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: 291 – 292 + 303 – Enies Lobby Arc – Boss Luffy Episodes
This will be a short one, since it’s focused on the New Year’s special filler episodes featuring Boss Luffy. I’m also including episode 303, which is also a Boss Luffy episode because I don’t want to have to write a whole review dedicated to just one episode when the arc gets broken up again.
The specials take place in an alternate reality set in Fuedal Japan. The first episode centered around Buggy’s attempts to sell a little girl into slavery in order to pay off her father’s debts. That father turns out to be Pandaman, a recurring gag character. I found this episode to be a little off-putting. I don’t really see why selling a kid into slavery is fodder for light-hearted fun. The setting was a nice change of pace, and I enjoyed getting to see old characters in new contexts, but the overall premise just didn’t work for me.
The second episode was a little more enjoyable. This time, Buggy is trying to steal a diamond that’s hidden in mochi which is supposed to be given to a lucky winner in a town-wide event. Wacky hijinks aren’t really my thing, so I wasn’t all that interested, and it was hard to focus. To be fair, it didn’t help that my mom’s dog kept shoving her snout into my face while I was watching the episode.
I liked seeing Vivi and the rest of the Alabasta crew again, but I thought it was a little corny that they used these minor scenes as an occasion to talk about community in the same way they did in the actual, deeply emotional Alabasta arc. I also can’t get over the fact that they thought throwing a diamond into a crowd of people was a good idea – that sounds like a concussion waiting to happen.
Episode 303 was probably my favorite of the bunch, although the presence of my mortal enemy Foxy did not help matters. In this episode, the town is looking forward to a cherry blossom viewing party, but oh no! Buggy has stolen the tree and is trying to sell it to Foxy! Foxy being Foxy, he starts fighting Buggy and trying to steal the tree. In the chaos, Luffy and friends manage to get the tree back, saving the day. The whole thing was framed with a cute subplot around one of the town children, Ninjin, getting sick and having to miss the viewing, and his friends trying to make sure he has a good time anyway. I can’t say I loved this episode, but I did feel like the storytelling was a little more skillful here.
I guess I can’t fault these episodes too much – it’s not like I want the creators to have to scramble to put something more coherent or plot-related during or just before the holidays. But honestly, putting out these episodes probably took just as much work as doing something plot-related – it’s not like this was a clip show where they could reuse footage.
Overall, the episodes were cute, but like the previous set of fillers, they are totally skippable.
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