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One Piece Episode #961 Anime Review

4 min read
Oden's following truly begins.
© Eiichiro Oda / Shueisha · Fuji Television · Toei Animation

“Tearfully Swearing Allegiance! Oden and Kin’emon!”

What They Say:
When the angry mountain god, the giant boar, almost kills Kin’emon, Oden steps in. Kin’emon is impressed when he sees Oden’s strength and pledges his life to serve him. Disavowed by his father, Oden decides to go on a journey around the country and gathers more followers along the way.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With One Piece getting its Oden backstory going recently, the fans from the manga are all super excited and it’s enjoyable watching the way they post so enthusiastically about what’s to come. That does, unfortunately, raise expectations for some that may be too high but there’ve been fans burned by that before which hopefully know better after 961 episodes. The series can do amazing things but you have to temper expectations at times because of the nature of the adaptation. For myself, I’m still very much in that casual fan that watches every week but doesn’t think of One Piece much once the episode is done, so the big backstory arc isn’t something that I’m super excited about myself though I’m very open to being excited.

The opening of this episode definitely looks great as the giant boar is tearing through the capital and literally chewing it up in search of its offspring. S o much trouble was caused by the little guy and so many people are paying the price for it. Those who have it, or had it, are now trying to do their best to get it back to the mountain with Oden getting involved as well. While the whole thing is resolved in the first half with Oden doing some pretty solid moves, a quarter of the capital is destroyed by the giant boar and we even get an amusing nod from the narrator that enough people and buildings were swallowed up by it that it could have formed its own small town inside of its stomach. That’s the kind of weird that I’d like to see a little more explored in One Piece at this point. Or at least something because I’m still not interested in Oden’s story in the slightest.

The post-fight sequence leaves us with some exploration of rebuilding that has to go on and some of the character stuff with some baseline interactions, but we also get the theft of money which Oden is being blamed for with someone claiming to have seen him do that, which with Oden and his “group” having left the capital to go wandering again, it’s just an awkward situation all around. He’s not pleased by having “retainers” but since they keep following him and haven’t given up, it just becomes something a little more natural as they connect and they start to understand him more with his ways, his journaling, and how he views the world. It’s amusing how it grows overall, such as when the kids start following them after being turned away by everyone else because of crimes their father committed. It’s an amusing natural drift that happens as Oden’s group expands.

In Summary:
With this episode, we get some fun action in the first half and then some character material in the second as Oden’s following truly begins. I’m still not interested in Oden in the slightest but the story is done well enough so that it’s not a painful storyline to watch, at least not at this point, and it could have some amusing moments along the way. Not being a reader of the manga and not reading ahead about it means I’m clueless about where the source material is and I really like staying that way. There’s fun to be had here but I keep hoping it’ll be a short arc because it’s the Straw Hats that bring me to this series more than anything else.

Grade: B-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
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.

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