruit enough soldiers.
Back at the labor camp, Queen has Luffy and Hyogoro awaiting judgment while Raizo watches from above. Raizo hears a voice from a dark cell nearby and wonders if it's Kawamatsu. Raizo is spotted, but poof he's gone in a cloud of jutsu. Meanwhile the other guards prepare Queen's performance device and dances a little jig for our heroes. He then places deadly collars around Luffy and Hyogoro's necks which will chop their heads off if they fall outside the ring of combat! To make things even, he also undoes their sea prism stone cuffs, and says they will face off against the prison guards in the ring. Luffy is of course excited by this. Raizo sees the cuffs drop and wonders exactly whose key he has if not theirs.
This episode was fine, but mostly setup for events coming in future episodes. There was plenty of awooga awooga with fan service for Nami, Robin, and Shinobu's knees in the bath house, which is either the most important part of the episode or a segment to roll your eyes over, depending. I think visually the most interesting choice was when Shinobu was recounting Hyogoro's past and the images from that hazy past coalesce from the steam in the bathhouse to form his shape then we match cut to him in the prison yard.
How would you rate episode 932 of
One Piece ?
Queen and his goons are laughing at Luffy and Hyogoro just before the death match begins. Scores of mooks charge Luffy and he blasts them away, with Kawamatsu cheering him on from the sidelines. The boy is ready to roll with the cuffs removed.
At the bathhouse, Hawkins and X Drake arrive. They're searching for Soba Mask, and Nami and Robin attempt to hide. They lock eyes and share a pair of I'm ready if you're ready glances. Right before the action starts however, Nami's towel drops and half of Wano's population ends up skyrocketing away due to high pressure nosebleeds. It turns out Soba Mask was present, and his own nosebleed is so prodigious it disables his cloaking and nearly kills him.
Another form of bloodshed breaks out as Hawkins begins attacking. Soba Mask jumps in the way of the attacks, protecting the fleeing populace, before scooping up Nami, Robin, and Shinobu and zooming away. They're glad to be free of danger but Hawkins and X Drake did see the tattoo of the resistance....
At the prison camp, Luffy is knocking the goons around and having a grand old time. However, he flashes back to his battle with Kaido - which did not go well, if you'll remember - and focuses on how much he needs to grow stronger. We cut away to a snowy area near a bridge where an enormous figure challenges Zoro to a duel. The warrior is out to reclaim Shusui, Ryuma's blade, which belongs to Wano. On a snow-covered chanbara-flick-approved bridge, their duel begins in earnest.
Another setup episode of sorts. We're still ramping up the tension for the battles to come, and the majority of the episode was set in the bathhouse. The bathhouse as the lion's share of action and comedy is the make or break, as this tends to be pretty standard fare anime nyuk nyuks without much to write home about. We know the tropes and there they are.
One of my personal favorite moments was the super tense closeups on Robin and Nami's eyes in the moments before the action started. You got the sense they were about to throw down and it was going to be one for the record books. Of course, Nami's towel dropped instead so… that doesn't really happy. Ah, but what a world that would have been, to see a Robin and Nami combo fight. C'est la vie I suppose.
Another small thing was the heat effect around Luffy in the prison fights. I'm not sure what you would call it, but when he is gearing up to fight there is a “heat” effect around his body. It reminds me of when you see waves of heat coming off of asphalt on a hot day. It's subtle enough you almost miss it, but it really adds another layer of intensity to Luffy's moves in those scenes.
How would you rate episode 933 of
One Piece ?
Big Mom is HUNGRY. Tama gets her pumped by talking bout red bean soup, and Big Mom can't wait. While describing the soup, Big Mom mentions the rice balls being like frog eyes. Tama responds with an understandable, “Bruh… what?” Kiku mentions to Chopper how excited they're both getting, and Chopper continues to get really stressed out by the possibility of Big Mom waking back up to her old self.
At the labor camp, the fighting keeps on keeping on. Luffy is winning but is upset with himself for not doing everything with the same ease that Rayleigh did back during the timeskip training montage. Queen is quite certain that this fighting is wearing Luffy down, and calls in the Gifters. As I'm sure the name Gifters gives away almost immediately, the Gifters are a Gazelle Man and Bat Man with a bow and arrow in outrageous costumes. Kicking and arrow flurries follow shortly after. This is not Luffy's first time fighting all the animals at the zoo, and he quickly dispatches both of them.
We return to Chanbara Town USA where Zoro and Gyukimaru face off in single combat. Gyukimaru talks about how Ryuma made Wano's samurai legendary around the world, particularly among the thieving pirates. He further remarks that Shusui is a black blade, and that he overestimated Zoro.
Their battle is interrupted when none other than Komurasaki comes running onto the battlefield. She is carrying Toko in her arms and shouting for help as someone is out to kill them. Zoro in true jock fashion completely forgets where he is for a moment and nearly takes a blade strike to the back. The killer approaches and the battle stops for a moment - it's Hitokiri Kamazo, the wanted serial killer from the flower capital
Komurasaki offers Zoro anything if he'll help, and he agrees to for some sake and food. Hitokiri comes in like a whirling dervish, and the battle commences. They exchange numerous blows, and Zoro takes a page from Kazuma Kiryu's book by throwing his coat in the air to show it Is On™. We end on a grinning Zoro, knowing the fight will continue - same bat time, same bat channel.
Holy moly, this episode was outrageously good. Toei truly did not come to play. From the direction to the action choreography to the fidelity of the fight sequences, everything is top shelf. Even the sequences with Luffy fighting at the labor camp are “just fine” with some nice energy effects on the arrows and kinetic impacts between Luffy and the Gazelle warrior.
During Tama's red bean soup description, the animation of the food is a delight. And when it goes full surreal at Big Mom's mention of frog eyes, it's a joy to behold. The bouncing frog heads, Tama's varied expressions, it's a lot of fun.
The direction is on point as well. I loved the POV shot from Komurasaki's perspective when she is running into the battle scene, with the edges of the frame covered in her shroud/robe. The opening shot with Zoro and Gyukimaru that snaps back to a distant rose disturbed by the ambient power of their clash making a single petal fall off - I eat that stuff up.
Of course the real star of this episode is the fight sequence between Zoro and Kamazo. This is the kind of fight that shows up in highlight reels and top ten lists. The minutia of the choreography vis a vis the combatants' grips shifting on their weapons, or the positions of their blades, is gratuitous in the best possible sense. Zoro shifting his blades horizontally before he goes in for the long, powerful slide attack? Lord have mercy that's a beautiful sequence. This is an episode people are going to be coming back to and as one of the visual highlights in the series.
discuss this in the forum (582 posts) |