One Piece: Did the Gear 5 Episode Live Up to the Hype?


  • One Piece is a massively popular anime franchise with a dedicated international fanbase, known for its long duration and successful manga and anime adaptations.
  • The recent episode featuring the debut of protagonist Monkey D. Luffy’s new power upgrade, Gear 5, received mixed reviews from fans due to animation style inconsistencies and excessive recaps and flashbacks.
  • The fan hype and unrealistic expectations surrounding the episode contributed to the disappointment, but the subsequent episode redeemed the series with an impressive display of Gear 5 in action.

One Piece is going places and taking the international anime audience by storm. One Piece‘s audience gets super excited every time there is a new chapter out for the manga or a new episode out for its anime adaptation. It has become one of the biggest anime franchises of all time not just in terms of commercial and critical success but in terms of duration as well spanning more than 1000 manga chapters and anime episodes. Besides this, the franchise also has a fairly good series of anime movies the latest one being One Piece Film: Red which hit the theaters in 2022 and was one of highest grossing anime movies that year.

One Piece keeps adding to its list of accolades and breaking numerous records. It recently broke several broadcasting records with the airing of its anime adaptation’s episode number 1071 and almost broke the internet. Various streaming platforms that are official broadcasters of One Piece crashed because of insanely high traffic on their websites since almost every fan of the franchise wanted to watch the episode. The reason for their enthusiasm and curiosity was the fact that this episode marked the debut of One Piece‘s protagonist Monkey D. Luffy’s new and much-anticipated power upgrade called Gear 5. The episode had so much hype before it aired that fans were too eager to witness Luffy going Gear 5 as soon as it aired but several days after its airing, did the Gear 5 episode live up to all the hype? Let’s explore the answer.

Flawed Animation

The Gear 5 episode has been receiving mixed reviews from the fans mainly because of two complaints. The first one is that several fans who have watched the episode have been complaining about its jarring animation which is incongruous or out of line with the animation style that has been followed throughout the Wano Country Arc. The animation in the Gear 5 episode in particular does not seem to fit with the animation in the rest of the Wano Country Arc. The second basis is that there were too many recaps and flashbacks and very little of Luffy’s Gear 5 in action. It is truly annoying for a viewer when an anime episode that has a short duration of 22–24 minutes is supposed to be fun and exciting but is filled with too many unnecessary recaps and flashbacks.

The first complaint that the fans have is not completely valid since the animation style used by the animators for Luffy in his Gear 5 form is a visual representation of most of the core elements of Luffy’s personality like his silliness and being an embodiment of pure freedom. Therefore, the bold choice by the animators is a wise decision to blend Luffy’s nature and principles with the animation style making it weird-looking but completely appropriate. It is a fresh thing to see animators and makers trying out new things in terms of animation style that seem to fit the themes and characterization rather than playing it safe especially when the episode is about to showcase one of the most hyped and loved power upgrades in the history of shōnen genre.

Hype Train Gone Wrong

As far as the second complaint from the fans about the Gear 5 episode is concerned, there is quite a simple logic for that. There was insanely high hype built around this episode so much so that even if the episode was a solid 10 on 10, it would still have gotten the mixed reactions that it has now. It is as when a story has a lot of build-up to it and excites the audience way too much only to lead them to such a stage where delivering something even equal to the excitement is not enough to satisfy them. And this is exactly what has happened here in the case of the Gear 5 episode.

One Piece has a huge following across the globe and its fans around the world were so full of zeal and zest to see this episode that they created an unconventional level of hype around and unrealistic expectations. These led to a good episode getting picked up on by numerous One Piece fans albeit it is true that while the episode was good, it still had its fair share of issues like structuring of the episode.

The disaster that was the Gear 5 episode or episode number 1071 was redeemed by its successor or episode 1072 where the fans got to see Gear 5 Luffy going throttle and playing with Kaido like a toy. Finally, the fans had no complaints with the animators or the makers of One Piece‘s anime adaptation regarding Luffy’s Gear 5 form and the approach taken by the anime to introduce it differently from the way it was done in the manga.

One Piece is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

MORE: One Piece: The Real Reason Why Former Admiral Kuzan Aokiji Joined the Blackbeard Pirates

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