Much of the battle to date has been a lot of fun, but the real
higher-ups have all been standing on the sidelines watching events play
out with only a little real interaction. With the play made by the Navy
men to use Squard to take out Whitebeard having been made, and failed,
Whitebeard is ready to get directly into things since his honor as a
father to all his men has been called into question. His arrival on the
field proper is certainly cause for concern for all since he's the
world's strongest as they say, but it's all likely part of a larger trap
playing out as the Marineford Navy men see it as an opportunity to
finish off certain longstanding issues.
Interestingly, they do give a bit of time to Squard again as he realizes how he's been used and the shame he feels over it, which plays into his being told to knock it off and make it up by getting back into things on the right side. There's also a bit of quiet to the episode in this phase as the pirates get closer to the Navy side again which feels a little unsettling. There are things happening, but it's truly all the calm before the storm when Whitebeard gets hands on with the Navy big boys, literally, and the combination of his attack style and either the low key but dangerous music or the outright quiet makes it intense. Whitebeard is the kind of character that will definitely change up a fight when he gets involved, but even his hands on moment is but a small thing in light of what's in store for everyone next.
The scale of the fight changes significantly here and everyone is put at risk, which is not a surprise considering how the Navy upper command works and thinks about its own men. Whitebeard's power is shown here why it's legendary and even Luffy is surprised by it, though he does call into question Whitebeard's concern for his own men. What's welcome in this instance is that while it does move us closer physically to where Ace is, and puts the admirals in a position to get their own hands dirty, Luffy is back in play again as he's even closer and more desperate to get to Ace than before. The Navy though always has one more trick up its sleeve, which is almost unfortunate in this case because it does come across as a delaying tactic in the storyline more than anything else. It's threatening to be sure, but it comes at a time when things need to get more serious and this just slows it down as the momentum picks up again.
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