One Piece: Episode of Sabo is a television special that is an abridged retelling of the colosseum battle in Dressrosa that incorporates some of the story of Sabo, Ace, and Luffy as kids in flashbacks.

One Piece: Episode of Sabo
Original Japanese airdate: August 22, 2015
Directed by: Go Koga
Runtime: 107 minutes

The early part of this special is a little on the choppy side. It starts with Sabo approaching Ace and Whitebeard’s graves and having brief flashbacks of his childhood with Ace and Luffy. After this, we’re taken back about two years to Marineford and get a recap of the important parts of Luffy’s attempts to save Ace and how it fails in the end. When we return to Sabo, this recap is framed as him thinking about the incident, but this wasn’t made clear when the special went back to the Marineford footage.

After this, we see Sabo and Koala at Dressrosa, which is a new scene not previously seen in the television series’ depiction of the Dressrosa arc. The purpose of this scene is to serve as an “info dump,” and is framed in such a way that Koala is sharing the intelligence she’s gathered about Dressrosa while she was waiting for Sabo to arrive. Since this is an abridged retelling of part of the Dressrosa arc, this scene was needed to provide some of the basic information about some of the characters and the situation in Dressrosa.

This wasn’t the only new scene included in this special, though. When we get to the action taking place at the colosseum, there are new scenes added that show what Sabo was doing as part of his top-secret mission for the Revolutionary Army, as well as new scenes that show events that were depicted in the anime series (but in this case, are seen from Sabo’s point of view). These scenes allow Sabo to become involved in the action of the story, and this makes sense, since this story’s focus is on Sabo.

While the main focus of the special is on the action at the colosseum, there are also brief inclusions of important scenes of the other Straw Hats and Trafalgar Law that were taking place at the same time as the colosseum battle. While these scenes were important to set context, especially because it helps explain why Luffy hands over the “Lucy” persona to Sabo, it unfortunately made parts of this special feel a little jumpy.

What I was the most curious about was how this special would end. I knew that there would be no way to cover the entirety of the Dressrosa arc during this special, especially with the inclusion of the material from when Sabo, Ace, and Luffy were kids. The special doesn’t truly have an ending, and important shots from the remainder of the Dressrosa arc are used for the ending credits.

After watching One Piece: Episode of Sabo, I thought it was an overall decent special for what it was trying to accomplish. While there was some sense of jumpiness in this special, it wasn’t quite as bad or as pronounced as in some of the other One Piece television specials and anime films that were condensing down arcs from the television series.

Is One Piece: Episode of Sabo a “must see” special for One Piece fans? Not really, unless you enjoy watching abridged versions of One Piece story arcs. But if you’re a fan of Sabo, this special might be worth it because it does provide some new scenes with him.

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