Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Punch That Rocks the HQ

  Saturdays are slowly becoming my "How is Toei going to make Whitebeard more badass?" day. Granted last week we had the Ace dying (and Luffy losing it) episode but at least this week the emotion takes a backseat to give us a good old fashioned slugfest between two powerful entities. That being said, time for the review of One Piece - Episode 484.

"Pick up the soap, bub."

Title: ''Navy HQ is Destroyed! Whitebeard's Silent Anger!''
Chapters Covered: 575
New Characters: San Juan Wolf, Catalina Devon, Vasco Shot, Avaro Pizarro <--- wowza!
Animation Director: Eisaku Inoue 

  We start of this week with Luffy's slow descend into a catatonic state. Whereas the manga seemed to portray the death of Ace and subsequent reaction by Luffy as sort of an instant state of shock, the anime gave us a bit more of than that. We see Luffy (very out of character, but understandably so) crying and eventually making nothing but guttural sounds while slowly recessing back to just nothing. Going by memory alone, I would say this is the only time a character in One Piece has been portrayed in a way where they just go off the deep end so slowly and become, essentially, vegetables. So Luffy is out of action, but that won't stop Admiral Akainu from trying to finish the job. Wiping the tears from the abruptly interrupted mourning session Commander Marco steps in to stop Akainu from delivering the final blow and gives the rest of the WB Pirates a speech about saving Luffy and failure to do so would cause dishonor to the WB Pirates. Nothing against Marco, but holy hell does he sound like a jackass saying that when Ace and Luffy's well being were directly under his orders by Whitebeard at the beginning of the war. Good Job, Marco...

I'm going to at least give him credit for stopping most attacks that apparently can kill Logias...

  So after Marco's interception, Jimbei decides to pick Luffy up (from now on we may as well start caling him "Potato D. Sack") and dashes away from the scene. Enter "Rape Face" (refer to first picture) Whitebeard. Spending little to no time (it's an anime miracle!) announcing his intentions, Whitebeard proceeds to beat the holy tar out of Akainu. Easily the most satisfying beatdown in the series, that doesn't include "Potato D. Sack" as the person getting his "beatdown" on. They even went as far as to use the background music from when "Potato D. Sack" finally beat Lucci (later also re-used in the Alabasta movie for the final beating Sir Crocodile suffered at the hands of said Sack), which is a nice touch. Seeing Akainu get some type of abuse is nice, considering the current circumstances.


  The ensuing attack by Whitebeard actually causes Marine HQ to basically crumble (the expression on Sengoku's face is priceless) as the Marines make a startling discovery. Blackbeard is here, and he's brought some people from Impel Down with him. "Criminals that should be forgotten!," some exclaim. San Juan Wolf, Catalina Devon, Vasco Shot, Shiryuu (the "other" Warden from Impel Down) and Avaro Pizarro are his newest crewmates, legendary pirates from the New World now under the flag of the Blackbeard Pirates. If there was ever a crew that looked to be the final enemies of the Strawhats (not to mention their bizarro counterparts) this is the crew for the job. And Whitebeard ain't too happy to see the man who is now directly responsible for the death of two of his commanders (Thatch and Ace), we'll see how it all fares out next week.

'We're bringing sexy back!"

  I must say, the pacing of this episode was great. It seemed like a hundred things actually happened (as opposed to other times where it just DRAGS out) and we were left with a very nice cliffhanger to next week's episode. If the preview is any indication, we're in for a treat. Unfortunately the art on this week's episode was extremely shoddy. The animation was great yes, but take a close gander at the actual art this week. Pretty horrid stuff. That's the price to pay when you have a long running anime with no actual breaks between seasons. At least all of it looks way better in motion... but hopefully we return to a more Jaya/Skypiea Arc art style and animation again. Since that was the peak of the old One Piece, before the switch to HD that is. Here's what to expect for next week...

"What Gear Second?"
It almost makes me feel bad for Blackbeard.



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