“20 Years’ Worth of Prayers! Take Back the Land of Wano”
What They Say:
When Oden died 20 years ago, Orochi took over the Land of Wano. People were separated from their loved ones, forced into labor, and starved. Now they pray that Kaido will vanish as Luffy’s battle against him reaches a climax.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching the regular weekly anime episodes of One Piece at the moment just feels odd when mixing in the live-action episodes as well. I keep coming back to this weird place where the live-action side is reminding me why I slowly got hooked on the show while the current arc reminds me of the frustration of these extended storylines and how overlong they can feel at times. The brevity and speed of the live-action side is keeping me connected to it in a pretty good way but also being that reminder as to why I enjoy these characters. One Piece is a complicated project for me in a lot of ways to really connect with but I love that fans have a trio of versions that they can lean into as their preferred one, whether it’s the manga, the anime, and now the live-action series and create more fans.
With this episode, so much of the first half of just continuing to build on events that have happened as the level of danger increases toward those in Wano below. With Onigashuma continuing its slow fall, Momonosuke is realizing he’s not going to be able to stop it and the whole thing is pushing him further toward panic. There’s some good setup here for events once again to nudge it along, and highlight Kaido’s confidence, but we do get back to the flashback side of things. This takes us back to the battle some twenty years prior with Oden’s death and just how terribly things went as Kaido took over and installed Orochi in power. Kaido’s always been powerful and the way he lays waste to those defending Wano and fighting for what Oden stood for are roundly put down with so many killed. It’s easy to see why so many simply retreated from the world while others plotted in secret, hoping for this day to come.
The flashback side is pretty heavy and I get that it’s there to reinforce what everyone has been though, and the challenges they faced, but we’ve had so much flashback in this storyline that so much of it in essence is already known or should have been exposed more clearly like this before. There’s a lot that is covered here, especially highlighting Orochi’s cruelty the further it goes on, and the fears that he had as we see the players that would spend the next two decades or so working against him, and kind of playing to a larger concept here with the threat of Kaido’s larger rule as well. It’s not exactly a montage piece in a way but it captures that essence at times as a kind of recap but not in order to remind everyone just how bad things have been here for so long. It’s got a lot of great visuals to and a sense of power and terror that works well.
All that said, most of it left little impact on me. Similar to past arcs, we’ve had these kinds of episodes before but so much has been shown that adding more doesn’t do all that much. What works are the brief moments toward the end with the regular citizens who are celebrating in the city about how Orochi is gone and the promise of the future. At times, it almost felt like it was just a push to enjoy watching more and more of the torture that went on more than anything else. The final moments are what works but all of what’s put here to motivate Momonosuke has been baked into the storyline for oh so many episodes now. This final push just felt cruel in a sense, to put the viewer through more when so much has been established. When it was focused in the present it worked far better for me.
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.