“The Strongest Man in the World! Shutenmaru, the Thieves Brigade Chief!”
With the need to build up forces in order to help fix things here and change the nature of Wano, one of the first groups that they’re looking toward is the Ashura Doji. They used to be more than what they are now, which is basically a bunch of thieves in a significant enough number to cause real trouble. They’re lead by Shutenmaru and rolling through Okobre Town at the moment where they’re about to take all the goods that the residents were just given thanks to Luffy and the rest. Shutenmaru doesn’t come across dangerous at first here, basically laying and drawn into the town, but his gang does well enough to threaten others to get what they want. He’s got the whole “I’m too tired for this shit” approach to things and a strong enough voice to make it clear that residents of Wano should have no hope.
Of course, Shutenmaru can hold his own pretty well and that becomes evidenced when Kaido’s guy Jack shows up and tries to put him in his place. Not that Jack ends up really hurt badly in the big sense of real damage, but Shutemaru makes it clear that he has skill of his own and should not be discounted in the slightest. That just makes them both fight harder, of course, which is problematic for this already abused little village. This back and forth makes up the bulk of the episode and it works well in the back half because it pumps up the scale nicely and delivers some solid moments of impact. It gets increasingly darker as well in terms of visuals which changes the nature of the fight as the big bad is getting ready to make an appearance, which sets fear in just about everyone’s hearts.
Dragons ahoy isn’t a surprise here in Wano since the iconography has been perfect for it and getting our first taste of it is a delight since there’s some in our midst. The bulk of the episode is all about the local baddies as we get Jack coming to deal with Shutenmaru but that just felt like a standard fight that didn’t really do much to engage or entertain in a bigger way. But it leads well into the final couple of minutes where everything changes and the true opponent shows his face – and body!
Thanks for reading! See you next week!