“Yamato’s Past! The Man Who Came for an Emperor of the Sea!”
What we get here is a brief bit of time that allows for this sidestory to be told as Yamato and Momonosuke are together and Yamato is able to relate another attempt in the past to take down Kaido. With Ace and his own lengthy mission over time being interesting enough, his coming here to eliminate Kaido probably makes sense but I’ll be damned if I can figure out the timeline and locations over his life to know if it really makes sense anymore. But getting to see him fighting against Yamato years ago with the flames everywhere early on in this episode is certainly a delight. It’s played well against Yamato and her seriousness as they basically have him talking down Ace and Ace being amenable to things since Kaido isn’t actually there. I do like seeing Ace in this place and through this style of animation with some of its tweaks so that his look is solid. And just getting time between him and Yamato is interesting as it gives us a look at what Yamato is capable of overall, as not all of her tricks have been revealed.
The episode doesn’t focus exclusively on that fight and period as we do get some Young Ace material as well. While I did enjoy that period overall and upon reflection, at the time it was one hell of a long slog and I’m amusingly having flashbacks of that. A small dose here is fine though and seeing how he is, and with the old man at the time, definitely has some good moments of nostalgia. That said, the fight that we get in the flashback-present plays out well enough overall and just getting some time with Ace and Yamato finding a balance with each other and simply spending time with each other has a really nice cinematic quality to it. There’s a great kind of playfulness to it as well toward the end, owed to some copious drinking together, but hasn’t that solved most of the problems in the One Piece universe in the grand scheme of things?
Yamato tells Momonosuke and Shinobu that he once confronted a man, who came to Onigashima looking to get Kaido’s head. His name was Ace. The two of them engaged in a fierce battle that eventually turned into an important friendship.
Thanks for reading! See you next week!