What They Say:
Luffy bids farewell to Jimbei and turns responsibility for his training completely over to Rayleigh. On an island of unimaginable challenges, can Luffy learn enough from Rayleigh – and train himself enough – in order to unlock the power of Haki?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With One Piece this week, we’re at a curious stage of the series in that we’ve learned that the next episode will do the time leap and move us forward in order to really get the next storyline going. This keeps us from having an extended period of side stories of sorts, following the adventures of the Straw Hats as they get their rears in gear to build up their skills so they can join Luffy in his new big adventure that he announced. Knowing that everything is jumping forward, it does undercut the story here because it’s going to have to do what it wants within the space of the one and it’s all focused on Luffy. That’s not a bad thing and the show can do some fun stuff, but it’s the kind of work that feels like its undercut itself from before it started because of the news.
What this episode focuses on is the time spent between Luffy and Rayleigh, after Jimbei thanks Luffy profusely for rescuing him from Impel Down. Jimbei aligned himself with Luffy for quite awhile, but he’s felt bad about things that have gone on and wants to make amends by moving on to deal with his own issues. That lets Luffy and Rayleigh go off to the island that’s supposedly filled with “unimaginable challenges” that Rayleigh can help him face and conquer, teaching him what he needs to know in order to succeed. And what that thing really comes down is getting Luffy to truly awaken his Conqueror’s Haki, something that has been let loose once during the Marineford arc when he went big and threw everyone off. Rayleigh’s able to use it himself as we see from a brief flashback and it’s what Luffy realizes he needs to master in order to move on to the next level.
With the two year training plan in effect, One Piece has plenty that can change during that duration and seeing Rayleigh interested in showing Luffy numerous types of Haki in addition to the Conqueror’s one is definitely the kind of thing that can take him up several levels. Unfortunately, the episode is the kind of epilogue piece that has its moments but largely feels like an empty episode. I like the energy that comes with it at the end but at the same time it feels like the ending of the series as a whole rather than of this arc before going into the next. It’s almost a little nostalgic in its simplicity and what it does. It made me smile, especially with the last couple of minutes, but it’s a montage that doesn’t get you that excited for what’s to come and that’s a missed opportunity.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.