At this phase of the show, with Impel Down fully done and behind us and now a few episodes that have given us a look at where the rest of the crew is at, we're moving to that dangerous close period where more obvious filler material may enter the fold. In a way, I'm surprised that the other members of the Straw Hats didn't get shuffled off to deal with adventures of their own for several episode arcs each as that would legitimately give them some breathing space for new manga chapters. Having them double up for a few episodes to tell half-length stories about what they've been up to felt like they were just trying to cram a little bit in before moving on to the next big thing. A little nod to remind us all that these characters exist and are pursuing their own journeys.
Since they're still not entirely ready to move on with that next big thing yet, we get a special retrospective episode and you can practically groan just from the title alone. While it gets bookended with a bit of new material as we see Luffy being asked about his brother a little bit, the bulk of the episode is all recap material going back to the early days. We see Luffy and Ace as children running around and then their reunion in Alabasta where Ace gives him some paper that will allow him to call to him at any point. On the flip side, we also get some material that highlights Blackbeard himself and how he fits into everything.
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