One Piece ‒ Episode 969

1 month ago 25

Rayleigh and Roger have a nice moment where they reminisce about their first meeting. They have come far and experienced much, but as with all good things, their time together must come to an end. Many powerful groups have set their sights on Roger – including the World Government, the Navy, and other pirate crews – and they are not playing nice. With Roger's worsening health, the time has come for the Roger Pirates to disband and go their separate ways. The crew visits the island where Shanks and Buggy are resting and we get a nice, tender moment between Shanks and Roger. It has finally come time for even the King of the Pirates to part ways with his crew, and naturally, "not a tear was shed".

Oden also returns to Wano in hopes of spending quality time with his people. But he is scarcely on the island for a few hours before he begins to realize that Wano is no longer the land he once remembers. Kinemon and the others reveal that Oden's father has passed on, and that Orochi used his wit and charm to end up as the new shogun. Eventually his tyranny grew, factories sprouted, and the Nine has had enough. They recount to Oden their attack on Orochi, which ultimately ended in failure even though it was a nice try. What's worse, Toki was injured during the fighting.

Oden's rage slowly builds throughout this conversation. His joy at being reunited with his family is replaced by anger over the endangerment they faced at Orochi's hand. He grabs his swords and vows to show the shogun that it's no more Mr. Nice Guy – the young Oden is back.

Another powerful episode.

I am, once again, here to tell you that you should be watching One Piece. While it is a nice break to watch legends being made through joyous adventures, the high intensity and high stakes have well and truly returned. Roger is sick and dying, the World Government is increasing its power, Wano is under the rule of a tyrant, and Oden goes to face his destiny. In the same way I find myself enthralled by the weight of destiny during those powerful, uplifting moments of the past few episodes, it is hard not to get wrapped up in the heavy drama unfolding with Oden's return.

By far the most striking visuals are courtesy of Roger and Oden themselves. Roger walking away into the golden sky, fist raised in camaraderie and defiance, the crew's faces all drenched tears – it's an awe-inspiring moment. And seeing him share a moment with Shanks that was as touching and career-defining as the one Shanks would later have with Luffy was equally wonderful, and the anime adaptation gives these scenes the appropriate gravitas.

Oden's emotions slowly shifting and changing as events are recounted to him was an excellent moment too. It's a more subtle series of transformations, but just as momentous as Orochi turning into a hydra. First it was the lack of pupils, followed by the fraying of his hair or the outline of his character model, until eventually we see his shadow fall across his blades and he is shrouded in burning red rage – what a terrific sequence. Seeing all the joy of his world-hopping adventure drained away and replaced by a desire for vengeance and, in a way, becoming who he was before he grew and changed, is really something to behold. Hats off to the Toei team for selling the intensity of the scene.

Rayleigh and Roger talking about their younger days was also a really nice moment. Great episode all around.

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Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.

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