Every time things seem like they've hit a peak point in how it can go,
the battle takes things one step further. The encircling of the pirates
in the bay with the massive walls, coming at the same time as all
visuals are cut off to the outside world where the revelation was made
about the deal between Whitebeard and the Navy, only adds to how much of
a powder keg everything is. The ending to the previous episode was
quite well done, particularly in showing Oars' sacrifice has a lasting
impact even into the next round of the fight. The look on Ace's face as
the realization of why the wall didn't rise completely was very
What it all leads into is, after a bit of chit chat on the outside world about what's going on, is a strong turning of the tide of the battle. Akainu's ability to generate the lava balls of fire has him throwing it down hard within the bay, creating massive amounts of steam, thawing the ice quickly and generally making a huge amount of chaos and destruction. The tension that it creates is palpable, especially when you have the Kuma-army standing along one side and the walls with cannons ringing around everyone. The fight has had some good crests since it began with powerful moments every few episodes, but with this move, everything gets raised even higher and it all flows well and makes sense. It's an edge of your seat move that has you glued to the screen to see how it will go next.
One of the big draws to this arc, outside of the action that continues to escalate, is the way it highlights the bonds of these pirates so well. So many have them have put their lives on the line to rescue one person and they do it with so much emotion and intensity at times. While they do try to do it logically, sometimes they get forced into bad situations where they can only just push forward into a slaughter. Yet their need to rescue Ace, even as ships they've sailed on for years are sunk around them, is overpowering and they do it without a real second thought. As difficult as it is for Ace to watch all of this, it's powerfully humbling to him as well especially as he knows he would do the same for any of them in a similar situation. While he wants them to stop, he knows they won't. And in the midst of all of this, seeing Luffy taking it even more personally only adds to the emotions of the arc.