Episode 1020 – One Piece

How would you rate episode 1020 of
One Piece? Community score: 4.6

We arrive at one of the highlight moments of the Raid on Onigashima – Sanji’s capture by Black Maria and subsequent cry for help. It stands out as a genuine emotional high point in what is otherwise a long stretch of non-stop battles.

First off, I’ll go ahead and get it out of the way: yes I’m biased for Nico Robin content of any kind, so I’m rounding up in that sense.

But I think what’s important here is what this moment says about Sanji and Robin in the Straw Hat pirates. Setting aside my own personal hangups on how Sanji’s uh… “dashing” character is portrayed, it is easy to see that he has a lot of pride in how he treats women and not fighting them. There’s a greater sense that his self-image as this prince charming, dashing knight figure who sweeps in to save the day is very integral to how he sees himself. As such, he also tends to shoulder all of his burdens and share none of his struggles even when he desperately needs the help, such as his entire situation with the Vinsmoke clan.

So that’s why Sanji crying out to Robin for help represents a major moment of character growth for him on multiple levels and why I think it works really well.

It also serves as a sort of full-circle moment for Robin. As we are reminded in the flashback, she was once the damsel in the tower who needed saving. And part of the reason why she ended up in that situation was – like Sanji – because she kept her struggles to herself out of a desire to insulate the other Straw Hats from what she was going through. Of course the Straw Hats showed Robin quite definitively that they want to understand her struggles and she realized it too, in one of the series’ best moments (if not the best moment). Now she gets a chance to be the savior, riding in to save the day when a fellow Straw Hat is in distress. It’s a really wonderful moment that adds that extra emotional and thematic weight to this fight (and something I feel the other battles going on right now lack).

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Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.

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