If you go into this expecting something new, don’t. This is a recap of everything the crew goes through in the East Blue (sans Loguetown) before entering the Grand Line.
The special begins with the crew breaking the barrel, stating their goals for their journey: Luffy, to be King of the Pirates; Zoro, to be the world’s greatest swordsman; Nami, to chart the world’s oceans; Usopp, to be a brave warrior of the sea; Sanji, to find the All Blue.
We start with the Episode of Luffy, recounting Luffy’s interactions with Shanks, the attainment of his devil fruit powers, and end with his setting out to sea, following in the steps of his brother Ace and his idol Shanks.
We then move to Zoro, tied up at the hands of Navy Captain Axe-Hand Morgan. Without even detailing why Zoro is being detained, we go through the motions; Luffy saves Zoro, demonstrating his devil fruit powers, and convinces him to join his crew. We are treated to a brief flashback of Zoro’s promise to childhood friend Kuina, to become the world’s greatest swordsman so that his “name may reach the heavens.” We then cut to the Baratie, where Zoro faces “Hawkeye” Mihawk for the first time. After his defeat, Zoro vows to never lose again until he can attain the title of the world’s greatest swordsman, a title that Mihawk says that he will patiently hold until Zoro is able to take it from him.
Then comes Usopp. The Episode of Usopp . . . sure is. It’s a weird mishmash, not really doing a good job of explaining that he has a tendency to lie, or explaining why he has the relationship he does with townspeople. We get a weird shortened version of the fight with Captain Kuro before straight to Usopp joining The Strawhat Pirates.
Next is the Episode of Sanji, back at the Baratie. His backstory with Zeff is kept intact, and we move straight into Luffy defeating Don Krieg, along with Sanji coming to the realization that living and attaining his goals would be the best thing he could do for Zeff to repay him for his life.
Last, is the Episode of Nami. Every time we have the story of Nami and Cocoyashi Village retold, I cry. No expense was spared on this, and it showed. Nami’s sad life gets retold, her bond with the people of Cocoyashi Village re-explained, Bellemere and Nojiko’s family ties with Nami re-affirmed, all of it happens again and it’s sad as hell. It ends with a VERY condensed version of the fight at Arlong Park.
At the end of the special, we move back to the ship, moving closer and closer to Reverse Mountain. As the crew busts the barrel, a special version of “We Are!” begins to play, followed by glimpses of the then-current activities of family and future allies, Chopper, Robin, Franky, Brook, Ace, etc.
- Plot: 7/10
- Animation: 9/10
- Overall: 8/10
Title: One Piece Special 12: Episode of East Blue
Released: August 2017
Director: Takashi Otsuka
Written By: Tomohiro Nakayama
Studio: Toei Animation
Licensed By: Funimation