Hah… there’s a pointed character-through-action moment right there, huh? Caesar goes on this hysterical, megalomaniacal rant about how he’s going to unleash his diabolic scientific genius on the world, and we viewers are preparing for the usual fade-to-black with a swell of ominous music. But then, squeezed into the very last seconds of running time, there’s Luffy jumping in for an ever-so-direct bear hug, like a dog humping this super-villain’s leg.
Actually, likening Luffy to a canine is apt in more ways than one. I see his unstoppable single-mindedness in this episode and I can’t help but think of the Joker’s little aside about being a “dog chasing cars” in THE DARK KNIGHT. We all know Luffy doesn’t have any lucid plans guiding his actions - - the search for the One Piece is just a vague pretext, as we’ve repeatedly establish. He just acts repeatedly on his compulsion to adventure and do-gooding. That's all there is to him.
Now, I appreciate that forceful nature colliding with Caesar because I’ve been given however many episodes this season to see him for the rat bastard, sack-of-shit he is. It’s a cathartic moment, seeing this ‘master’ get even just a little of the comeuppance that’s coming to him. Conversely, I get the sense that long-time viewers would be getting a similar rush out of the fight with Smoker, but I just don’t feel anything for it. I’m sure there was some previous arc that established bitter feelings between the two and subsequently left that bitterness unresolved, but… as you know… I just wasn’t around for it.
I’d like to call on your more learned ONE PIECE veterans, though. We’re about three episodes away from the 600 episode, now, of course. Is this show one to make much of a hoodoo about anniversaries like that? Should I just expect that Episode #600 will be a super-sized, spectacular conclusion to this “Punk Hazard” arc… or will it just be another regular episode?
Watch this episode, "On the Verge of Annihilation! a Deadly Monster Comes Flying In!” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode here.