One Piece 1091 is a steady rolling mystery and exploration of a new island’s wonders that mostly does its job in enticing the audience to want to know more.
This is a pretty common phase of the crew arriving at a new island. There are some strange beasties at sea and odd weather events, the crew meets new people, then they get to the island and discover whatever unique rules govern life there. In this particular instance, the theme is the wondrous potential of technology and the ability to create things that should not be. There are holograms of food, strange cityscapes with futuristic architecture, and air conditioning that makes the climate tropical while the surrounding ocean is completely frozen.
It isn’t a novel concept in and of itself. As far as futuristic settings go, this is a classic retro-future ideal. Tall towers with big domes, holograms, and food-creation machines. It’s bright and colorful and noisy and nonsensical but it works, especially within the context of One Piece. It fits in the broader oeuvre of One Piece as a place full of cartoonish islands and over-the-top climatological events.
The Vegapunk reveals are a big deal although the impact is lessened here somewhat. After discovering that Lilith is just one of many Vegapunks, the final reveal that Atlas is also a Vegapunk is… somewhat less shocking.
Much of the antics of the episode are fun initially but get a bit overused. The bit with Luffy, Bonney, and Chōpper diving into food is charming enough once, but having the sequence play again is a touch tiresome. The crew flailing about Lilith is moderately funny – Franky’s focus on the robot is the best bit – but it does allow for Robin and Zoro to show off their deadliness and focus even in these silly moments, so that’s nice. Animation is also fine, though the shots of Lilith backlit by the robot cockpit are vibrant and fun. Jarring to have that quality juxtaposed with the Straw Hats opposite in less detail.
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One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.