456: The Crew's Whereabouts - The Giant Tombstone and repayment for Underwear
Zoro runs through the forests of the gloomy Kuraigana Island, telling himself that he has to hurry. Elsewhere, the ghost girl Perona is busy searching for him.
We then flashback to several hours previously to find Zoro running through the castle like a madman, searching for the room where he had left his swords. Perona’s goal was to have him find them and then use her Negative Hollow attack on him for fun, but now she’s simply bored from watching Zoro run around aimlessly. Fed up, she gives him the directions again, and this time, through some miracle, Zoro finds the room, gets his swords, and puts a shirt on. Zoro’s a bit suspicious that she’s letting him get his weapons back, but she replies that that since she’s a ghost, a swordsman is no threat to her at all. Her true aim is to use him to get back to Thriller Bark somehow. But while she’s busy plotting, Zoro simply cuts a huge hole in the wall and jumps outside.
Back in the present, Zoro’s still running through the forest while saying to himself that he needs to get back to Sabaody and wondering if the others are all right after their fights with the Pacifista, Sentomaru, and Admiral Kizaru. Perona eventually finds him and offers to lead him to the coast. She wonders why she’s even doing this, but decides to just crush Zoro’s spirit as soon as they reach the shore.
After a little more walking, the two hear a large crash in the distance. Zoro wonders what it is, while Perona thinks it means that Kuma sent someone else flying out here, so she ditches Zoro to go check it out. And she finds out that Zoro’s misdirection is so bad that he somehow ends up at the site before she does.
They find that the source of the great crash was a falling tree, cut down by a giant axe. Nearby are the stone ruins of a village of some kind. They eventually come across a giant cross carved from a tree marking a giant tombstone. While Zoro and Perona are studying it a figure leaps out of the bushes and attacks Zoro with a sword that was lying on the ground. More leap at him, but he manages to barely hold them off, his assailants being feral creatures armed with a multitude of bladed weapons…
Eyecatches: Zoro and Brook
Brook awakens to a fine morning on the island of Namakura. He wonders how the other Straw Hats are doing and resolves to meet up with them again. Walking around, he notices how all of the buildings are rundown and decrepit. He also thinks back to the macabre items inside the house he was just in and wonders what they were for. He’s soon greeted by the island’s cultists who mistook him for Satan and their leader introduces himself as Pekkori and they offer him breakfast. So in his thanks, Brook asks the woman offering it to him to show him her underwear, which leads to the entire (male) village showing him their drawers, which was not exactly what Brook had in mind.
After enjoying his meal and getting another unwanted eyeful of boxers, Brook tries to go on his way, but the villagers try to stop him. Pekkori explains that their land is often pillaged by the Longhand Tribe, and that in their desperation they resorted to black magic and “summoned” Brook, believing him to be Satan come to curse their enemies. Brook tries to protest, but there’s a scream from outside and the group finds members of the Longhand Tribe (people with double elbows) kidnapping the woman from before and escaping into the forest. Seeing that the villagers are counting on him to do something about it, Brook decides to repay them for their hospitality by obliging. Back inside he begins to furiously write out a music composition score, while in his head promising to rejoin the Straw Hats after he finishes this task.
Back on the hijacked Navy battleship, Jimbei takes note of the wind and expects them to reach Marineford very soon. Crocodile tells him that they better not miss the battle since he still wants to kill Whitebeard. He and Jimbei comes this close to blows, but seeing Luffy standing up impatiently, ready to fight himself, has them lower their fists.
A guard outside of Ace’s holding cell in Marineford checks his watch: it is almost time.
I personally found this episode to be the dullest of this batch of "Where are they now?" installments. Zoro's half was almost entirely built around the gag of him getting lost, but that's a gag that needs to be used in moderation to be effective. I did get a little chuckle out of the return of Perona's rendition of the Enel-face, and Zoro's misdirection warping time and space (though G8 did it funnier). The important thing we did learn here, I guess is that the island is populated by ferals. I don't really know what's going to come of that though. Maybe they'll be the "cute servants" that Perona longs for.
Brook's half was...well, it didn't deviate from the cover story at all, and I just wasn't really feeling it. It felt like the anime team had already used up their creative juices on the previous episodes.
The scene with Luffy on the boat was kinda dumb too. Yeah, it's an old shonen cliche to had two combatants stop fighting when a third party makes a move, but it would've been much more effective had Luffy said something actually relevant like "Do what you want, but wait until after we save Ace!" instead of just spouting out Ace's name like a broken record. It just looked silly otherwise.
Now the next episode, we originally thought that it was going to just be a straight up Recap Episode
, but if the preview is anything to go by, it seems like the episode will focus on the end of chapter 549 as well as taking some stuff from the flashback that just finished in the manga. Heck, the episode's summary on Fuji's website apparently even alludes to Sabo. It should turn out to be a much more interesting episode than was originally thought.