I am normally more likely to defend the anime and its use of flashbacks, but yeesh I could barely sit through 807. I think there were two flashbacks that I liked: the one at the beginning, and the quick rush of them that Sanji had before he kicked Luffy. The first one I appreciated because it's been forever since I read Baratie (sans None Piece Episode 9) and it was a good usage of those particular scenes. And the rush Sanji had before he attacked Luffy, THAT I felt perfectly encapsulated his emotions during that time. A lot of people didn't really seem to understand him attacking Luffy when this scene first happened, and that scene portrayed his struggle superbly. But showing basically every flashback we've seen in Whole Cake Island, a so far 25 episode arc, on top of that? Fuck that shit, man. What made it worse is that it hampered Sanji's memory rush since so many of the things that came to him we had just seen minutes before, to significantly decreased emotional effect.
The fight itself? Yeah, I dug it. Stuff had power, new music was on point, the emotion got rawer and rawer as we got closer to the end. But the problem was that I wanted it to end before it began thanks to all those flashbacks. It could have been much more satisfying than it actually was. In an interview when the arc began the anime team talked about how the Luffy-Sanji fight was the thing they wanted to be their magnum opus, at least in the near future, but this whole special thing really hindered that from happening. It shouldn't have been a special, just a very hyped episode. If the flashbacks except Sanji's memory rush were removed and this was an actual episode, I'd probably think it was just as great as the last one. Save the special for like…Luffy vs. Kaido, or something.
Yeah that one was one of the only two shots of her in the whole thing. Whereas Germa got like, what? 3 or 4? And actually animated.
You can focus on the wedding (which is where the focus SHOULD be, perhaps more so than this Luffy vs Sanji thing) without wandering into spoilers. In terms of visuals, this opening needed to be more like the Impel Down one: fantastical/dream-like, but also dark and foreboding.
Are you talking about Share the World or Kaze wo Sagashite? Because Share the World pulled double duty for two arcs while Kaze wo Sagashite is probably the worst opening ever, with its tone completely conflicting with both the visuals and the tone of the arc it was covering. I'm not sure how this opening doesn't have visuals that do both - you have bright and happy visuals with the Straw Hats, plus their WCI allies getting chances to shine, while you have dark and foreboding visuals with Sanji's struggle, Luffy and Sanji's confrontation, and the Big Mom Pirates visuals.
I don't really count the Vinsmokes as having more screentime than the Big Mom Pirates, since it focused on each one at a time, and each Vinsmoke's cameo lasted a couple seconds while the Big Mom Pirates' visuals lasted longer. Also, think of it this way: so far in the arc, the Vinsmokes have been the more immediate physical threats, with their superhuman genetic abilities getting focus. Meanwhile, other than Cracker, the Big Mom Pirates have been these looming threats in the background. It also sets up well for when
! The Vinsmokes join the Straw Hats' side and flash off their attacks against the evil forces. The Big Mom Pirates don't turn on their full attack mode until much later on in the arc, so until then, the difference in portrayal here makes a lot of sense.
! Could you give some ideas for wedding things to show in the opening besides the ones already there? Any further exposure and you'd be likely to find out about the Straw Hats' alliance with Bege, the plot to assassinate the Vinsmokes, Big Mom's craving, abilities best left for the future, all that stuff that wouldn't really make a whole lot of sense to an anime watcher. The relationship between Luffy and Sanji and the Straw Hats' struggle in Whole Cake Island overall are very relevant to the theme of the arc, and there's no need to overshadow them just because the wedding is fresh in our minds and we want hype for that more. "Hard Knock Days" didn't put a significant amount of focus into the climax of Dressrosa, but it still captured the atmosphere of that part of the arc. This opening had all the major pieces of this arc including the Straw Hats, their allies, their enemies, the Firetank Pirates, a few things to hype up the wedding, and most importantly Sanji, the main focus of this arc. This opening is relevant now and it will still be relevant during the climax of the arc because it knows how to balance things.