But... this wasn't exactly an important scene. It borders on filler. It's the kind of thing you do if all of your animation quality is so good and your animation team is having so much fun that you go above and beyond like they have here.
Is this going to be the precedent now where they just put out trashily animated episodes and only have select scenes/moments look good? I would MUCH rather a higher average animation across the entire show rather than this favouritism for random scenes and poor quality for the rest.
So don't 100% quote me on this because I'm no expert on the anime industry, but I think a lot of why the quality is so variable is because the personnel involved with each episode is different?
For example, I believe the director for this episode (Megumi Ishitani, big up) hasn't directed an episode since Episode 957, which also started trending because of how well done it was. For reference, it's the episode where the Shichibukai go into action after Reverie:
It's not a new pattern for One Piece to have massively varying animation quality. We saw it in Dressrosa, where there were long stretches of genuinely awful animation, followed by 2 or 3 scenes that looked incredible because they had good animators involved (the Gear 4 transformation springs to mine). With One Piece being a weekly show, it's probably quite difficult to have your best guys constantly delivering 10/10 episodes at the rate that they have to. It's not even necessarily just a One Piece problem - a lot of seasonal anime are starting to really struggle delivering 24-episode seasons on time because animators are over-worked and underpaid. It's why we see a lot of split-cour seasons.
Of course I don't think that necessarily justifies the big leaps in quality we see, but that's most likely the reason for it. And because One Piece will continue to put out an episode a week until the story ends, it's something we'll continue to see. I'm sure they'll knock all the important scenes out of the park, so I'm not hugely bothered about the filler scenes. I think this was an important episode to go all out for though because it almost serves as a promo for Onigashima. Like, tell me you didn't want to run into war with the Alliance after that ending.
The Wano style is absolutely beautiful, and 90% of the arc has been AMAZING, but I've noticed ever since Kin'emon's team took the boat to go Onigashima that the animation took a massive downhill slide - I would say reaaally close to what we saw in Dressrosa.
I will go back and watch some of these scenes because I haven't watched *every* episode before I really respond to this, but somehow the art being better has made the drops in animation less noticeable for me? There have been some nice moments in recent episodes, like KyoDenjiro cutting the ship in two, which is more than can be said for 90% of the Dressrosa arc