It's the first installment of the Crunchyroll One Piece Recap!
IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE OF ONE PIECE AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, PLEASE STOP READING NOW.
OOOOOOOOOONE DREAM. OOOOOOOOOOOOOONE WISH.
It's here, y'all! The first installment of the Crunchyroll One Piece Recap! For the last two weeks, we've been treated to little "prequel" episodes for the One Piece: Stampede film, but before that, Luffy travelled with Otama to her house and was treated to a meal of rice (which was the only food that Otama had.) While there, Luffy learned that Otama was waiting for Luffy's brother, Ace, to return to save her village. But Otama obviously hasn't watched One Piece yet because Ace is not really in any condition to do that. Luffy tells her bluntly that Ace is dead and Otama, like most of us in 2010, does not take it well.
Because there's no food, Otama drinks contaminated water to fill her belly and gets really sick. Meanwhile, we see Creepiest Member of the Worst Generation Basil Hawkins leading a few other members of Kaido's crew to a spot where Luffy took out some of Kaido's goons. And then the latest episode officially begins, so let's jump right into it!
Luffy asks Otama's masked guardian, Hitetsu, where he can find some food and water and if there's a doctor around, because he's gonna take Otama there to get treated. Hitetsu says that sounds like a lot, but Luffy says that he's "quite strong," which considering how many times we've seen Luffy drive Warlord faces into the ground (and up through the ground,) is a nice, little understatement.
Hitetsu then tells Luffy that he looks too conspicuous and gives him a top knot and a kimono. We finally have Luffy: Special Wano Edition!
But then Luffy notices a sword hanging up on the wall, and the same awesome guitar riff from the final moments of the very first episode of One Piece, where we were introduced to Roronoa Zoro, plays. Otama's guardian objects to Luffy very casually just stealing this dude's sword and tells him that it's one of the 21 Excellent Grade Swords. It's the Kitetsu II, and Hitetsu gives Luffy a little history lesson about the 50 Fine Grade Swords, the 21 Excellent Grade Swords, and the 12 Supreme Grade Swords. But before this important One Piece lore can be fully relayed, Luffy has already left. I really love this scene, because it feels less like the guy doubting Luffy's skills as a swordsman and more like a parent dealing with a kid in a nice store: "Put that down! You're gonna break that. Don't touch that. That's too expensive. Put. That. Down."
Hitetsu follows Luffy, very adamant that Luffy should not be possessing this cursed sword, but Luffy throws him aside and calls him "Grandpa Nose," which is like a 6/10 on the Insulting Luffy Nickname Scale. Luffy and Otama get a ride from Komachiyo aka Dog, but Otama wakes up, remembers Luffy's message that Ace is dead, and gets angry and sad. She calls Luffy a liar, but Luffy, WHO WAS THERE, tells her that Ace isn't coming back and "everyone knows" about what happened. We get more Ace flashbacks, and Otama acts like me, everytime someone asks me why I'm crying over a pirate comic:
Luffy, Otama and "Dog" make it out of the bamboo forest and enter the wasteland where everything sucks and nothing is good. At the same time, residents in the Flower Capital are still scared of the "slasher" aka Zoro, because they don't know that with his sense of direction, even if he wanted to hunt them down, he couldn't find them. Zoro, of course, loves the wasteland because of how much meat and fish he can have, but he takes a moment to lament the immense lack of sake in his life. Been there, my dude.
We're introduced to the creatures of the wasteland like tigers, boars and Sharkodiles, with the latter probably being in the same Order as the Banana Gators from Alabasta. But I could go on forever about the heirarchy of biological classification in the Grand Line, so I'll just move onto what Otama says about the animals being unsafe for consumption because they ingest so much poison from the run-off from Kaido's factories and farms. Luffy finds this inability to eat Sharkodiles to be unforgivable and seeing that Otama is still sick, presses on.
But wait, a woman is being pursued by two of Kaido's Fury Road wannabes! So Zoro intervenes, mostly to steal their sake, and we get this rad shot that I want to have tattooed on my back.
Zoro chugs their sake and kind of shrugs off the woman's thanks (unless she has more sake.) But then, oh god, Luffy notices Zoro and they have a reunion that One Piece fans have waited 2 1/2 years for.
And it's good timing, too, because Basil Hawkins is here, and he's revealed to be one of the Beast Pirates' Headliners. And although Kaido has a lot of names and rankings for his various underlings, being a Headliner means that you're no slouch, so Zoro and Luffy, the Kings of Only Sorta Being Prepared For Stuff, better be prepared.
And then the episode ends, but I'm just so happy that all of my boys have come home to visit me for Christmas! I'm so proud of them and I just want to pinch their cheeks and tell them to not spend a $5 bill all in one place. But what does this mean for the story? Well, Kin'emon is probably going to have multiple heart attacks due to how little his "Stay on the down low" plan is actually being followed. And at this point, Trafalgar Law is gonna need a stiff drink as well, though he's likely used to Monkey D. "I'm changing the plan!" Luffy's antics by now.
It's also interesting to see how Kaido's rule differs from the rule of the other bad guys that Luffy has faced so far, especially in the New World. Dressrosa had a lot of dark secrets underneath its relatively normal facade, and Doflamingo kept its citizens obsessed with the coliseum and his many lies so that they wouldn't ever try to peel back the surface. Meanwhile, Totto Land, on the surface, was a utopia, but its citizens constantly feared Big Mom's cravings and rampages. But Wano is, with the exception of a few places, completely impoverished, and Kaido makes no attempt to hide it. And why would he? It's outside the jurisdiction of the World Government, so Kizaru can't just pop his head in and say "How are those plans for healthcare and infrastructure coming, Strongest Creature on Earth?"
Finally, it's gonna be interesting to see how Basil Hawkins does in Wano, especially since his powers contrast so directly with Kaido and the rest of his henchmen. I mean, we've seen Jack, who can turn into a mammoth, and we know that Kaido has some physical strength, but Hawkins' techniques lean more on the, ummm, genjutsu side of things. All I'm saying is that Hawkins is an interesting draft pick for an Emperor that's mostly obsessed with how hard his crew can punch.
That's all for this week's installment of the One Piece recap! Let me know in the comments how you felt about the episode and how much joy you experienced from watching Luffy and Zoro reunite!
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Crunchyroll! You should follow him on Twitter!