440: Believe in Miracles! Bon Clay's Soulful Cheering
After hearing Ivankov’s explanation, Mr. 2 decides that he’ll put everything on Luffy managing to beat the poison, since it is Luffy after all. Ivankov says that just standing out here won’t help him, and the two repair back to New Kama Land’s party hall. Over the feast, Ivankov explains to Mr. 2 that he’s eaten the Hormone Hormone Fruit, which allows him to manipulate multiple aspects of a person’s body in any way he wishes, which is how he turned the prince from earlier into a princess. He mentions that everyone here has transcended the barriers of gender, that some of the men here used to be women, and vice versa. All of the people here used to be prisoners, and there are secret passageways and tunnels leading to New Kama Land all throughout the prison, which they use to steal supplies and gear from the prison staff, with them being none the wiser about it. And all this thanks to a prisoner with a tunneling Devil Fruit who created this secret space in between the floors of Level 5 and Level 6.
Mr. 2 interrupts here, as he’s never heard of a Level 6. Most haven’t, Ivankov replies, since Level 6, the Eternal Hell, is where the truly dangerous prisoners are placed, so that they will fade away from the world’s memory. He even rattles off a few names: Catalina Devon, Vasco Shot, San Juan Wolf, the rebellious Warlord of the Sea Jimbei, and even Mr. 2’s former boss, Sir Crocodile. In addition, there’s the head jailer of Impel Down, Shiryuu of the Rain, who flashbacks reveal as a kinda M.Bison-looking fellow who slaughtered the prisoners for pleasure, something which Magellan would not tolerate. That is the floor where Portgas D. Ace is being held.
Ivankov then says that it’s too bad that Luffy’s going to have to give up on saving his brother, since Ace is scheduled to be transferred to Marineford in the morning, long before the treatment is finished. After despairing a little, Mr. 2 turns down an offer to take a rest and proclaims that he’s going to go to the padlocked door and cheer Luffy on himself. Once there, Mr. 2 spreads his arms wide and begins to bellow his pleas for Luffy to hang in there and persevere. Time passes, and he’s still at it, even though he’s about to collapse himself.
Eyecatches: Luffy (twice)
Several of the Level 5.5-ers try to get Mr. 2 to stop because he’s going more harm to himself, but Ivankov shows up with the rest of the people, and tells them to stand down. Both Luffy and Mr. 2 are struggling through their pain in order to bring about a miracle, and they can’t stop that. All the rest soon join in cheering as well.
They’re starting to run out of time, however. Back in the prison, Magellan receives word of Luffy’s disappearance from Level 5, Hannyabal is found tied up in the storeroom, and the extraction fleet nears the prison. On Level 6 Ace is still clearly distressed, so Jimbei suggests that maybe it was possible that Hancock had lied to him about Luffy coming. Ace snaps back at him that this is exactly something that Luffy would do. He’s always been jumping headlong into reckless situations.
Back in front of the padlocked door, and inky liquid begins to seep out from underneath. Everyone fears the worst, until something starts banging on it from within and a large bellowing voice demands for food. Everyone cheers, Mr. 2 is overjoyed, and Ivankov is dumbfounded: it hasn’t even been a single day yet, and Luffy’s treatment is already complete?! The desired food is quickly brought, and sucked into the dungeon and consumed at a prodigious rate. The feasting subsides, and Luffy, now restored to his former color and build, triumphantly steps out into the light, bellowing ‘’I’M BACK!!!’’
Due to the recent earthquake in Chile this episode had the tsunami warning map up on the screen, though it was angled in such a way that I didn't find it quite as intrusive as I did with the latest episode of Fullmetal Alchemist
, though at the very end of the episode they suddenly shrunk the image to fit in a blue border with more info on the quake that I thought was a bit obtrusive, but it was the very end of the episode, so no real damage done.
Anyway, a fair amount of exposition in the first half of this episode. When Ivankov was talking about Baroque Works they put up the Vol. 21-22 cover spread of the Straw Hats and the agents facing off, which I thought was neat, and also made me realise how friggin' tall Mr. 2 is (or at was, as aside from the nine Straw Hats, Oda's never been completely consistent with character size), as he's a bit bigger than Crocodile there. Ivankov's explanations brought up some Fridge Logic for me though, namely in that I find it incredibly hard to swallow that the jail staff has apparently been completely oblivious to this hidden party hall when they're apparently getting their stuff and prisoners stolen out from under them left and right, and this has been going on for who knows how long.
Aside from that we've got some name dropping going on, as well as the introduction of Shiryuu, the rogue jailer. When he first showed up people made a lot of fun of the fact that he looked sort of like M.Bison with his large chin and cap, and were hoping/wishing that Norio Wakamoto would voice him to continue the humor factor. They'll have to settle with Takayuki Sugo instead, but his voice worked out plenty well. That little flashback also reinforced my love of Magellan's "serious-mode" voice. Ivankov's continues to grow on me as well.
Speaking of voices, this is the first episode that Jimbei has been in since Daisuke Gori's unfortunate suicide, and the role has been passed down to Katsuhisa Hoki. In other words, Gecko Moria. Yeah, my mind kinda broke too. But never fear, you wouldn't be able to tell it was the same guy since he uses a completely different voice tone. Jimbei's new voice is less gravelly than before and actually a lot closer to how I originally imagined it, but it does feel a little weird right now because it's clearly not Gori. But I'm sure that Hoki will fit right in soon enough.
Well, I personally thought the second half of this episode/chapter content was rather cheesy and melodramatic, but One Piece has never been a series to shy away from the cheese and explosive emotion. But we're almost out of New Kama Land, and starting next week we'll be having...pretty much non-stop action for quite a while, save for the inevitable drop in on the other Straw Hats. The upcoming material will certainly be a challenge to adapt, but Toei hasn't really let me down much with this series, so I'm sure they'll figure something out.
And finally, is it just me, or has the anime had a funny sense of timing recently with the weekly manga material?