“Mysterious Grave Markers! A Reunion at the Ruins of Oden Castle!”
In today's episode with Oden Castle being the main destination for the group on their journey, the show takes an interesting turn as we get a little bit of the altered history of Wano that rewrites what had happened. We had bits and pieces of it ages ago thanks to Kin’emon and all, but what we see here is history as taught by the victors that took over and made sure all that came before was termed bad while the awfulness of what Wano is like now is a beautiful victory of peace and tranquility. There’s a decent bit going on with this background aspect and the “Napping” character that’s focused on, whose hair is what captures most of my attention while watching him get angrier and angrier as he tells the tale. That combined with the disinformation campaign from the teacher with the students just makes it clear what’s been going on and how twisted Wano has become.
When the show flips back to Luffy, we get Law taking him to the gravesite where he sees those that when with Kin’emon and how they’re all listed there. Now, I doubt they’re actually dead since Oda tends to not do a lot of off-screen deaths and without a lot of drama, but it’s a good motivator here for Luffy and part of me won’t be too displeased if they actually are dead. That we get the reveal just a minute or two later? That’s frustrating. Giving us that kind of build-up and seriousness and then quickly reveal undercuts it a bit. Watching as Okiku excited rubs herself all over him after not seeing him for a while? That’s just frustratingly wrong. That said, it is nice to see Luffy happy to reconnect with everyone and to bring back some people we haven’t seen in what, three years? We even get a little time with the rest of the Straw Hats showing up near the end here, bringing the crew back together. The way this show splits up its core cast can be so frustrating sometimes.
One Piece essentially puts itself here in that small space it enjoys between arcs but not quite. The first half largely gives us a look at some of the players for the next phase, who could be early or late arrivals for all I know, and an interesting look at how they rewrote history once they took over Wano. I had a lot more fun with the back half as it dealt with some not-quite deaths and brought the main crew back together, which of course gives us time with Sanji taking in Okiku that’s always delightful. The larger group interactions always work for me and seeing them play out here is just a lot of fun to watch unfold. The next piece of this larger arc is ready to roll though and it won’t take long to get underway, which is why I enjoy these little buffer pieces of just character material.
Thanks for reading! See you next week!