The remaining Straw Hats arrive to find disarray in the capital following Yasui's execution. The televised events affected people across Wano, including Luffy who resolutely states that no one deserves to be laughed at as they die. Hiyori explains to Zoro the details of the defective SMILE fruit and how it was created to bring power to Kaido's forces. She also details the different levels of Kaido's warriors: the Waiters (those who are waiting to eat the fruits), the Gifters (those who have eaten the fruits and gained powers), and Pleasures (those who have eaten the defective fruits and now suffer from the same constant laughter as the villagers).
We also get details on how exactly the people of Ebisu were afflicted with their condition. Orochi, tired of hearing their constant wailing, purposefully sent the corrupted fruits to Ebisu village to cause the people this hardship. Hiyori asks Zoro through tears, “If this is not hell, then what is it?”
Toko breaks through the fence in her anguish and runs to Yasui's side. There she begins to try to tend to her father's wounds but he's clearly long gone. Orochi catches sight of her and sees his opportunity to finally get his revenge for her earlier escape. He lets loose with his rifle and fires multiple shots at her. However, in true dramatic fashion, two figures jump in the way and stop the bullets – Sanji and Zoro. As the smoke clears, the bullets fall to the ground burnt or cut in two, and Zoro is cradling Toko in his arms to the shock and alarm of Orochi and his goons.
This episode is hard to talk about. In one sense, it is a “slower” episode that mostly involves long stretches of people crying or reacting to crying. There's a fair amount of exposition to boot, which means that the pacing is pretty slow.
That being said, it still hits like a mac truck. The voice acting really carries this episode, particularly the performances of Kokoro Kikuchi (Toko) and Nana Mizuki (Hiyori). The weight of this episode hinges on their deliveries and they nail it – the emotional anguish in their voices is palpable. This makes Sanji's and Zoro's dramatic rescue more than just cool guys doing cool stuff – it makes it one of the highlight moments of Wano as an arc.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history