How would you rate episode 1022 of One Piece? Community score: 4.2
Another heaping helping of “your mileage may vary” with Wano arc. As much as I personally would have liked to see more of the Robin and Black Maria fight, this week’s entry instead shifts its focus toward boss Hyogoro. As such, how you feel about episode 1022 will likely depend on how invested you are in his character.
I like Hyogoro, so the overall experience is a net positive for me. Both familiar and unique, Hyogoro is in some ways similar to Rayleigh, an older mentor figure who helps Luffy unlock Haki/Ryou and achieve the next phase of his advancement. Unlike Rayleigh, however, Hyogoro is much more of a local legend than a world-famous pirate, and there’s a greater sense of pathos surrounding him. Rayleigh is older, yes, but he seems to mostly have simply aged out of the game and moved on after Roger’s passing. While that’s still sad, he seems like a more jovial character overall, and provides a tangible link to the bygone era that is more reaffirming for Luffy.
Hyogoro has been a more tragic figure from the start. His long-term imprisonment, coupled with the horrible events that befell him in the takeover of Wano by Kaido and Orochi, have given him a more somber tone. There’s an underlying sense of desperation with him that has made even Luffy’s growth under his tutelage quite bittersweet. 1022 gives us a proper ending so to speak, a finality to his story as he faces down the disease that he can’t seem to defeat. Chopper is working as hard as he can, but even victory may come at a great cost. Wano cannot shake off the shackles of tyranny unscathed – and Hyogoro knows that.
If you’re not invested in Hygoro though (and who can blame you, he is one of dozens of side characters in this arc alone), this all may ring a bit hollow.
Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.
One Piece is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.