One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at over 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for those who haven’t been watching from the start to jump on board. One Piece Diaries tracks one writer’s experience with this daunting rite of passage. With hype for the highs and critique for the lows, this column will help you decide whether to take your own One Piece journey – or let you relive the one you’re already on. It will update biweekly every other Thursday.
Episodes Watched: 264 – 270 – Enies Lobby Arc
This review is only going to cover a few episodes. I’m preparing to go on my own adventure – a vacation to Italy and Ireland – so I’ve been a little distracted from the adventures of Luffy and company. I wouldn’t want to deprive you of my very important and interesting thoughts for too long, plus this seems like a good place to stop since Luffy is about to fight Blueno. I’m not sure whether this signals the start of a long series of fights, but it’s a turning point in any case.
These first few episodes have focused on entering Enies Lobby and trying to make it through hordes of Marines and two giants.
We also get to meet the rest of CP9, including Jabra, Kumadori, and Fukurou. So far, I can’t say I’m particularly impressed by these characters. Within the space of a single scene, we heard multiple, repetitive jokes about each character. Kumadori tried to take his own life for reasons of honor multiple times, Fukurou gossiped and said ‘chapapa’ in an unexpectedly high-pitched voice, and so on. Jabra wasn’t quite as repetitive, but he also didn’t really distinguish himself. Characters who we already knew got more repetitive too, for example, Kalifa repeatedly claimed that it was sexual harassment whenever Spandam spoke to her. Each joke was fine at first, but being repeated so many times in rapid succession really drained these jokes of their humor. Hopefully, they’ll be more interesting later, but we’ll see.
Honestly, the same held true of the fights with the Marines. Watching the crew blast through swarms of enemies was exciting at first, but after six episodes it became repetitive.
That being said, I wouldn’t say the entire sequence was repetitive. I did think the introduction of the giants – Kashi & Oimo – was interesting. At first, they felt like seemed like a slightly elevated obstacle, which wasn’t exactly gripping but was enough to break up the monotony. Things changed in Ep 270 when Oimo revealed that he and Kashi were working for Enies Lobby because they were promised that if they worked for 100 years without any slip-ups, they’d be able to leave with their bosses Dorry and Broggy, who were allegedly being held in the Impel Down prison. Usopp – dressed as Sogeking – was able to tell Oimo that he’d been lied to – Dorry and Broggy were safe and sound at Little Garden.
I thought this was a really effective scene for a few reasons. First of all, it did a great job of underscoring just how corrupt the Marines truly are. The fact that they’d lie to innocent people just to squeeze a century of free labor out of them is abhorrent. I can only imagine how many more terrible things we’ll learn about the Marines as the story goes on. I also liked that it gave the Giants, who seemed like relatively featureless side characters, a more rounded feel.
It serves as a great callback to past episodes, too. That’s something that this series excels at. Its world is revealed at a slow pace, but as it’s revealed it becomes clearer and clearer how everything is connected. It takes some serious creative talent to manage that.
It’s also a great inversion of Usopp’s usual situation. He’s known for frequent lies, but here he’s desperately trying to get Oimo to believe what he knows to be true about Dorry and Broggy. This underscores the difference between Usopp’s bragging and the more serious and damaging lies that he avoids. Because even though he’s a liar, he’s a moral person who cares about others.
One quick note before I get back to packing – I can’t believe the Franky Family’s King Bulls are named SODOM and GOMORRAH. What an AMAZING set of names.
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