Director: Katsumi Tokoro
Writer: Hirohiko Kamisaka
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Like with the One Piece movies, eventually Toei went for the “lazy” route and decided to occasionaly not even bother writing some new material for these TV specials.
This is not to rag on the Toei animators, writers and such, but i’m sorry, these “recap movies/specials” are lazy from a creative standpoint, they are, and it’s not like they serve much purpose as seeing the same scenes and parts of the story you already saw done with a slightly better animation and production values, all repackaged in an abridged fashion running over 90 minutes.
Like the title for the special implies, this is a recap of the Arlong Park story arc, starting with her first appaerance in the fight against Buggy, a VERY abridged overview of the event of the arc following that, leading to Nami stealing the Going Merry to go back to her village, and ending up with her properly joining the crew after Luffy defeats Arlong. With a post-time skip bit as Nami and the others are about to enter Fishman Island.
Fittingly, this special was aired as the end of that very arc, and – as fans of the series already know – the Arlong Arc’s fallout would bear fruit in the Fishman Island one.
I mean, if you wanted to see a more “shiny” and polished version of those events, with admittely better production value, even if not exactly movie quality…with some very good animated fight sequences as exceptions, the special serves that purpose, even if it’s a bit weird because we already saw these events animated before in a style that’s fairly distinct from the one One Piece had in 2012.
I really don’t know what else to say, if anything this arc is still very good, arguably where One Piece properly went into gear and made people fall in love with the series, and the special is what it says on the tin, it’s well done but it’s not “needed”, just for hardcore One Piece fans that have or want to truly see every piece of visual media the series has spawned, or want to revisit the arc.