Exposition is the name of the game here as violence plays out around Fish-Man Island.What They Say:
The New Fish-Man Pirates are forcing the people of Fish-Man Island to tread on the face of their beloved former Queen - and Jimbei notices Nami's deep and troubling connection with Arlong, and reveals the shocking secret that he played a role in Arlong's rise!The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the arc progresses, a lot of things are going on that are definitely interesting separately but are also slowly starting to come together. There's some really welcome moments early on here as Robin gets back to her archaeology roots as she's about to come across something that's been lost down there under the seas for centuries. At the same time she's making her discoveries, there are tensions rising elsewhere, though the most prominent is that on Fish-Man Island itself as the regular citizens are now being formally accosted by the pirates as they insist in harsh terms that everyone accepts Hordy as their new leader rather than King Neptune. It's almost a man by man kind of approach but it uses a lot of intimidation, fear and violence that gets to so many of the weaker people out there.
While a lot of this unfolds throughout the island, there are also some smaller and more personal moments that dominates parts of it. With a good part of the crew having now come back together by the Sunny where they've found Jimbei waiting, it's opened up a small Pandora's Box of questions. Since they've been apart for so long, it provides some reveals, such as how Sanji was surprised by the news during the War of the Best about how Luffy was working with Jimbei since he viewed Jimbei as the one pulling the strings behind Arlong all those years ago. And that kind of throws off Jimbei here a bit, who himself has his issues to take with Nami because of her tattoo and the way it's plain that it came from her time with the Arlong group itself. The crew isn't about to become split by these things, but it brings a lot of feelings to the surface that they have to deal with, especially for Nami and the loss she suffered under Arlong some five hundred
There's a lot of back and forth material across this episode that deals with the various events going on but it has a lack of a central focus for it all to tie it together. Which can be good as you can get a lot of different stories dealt with, bringing up events from the past that have happened such as the past of the Fish-Man Island that Jimbei gets to tell, which includes a good bit about Whitebeard and how he made his move on the scene, to seeing events play out with the Hordy's crew as they deal with things on the island in the present to solidify their control. Nami's story unfortunately doesn't get as much as attention as I'd like, but it was welcome to get another look at what she lost way back when to the Arlong pirates and to remember that events from so long ago still have an impact.In Summary:
One Piece covers a whole lot of ground here and I'm still in the camp that likes that Jimbei is playing a role again as I thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Marineford arc with Luffy and what he brought to the table. Here, he gets to tie things back even further within the One Piece history with one of the earliest stories that brought some of the Straw Hats together at first. Beyond that, we get a few other neat areas being explored, from what Robin has discovered which is just a huge tease to what Hordy's men are doing to the citizens of the island. It's not exactly all over the place, but it's easy to get distracted by one subplot and to be frustrated when it shifts to another and then another. The flashback material is welcome though and it helps to reinforce some of the bonds to the past that will likely be defining things again in the present as well. Good stuff but it still needed something a little stronger to cement it as a whole.Grade: