What They Say:
“Curtain-up on a New Adventure! Arriving at the Phantom Island, Zou!”
Bartolomeo recounts the formation of the Straw Hats, sharing their moving story with the rest of his crew! Meanwhile, the mysterious island of Zou approaches in the distance, obscured by fog. But when the haze clears, no one is expecting what they see!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a week off as fans got to flock to the theater to see One Piece Film: Gold, the series is back now and we’re getting things moving into the new arc. One Piece had its fun little diversion ahead of this with the Silver Mine arc to add a little more color to the film, but damn if the series didn’t work one hell of an arc before that. With about two years worth of episodes, Dressrosa worked really well for me in just about all ways, even as long as it went. Granted, if you didn’t care for the arc then it was probably a really long run and I’ve had that feeling before, though even the weaker arcs are ones that still mostly work for me once the series found its groove. So, getting into the Zou arc that I have no familiarity with since I don’t read the manga and I don’t look ahead for spoilers, there’s some wonderful new uncharted territory here that’s exciting to get into.
With the show opening on some good material from the far flung past for Luffy with how Shanks lost his arm and Luffy’s insistence that he’ll get out into the world as the King of Pirates someday, it reminds us of his origins and the impetus for his journey originally – and still, to be honest. While he has a lot of adventures, it really is all about this end goal that he’ll achieve at some time, something that he hasn’t set a specific date/age for, which is a nice change of pace. What this sets into motion is a nod toward some of the other origins/first meetings for the crew of the Straw Hats with the idea that maybe there are a few people coming to check out the show because it’s both the start of a new arc and they may have enjoyed the film without seeing any One Piece before. But there’s also the simple truth that a show like this really does need jumping on point episodes from time to time and after Dressrosa, even more so to try and make it accessible and bring in some fresh blood viewers, especially younger viewers. Can you imagine being a kid and having 750 episodes to catch up on?
Realistically, this takes up probably some eighty percent of the episode with only a few bridging scenes amid it as it’s all being presented as Bartolomeo filling in the crew about their new friends. There’s some minor nod toward what’s coming from the Navy side along the way as well, but the main focus in the final minutes involves the ship making its way through the fog and coming across the island of Zou in the distance. There’s not much to this as it serves mostly as a way to showcase the size of the crew at the moment and their awe as they get close to the place with all its mystery, but it works well to remind us who all is here and the dynamic of the group in general.
One Piece is largely recap here but it’s worthwhile recap that I can’t fault because of how necessary it is in a way. What we get for the island of Zou is certainly intriguing with what it actually is and what kind of mystery we might get from that being explored, so I’m definitely excited. I do hope we trim the cast a bit as some of the supporting players just aren’t all that interesting to me, though I’m fine with Law sticking around a bit and even Bartolomeo for a bit. Overall, it’s the kind of episode that serves as a tease for the manga readers, a recap you can mostly ignore for anime only viewers, and a great jumping on point for new viewers.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.