One Piece episode 1052 was mostly just fine, though it was one of those weeks where I found myself a bit worn out by the events rather than hyped.
This is at least in part because we are still coming off a few very strong weeks in terms of what’s been on offer. With 1052 we are back to the status quo which is still very high quality, but less than the literal apex of weekly animation. Which I completely understand; we can’t expect the animation team to be firing on all cylinders 100% of the time.
But I think this episode is also lacking in terms of actual progress in the story. In theory, we get more of two key fights: Zoro versus King and Sanji versus Queen. In practice, not much happens in either struggle. There are a few more hints at what is to come with Sanji, and Zoro gets angry after being knocked around, but it’s sort of perfunctory stuff. It does not feel like these scenes are naturally following from earlier in the fight so much as it feels like these are scenes that could be happening nearly anywhere between the start and end of hostilities.
Part of that has to do with my primary ongoing gripe with Wano: the interior of Onigashima. Almost without fail, the fights that take place within the actual tower of Onigashima seem to drag on to infinity. I don’t know if it’s the limitations of the setting or what, but once a fight starts taking place inside the tower it just seems to lose any sense of place, time, or meaning to me. I don’t know why this is – ostensibly the roof of Onigashima is a blasted empty landscape, but any of the conflicts happening up there seem to really pop. Something about the Onigashima interior fights makes my eyes start to glaze over.
If nothing else, some of the exchanges between Zoro and King were well done this week and there’s the hope that next week bears more exciting fruit.