437: "Because He's a Friend!" Bon Clay's Do-Or-Die Rescue Effort
After polishing off Luffy, Magellan is met by a group of jailers who congratulate him on a job well done. Magellan tells them to cart Luffy off to Level 5 as he’ll die soon, and then receives word from another jailer that there’s been an incident over by the Level 3 staircase, where Hannyabal had been assigned.
Now the scene shifts to Level 5. It’s a level of extreme cold, with driving snow, frost, and wind. The half-frozen prisoners though, have a morbidly cheery outlook on their eventual fates, casually mentioning how one iced-over prisoner is probably dead, or how their food is much too hard to eat. Several parka-clad jailers drag the poisoned Luffy in on a sled, and as they pass the prisoners call out to him, asking what his name and bounty are, but they give up on him as soon as they see him covered in Magellan’s poison.
Back up on Level 4, Magellan stands shocked at the sight he sees. Hannyabal and all of the jailers under his command have been taken out. He scolds Hannyabal for his failure, shaking him awake in the process. Hannyabal hastily apologizes for letting Mr. 2 escape, but Buggy and Mr. 3 are still safe and bound with him. Since the riot on Level 2 has been quelled and the commotion on Level 4 is now over, Magellan has all his troops moved up to Level 3 to search for the fugitive Mr. 2. He then heads off to relieve himself, leaving Buggy and Mr. 3 in Hannyabal’s care.
Hannyabal takes the two to an interrogation room and looks the three of them in, before revealing that he’s really Mr. 2 in disguise, thanks to his Devil Fruit power. Buggy and Mr. 3 wonder what they should do now, but Mr. 2’s set on only one thing, to save Luffy! Buggy isn’t very hopeful on Luffy’s chances of survival, and says that they should leave him and get out themselves, and demands to know why they should stick their necks out for him. Mr. 2 responds by claiming that Luffy’s his friend, and that’s the only reason that he needs. The first thing they need to do, is to get an antidote for the poison.
But no luck there. Disguised as Hannyabal again, Mr. 2 consults with the prison’s doctors, and learns that Luffy has been hit with too many different strains of poison. There’s no way to save him with medicine. Once again, Buggy says that it would take a miracle for someone to survive Magellan. That sets off a light bulb in Mr. 2’s head. The person that he was looking for, Iva, is a known miracle-worker. He’s imprisoned on Level 5, so maybe he can help!
So Mr. 2 disguises himself again and takes Buggy and Mr. 3 down to the staircase that leads to Level 5, saying that he’s sentenced the two there. As he examines a prisoner list on the way down, Mr. 2 notices that Emporio Ivankov’s name has been crossed off the list. He inquires one of the accompanying guards about this, and according to them, he disappeared a while back. Apparently every once in a while, prisoners vanish under mysterious circumstances. It’s referred to as being ‘’demoned-away’’, and many live in fear of it. Anyway, the group soon reaches the large doors to Level 5. There, the guards warn them to stay away from the forest and the fierce wolves within. And then they relieve Mr. 2, Buggy, and Mr. 3 of their parkas and myriad of weapons, as Hannyabal apparently often strolls around Level 5 shirtless and weaponless to show off how tough he is. The three are…less than thrilled, shall we say. In fact, they’re frozen solid as soon as they set foot inside the frozen dungeon.
Eyecatches: Zoro and Chopper
Mr. 2 unlocks the other two’s cuffs, as they all complain about the biting cold. And then they find that they’ve been surrounded by the wolves that they were warned about before, and they’re apparently so vicious that they would’ve devoured all of the beasts on the floors above. Mr. 2 prepares to fight, but Buggy and Mr. 3 make a mad dash out of there to save themselves. Mr. 2 turns back to normal in order to fight at full strength, but the beasts and the cold overwhelm him. Witnessing this, Buggy and Mr. 3 make a break for shelter from the cold, but end up surrounded by the wolves themselves.
Meanwhile Luffy’s coughing up blood and writhing in his cell, the other prisoners wondering why the jailers even bothered. Luffy manages to pull himself to his feet and slam against the jail bars, repeating the mantra that he’s going to save Ace. After he collapses yet again, one of the prisoners gets angry and lectures about how in this world, the only person to look out for is himself, and screw anyone else. However, as soon as he finishes, a frozen and bloodied Mr. 2 staggers up to the cell, proclaiming that he’s come to save Luffy in the name of friendship.
This episode covered the last half of chapter 535 and the first half of 536. It's a bit of an odd instance of pacing, since now to cleanly finish this arc off a future episode will either have to cover half of one chapter, or one and a half. I suppose it's possible to do, seeing how the second half of Impel Down is pretty much non-stop fighting.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this episode's second half. They probably could've squeezed in the rest of chapter 536 if they'd cut out the filler with Buggy and Mr. 3. The ending was sort of abrupt, without any real buildup like past ones. Mr. 2 shows up, and the episode just ends. I guess the lack of heavy music and Kazuki Yao's kinda weak deliever on Mr. 2's final line contributed to that feeling. I will admit that everyone repeated freezing into solid crystals got a chuckle out of me though, since it reminded me of a video game status effect.
Next episode will be handled by the weakest animation team currently on the show, but we will see some new characters, so we'll see if that balances things out or not.