I’m an impatient guy. Straight up. We’re thinking of having our pal Sammy take up the task of reviewing episode of the Big Three franchises (or at least sampling recent arcs) sometime soon. I simply couldn’t wait before we got that sorted out, though, so I went ahead and checked out one of the newest ditties out myself.
(A nicer way of spinning that is to say that I’m testing the waters for Sam to make sure he doesn’t get sucked down into undertow or devoured by lurking piranhas or… whatever aquatic threat best completes the analogy).
Anyway, I’m always amazed whenever I drop-in with the Straw Hats every hundred episodes or so. The series sporadically strikes me as being what… say… SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS would look like after ten years of continuous serial plotting and a gradually shifting focus to serious world-building. Especially when you get to this episode, and there’s this whole myth-making critical mass of giants, fish people, underwater vampires, shapeshifters and swashbuckling skeleton songsters. Looking at this through the lens of superhero comics (as I do), it’s as if the world of the One Piece is how the Marvel universe would look if it used underground comix from Venich Beach as a starting point.
How else can one describe the aforementioned swashbuckling skeleton songster, whose outfit looks like the result of some wacky four-cart pile-up at the intersection of Party City and a pop-up Halloween store?
I’m sure the extended recap irritates the long-time fans of the show, but I’m glad it’s there. Thanks to it, I never got lost, here. Even if I didn’t have all the necessary backstory needed to totally understand the significance of Luffy’s showdown with the absurdly jacked bad guy or Tony Tony Chopper’s new stage of transformation, I always had a pretty gist of what was going on.
Strangely enough, while this episode should probably feel like the series running on fumes, I found the complex - - possibly over-complicated - - status quo here to be far more interesting than the more simplistic earlier material I’ve previously sampled. All this multifarious underwater phantasmagoria captures my imagination from many more angles than the basic “stretchy, brawly Peter Pan” set-up of the first episodes.
I mean, the skeleton dude’s trash talking showdown with the one, semi-invisible villain actually felt pretty kickass - - and I haven’t been able to use that description for anything I’ve seen previously on ONE PIECE.
Watch this episode, "Luffy's All-out Attack! Red Hawk Blasts!” here and decide for yourself.