「決戦の幕開け! エースと白ひげの過去」 (Kessen no Makuake! Ēsu to Shirohige no Kako)
“The Beginning of the War! Ace and Whitebeard’s Past!”
So I was wrong about the fighting beginning near the end of the episode this time. Instead they put it in the beginning, which I’m not sure was how the story was structured in the manga. Regardless, it shouldn’t matter too much. While the last episode featured Ace’s parents, this time the focus is on Ace’s “Pirate-hood”. With the war pretty much completely about him, much akin to Helen of Troy, what better time to finally learn about Ace’s past?
The details of who exactly Blackbeard killed, and why that pissed Ace off so much are revealed, but Ace’s history is a rather simple one compared to Luffy’s. Of course, most of Luffy’s adventures consisted of obtaining crew mates, which this flashback simply frolicked over (not necessarily a bad thing). At times like these, a common problem often comes to my attention, where any characters other than the main ones rarely get any attention to their design. For example, you know each and every one of Luffy’s crew intimately, and their designs are rather “normal”. This is most likely because “normal” is how one “relates” to things. If Luffy’s crew was as ugly as Blackbeard’s, OP would not be alive today. Anyway, if you take a look at Ace’s crew, there’s not really any one member that stood out except of course for Ace. Because of this, Ace losing his crew doesn’t become such a big deal. In fact, his entire crew pretty much looks like the typical fodder that makes up the rest of any crew other than Luffy’s, whose crew only consists of a couple people and no one else. Now I’m not complaining, if my point was unclear, only just amused. Given that information, will Luffy ever gain “fodder” crew mates? As far as I can tell, there would be no point, as the fodder from other crews never do much anyways.
Animation will be key in the upcoming episodes, and it seems they’ve kicked the animation up a notch this episode, if only very slightly (that rising ocean did look a little crappy). At the very least, Ace’s movements and fights (short as they may be) looked fluid and coherent. Not to mention, the animated effects of Whitebeard’s Gura Gura no Mi ended up quite breathtaking. The preview shows some nice animation as well, but it’s nowhere near Enies Lobby yet. But hey, Toei pulled off a Lucci fight for a dozen episodes. This should be the next step.