|One Piece episode 455 review||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
Now this is how a side story in One Piece should be made! While the previous episode was more of a test of patience than anything else, this this part of "The Friend's Whereabouts!" was actually better than what was originally in the manga.
The first, and best, part is about the continued situation with Nico Robin on the slavery island of Tequila Wolf. Now that she has revealed her identity as the high bounty member of the Straw Hats she is, the head honcho wants to keep her locked up. Though that plan doesn't last long when a group of revolutionaries shows up and ends up helping her escape those pesky Sea Prism cuffs.
In the original version from the manga, Robin managed to escape on her own and meet up with the revolutionaries on the way. This version is actually quite different, and honestly it's better for it. It has some very compelling scenes like the old woman who sold out Robin feeling remorse since she did it in order to survive and Robin's new friend Soran who wants nothing more than to help the poor Straw Hat out. While the manga seemed to not want to press on the inevitable despair on an island of slaves, the anime went full-on with the storytelling potential and have made something awe-inspiring from it.
The animation has also seemed to have quite an upgrade (in more ways than one, if you know what I mean) with beautiful snow effects and far better character movements than what is usually put in a One Piece episode. The anime team definitely knew that this was one side story they can make much better in animated form, and put a labor of love that even people who only read the manga of One Piece should check out.
It would've been near impossible for the second part reflecting on Usopp's adventures on the island of man-eating plants to one-up the emotional impact the Robin story had, so instead they made the wise choice of making a straight-up comedy. It does feel like the story took a complete 180 for such a dramatic change of genres, but honestly, I haven't seen such fun times with Usopp in a long time and this easily makes up the long-overdue rain check. Usopp decides to team up with the island hero, Heracles, but ends up eating the naturally-grown tasty cuisine to the point of being a fat target for the man-eating flora. I'm a man who still enjoys a good old fashioned slapstick and the comedy here seemed to hit all the right notes. The timings for all the punchlines is perfect (like Usopp's priceless reaction to the island's kind of ants and worms) and any fictional island with a spaghetti plant gets a thumbs-up in my book.
So, yeah, there really wasn't much to falter with this episode, unless you really don't want to see some sexy female cleavage. The Robin side story took the two pictures from the manga and made something more emotionally compelling and the Usopp side story took the two pictures from the manga and made something more hilariously entertaining. This episode has the rarity of an anime version of a manga side story that's actually worth watching, and the even greater rarity when it's actually better than the original.