This is probably just me, but I'm disappointed that these fights still made it clear that Jimbe, Sanji, and Zoro are the strongest. While this may always be the case with this manga, I would have liked a little ambiguity. Something like this just reminds me that the timeskip didn't really change that much.
When you say ambiguity, do you mean just for this arc? If so, then maybe, but if you mean for a majority of the rest of the story, then how could Oda accomplish this? Rankings about who the top three or four would probably be discerned from their next major fights, especially against a Yonkou crew. Seems like a difficult thing to maintain.
Speaking of that, I really hope we see more from Zoro, cause on paper he's just the same fighter only stronger, as opposed to say Sanji who learned to fly. It's not a huge complaint though, since I imagine the SHs will display more in future arcs. Just saying, Zoro got really out shined this arc by the rest of his crew.
I have to agree to an extent. And I was surprised that his double spread for this chapter wasn't more "flashier" or in the sense that it wasn't really that different in a visual sense from his other attacks, but I imagine Oda has good stuff planned for him as well. He just wanted to show a little more spotlight on the others, especially after Zoro's badass moment of one-shotting Hody underwater.
But you see, this actually makes sense.
People seem to think I was suggesting battles as serious as in Alabasta or something. I wasn't. If we get that all the time, it becomes expected, and therefore dull. But if one is going to set up fights like in this arc, they should at least be interesting in some way. As I said, this chapter contributes nothing to the story. It does not add on to the plot in any way, shape or form, and we learn nothing new from it. We could easily just have a few panels where the New Fishman Pirates lay defeated on the ground, and we could all easily infer what happened. Save the flashy moves for more exciting battles, I say.
I do agree that we didn't need grave fights where the battle could go either way, nor did we need each of the Strawhats fighting an opponent that seemed impossible to defeat. Of course, difficult fights are not the only way to make interesting fight. When I saw Zeo pull out the chains, I was expecting some interesting tactics. I thought it might initially pose a problem to Brooke, but he would find a way around it, which would display his skill and ingenuity in a fight, and at the same time it would clearly show that he was a completely better fighter than Zeo.
And all of this about how we need to see that they made progress is nonsense. They trained for two years. We've already seen them defeat seemingly daunting opponents. We do not need any further information to tell us they got stronger.
I would agree. When people say defeating the Fishmen shows the SH's progress, what does that really mean? When Luffy destroyed that Pacifista in one shot, that was a clear showing of progress because we clearly had something to compare it to. Aside from Hody, when the SHs defeat the NFP, we still don't have a real understanding of their strengths because we don't know how the NFP compare to other opponents. Of course, we know that the SHs are stronger, but it is difficult to measure their progress purely on flashier attacks.
Lastly, I didn't mind the flashy attacks during the lackluster fights because it felt more like a reward, as long as those aren't their most powerful attacks. I've been waiting so long to see the Strawhats have their time in the spotlight that it was nice to see a chapter where most of the SHs were given their cool moments, which made up for all that time we didn't get to see them.