Alright, One Piece fans, it's finally back! Yes, after a month of suffering under the burden of filler episodes that went on way too long, we're back to the meat of One Piece's story. Luffy and Boa Hancock have arrived at the marine prison where Ace is held, and soon, all hell will break loose!
The latest episode, "A Deadly Infiltration! The Underwater Prison Impel Down!" sets the stage for what promises to be a spectacular story arc full of tight suspense and blazing-fast action as Luffy races against time to spare his brother Ace from the executioner's axe. All of the pieces are in place - from Garp's sorrowful conversation with his wayward grandson Ace sets the tone of the story arc, while Boa's constant attempts to thwart the heavy security of Impel Down keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try and see just when the break-in attempt will go bad and turn into an all-out brawl.
On top of the return to the main storyline rather than flitting from subplot to subplot, it was nice to see some actual character development for the first time in a while. Ace's conversation with Garp about fathers provided a lot of insight into who Ace is, and for once the Boa Hancock and Luffy sequences were not as interesting as the rest of the episode. The tension was still strong and I spent a lot of time spotting the cracks in Luffy's too-simple plan to free Ace, but the real fun of the story is going to be when Luffy has to descend through the levels of Impel Down by force instead of trickery, making unlikely allies and kicking some serious ass.
That's what we're going to get starting next week, and man is it going to be awesome! It's time to fall in love with One Piece all over again!