“A Heroic Blade! Akazaya vs. Kaido, Again Once More!”
We do get some good stuff here with the Akazaya group, which has such a long history as we’ve seen in regards to Kaido, facing off more squarely against him and his. Which is fine because the Akazaya have been touched on a lot, but they haven’t been a group as a whole that I’ve really gotten behind or cared for because of how their story has been told. We do get some good stuff early on here with the Minks rallying to their cause here and getting quite serious about things, but it’s part of the problem with a storyline that runs for a few years in that things fall to the background, you forget about them a bit, and when it does comes back up your connection to it may not be as strong. I do realize that it’s fairly common in this series and the main reason that I do continue to enjoy it overall is that it’s the Straw Hats that really make it what it is, as their stories are the ones that truly stick long term and are burned into my memory.
The back half of the episode does have more of the action for a bit but it also slows things down a touch with a nice focus on Carrot. She continues to be a really pleasant addition to the crew, though I suspect she’ll remain here with others once this arc is done, and getting a little more time with the past here briefly and seeing her involved in the fight and as active as she is really is great. She’s got a difficult past, like most of the cast here, and her focus is really starting to sharpen here when it comes to remembering who Pedro’s foe was and how that went down in the past, giving her something to really dial in on here in the present. We do get a good push forward along the way here and I continue to enjoy that the episodes seem to cycle back to the core group in some form toward the end, just to keep that Straw Hat connection there.
Queen uses a new version of the Plague Bullets which will turn the samurai into ogre-like monsters. Meanwhile, the Minks keep pushing the fight against the Gifters and drive Jack into a corner. However, Kaido stands up for his subordinate.