In One Piece Episode 586 – “In a Real Pinch, Luffy Sinks into the Ice-Cold Lake! ” – the dragging pace of the series was redeemed by the multifaceted mysteries that make up the story arc’s plot, as the episode succeeded in showing very little but teasing more and more.
Luffy’s banana boat-riding group tumbles into the ice-cold lake as Brownbeard lands a successful hit. As Zoro was momentarily prevented from letting loose by the lake’s shark population (the lake is actually part of the sea surrounding the island), Usopp who’s been laden with the yoke of carrying Luffy and Robin was saved just in time by Brooke, who serendipitously wandered into the scene after being chased by the samurai’s torso. As Brooke easily does away with some of Brownbeard’s henchmen, Luffy’s group recovers and launches their counterattack, lusting after the warm clothes Brownbeard’s group is wearing. Meanwhile, Trafalgar Law jumbles the personalities of Sanji, Nami, Chopper, and Franky with his shambles ability as they escape, and their group is left in disarray. Vice Admiral Smoker tries to keep Law at bay as he warns his men to stay back, explaining Law’s godlike powers while inside his Room. Law takes away all the snail transponders the marines have and declares them all expendable; Tashigi charges him head on – and Law cuts her down mercilessly.
Virtually nothing happened in this episode aside from three notable events: Luffy’s group finally getting to the other side (after, what, three episodes? Four?), Sanji’s group getting their personalities switched, and Tashigi naively attacking one of the most dangerous pirates in the One Piece world and paying dearly for it. Everything else stayed as they were – in fact, Law’s showdown versus Smoker is still looming, as it has been for nearly a month now. Yet despite the pace of plot development the episode still managed to pull off some appetizing teasers, mainly showing how renowned the Strawhat pirates are and how ridiculously powerful Law has become in his mastery of his dynamic abilities. We’re also still stuck with the same opening sequence, about two months after the Strawhats (or, actually, just Luffy) first decided to explore Punk Hazard.
The promising story arc alleviates the drag, however, with all the weird creatures, the powerful players, and the mystery surrounding the island. But after Law and Smoker go at it – if they ever do – it wouldn’t hurt to deliver a new opening sequence and more effective plot pacing, especially since the rumor mill has it that the series will be on break again next week. I, for one, am still waiting for more epic moments from One Piece, the sort that rekindles the flames of the Enies Lobby arc or the Marineford arc. It definitely seems that the events in Punk Hazard and the people involved in them can deliver just that, if only we can finally get on with it.
[by G Dino]