At long last, Luffy, along with his merry band of misfits, have arrived at Marineford.
Episode 466 is the typical meat and potato episode you often see during a long arc: Not much action, backstory filled during a flashback, and seeds of future plot development are planted. While not very flashy, it does push the narrative forward; which is pretty much all you can ask for in an epic arc such as this one.
About half of the episode is spent explaining how Luffy and the rest of the Impel Down escapees ended up free falling from the sky. Flashback to the moment we saw them last—in the midst of getting engulfed by a gigantic tsunami caused by Whitebeard’s seaquake. Jinbei quickly decides the only way to survive their dire situation is to sail into the wave and ride the backward momentum to the top (much to the chagrin of Buggy and practically the rest of the pirates).
No sooner does the crew successfully scale the wave than it turns into ice. This is where we realize that the tsunami they’re atop of is actually the tsunami that Admiral Aokiji froze before it hit Marineford. And if you didn’t realize this, Jinbei conveniently explains it through thought (someone usually does). They are now directly above the battlefield, hundreds of feet away.
After they overhear the order of the imminent execution of Ace through the ship’s den den mushi, they decide to expedite the process of freeing themselves from the frozen tsunami by collectively smashing through the ice around the ship. This, of course, results in the edge of the tsunami to crumble apart, explaining why Luffy and our other unexpected heroes were free falling in episode 465, and effectively catching us up with the story.
Now you may think, “Isn’t the battlefield below made of solid ice? Oh noes! How will they survive the fall?” Ah, valid questions and concerns. But not to worry! Remember the chunk of ice Diamond Jozu plucked from the ground and flung at Admiral Akainu? Well, the area where that chunk of ice had been, conveniently became a body of water, which conveniently became the landing spot for our free falling misfits. Problem solved!
Of course, Luffy and a few other lovable devil fruit users would need saving after hitting the water. Cue our resident Shichibukai fishman to the rescue. Once Luffy recovers consciousness, a really good 3 minutes of the episode takes place. Our hero wakes up disoriented on the deck of the ship, the sound of war around him, and the gleam of sunlight slightly affecting his vision. He begins a frantic search for Ace towards the stern. Realizing that he is viewing from the wrong side of the ship, he makes a desperate dash to the other side, fending off enemies along the way, and finally climbing the bow until sight of Ace is very much clear. All of this is well done. It is animated in a way where the viewers can experience his confusion, frustration, desperation, and finally, relief and joy.
This all culminates in a scene between Luffy and Ace we’ve been anticipating for a long time. With a good distance separating the two, they call out to each other vigorously.
Keep in mind everything Luffy has gone through up to this point:
- he gets separated from his nakama
- lands in a foreign island and immediately gets attacked by amazonian women
- battles a stone-turning schibukai and her serpent sisters
- sneaks into an impenetrable prison fortress
- suffers through 5 levels of hell
- escapes said impenetrable fortress and its toxic warden
- scales a gigantic tsunami
- survives a towering free fall
All of this while putting his goal of being Pirate King and reuniting with his nakama on hold. Attaining One Piece is important, but family is more so. This makes the exchange between the two brothers a much more emotional payoff.
Up this point, we’ve known that Crocodile has his own reason for helping Luffy get this far. He has history with Whitebeard, but we weren’t sure what kind. The former schibukai makes his intentions crystal clear has he immediately makes a beeline towards the feared pirate captain. Though just as Crocodile is about to attack Whitebeard, Luffy makes the “last second save”. Is Whitebeard clairvoyant? He never flinches when someone tries to attack him, because apparently he knows someone else will intervene at the last second. With or without the help, I get the suspicious feeling that these attacks wouldn’t even lay a scratch on him. Gonna go out on a limb and say that he’s a strong mofo.
Finally, another cool moment most people have been waiting for happens, as Luffy and Whitebeard have a bit of a face-to-face. Not a physical confrontation, mind you. But rather, a bit of verbal machismo. A nice juxtapose is presented here between the two. On one side, you have a towering, imposing adonis. The legendary, most notorious pirate in the land, Whitebeard. On the other, you have a lanky, scrawny kid with a body like rubber. Luffy, while rising up the ranks, doesn’t have nearly the reputation. Both share the same goal of being Pirate King, and at this moment, also share the same goal of being the man to save their family member.
This was the type of slow developing episode you find a lot in most long arcs. But unlike some series *ahem*, One Piece rarely meanders. There is always purpose and development in the narrative. 466 is your typically decent episode from the series (you’ll see me write that a lot), with the Luffy/Ace scene being the highlight.
GO Rating - 3/5