Director: Gou Koga
Writer: Hirohiko Kamisaka
Runtime: 106 minutes
Fittingly following from the post-credits scene of the 3D2Y special, the following year we got a TV special about Sabo…. an abridged recap-remake of his story arcs, that is.
And while the title this time is less spoilerific, i feel it’s fair to warn you that, yes, we’re yet again going into BIG ASS GYNORMIC SPOILERS territory, i might be wrong but i believe newer fans might yet not be as aware of Sabo’s childhood and his involvement in the Dressrosa arc, definitely not as Ace’s fate, and since the two characters backstories are so intimately connected in a way that’s hard or downright impossible to talk about without revealing some important detail or event for the overarching story.
So i’m gonna say it again, SPOILERS WARNING.
Still, it’s another one of THOSE TV specials, just them remaking specific pieces of stories related to the character the special is dedicated to (in this case Sabo’s childhood, him becoming sworn brother of Ace and Luffy, his lineage and his wish to carry on Ace’s legacy), cutting some stuff out for time in order to package it all under the 2 hour mark and broadcast it on TV.
That kind of special that serves its purpose, even if it’s a limited one.
At the end of the day, this special is just Sabo reminiscing about the good and bad times he had with his sworn brothers. With many non-canonical differences here and there. And why not, since the animation staff has to redo it all from scratch, so might as well changes some details around.
I have to say that i won’t compare the special to the TV episodes that also adapt the same material, as in i simply can’t. I simply stopped caring to follow the anime series for many years after a certain point , due to the filler and the fact i simply preferred catching up directly by reading the manga, and only with the Land Of Wa arc i resumed to watch episodes, but occasionaly so, and at random.
So i will simply judge the animation and the quality of the drawings as is… yes, pretty good quality, i know i keep saying this, but i will not randomly and unfairly criticize it just for the sake of saying something different. Once again, Toei delivers with the technical quality, even if the specials themselves are there just to have more One Piece material to show, at the end of the day.
I was a bit thrown off by how some parts of the flashback are given a grey scale tone (obviously because it’s a memory), because it almost felt like they reused already existing footage from TV series.. at first, but it just doesn’t feel like a repackaging, i don’t have the time to go through each of the many episodes this recaps to 100 % confirm this, but it would be odd for Toei to start doing this now of all specials. And again, this doesn’t feel like recut TV anime footage anyway.
So, if you’re a One Piece longtime fan and feel like crying a river again….
And reliving less classics moments, like Bartolomeo pissing in the middle of the Coliseum arena, in front of thousand of people. Or the usually forgotten fact that One Piece has also dwarves-gnomes in it, which is still odd to say, even in a world with fishmen, angel people, and giants, among others.
Joking aside, having the fights from that part of the story animated better and with more polished art is a nice treat, it comes at the usual expense of details of these specials, one that balances well the emotional moments and the action. Shame some of the cuts are abrupt, even for a recap special.
Like, they don’t even (re)introduce or estabilish Bellamy, but suddendly he’s there in the following scenes, and i can tell it’s him only by his distinctive tattoo, they don’t even show his face. He’s not really relevant or important for the sake of the special’s, but come on, why even have him then?