By the end of 1076, Kaido is – at last – finally defeated. Thus ends an eye-watering long arc of anime and a new era dawns for the series.
The episode itself is what you expect by and large. We check in around Onigashima, get a flashback or two, then get one last big punch to bring down the curtain on this fight and we fade to black by the end. I’m not sure if there’s much here to unpack – Raizo and Jinbei do some water control antics, Usopp saves Kiku and Kinemon, and we get some sunlit reaction shots from onlookers – and that’s all she wrote.
Mostly, I want to reflect a bit on the sheer enormity of Wano. I have been writing the weekly reviews for here at ANN since the summer of 2020. In that time… this is the only arc I’ve written about. I’ve spent four years of my life reviewing week in and week out, and we’re now just concluding the ultimate battle. Truthfully, we have some wrap-up episodes and post-battle partying still to conclude, so I’ve got a few more weeks of Wano coverage left.
The Wano arc is certainly an ambitious effort. This arc of alone is longer than the entirety of other anime series. Has it been worth it? Has the payoff met the expectation? That’s not something I can definitively answer for you, dear reader, and I think answering it even for myself is a conundrum. There have been times when I’ve just wanted it to end already, while there were other stretches where I simply could not wait for more Wano. I think the fact that this enormous arc has been animated to such consistently high fidelity and helped deliver the emotional beats present in the manga speaks to the success of such a huge risk – it’s hard to imagine thinking of this as anything other than a smash hit since I’m going “Uh, yeah I think four years of this was good to great by and large.” Lord knows I don’t think I could sustain a similar level of creative quality and output over the same period, just reviewing the episodes has felt tiring at times.
That said, I’m unequivocally delighted that the sun of Joyboy has risen and we’re about to move on to new horizons. I think the story of Wano has been told with aplomb and more adventures await.
Rating: is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.com.