Great episode. Plenty to say this week.
In terms of bad, yeah I make that joke every other week that the episode preview for the following week contains the content I thought the current episode would cover. Definitely surprised that they managed to slow it down so much this week—and so successfully. Totally agree with MythicalDragon above that slowing down that Yasuie stuff has really helped make it matter more. I didn’t care about him much in the manga, and I feel myself caring slightly more for him now, no doubt to some of these slow scenes. That said, I really want to see the filler scene that clues us in to how Usopp is now riding a bear. Also, couldn’t help but laugh at how we zoomed into Otoko’s nose for the final shot. Another negative, for me personally, was the use of CGI on the houses, cherry blossom petals, and I think even a character model or two.
On to the good. The direction and storyboard both excelled this episode. One shot that stuck out to me as particularly good was where we see an empty alleyway that fills up as the ebisu town residents flood it to save yasui. Plenty of other gorgeous shots in this episode, including the pink tinting on Yasuie and more shading than usual on characters. There’s a scene where a grunt comes in to address Hawkins, and there’s some really beautiful lighting effects on that grunt; this episode definitely played with lighting more than usual. Even the scoring choices were appropriate, though I must admit to being a little tired of most OP BGM, which begins to make the show feel same-y even when the plot continues to shift and defy repetition.
One thing that caught me by surprise that no one has mentioned yet is Oden’s voice. Can’t remember if they gave us a preview of this before, but this episode gave us a large sample of it. Way, way different from what I was expecting, but that’s probably for the best. This voice is distinctive, which is one of my primary criteria for whether a voice succeeds. I kind of had a more typical, deeper voice in my head. But I’m glad they went with something different. It does kind of sound like the actor is holding his nose as he speaks though.