We have finally come to the end of what began back in episode 690 – Zoro vs. Pica is finally over. The overwhelming feeling of gratefulness that I have for this story thread being over far outweighs what I thought about the rest of the episode and its faults. But in any case, lets get into my thoughts of One Piece Episode 719 – A Decisive Battle in Mid Air.
- If you prefer not to read a recap of what happened you can skip over Recap Piece and head over to the Impression Piece section below for the analysis. Enjoy!
In terms of overall progression in the story, this is one of the thinnest episodes. Essentially, King Riku refuses to run from Pica in order for the town’s people to escape. But those idiots decide not to escape if King Riku does not come with. But really now, how far did you guys think you were going to go before getting pancaked anyway? This whole thread was just to stall for time for the actual thing that did happen i.e. Zoro going after Pica. Zoro was launched by Commodore Orlumbus across town to deal with Pika. One of the best parts of the episode was Zoro preparing for his attack by infusing Haki into his swords. It was interesting that they used the conquerors haki for the Haki infusing sequence.
Zoro recites his poem of pure bad-assery before parting lower body from his torso clean in mid-air with an Ichidai-Sanzen-Daisen-Sekai. Zoro then continues to slice off parts of Pika in mid-air to force Pica out of hiding. When Pica is finally out, we flashback to Zoro losing by the sword of Dracule Mihawk. Despite Pika buffing up with a full-body armament Haki, Zoro effortlessly dispatches him with a normal Sansen-Sekai. Thankfully, that’s the end of Squeaky-Face McSkipLegDay. The last bit of the episode is just Zoro calling upon Elizabello to blast away the Pika-Statue debris with his King Punch.
I must say that is is quite a drawn out episode but the final punch-line made it worth it. We had plenty of fluff here particularly with King Riku and the idiotic town’s people. When we finally do get to Zoro’s plan of being bowled over to Pika by the Commodore, said Commodore takes forever to actually do it. Once Zoro is in the air the episode picks up a bit with Zoro infusing Haki into his blades. Unfortunately there were then many, many quick cuts between Zoro and Pika’s face, which were practically recycled stills. Once Zoro actually makes his cut, it’s one of the best things ever. Zoro whittling down Pica’s statue body was quite satisfying considering how long this battle has been going on. The flashback to Zoro vs. Mihawk was also a time-filler but not an unwelcome one. Showing this old memory actually gives the audience and idea of how far Zoro has come since East Blue. Another fitting aspect was Zoro essentially defeating Pica in one strike, the same strike he used against Mihawk but was not as effective at the time. Oda is pretty much trying to tell the reader here that Zoro is now so powerful that one of his older attacks can beat an executive of Doflamingo. Pica never really did stand a chance, he just lasted this long because of his ability to evade Zoro’s attacks. This tells us two things actually, that Zoro was so much more powerful than Pica… but… Zoro can still improve, perhaps with perception Haki?
Sansen Sekai doesn’t always work, but when it does, it works beautifully
The episode is based on chapter 778 of the manga, the end of “Tactics No. 5”. The first thing I noticed was the town’s people not standing in front to “protect” their King like in the anime. It also seems like Orlumbus did not take as long to throw Zoro in the manga. The Haki infusion scene in the anime was much better depicted than in the manga, as well as that first initial cut on Pica. I thought that the rest of it would actually go quicker in the manga but in reality it doesn’t really. Most of the quick-cut frames are also in the manga. The flashback to Mihawk is also absent in the manga, which is actually surprising, I would have expected Oda to put at least one panel to show off Zoro’s growth. The manga chapter actually ends as Pica is defeated and the stone statue is falling. So only in chapter 779 “The Last Battle” does Elizabello actually use King Punch to save the platform. Also, Zoro does not say “it’s your turn” to Elizabello in the manga.
Chapter 778 Cliffhanger Piece
Bottom line Piece
This was actually an interesting interpretation of the manga, despite the fluff and stalling: the Haki-infusion, Mihawk and King-Punch scenes were a welcome bonus. We can now put this behind us and focus on the final battle.
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Image credits: Toei Animation, Funimation, Shueisha, VIZ media