The past is put behind us as the story focuses on the present and what Hordy is really up to.What They Say:
As Hordy makes his terrifying announcement, his crew force the citizens of the Ryugu Kingdom to step on Queen Otohime’s picture to test their loyalty to her. With the captured Straw Hat crew's life in the balance, Luffy gears up to return to the Ryugu Palace to fight Hordy... but Jimbei stands in his way.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One Piece has done some interesting things with this past flashback arc in how it connects to events that kicked off the series early on with the Fish-Man people and the longstanding impact of it all. Some of it felt like it could have been tightened up a bit to tell a more engaging story, one that didn't drag out quite as much, but the overall result is a good one as we have a much richer understanding of the One Piece world and how more of it connects with various subplots and events. And we also really understand more of what it is in the present that Hordy is doing that is such a difficult and cruel thing for so many of the residents to be put through, by stepping on the images of Otohime in order to shame them more.
Hordy's broadcast to the residents of the island is even more damning and hurtful for them as they see that Hordy has now chained up Neptune, a moment that really hits home that control has been lost and there is nothing but uncertainty at this point. Hordy's gloating a bit but it's also to reinforce his position of strength, proving that he has accomplished all of this and is now taking over the reins of power. But it's also something larger as he seeks to replicate the Great Pirate Era that began with the cutting off of Roger's head, something that turned into a lot of problems for Fish-Men all over as they became persecuted. So he wants to use this event to create the start of the Great Fish-Man Era and roll forth from here with some twisted and cruel new kingdom.
What's worse is that in his effort to cement his power, he comes up with a list of traitors to be dealt with and just the first few read off alone causes plenty of problems. Of course, the Straw Hats are among those that will be a target as well, especially since a few are already captured. Of course, while things do get serious from this point with a lot at stake, it doesn't stop from showing us some humor as well as Brooke recounts how it was the three of them got caught in the end, which has now lead to them about to be drowned as an example. And even as all of this goes on, there are other threads that are being tugged as well, including Robin's recent discovery and what it could possibly mean. In the end though, it's good to see the story back in the present and events getting ready to move forward again.In Summary:
One Piece has had a pretty elaborated - and expected - round of setup here with what's going on. The series has long worked this method to good effect, though not all the flashbacks have worked for me with what they do. The one that just finished went a bit longer than I would have cared for, but it did a lot to tie various elements together in the series in a new way that makes going back a bit more engaging as well. Things are definitely back to building well in the present day storyline and there's a lot to like here as Hordy is moving to set the world on fire with his Great Fish-Man Era to replace the pirate era that started quite awhile ago and caused much pain for his species. Everything is in the mode of going forward again and that's quite welcome. It's not that the flashback was spinning its wheels as we got a lot of useful information and character expansions, but now it feels like we're going to get somewhere.Grade: