So... when the production schedules of a weekly manga and its weekly anime adaptation are so closely intertwined, I hope you lunatics will forgive me for occasionally mixing the two up. As it turns out, while ONE PIECE the show has been experiencing some intermittent delays, it was actually ONE PIECE the manga that was on hiatus this week. I’ll still go ahead with my write-ups on the first few episodes of the series, in my own time, but here’s the write-up on the latest one, all the same…
With every episode I watch, I find myself constantly trying to figure out how to describe this. You’ve probably noticed as much if you’ve been keeping up with these write-ups. ONE PIECE really is that unique of a creature in all of pop culture.
Most of the time, I’m just trying to figure out what other stories it can be likened to (from SPONGEBOB to DBZ to PETER PAN to POPEYE and then to the OZ books, and so on and so forth) and I’ve realized that there really is no one-to-one comparison because of the story’s very precise attitude about itself. It has all the silliness and whimsy of the classic children’s books and comic strips I’ve just listed, but it somehow manages to infuse that with what I call “shonen kick ass.”
Here, you’ve got the climatic duel between Smoker and the “Surgeon” (I didn’t quite catch the guy’s name). Take even half a step back from it, and it’s utterly silly. I mean, one of the combatants is a guy with smoke powers seemingly powered by the two cigars he’s constantly chomping. The very MORTAL KOMBAT deathblow that then gets dealt upon him - - with the Surgeon simply plucking a very precise cubic section out of his heart - - is also kind-of silly in its details.
Oda knows that. You know that. Yet, because the show kind-of just barrels along, anyway, we’re all able to have our cake and eat it, too. That is, you can take this show’s seriously (and specifically, get jacked up about it) even while you’re not taking it seriously, at all, at the same time. It’s a very precise quality, and I think it’s a big part of the show’s success.
I realize I’ve focused on a very specific part of this episode. I could talk about how much fun the X4 FREAKY FRIDAY body swap has been, or how satisfying Luffy’s humiliation of the crocodile centaur guy is, or how the pink gas creature is utterly spooky to behold. But, I don’t know - - the last fight was just so cool, I wanted to focus squarely on it.
I suppose that's a very Munky D. Luffy attitude, no?