One Piece ‒ Episode 972

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The climactic battle between Oden's small band and Kaido's forces commences. A thousand beast pirates face off against eleven samurai and the world shakes as their leaders duel. Oden and Kaido trade blows, their mighty attacks ripping apart Wano even as both fight for it as their prize. Oden puts up a valiant effort, as do his followers, but the tide turns when Momo is captured and held at knife point. Oden leaps to save his son and is cut down from behind, only to find that it was not Momo but Orochi's shapeshifting ally.

In the aftermath of the battle Oden and his followers are imprisoned. Many others go into hiding as a new era descends on Wano. Eventually, they are to be executed by boiling, and a great pot is made in the flower capital. As Oden goes to be boiled first he puts forth a proposition - let us all go in at once, then set any timer you like and if anyone survives that time frame let them go free, then the to be continued card flashes.

I don't know how else to say it but One Piece is on a whole other level right now.

Folks I've been shouting One Piece good One Piece good for weeks on end at this point and now I'm here to tell you that, actually, One Piece great. The battle between Oden and Kaido is a visual spectacle of an entirely different breed in an arc that has been nothing but eye candy from the get go. Gorgeous, vibrant colors and dynamic motion as a battle without peer takes place. After the tracking shot where Oden slid down Kaido's long dragon neck it took me a few minutes just to get my jaw up off the floor.

Let me try to put things in perspective. I recall seeing the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie in theaters and being absolutely gobsmacked by the visuals. I was in awe of the energy, creativity, and fidelity I was seeing. I remember thinking: this is what the Toei team is unable to do week to week because it would be too much effort in too short a timeframe, but wow in a feature film format they can just cut loose. Honestly, the Wano arc has made me… completely re-conceptualize that stance. In fact, I recently watched Stampede and while I enjoyed it I found myself thinking “This is… just what Wano arc looks like every week.” I cannot heap enough praise on the Toei team, and I hope they get the recognition they deserve for what is honestly just a triumph of weekly animation.

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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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