The Wano Arc once again reaches another ideal breaking off point so I thought I’d review another batch. Admittedly the majority of these episodes are an extended flashback to the life of Kozuki Oden, the man who the Akazaya Nine have been banging on about for years now so the plot hasn’t moved as far forward as you’d might think… Let’s take a look!
As the Akazaya Nine prepare to finally assault Onigashima the World Government makes a dramatic announcement!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Screenshots like this only prove how truly odd One Piece’s character designs truly are and how good the story telling is as I don’t even notice any more…
While there were things to like about the Kozuki Oden part of the story I did enjoy the little we got of the main plot. The first episodes show us that the World Government have officially disbanded the Seven Warlords of the Sea idea and now the seven sponsored pirate crews are enemies of the Government once more. Some take it badly, others relish the idea of being on the run again, but it was a fun little twist that I’m sure will have some ramifications in … a few real-life years, probably… After the flashback we see the Akazaya Nine give up all hope as no ships arrive to help them with their assault but they decide to try anyway. During their journey they finally discuss the fact that there has to have been a traitor among them for this plan to have failed and that’s where red-haired kabuki-like Kanjuro reveals he was the spy all along and kidnaps Oden’s son Momonosuke for good measure as enemy ships pull into view. Now more than ever all hope seems completely lost until Luffy and his crew, Trafalgar Law and his crew, and Kid and his crew all arrive and decide to take down an enemy ship for the hell of it.
To make matters worse for out betrayer the “evil” Yakuza leader Kyoshiro turns out to be the believed-lost member of the Akazaya Nine Denjiro who, erm, screamed so hard that his hair turned blue and his face changed apparently…? Anyway, thanks to being undercover in Orochi’s inner circle he managed to free all the allies of Kin’emon and co giving them their full compliment of 5,000 or so troops to assault Onigashima. Things don’t quite good super-swimmingly as Kanjuro manages to escape with Momonosuke and they lose a few boats to long-range canon fire, but at the very end of Episode 980 Jinbe appears and finally joins the Straw Hat Pirates proper, just in time for the big fight. Everyone is actually… FINALLY headed to Onigashima now, so the next chunk of episodes should be good and oddly will mostly like take us past the 1,000 episode mark!
Roger and Whitebeard clash, causing the surrounding area to cubify, which is a new word I just invented.
While it definitely went on too long (see below!) there were so highlights to the Oden flashback. Primarily seeing him travel the seas with a young Whitebeard and then switch ships to Gol D. Roger’s vessel, giving us our first proper look at the pirate that started it all. There’s even a battle between the two super-powerful pirates that had really enjoyably flashy animation to it. Episode 968 also shows us Roger and co. arriving on the fabled final island, “Laugh Tale”, a name given to it by Roger after the truth behind One Piece and the man who left the treasure there was a “funny tale indeed”, which is interesting. Again I’m sure I’ll be an old man by the time we actually see the One Piece and get our ending, but there you go. We’re a step closer!
Oden “recruits” another man to his cause.
As mentioned I enjoyed parts of Oden’s backstory but man-oh-man I don’t think it needed to be 15 episodes long. Seeing him collect together the people who would become the Akazaya Nine is interesting but didn’t need to be so extended, Orochi’s tragic backstory was good but he immediately became so evil that it didn’t matter, plus the old woman who helped him was mysteriously killed off-screen, which was annoying. Oden’s death was the worst part, he humiliated himself for a year because he thought Orochi and Kaido would keep their promise to leave Wano on a ship, the complete moron, then he spent two or so episodes being boiled alive while holding his retainers above his head on a plank of wood… only to then get shot in the head. After all that was teased about Oden I didn’t expect him to be so naïve and frankly stupid, as nice of a guy and family man as he was. I suppose when Orochi finally gets his it will have a bit more context but at the same time he’s ruled in luxury for over 20 years at this point so even when he’s killed off it still feels like he’s won in the grand scheme of things…
Wait HE was the spy all along?! But he looks so nice and innocent!
The Wano Arc moves ever-so-slightly forward as our large cast of characters are finally about to hit the shores of Onigashima but 15 episodes of Oden flashback killed the pace quite severely, even if it did include some gems within it. An average score then, but hopefully things will pick up now… well, as much as they can with One Piece’s pacing, anyway…