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But first things first: The special starts off with a very rough explanation of what the heck is going on. And I mean, really rough! Basically, we are introduced to the characters, get to see the first meeting between Luffy and Nami, the final of the Luffy VS Kuro fight and Luffy storming into his fight with Krieg. Character establishing moments to understand that Luffy has been going on with his nakama talk for ages. We get it! Moving along...
Next thing Nami pushes Johnny and Yosaku in the water aaand the story kicks in! Yooosh!
No need to explain the plot. You all know it. So to sum the whole thing up: They cut all the jokes.
I'm not even kidding. Unless they were absolutely plot relevant, every last bit of funny was cut from the special. (Even the "I'll pay you with my body" part! Dammit, that was the only good joke in the whole stupid arc!)
Furthermore, they cut all the needless tension. And considering the arc only lasts 14 episodes, that totally works to make it a 2 hour special. But they also cut all the needed tension, the time you need to take events in. You constantly think "What the-? Wait a sec! We are at that part already?"
What really stands out, though, is how the mid-fight events were extremely butchered. They completely cut out the part when Luffy is stuck underwater and Nojiko and Gen-san have to get him back up. Which is stupid, because that was when everybody started to panic and make mistakes. The way they present it here, Luffy and gang simply walked into Arlong Park and kicked ass. End of the story.
Now, this wouldn't be half as bad if it was like the Chopper movie a what-if kind of scenario BUT the movie ends with the SH descending to Fishman Island, in other words, the special is one very long flashback! Nami's memory must be extremely bad...
The only good thing about the special is the animation which is beautiful Strong World style. Nojiko and Bell-mere never looked so good! The animation was fluent and the mood created by light was dramatically tweaked compared to the original.
If you enjoyed Arlong Park you should definitely check this one out, but expect it to be quite rushed and less funny.