While I initially had some concerns with how the flip side of the Impel Down storyline would play out since it could be just as long and potentially feel like it's repeating itself, so far it's turning out pretty good. The idea that they can't sneak around anymore and have to work harder to get back up to the top works well, but it could easily get bogged down. So what it needed to do is shift from the stealth and long arcs within the arc to more up front and open encounters. That's practically a given though when you see that dozens and dozens and dozens of prisoners are being let out of their cells to cause trouble while Luffy and his new group do their level best to... level up.
There are a number of big set pieces in this as the action really goes along. Buggy and Mister 3 gain a lot of new admirers when they provide wax keys to open most of the cells and that leads to riots on other levels as everything approaches a perfect storm. There's a lightness and humor to much of it as it plays out and we get a few amusing moments, such as when Mister 1 shows up and Luffy can't really care because he didn't fight him back in the Alabasta arc. Where the show changes pace a bit is after we see some material with Ace on the Navy ship as it heads to Headquarters. Ace gets little love here outside of some mild lecturing about events but it talks up the point about the pirates and the Navy and the collaboration between the two.
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