Surprisingly enough, I enjoyed this episode.
he animation really isn't at all noteworthy this episode, and while a lot of scenes are really polished, it seems that they had trouble handle the scenes between Luffy and Katakuri in terms of art, presumably due to Katakuri being a hard character to draw, and animators not being used to it. Either way, although there was a nice tid bit of character acting by Takumi Yamamoto, the episode on a whole was very limited(which even the director commented on, describing the episode as "super static" in contrast to 870). Hell, even Shida made a contribution this episode, but for the life of me, I can't tell what he did.
Speaking of the director, I think that's really where the episode most shines through. I felt, while not perfect, the direction did a good job of capturing the very much calm after the storm feeling that was really necessary for the Luffy vs Katakuri fight this episode, and while I think it wasn't perfect, I think Nakashima did a proficient job of capturing the essence of what that scene was about. The emotional moment with Pudding and Sanji was really well captured I felt, and the episode I felt does a good job of leading into what will hopefully be a more animated and action packed next episode.
Overall, a proficient episode that had strong enough direction to carry the story beats( I particularly liked the feeling of ominousness captured in the aftermath of the clash between Luffy and Katakuri, with the clock ticking in the background as it went to the half episode break), however, not particularly animated, and was even rough around the edges at points.Next episode looks like it'll be exciting. Pekoms transformation and flashback in the preview look surprisingly animated, presumably by Masahiro Kitazaki as animation director.