Get hyped again, ONE PIECE fans! This past Saturday, we received a new opening animation sequence in episode 826. The episode itself had some great moments, like Sanji and Luffy finally reuniting; however, fans aren’t talking about that heartfelt moment. They’re talking about Katakuri, a soon-to-be major antagonist in the franchise’s most recent story arc.

I can’t blame anyone for not watching 826 episodes of a show, so here’s a quick summary of one of the world’s top-selling mangas. Gol D. Roger was known as the pirate king, the strongest and most infamous pirate to sail the seas. The world government finally captured and executed him, but his last words sent the world into a frenzy. He stated that anyone who can find his treasure, known as the One Piece, can claim it as their own. The owner of the treasure also gets the lucrative title, “King of the Pirates.”

Luffy shatters a mirror before charging at Katakuri!
Luffy shatters a mirror before charging at Katakuri! | Image: Crunchyroll

Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year old who doesn’t fit the stereotype of a pirate. Luffy doesn’t plunder villages or rob the innocent of their money. He simply wants to see the wonders of the world, meet new people, and become the pirate king. His dream has taken him on some crazy adventures, and he’s made life-long friends in the process. He is currently trying to rescue his crew’s cook Sanji in the most recent story arc, Whole Cake Island.

POP TEAM EPIC OP Tears Up the Charts!

Playing Catch-Up

ONE PIECE is a constant struggle of playing catch-up. The series is incredibly long. Many people drop it because they can’t invest so much time into just one show. It’s a shame though, because Eiichiro Oda, the creator of ONE PIECE, foreshadows tons of exciting events in the future. For example, Lola was a relatively minor character in the Thriller Bark story arc, which aired in 2008. Towards the end of the arc, Lola gave Nami a vivre card. These pieces of paper move in the direction of the card’s owner. It’s basically an easy way to track someone down in the huge ONE PIECE universe. Lola said the vivre card belongs to her mom, who is a powerful pirate. Ten years later, Oda reveals the card belongs to Big Mom, one of the world’s four strongest pirates. She also happens to be the mother of Katakuri, the featured antagonist.

Charlotte Katakuri, as he appears in the ONE PIECE anime
Charlotte Katakuri, as he appears in the ONE PIECE anime | Image: TheAnimeScrolls

If you’ve managed to stay up to date on ONE PIECE, you’ve likely been enjoying the Whole Cake Island story arc. For those unfamiliar with the series or those who dropped it previously, Sanji has been coerced into abandoning the Straw Hat crew. Sanji’s father is forcing him to marry Pudding, one of Big Mom’s daughters. Luffy and his crew throw caution to the wind and charge into Big Mom’s territory, known as Whole Cake Island, headfirst to rescue their friend.

A Series-Changing Teaser for ONE PIECE!

The Whole Cake Island arc has been a slow-burner for sure. Despite this, ONE PIECE has had a few hits among all the misses. Luffy’s fight with Cracker, one of Big Mom’s 3 generals, was really entertaining. Katakuri’s introduction represents more than just a new villain; he represents hope to a lot of ONE PIECE anime fans. A lot of people have been unhappy with the pacing of the show. Each story arc takes an absurd amount of time to get through, and episodes can be flat-out boring sometimes.

Katakuri stares down Luffy before their intense fight!
Katakuri stares down Luffy before their intense fight! | Image: Crunchyroll

Luffy’s and Katakuri’s fight is frequently compared to Luffy’s fight against Rob Lucci, which is lauded by fans because of its buildup and wildly entertaining action. The video is brief, but the Katakuri vs. Luffy fight already looks like it could be an all-time great battle. The only downside is that we will have to wait awhile before the fight happens. The anime’s latest episode adapts material from manga chapter 856, and Luffy doesn’t start his fight with Katakuri until chapter 878.

Don’t jump off of the hype train just yet though! Yoshikazu Tomita will be animating the fight, and if the trailer is any indication, it will be tremendous. Don’t just take my word for it though. Check out the opening and see for yourself.

Featured Image Courtesy of GramUnion

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