“Charging into the Enemy’s Territory! Bakura Town – Where Officials Thrive!”
What They Say:
Otama has been kidnapped by the Gifters! She is taken to a flourishing town called Bakura Town where a creepy-looking Headliner was expecting her. Luffy and Zoro rush to rescue her along with a samurai, Okiku!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One Piece worked through the important part of ensuring that Otama lived in order for the story to go forward well. While she could have died from everything that feels just a little too grim for One Piece to work with and it wouldn’t have the right kind of feeling for the viewers since she was so recently introduced either. The show did a lot of good stuff with Zoro during it to show how he’s handling a range of things but also a little potential flirting that was a delight to watch since it catches him so off-guard. This storyline is moving along well with what it needs to do with the basics and foundations, giving us small slivers of it here and there while delivering what we’ve missed, time with Luffy and Zoro together hanging out and fighting against bad guys.
With Otama being grabbed at the end of the last episode and whisked away, that gets the group on the move to try and catch up to her. There’s some good stuff with this but the key point that comes from it is with Okiku as she’s with them on this mission and reveals that she’s a samurai herself. It’s a nicely done moment that builds well and sets her as a strong ally to have while working through this land. Even with all the time he’s had here, Zoro can still be surprised so having a true native is definitely going to be a big help. Especially since Otama is being taken to Bakura Town where it’s got an interesting look to it in that it feels like it’s falling apart and just plain creepy. It’s a good tease for what’s to come before going back to the main place we saw Zoro originally and the “bad dude” who was trying to win over Okiku in the ways of old that didn’t work for him being more of a problem.
Bringing Otama to the weird dude in Bakura Town is certainly amusing with how he’s designed, what with the lion lower half piece that’s in conflict with the guy. Mostly you just connect with Otama’s fear as we see what kind of devil fruit person Holdem is as he has a lower half, or belt region really, that’s a separate creature with a lion’s head. The two are basically at odds with each other a lot and fight each other, including Kamijo the lion basically punching Holdem in the groin to get back at him. Which is self-defeating as they’re one being. I’m sure there’s bigger purpose to all of this in traditional One Piece sense, but damn Holdem is one of the more cringe-worthy characters we’ve seen in a while that I hope isn’t around for long. All of this plays out as Luffy and the others get closer so it works nicely in that regard, but Holden just left me rolling my eyes for the remainder of the episode.
Quirky stuff in One Piece is pretty much the norm and most of the time it works well enough in context to other things and other quirky things going on. Holdem just doesn’t work for me, though I know he’s not the first to be presented this way overall. But it still doesn’t work for me. The moments of fear from Otama are well-played and I really liked seeing Okiku’s slight change to more forward here as it puts her on an even space with the rest – and hopefully some fun with Zoro in the future. At least it looks like Law is about to get going after a few background moments in the last few episodes, which has me excited as he’s been one of my favorites going back to when had had a much larger role.
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.