It’s time for the Roger Pirates to shine in One Piece Episode 966 as they battle the Whitebeard Pirates and Oden Kozuki’s current crewmates.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 966, “Roger’s Wish! A New Journey!” now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Continuing right where the last episode left off, One Piece Wastes no time getting to the good in “Roger’s Wish! A New Journey!” From the exciting fight fans have been waiting for between Roger and Whitebeard to Roger’s temporary “adoption” of Oden, Episode 966 is packed with spectacular animation, hilarious character moments, and surprises.

The opening battle between Roger and Whitebeard is everything one might expect from the two great pirates’ clash of blades in their prime, with the energy of exchanging blows nearly toppling the forest around them. But what starts out as an intense one-on-one battle quickly turns into a three-day fight between the two pirate crews, with ceasefires occurring at night to allow for sleep. Among the highlights are Rayleigh stopping Marco’s Phoenix form with a single Haki-filled finger, and Oden’s swords going toe-to-toe with Gaban’s twin axes. However, at the end of the three days, the battle ends in a draw, allowing both crews that came together during the fight time to laugh, joke, and exchange spoils.

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This peaceful interlude gives Roger a chance to show Oden a rub of a Poneglyph and confirm that Oden actually can read them. Oden, however, is confused as to how Roger got the writing in the first place. The script is only taught to one male successor in the Kozuki clan per generation, which, when combined with Wano’s isolationism, means that no one outside of Wano should be able to write it in the first place. Rather than give him a straight answer, Roger explains how he thinks there is one more undiscovered island on the Grand Line, and how the red Poneglyphs will point the way to it. As he explains this, there is a brief flashback to the destruction of Ohara, suggesting that Roger visited the island prior to its annihilation at the hands of the World Government and that it was thanks to researchers that he learned of the stones’ purpose.

But with Ohara now destroyed, Roger’s dream lies dead in the water, save for the hot, adventurous steam rising from Oden and his ability to read Poneglyphs. So Roger does the only logical thing he can in the situation: he asks to “borrow” Oden from Whitebeard. Immediately sensing the resistance of his rival, who wholeheartedly regards his crew as family, Roger adds that “Just one year will be enough.” And so the future Pirate King bows to Whitebeard and pleads. But where Whitebeard is reluctant, Oden’s blood is already boiling at the prospect of a great adventure when he asks Whitebeard to allow the request.

Afterward, the Roger Pirates leave behind a mountain of loot and food (which Whitebeard quickly returns because he doesn’t want them to starve to death) as a thank you, and Oden, Toki, Momonosuke, and Hiyori join the Roger Pirates, along with stowaways Cat. Viper. and Dogstorm.

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Oden quickly proves that he is no less a handful than when he was with Whitebeard, happily taking (stealing) food from the locals of Mock Town despite protests from the crew. He’s also getting into fights too easily, with a young Buggy, Shanks, and Gaban as initially unaware but valuable allies. However, all is quickly forgiven when Oden uses ill-gotten ingredients to make his signature order, and Roger proclaims a party for his new crew members. And just like any good party, Oden improvises a traditional Kabuki-style song about, well, his oden. It’s a wonderfully fun way to top off both the party and the episode.

After many years of glimpses, clues, and side stories, it is absolutely wonderful to finally see the Roger Pirates take center stage. They show exactly why their legends would inspire the characters of One piece, particularly a Monkey D. Luffy, for years to come.

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