One Piece has moved forward slowly but surely with this arc and it’s had its fun, especially in the previous episode as we got time with Luffy getting all armored up so he can fight in the gladiator matches. I really liked that they came back to something about Ace after having little to nothing said for so long, which definitely fit and was proper for what was going on at the time. Luffy has been making me laugh with this arc a lot just because of how he looks with the beard, as the others are comical as well, but he just really lives it in a different way because of his personality. So watching him get his gear on and be so upbeat about it while going after something important just makes me laugh and smile at him all the more.
The show plays that up a bit more at the start here while also going into the whole gladatorial aspect a bit with what it means to the residents and why they enjoy it, which doesn’t really do much for Luffy since he’s kind of oblivious to things. Which is reinforced when he reveals his real name once again and everyone freaks out until they see his nametag and go back to kind of ignoring him. Luffy is just so simple so much of the time that it can be charming in a lot of ways, even when you want to cringe over it. The show does take an amusing twist as we get introduced to one of the participants, a flamboyant pretty boy named Cavendish, who has a strong dislike for Luffy because of the way so many pirates out did him over the years and he could never catch up because of the wide range of variety that populated the world, which is why he wants to win the Devil Fruit.
Along the way, we get a bit more material about the place in general, with a look at a famed gladiator of the past that may or may not have existed as well as the introduction of Rebecca, a Red Sonja riffed character that’s participating and is friendly with Luffy in explaining some of the place. We also get some time in the ring itself, though mostly watching from the sidelines for a lot of it, as we get to see who all is involved and how some of the power gladiators are starting to reveal themselves. This is certainly interesting as we get a few more characters introduced and an undercurrent of what may also be going on in that others are working through the island for their own agendas as well. There’s not a lot of meat here in a way, but a lot of introductions and placements that will start to factor in more as the arc progresses.