What They Say:
As the confusion deepens with two sets of Straw Hats, the fake Straw Hats begin to amass an army of pirate rogues – which has not escaped the watchful eye of the Navy.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the things that’s been welcome about the series with the time leap is that they are taking moments to be happy, calm and deal with reunions in different ways. When Robin kicks off this episode by coming to where the Sunny is docked, she’s appropriately happy and pleased by it as all the memories come welling up. When she discovers Franky there though, all big and blustery with his particular style, she almost manages to deflate him with her expression before they just go and have a good time being in each others company again. It’s these small moments that really do a good job in showing the bonds of the cast, even those as unusual as Franky who has definitely gone big over the last two years.
Unfortunately, the fake Straw Hats get more time here once again and they manage to drag the show down a bit. It is cute that Chopper is completely oblivious to them being fake, but he starts to get a clue when they talk about their Robin being captured and they write her off as a loss. While he views them as looking the same as when he last saw them, he’s now starting to realize that their personalities have changed. And he’s doesn’t even register that these guys don’t know who he is and think he’s a talking stuffed animal. As a whole, it really doesn’t speak well of Chopper that he’s that oblivious after all he’s been through with everyone and can’t figure it out. What his time with them does though is to make it clear to the marines that the fake Straw Hats are the Straw Hats and that gives them the urgency to deal with it. Chopper is the catalyst for it all since it’s not easy to fake up one of those.
There’s a lot of simple fun to be had throughout this with others in the cast as well. Watching Zoro and Sanji going shopping together shows they’re still the same when near each other and we also see Nami hasn’t lost any of her negotiation skills, which really amuses Usopp. What I did like is that they don’t drag out the Chopper material too long as he comes across the real Nami and Usopp after a bit and gets clued in to everything, which starts to help set everything right again. The sad part is when Luffy himself can’t tell difference after coming into contact with the fake Sanji and Zoro while wearing his own disguise. It’s cute in its own way, but after a few episodes of it and the slow build that’s going on, it’s already starting to wear a bit thin.
One Piece is getting everything back in order here and there’s plenty to like but also plenty to just sigh about and wait until it gets done. With almost everyone back at this point except for Brook, the crew is starting to all actually get together in person, though not without some trouble as they have to deal with some of the fakes they come across. Luffy’s the only one who hasn’t made the proper connection so far but even he’s getting taken in by the fakes now which does admittedly fit his character to some degree, but also just makes you wince a little bit. There’s plenty to like here in general but some parts of it are continuing to be a drag for me.
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.