Runtime: 42 Minutes
Time for One Piece to go “jidaigeki” and rock the 19th centhury japanese setting way before the Land Of Wa arc, but – as the opening narrator smugly and humurously remind us – this special takes place in Jipangu, which may look like some country of some time ago, but let’s not be pedantic, it’s just a cartoon after all.
You should really just relax.
In this case it’s not a chanbara styled special, but more in the vein of Ranpo Edogawa’s period detective stories, with the One Piece characters (included many old faces from the early arcs) playing the role of civilians, tax collectors, carpenters and so on, while Luffy is the purposely unfitting secret policeman-detective of the city, and mantains order with his fists and jitte, aided by ninja Usop and perpentually indebted to Nami and Sanji’s restaurant.
Obviously all played for laughs, so of course we have Buggy and his crew as a band of roaming kabukimen thugs trying to steal money, kidnap people and routinely being thwarted by the Straw Hats, including Zoro as the wandering monk skilled with a sword, whom can hear people gloating about being the “very best” miles away and get annoyed, but not enough to intervene.
The special is made of 2 stories with continuity, and to be honest it’s a genuinely pretty funny special, it’s very well animated and produced, and it’s definitely the more entertaining and interesting offering so far from the TV specials side, so it’s no surprise that eventually this actually spanned other 5 special episodes set in ol’ timey Japangu, instead of being the usual case of a “one and done” deal.
We will eventually get to those as well, not this year though.