Well, this was quite the episode. This marks the return of animation director Masahiro Shimanuki. Ichikawa manages to correct a lot of the closeups, but his animation (especially his effects) are found all over the episode. Komaki's directing and board is as always superb, which makes a lot of the (arguably very limited) animation seem more dynamic than it really is. The faces of Ceasar in this episode when he's being pulled by Katakuri perfectly illustrates Komaki's unrivaled ability to convey emotion. Absolutely phenomenal.
I do however feel like Komaki's board was a tad too ambitiuous for the animators involved to execute properly given the time available to them (Which was probably affected by the SP / Golden Week holidays). A lot of the mouths didn't move during dialogue scenes, and whether that was by design or due to limitations, it came off as a tad distracting and weird.
This episode marks Naotoshi Shida's return to the One Piece's TV Anime after his longest absence from the series since he first debued all the way back in Episode 304, and holy hell did he return with a bang. This is his longest scene on the show to date, topping out at around 4 minutes of length earning him the spot as Top Credited Key Animator for the episode (Which has only happened like once before?). He started tweeting about the scene back in March, which means he's been working on it for over 2 months. He has stated in the past that he wouldn't be fit as a Supervisor due to his slow speed, but that kind of scene in 2 months is actually quite remarkable. This scene was so heavy and long that Tu Yong-ce, a newcomer to OP who you'll probably know for some striking shots of Bege in 832 and Mother Caramel in 837, had to step in as a 2nd Key Animator to finish up some of Shida's rough output (See some of the closeups of Judge).
Hisada kicks off the second half with some of the most interesting output we've seen from him in a long time; it's far from the kind of work he put out in his heyday back on Z, but with the help of his wife's storyboard it's elevated to new heights. Ichikawa taking over the role as Chief AD for the Whole Cake Island arc has been so liberating for Hisada, and despite Oda's hefty amount of characters he's been able to put out a lot of great work.
Overall, as this episode covers 4/5ths of an already quite lean Chapter, the pacing does suffer here and there, but Komaki did the best in her ability to make it work.
Shida this episode be like:
Next week looks like Shingaki with Tomita possibly doing some Bege stuff. Not quite sure though.