Ooof. Look, most shonen shows walk a delicate balance between being, shall we say, “young at heart” and “only for kids.” Most often, I like to picture some meter where the needle swings at different degrees between those two measures - - and holy crap, is that needle just spiking into the “for kids” area with this episode.
Certainly, I can enjoy material that isn’t specifically targeted at my demographic - - or at the least project myself into the headspace of somebody in that demo and then try to meet the show halfway - - but it was impossible to do that this time without feeling incredibly silly. Like, we’re talking “bowl-cut second grade yearbook photo” embarrassing here. I’m sorry, but there’s no way I can write about the plight of a little doggie named Xuxu and the various good or bad people around him who dress like sheep without it feeling as ridiculous as a serious, grad school dissertation on “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.”
And all of that makes Luffy’s assorted threats of “kicking ass” rather jarringly out-of-place. Last time, I opined about how it’s only a few arbitrary details that often separate entertainment aimed at kids and adults. Indeed, last episode felt just as sophisticated in its plotting and gauntlet of conflict as any grown-up thriller. Well, this one’s flipped the equation something fierce. It’s like somebody took a show from Sprout and peppered in some random dashes of kickass. The experience is about as awkward as spooning a bowl of Lucky Charms that’s got some drop of hot sauce in it. It’s just fundamentally disjointed.
I feel like the dub cast understood this, too. The one actor’s Adam West impression (to complement Buggy’s Mark Hamill impression, of course) just screams, “Listen, I realize this is ridiculous - - let’s just get through it with a wink or two, all right?”
Hate to say it, but this was probably the worst ONE PIECE episode I’ve watched. Just a chore to get through.