Wow… just wow. The best arc by far, entirely gripping from beginning to end, with so many twists and turns, characters, fights, and surprises. Even though I had already read through this arc with the manga, I was still astounded by how good it was in the anime, and watching it through was like re-living the experience all over again. I didn’t think I was going to cry… I told myself not to cry… but I did.
I just finished the Marineford Arc, so like usual, it’s time to procrastinate and write blog posts during working hours! (Don’t tell my boss.)
Rather than give a long comprehensive plot review (since I’m sure 99% of people know what happened in this arc), I’ll revisit things that I missed out on when I read the manga many years ago, and talk about some highlights in the arc.
- Everything seems much more intense and real in the anime vs. the manga. I did tear up while reading the manga when Ace died, but in the anime, I was tearing up left and right. Garp’s internal struggle, Whitebeard’s fight, Squard being forgiven – so many tear-jerking moments that I speed-read through in the manga, but enjoyed it in full with the anime.
- What a great way by Oda to throw in almost all major characters in the first half of One Piece, especially antagonists. It showed how much Luffy grew in strength, and how much he still needed to grow. It was definitely something to see that Luffy was still struggling against Captain Smoker, and that Hancock Boa was needed to save him. It really cemented the need for a two-year time skip.
- Once again, great play by Buggy and Mr. 3 to be our resident comedy relief crew. Not only that, they still played small but major roles in the arc – Mr. 3 created the key that saved Ace, and Buggy broadcasted the fight to the entire world.
- Looking back, this arc was exemplary of the major split in the Navy between those who believe in absolute justice and moral justice. I didn’t see it coming last time around, but it was incredibly clear that in this arc, we had navy admirals and officers who were on both sides of the issue, already creating a rift that would impact the future of the navy.
- Some negatives – given the overwhelming amount of characters and fights, it looks like the anime/Oda lost track of who was fighting who. For example, Mihawk Hawk-Eye vs. Vista was never finished – it’s just assumed that they just…stopped fighting? Warlords such as Moira, Doflamingo, and Hancock are often left out of fights until they randomly reappear for one-liners and a few seconds. We never see Smoker again after the first couple of episodes. It makes sense given how vast the battlefield was, but it does feel like we lost out on a couple of awesome fights that we just didn’t see. I was also very disappointed in how Garp handled his internal situation (aren’t we all), but it is what it is, and I definitely have sympathy for him.
Overall, the entire arc was gripping from end to finish, and is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular arcs in One Piece. Be prepared for the onslaught of theories, rankings, and arc awards posts for Marineford the ASL flashback episodes!