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Sunday, June 21, 2015

One Piece Reaches 600 Non-filler Eps:

600 Episodes.  The longest good anime series in the world is also the best, and not by coincidence.  The additional length allows One Piece to tell many stories and feature many different characters, more than anyone else can hope to do within a single setting.

But is 600 getting to be too much of a good thing?  I'm feeling Dressrosa fatigue.  In fact, I'm feeling One Piece fatigue in general.  There are good things in the Punk Hazard and Dressrosa arcs, but they're just so darn long, and they aren't nearly as good as the genuinely moving arcs that came before them, Saboady Archipelago, Water 7, Arlong Park, Arabasta, Drum Island. . .  We're getting further and further away from what made One Piece great.

How long has it been since the whole crew was together in one place and interacting with each other?  It feels like years.  The moment they reunited at Saboady Archipelago, it feels like they were just divided up again.  How long has it been since we gained a new crew member and had a moving flashback sequence about their past?  Five years?  I don't even remember anymore.

How many years have we been stuck fighting Don Flamingo?  Two?  Three?  It feels endless.  Length is nice and all, but without content it's just like eating endless rows of nigh-zero calorie cabbages.  Just one tiny block of cheese could replace an entire field of these fluffy episodes.  Why bother being so long-winded if you have nothing in the end to say?

There have been other weak arcs in One Piece, which were subsequently followed by great arcs -- Water 7 followed after Skypeia.  Saboady Archipelago followed after Thriller Bark.  So it's perfectly reasonable to hold out hope that the next arc of One Piece will be much better than the current one, and all my fatigue and pessimism will be blown away again.  But then again, how likely is that?  Trafalgar Law scripted out in advance what all the future adventures of Luffy will be at Punk Hazard.  First they'll take down Kaidou, then Big Mom, then Blackbeard and finally Shanks.  If you consider each of these pirate emperors to be at least as strong as Don Flamingo was, then you're looking at the next ten years or so of One Piece just being pure constant battles.  Does anyone really want to sit through that?  And how on Earth could he make a good story out of such a tortuously long and endless fight with people we don't know or care about in the least?  Unless he completely throws out the script he's currently been foreshadowing and does something entirely different, something that doesn't rely mainly on fighting, I can't see One Piece ever reclaiming the magic that existed in its early days.

Either Eiichiro Oda has to surprise me or his story is going to sink into irrelevance.  He has to change his formula, drastically, from the last two arcs.  I don't want most of the crew to be missing for most of the story.  I don't want fights to drag out between people we mostly don't even know fighting each other for their own, non-crew related reasons.  I don't want situations to emerge that have nothing to do with the crew, which the crew reacts to in the same tried and true ways as they always have, and then emerge from on the other side completely unchanged, as though the events had never happened at all.  At this point, even if the story is properly being written by the author, it's still filler because it's no longer storytelling but just endless repetitive boring junk.  No different from a Ranma 1/2 chapter where they have to seal a cursed demon or break a cursed magic item, never heard of before or after the chapter comes and goes.

I want One Piece to end.  Not right away, but I want it to start delivering on its foreshadowing and start wrapping things up.  It's gone on long enough.  It's bloated enough with useless arcs as is.  Tell us the lost history.  Tell us what the One Piece really is.  Resolve the conflict between the revolutionary army and the Marines.  Settle the score with Blackbeard.  If more crew members are going to join, now's the time, not later.  Is Junbei in or out?  What about the Noah ship that's supposedly meant for some future grand destiny?  What about Poseidon, Pluton, and Uranus?  Was Crocodile originally a woman changed into a man by that hormone hormone guy like he hinted?  If so, give us a clear answer and stop beating around the bush.  There's a lot of stuff One Piece needs to do, and the last thing on that list is 'start random fights with random powerful people that last over a year each of continuous unending battle.'

I have One Piece battle fatigue.  Please let the fighting stop already.  Give us plot instead.  Give us movement.  Change.  Progress.  Character development.  A love story.  Anything but more fighting.

Pretty Cure, the next longest good anime, (in truth longer than One Piece in terms of air time, though not episode count), is approaching 600 episodes and will surpass that level soon enough too.  Sure enough, I have Pretty Cure fatigue too.  I have seen nothing new from Princess Pretty Cure.  Nothing.  Not even a single line stands out from all the previous seasons.  It's like they just took various ideas from previous seasons and mashed them together, recycled dialogue from all the various seasons where appropriate, and called it a day.  This season might even be worse than Happiness Charge, which I didn't even think possible.  That makes two years in a row where Pretty Cure has been a complete failure.  Good Pretty Cure seasons have followed after bad previously -- Suite Pretty Cure came after Heartcatch -- but never has Pretty Cure been so bad for so long before.  If they can't come up with any new ideas, then just quit already.  Quit churning subpar episodes out and just give your legacy a rest.  Pretty Cure will never be forgotten for its wonderful years in the past, there's no need to keep trying when there's literally nothing left to say or do that you haven't said and done already before.  I tremble at the thought of having to not only watch another ten years of Princess Pretty Cure level content, but rewatch it all as well.  Give me a break here. . .

Meanwhile, I finished Sachi's route in Grisaia no Kajitsu.  Sachi's route is curious.  When Sachi is interacting with her parents, it's one of the best stories ever told.  But when she's interacting with Yuuji, it's the most boring tripe imaginable.  I'm not sure that's what the producers were going for there. . .but in the end it did average out and I'm glad I read the arc, since it was almost entirely excluded from the anime.  Just Yumiko left, but she looks to be (obviously why I saved her for last) the worst and most boring route of all.  Sigh.  Just like all those additional Index New Testament light novels waiting for me, this is going to be a long, hard slog.

Meanwhile, a lot of annoying cliffhangers have been lifted from my shoulders.  Fate's climax resolved magnificently and on a great high note.  USA women's team advanced to the 2nd round (and China put away the last African team, striking another victory for Asian supremacy and African inferiority, which has never won a women's world cup match in the knockout round, so much for black athleticism.)  Luffy finally finished off Don Flamingo in the manga.  Goku finished off Buu once and for all in Dragon Ball Kai.  Jotaro finished off Dio in Stardust Crusaders.  Following so many stories and having them all be on cliffhangers at once was a little too much, but thankfully the confluence has passed and I can begin to relax again.  I would never wish that many cliffhangers on anyone.

Meanwhile, WoW's 6.2 patch comes out in just two days.  Hopefully it will liven and freshen things up a bit so there's a reason to play again.

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