I hope you all understand that ONE PIECE is one of the harder shows to comment on, episode to episode. See, if I were to work out some scale for this kind of thing, the show would be situated on the opposite extremity of slice-of-life stuff. The irony, of course, is that negative polarities can still have the same effect. So while this plot is far, far, far away from mundane reality, the non-stop parade of creativity is just as difficult to analyze as some simple yarn about, say, a regular guy raising one of his relatives.
Cliffhangers for the latter offer too few possibilities to speculate upon, while cliffhangers for the former really offer too many. Literally anything and everything can happen. It’s as if Oda’s reaching into “hammer space” here and pulling out a limitless supply of endlessly-inventions creations. Like I can imagine him just throwing the pirate’s stuck legs into the last installment on a whim - - leaving a question open to both the audience and himself - - and didn’t seriously think about what he’d do with those legs until he was at the drawing board again for this installment. Then, another lightning bolt-like whim struck him, and he thought, “Hey, who says those legs have to be attached to a body?”
And that same creative process was probably behind the creation of the puzzle-piece decapitated head. And so on, and so on.
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. ONE PIECE takes place in a fantastical world where literally everything goes, and it’s an absolute delight to just take in on those merits. Surely, it’s an absolute delight to create, as well. But to write it up in a column like this?
Well, I feel a little rudderless already trying to speculate about where this kidnapping intrigue with the hazmat suit goons and their evil, gaseous leader will go. I feel doubly lost, realizing that, say... an evil Santa Claus is just as likely to show up and change the conflict altogether.
I’m about a dozen episode into this newest stretch , and it’s still just as dizzying to be in the thick of as it was at the start. Perhaps one of you more learned fans has a better idea of where this is going?