The fighting continues but this time, for my money, the fights are easier to remember and root for. I am an unapologetic Nico Robin fanboy, so any screentime she gets has me both hooting and hollering. This episode in particular continues the setup of her battle with Black Maria, and while we only really get to see one major blow being traded hot dang is it a good one. Robin’s powers are such that she is a huge threat in literally any encounter but we rarely see her cut loose. Here with Black Maria we get a brief glimpse of her using her powers to a large extent, creating massive limbs to deliver a monster of a smackdown in the opening parts of the episode.
There’s a great sense of ramping tension as Black Maria gears up to fight. Unlike some other fights going on at Onigashima, the stakes feel much weightier here. Comparing this fight with a similar battle can reveal why. I love Robin and Franky and have for years, and they are both facing off against relative newcomers in the Tobi Roppo – Black Maria and Sasaki. Both Black Maria and Sasaki have cool designs and slick powers, so why does the Robin fight feel more engaging? The difference, I think, lies in Sanji and how this fight relates to both him and Robin: whereas Franky versus Sasaki just feels like another fight in another hallway, the fact that Robin is fighting to defend Sanji and both of them are learning something about themselves or revealing something to the audience is what makes the fight stand out.
Carrot and Perorin also get a lot of screentime this episode. I like Carrot, and while I’m not all that engaged with Pedro’s loss, I do think Perorin’s general creepiness makes the fight engaging if for no other reason than to root for his downfall. Uchida Yuya does such a marvelous job with those “perorin/lick” sounds at the end of his lines that you can’t help but root for Carrot’s success.
Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.
One Piece is currently streaming on
Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.