Seeing as how most otakus’ definition of filler runs somewhere along the lines of “pointless screen time devoted to unimportant characters who aren’t the leads,” I’d really be curious as to whether the Vergo/Smoker fight qualifies for that label. I mean, we seriously just saw Vergo squaring off against Law - - does an extended fight with another non-Straw Hat advance us anywhere?
It’s a silly question, at this point. Like I’ve said before, I feel like a lot of the criterions we judge stand-alone features with become almost wholly irrelevant when we’re discussing a long-running serial like this. Does it push your sense of disbelief when Caesar’s goons are shown to be as gullible as they are in this episode? Does that seem too convenient for the plot? Well, who can object when we’ve already committed over 600 episodes to this plot?
The goons can be stupid and blindly accept Caesar’s lies, or they can be savy and call him out for his baloney - - it really doesn’t matter. We’ll accept any and all plot developments at this point, won’t we?
Of course, the biggest development here comes when Luffy meets another dragon. Seeing as how we already know that the green dragon was actually the samurai’s son (right?), I’ll just assume that this is another innocent mutated by Caesar’s nefarious experiments. Pair that with the flashback where Mr. Clown comes off as the purest demonization of a drug dealer - - overtly and deliberately conspiring to get kids hooked on drugs to simply ruin their lives - - and it’s even harder to deny that “Punk Hazard” seems like the most epic anti-drug PSA ever created.
My morbid mind wonders if the set-up here is supposed to be that the famished Luffy is actually going to eat the dragon. Getting tricked into doing that would certainly make him as pissed as you’ve all been saying he’ll eventually become. And, going to back to what we were saying about the ad hoc nature of all this, there’s no major reason to say it couldn’t happen, is there?
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|