One Piece Diaries #36: Enies Lobby Arc #4

One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at over 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for those who haven’t been watching from the start to jump on board. One Piece Diaries tracks one writer’s experience with this daunting rite of passage. With hype for the highs and critique for the lows, this column will help you decide whether to take your own One Piece journey – or let you relive the one you’re already on. It will update biweekly every other Thursday.

Episodes Watched: 284 – 290 – Enies Lobby Arc

Hello fellow pirates! Did you miss me? It’s been a long time since I’ve actually watched any One Piece. I’ve been teaching summer school, an exciting endeavour that’s eaten up a lot of my time and mental capacity. I’m also not excited about what comes after 290 – yet another mini filler arc!! I don’t mind filler when it’s its own arc, but I really hate how they keep breaking up the actual story.

For this review, I’ll be talking about the seven episodes in between the two filler arcs. Despite my annoyance about the fillers, this set of episodes was pretty interesting. Franky and the Straw Hats have finally begun their battle against CP9.

Most of it has been entertaining enough. I was amused by Jabra and Kaku’s squabbling, and I liked seeing Fukurou and Kumadori actually do anything other than say the same lines over and over again.

I also really enjoyed the fact that Chimney was the one to figure out where Robin was – if you’re going to bring a character along on an adventure, that character should have a role!

Another fun part was when Zoro and Usopp had to work together. The two of them have completely different approaches. Usopp tries to use strategy to minimize harm, while Zoro charges in, swords blazing. That Zoro used Usopp as a sword was unexpectedly violent, but also kind of hilarious.

One part I really appreciated was Franky’s decision to burn the blueprints. He’d been protecting them for years at the request of his late mentor. Not only that, but they were personally important to him. His passion is building complex, potentially dangerous ships to see if he can. He destroyed the blueprints anyway because he knew how dangerous they’d be if they fell into the government’s hands. That’s honorable as hell and it makes me like him so much more than I did before.

I had mixed feelings about Sanji’s refusal to fight Kalifa. On the one hand, it’s insulting that he refuses to take her seriously as an opponent when she presents herself as one. Sanji clearly doesn’t see women as equals and thinks that constantly hitting on them is totally acceptable. Chivalry is fine when it stems from men recognizing real inequality and taking steps to even things out. It’s not fine when it stems from the assumption that women are inferior or part of some special, inhuman category. Sanji’s chivalry seems to stem from the latter. He loves women but he doesn’t respect them at all.

But Sanji did say something that made this scene feel like a real attempt at character development. He said that the reason that he wouldn’t fight Kalifa is that he was raised not to hit women. I know a bit about how he was raised from reading spoilers, and it’s much easier for me to imagine Sanji’s father hitting women than telling him not to. Maybe he grew up seeing his mother be abused and didn’t want to replicate it? The fact that he was willing to let Kalifa defeat him even though he knows how urgent it is that they get to Robin quickly indicates that whatever the reason, this is a genuinely important value to him.

If that’s the case, Sanji’s attitude is more in the category of “problematic but well-meaning” rather than “chauvinist pig.”

I’m not sure where the series is taking this issue, but I have some interest in finding out, whereas before I couldn’t do much but groan whenever Sanji said or did anything pertaining to women.

That’s all for now! Next up is a two-episode filler arc, which I’ll write about in my next review. While I’m not jazzed about it, at least it’ll be new content instead of just clips of previous episodes.

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One Piece is one of the most beloved anime in history, but at over 1,000 episodes, it’s tough for those whoCOMICONRead More

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