One Piece Diaries #39: Enies Lobby #7
by Anna Lindwasser
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: 304 – 312 – Enies Lobby Arc
After a long time and a total of seven reviews, I’ve finally come to the end of the Enies Lobby Arc. The timing is flawless – you’ll be seeing this review later, but I’m writing it at the end of September. This means I’ll be starting the Thriller Bark arc just in time for Halloween!
In the final stretch of the arc, Luffy defeats Rob Lucci and the Straw Hats and company finally escape from Enies Lobby, having succeeded in their mission to rescue Robin.
We’ll start off with the Lucci vs Luffy fight. I can’t say I particularly loved it. Seeing Luffy go to both Gear Second and Gear Third in one battle was cool, but it also felt like it came out of nowhere. Yes, he’d used Gear Second before, but we didn’t really see his thought process for developing Gear Third. That made it feel less like an organic outgrowth of his abilities and more like an ass pull.
I was similarly disappointed by Lucci’s backstory. The story involved Lucci annihilating a group of hostages because they were weak and causing problems. Learning how ruthless he’d been as a child was interesting, but it wasn’t especially illuminating. Backstories work best when they expand on or provide context for current behavior. In this case, it showed that he had the capacity for cruelty in the name of justice, but we already knew that from how he’s acting in the present. The flashback didn’t do anything to explain why he was like that.
But while I wasn’t really impressed by the fight, the rest of the arc was great. I really enjoyed the sense of total mayhem as they tried to escape from Enies Lobby. Balancing all of those characters is no easy task, and neither is throwing up and keeping track of believable obstacles. To do all of that while keeping things interesting? Truly impressive.
One of my favorite moments was when Luffy couldn’t get up after defeating Lucci. I liked that fighting had a realistic effect on his human body, one which wasn’t going to be overcome just because everyone was yelling at him to try harder. The Going Merry showing up to save them all was a deus ex machina in some ways, but it was a lot more impactful than a generic “the power of friendship inspires you to fight past your limitations” scenario.
Another moment I liked was when Robin broke Spandam’s spine. I might find Spandam interesting, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think he deserves comeuppance for how terribly he treated Robin and just about everyone else he interacted with. Maybe he’ll use his recovery time to do some introspection and get over his daddy issues and stop being an arrogant asshole. I doubt it, but hey, if Helmeppo could do it maybe Spandam can too.
More importantly, Robin deserved to inflict some pain on this man who physically and verbally abused her and tried to destroy her whole life for personal clout. I’m glad she didn’t go easy on him.
At the end of the arc there was an extremely sad moment – the Going Merry’s funeral. Oddly enough, I saw it just after I’d watched an episode of Parallel World Pharmacy where a ship carrying a bunch of bubonic plague-infected corpses was sunk at sea to avoid spreading the disease. So that somewhat colored my impression of the whole thing, but it didn’t make the scene less emotional. The ship loved the Straw Hats so much that it literally came to life in order to protect them. It’s hard not to get choked up about its final moments – especially when half of the characters are openly weeping. The flashback about all their good times with Merry provided an extra tug to the heartstrings.
I’m a little worried about how Usopp’s inevitable attempt to rejoin the Straw Hats. I know they’ll accept him because I know he’s part of the group later on, but is it going to go smoothly? Are there going to be hurt feelings? Will my fear of interpersonal conflict – which extends to fictional characters – allow to me get through that scene? We’ll see!
Up next is the Post Enies Lobby arc. I’m not really sure what to expect from this one – I guess it’ll tie up some loose ends created by the Enies Lobby arc? Hopefully, it’ll do more than that, but either way, I’m excited. I’ll either write one or two reviews about that one. See you then!
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