“Clutch! A Demon Incarnate, Robin!”
Thankfully, Robin gets more time in this episode as it picks us up with her fight against Black Maria at the start with the recap element and it’s definitely a fun piece visually. Black Maria has been one of the better villains that we’ve had some time with over this arc, not because of the skimpy outfits, but rather there’s just a core competence at play here without being overly dramatically goofy. The extension of the fight here works quite well with its visual design as the animation is strong and the kind of slugfest that takes place is pretty engaging, even if it goes with the familiar path of Black Maria overpowering her at this stage and just delivering quite the beatdown. Robin’s got a level of power that’s definitely high after all these years but she’s not unbeatable. And this lets us slide into the flashback element after black Maria gets to crow about what she’s able to do and the way she thinks she wins.
The flashback side kind of jumps to different points in her past and with how she had met some of the Straw Hats along the way, which brought her into a new group of friends that have become a big part of her life. And I like that it’s her memories with Nami that helps her to be able to push back against black Maria in their fight in the present while others help to reinforce the path she has to take in the fight moving forward. The fight dominates the episode pretty well with just a small inclusion toward the end that expands on things a bit and brings Brook back into play, but the reality is that Black Maria and Robin’s fight is at the heart of things here. It’s one that unfolds well and definitely sets a tone while reinforcing the kind of controlled calm confidence that she has, but also her humanity as we see at the end with her and Brook.
Black Maria torments Robin both physically and spiritually. As she burns in hellfire, Robin remembers the people who gave her a hard time and the people who supported her, and she as Demon Child shows what she is really capable of.
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