“The Samurai Warriors’ Earnestness! The Straw Hats Land at Onigashima!”
The episode plays well in the first half or so as we get the ship battles – which isn’t always the easiest thing to make exciting at times – with a lot of good back and forth. Luffy gets to show off with his abilities and we see how it goes with Kin’emon’s group getting firmly involved as well. A Decent plan is put forth as well that has the core splitting into three groups with Luffy’s making the direct approach while Kin’emon and Denjiro split to the sides to flank and attack. With as many forces as they have to fight, splitting things so it’s not as strong as can be and seeking an advantage is definitely good. Plus, hey, there’s the fun of Law’s submersible with what it can do as well, which is always a delight. There’s such a strong array of diverse and engaging characters operating on the goo guys’s side at this point that it’s just a delight sometimes to pan the camera over them and see who we remember since for some it’s been so long.
The back half does give us some good downtime in order to connect with the groups that are operating and to get their plans in place for what’s next. This gives us some decent time where the leaders are able to lead a bit and decide the path that they’re going to take, but you also see some of the potential for trouble because there are such different ways of viewing what must be done. Kin’emon’s group, for example, breaking down most of their ships as they come ashore in order to make it clear that they’re all in on this and there’s no turning back. There’s no escape ahead. This is the battle that must be one and it’s reinforced that this is a one-way journey and one to victory. It’s another moment where, to my surprise, Kin’emon comes across as one of the better characters.
The Straw Hats and the samurai warriors finally reach Onigashima! Before they set out for the castle as they planned, the samurai warriors use surprising but determined tactics to cut off their retreat which leave the Straw Hats in shock.
Thanks for reading! See you next week!