WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 966, "Roger's Wish! A New Journey!" now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
Picking up right where the last episode left off, One Piece wastes no time getting to the good stuff in "Roger's Wish! A New Journey!". From the thrilling fight fans have been wanting between Roger and Whitebeard to Roger's temporary "adoption" of Oden, Episode 966 is jam-packed with spectacular animation, fun character moments and surprises.
The opening battle between Roger and Whitebeard is everything one could expect from the clashing blades of the two great pirates in their prime, with the energy from trading blows nearly knocking down the forest around them. But what starts as an intense one-on-one battle quickly turns into a three-day free-for-all brawl between both pirate crews, with cease-fires occurring at night to allow for sleep. Among the highlights are Rayleigh stopping Marco's Phoenix form with a single finger-full of Haki, and Oden's swords going toe-to-toe with Gaban's twin axes. At the end of the three days, however, the battle ends in a draw, allowing both crews who bonded during the fight time to laugh, joke and exchange plunder.
This peaceful interlude allows Roger a chance to show Oden a rubbing of a Poneglyph, and confirm that Oden actually can read it. Oden, however, is confused as to how Roger has the writing in the first place. The script is only taught to one male successor in the Kozuki clan per generation -- which, when coupled with Wano's isolationism, means that no one outside of Wano should be able to write it in the first place. Rather than giving him a straight answer, Roger explains how he believes that there is one more undiscovered island in the Grand Line, and how the red Poneglyphs will point the way to it. While he explains this, there is a brief flashback to Ohara's destruction, suggesting that Roger visited the island prior to its annihilation at the hands of the World Government and that it was from the researchers there 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 the Poneglyphs. So, Roger does the only logical thing he can in the situation: he asks to "borrow" Oden from Whitebeard. Immediately sensing resistance from his rival, who wholeheartedly considers his crew family, Roger adds that "Just for a year will do." And so it is that the future Pirate King bows to Whitebeard and begs. But where Whitebeard is reluctant, Oden's blood is already boiling at the prospect of a great adventure as he asks Whitebeard to allow the request.
Afterward, the Roger Pirates leave a mountain of plunder and food (which Whitebeard promptly returns because he doesn't want them starving to death) as thanks, and Oden, Toki, Momonosuke and Hiyori join the Roger Pirates -- along with stowaways Cat Viper and Dogstorm.
Oden quickly proves himself to be no less of a handful than when he was with Whitebeard, happily taking (stealing) food from the locals of Mock Town despite the crew's protests. He's also getting into fights far too easily, with a young Buggy, Shanks, and Gaban as initially unwitting but valuable allies. All is quickly forgiven though when Oden uses the ill-gotten ingredients to prepare his signature oden, and Roger proclaims a party for his crew's new members. And just like any good party, Oden improvises a traditionally-styled song reminiscence of Kabuki about, well, his oden. It's a wonderfully fun way to cap off both the party and the episode.
After many years of glimpses, hints and side stories, it's absolutely wonderful to finally see the Roger Pirates get the spotlight. They show exactly why their legends would inspire the characters of One Piece, particularly one Monkey D. Luffy, for years to come.