「麦わらチーム到着 風雲急を告げる戦場」 (Mugiwara Chīmu Tōchaku – Fūunkyū o Tsugeru Senjō)
“Straw Hat Team Arrives! Tension Grows at the Battlefield”
Continuing right where they left off last time, Luffy and co. have finally joined the battle at Marineford. I remember reading something about the good first half of the episode being recap, but explaining why they were falling doesn’t really count. Anyway, I’m not sure if you could ride a wave on a ship and go from the bottom of the wave to the top, but that made for some laughs. Of course, Aokiji froze that wave a couple episodes ago, which caused their predicament. Hearing the secret plan of executing Ace earlier than planned, Luffy and co. quickly smash the ice beneath them to slide down back to the waters (with Buggy pulling no weight whatsoever). However, all of them hit the wrong side, causing the ship to fall down directly below.
And thus, we continue right where we left off last time, again. Frantic, Luffy quickly tries to find Ace, and finally locates him on the execution platform. Knowing nothing else, he shouts from the top of his lungs in order to reach him. While this was a simple scene, it was still powerful, and he quickly made his presence known to the entire battlefield. Garp herniates, Moria can’t get words out of his mouth, and Hancock swoons. A typical day for Luffy, really. His “ragtag” team also catches the attention of many of the higher ups, and suddenly their strengths become just a little more evident than before. It’s great to see really old characters reacting to Luffy’s appearance, such as Smoker, Helmeppo, and Django, for a little nostalgia trip.
Making haste, Crocodile does what he came to do, and quickly heads over to Whitebeard. Luffy stops him, leading to more nostalgic flashbacks of the old 4:3 days. Luffy’s dialogue with Whitebeard is also typical fare (but causes knee slaps nonetheless), with his absolute carefree attitude to most authoritative figures. To make things worse, he declares that he’s going to be the Pirate King instead of Whitebeard. However, while everyone’s shocked at his “disrespect”, Whitebeard acknowledges him to hold his own in the battle. I think people just underestimate Luffy, what with his small frame and relative unknown battle history. But since he can actually back up his words with his own strength, people that know better can respect him. So don’t try this at home people.
I don’t believe there will be any slow pacing from now on, but you never know when they could throw in a filler. The animation should start ramping up in production value these coming episodes though…