Hello everyone, and welcome to Why It Works. How are you all enjoying Wano at the moment? I know the arc’s gotten a little long in the tooth at this point, but after years of buildup, we’re finally in full payoff mode. Every domino in Oda’s possession has been lined up, and as Onigashima continues, each will fall with thunderous drama and glorious animation. The known course of the manga assures us that this will be a dynamite year for anime fans, as the next 12 months or so are likely to be battle after battle, interspersed solely with board-arranging episodes setting up the next battle.
So what spectacles await us in the coming year? There’s frankly too many of them to count, but I certainly know what scenes I’m awaiting with fast-dwindling patience. Before I begin, let me emphasize that manga spoilers await for all who continue. Without further ado, let’s highlight some of the top manga moments that’ll be brought to glorious life over this coming year!
I’m not sure what contortions of plotting Oda concocted in order to line up the one-thousandth chapter with the grand Kaido collision, but the results speak for themselves. The last time Luffy, Law, and Kidd all fought together, their battle offered us one of the greatest animation sequences in One Piece history. And that was the three of them versus a friggin’ boat — just imagine what forces Toei will marshal for their actual faceoff with Kaido, a full chapter’s worth of desperate back and forth. Wano seems to have made a policy of outdoing itself every dozen episodes or so, with even minor moments like Onigashima’s festival opening turning into grand spectacles. It’s hard to imagine what this team will do with Wano’s most hyped moment as Luffy and his companions take the world stage at last.
Robin’s Battle With Black Maria
In a way, it actually speaks to Oda’s skill as a storyteller that Robin almost never ends up fighting major battles. Her strengths lie in other directions than the strictly physical, and Oda is a good enough writer to always find appropriate challenges for his group’s scholars, snipers, and various other non-combatants. On the other hand, the heart wants what it wants, and right now the heart wants to see Robin perform a Boston Crab on a towering spider woman. The last time Robin squared up to take down one strong enemy was Skypiea, and everyone needs to get some stress out through battle once in a while. And considering Robin’s popularity within the community, I’m guessing Toei’s crew are just as eager as we are to see the Straw Hats’ archeologist take center stage.
Luffy And Kaido Crack The Sky
Wano has served as a substantial visual upgrade for the One Piece anime in all sorts of ways, and there’s no place that’s clearer than in its luscious effects animation. Billowing clouds, fiery explosions, blinding energy beams — all of the debris and accouterments of battle are now captured in glorious detail, with the telltale red lightning of Conqueror’s Haki receiving the greatest makeover of all. In just a few short episodes, Luffy and Kaido’s collision of energy will literally part the clouds, a moment that Toei is sure to seize on as the fulfillment of Wano’s stylistic identity. After a full arc that has demonstrated how even One Piece’s incidental moments can be elevated through fluid effects animation, I’m eager to see the moment that essentially turns Luffy and Kaido’s strength into a battle of the elements.
“That’s How Dinosaurs Work!”
I’ve mostly focused on action sequences so far, which is understandable, given we’re in the midst of a deadly raid and whatnot. But even One Piece’s most high-octane moments still save time for comedy and Onigashima’s running joke of choice is a real winner. The Tobi Roppo and Headliners’ interpretation of dinosaur hunting techniques are as creative as they are ridiculous, from the brachiosaurus that launches its own neck like a snake-torpedo to the notorious triceracopter. How could I not be excited about seeing Oda’s greatest stupid idea realized in motion?
The Dragon Bagua Bash
The One Piece anime has a tendency to embellish those manga moments that are built on a lot of history, including full flashbacks where the manga might just recall a panel or two. This can feel tiresome when you’re eager to get to the next event, but also means that the anime is able to luxuriate in dramatic peaks that the manga might breeze past and draw out the full impact of the moment. This has happened consistently and with purpose throughout Wano, leaving me certain that the moment where Luffy, Yamato, and Momonosuke all join forces against Kaido will receive similar embellishment. That moment is more than a powerful clash of wills — it is the embodiment of a new global alliance rising up against the old order and the moment where Momonosuke takes his role as Wano’s new leader in his own hands. I cheered for that moment in the manga, but I’m already prepped to roar for it in animation, I can’t wait for it to arrive.
That about covers my top highly awaited moments, but Onigashima is so stacked with twists and battles that I’m sure your own picks are quite different. I hope you’re looking forward to this year in One Piece as much as I am. Please let me know what you’re all looking forward to in the comments!
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