“A Lead Performer! Queen the Plague Emerges!”
What They Say:
At the Excavation Labor Camp in Udon, Luffy tries to save Old Man Hyo and stands up to Vice Warden Daifuku and Warden Babanuki with his physical strength weakened by the Sea Prism Stone cuffs. Then when a Lead Performer of the Animal Kingdom Pirates, Queen the Plague, comes to the camp, Luffy makes an escape!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oh, hey, remember this series?
One Piece coming back has been a while in coming and welcome but I’ll admit it’s definitely hard to reconnect with it here. I was already struggling with the current state of the arc because of the pacing of it and how weak things had been. But I also expected that a returning episode like this would be pretty full of recap. It’s a perfect opportunity to try and bring in some new viewers by making it accessible and helping the more casual viewers remember where things stood from when it went off the air a couple of months ago thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what we get is what was planned before, meaning they didn’t rework this episode and it’s just a lot of spacing out of events from the manga as we’ve been getting for a bit. I do wish the show would either go seasonal or drop in a year-long original sidestory arc (of quality) so that the adapted episodes work better and aren’t spaced out as much.
Yes, I’m asking for “filler” with a year of anime-original episodes. That’s how problematic things have become.
A lot of the time early on here is spent at the work prison that Luffy has ended up in and while one can expect that he’ll rally with some of these characters eventually for his bigger plan to deal with events in Wano, it’s mostly moving along far, far, too familiar paths right now with brutal workbosses and weak people being taken advantage of. It’s not that it isn’t done well it’s that it’s been done repeatedly over the course of the series. Things jump around a bit to touch on a few of the other storylines, we get a little bit with Big Mom at the start and it delves into some of the local events as well, but mostly it doesn’t feel like it’s really achieved anything. We’ve had such a large cast expansion like we do with most new storylines and major locations we visit and that’s again put us in the position of not being sure who really matters and who is a flash in the pan, which keeps you from becoming invested in any of them.
As someone who enjoys One Piece and has for years, the Wano arc is proving more frustrating than I expected. And I liked most of the Dressrosa arc! This episode pretty much drops us right back into things, which isn’t a surprise, but I really wish that they had taken the opportunity to find a way to do a better kind of recap so as to make clear what we should be engaged with and excited about. The opportunity was there and squandered. Hopefully, this storyline starts to pick up sooner rather than later as it’s feeling like it’s spinning its wheels too much, especially as this one includes a very cringe-worthy musical number near the end.
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.