Toei Animation is celebrating the monumental 20th Anniversary of the One Piece anime with a new film project, One Piece: Stampede, releasing in just a few days in Japan. With its theatrical release so close, the anime will be taking a short detour away from the events of the Wano Country arc by tying in a short prequel filler story. But while this initially took fans by surprise as a bit of a bummer, there is a silver lining in the major return of Boa Hancock to the anime series.
Hancock's return wasn't a waste of time either as shortly after the two are reunited, Luffy and Hancock are forced into a major tag team battle against the Bounty Hunter Cidre and his forces.
After being chased by the Bounty Hunter Cidre to a remote island, the Straw Hats are stranded until Luffy can wrangle up more cola for the Thousand Sunny. His search for cola ends up bringing him to a fight with Cidre's soldiers, and one of their attacks launches him into a hot spring where Hancock is bathing. Hancock doesn't get much time to revel in this reunion before Cidre's forces burst into her bath as well.
When Luffy defends her from an attack in order to keep her back tattoo hidden, Hancock is thus inspired to fight herself. The thing is, she's fully nude and doesn't seem to mind fighting Cidre's forces without clothes. This leads to a major tag team fight in which Luffy uses his Gum Gum Gatling, and Hancock uses her Slave Arrow to wipe out a huge group of enemies.
When Cidre's main henchman is driven into a corner by this tag team, he uses an attack that spreads a toxic cloud that forces Luffy and Hancock to retreat. But now that they know how big of a threat Cidre is, the two of them will be taking him on directly before the imminent Pirates Festival coming in One Piece: Stampede.
These filler episodes are meant to be a good prequel to the upcoming One Piece: Stampede, which is currently scheduled to hit theaters August 9th in Japan. There is currently no word on its release to other territories as of this writing, but Fuji TV officially describes the film as such, "The world's greatest exposition of the pirates, by the pirates, for the pirates - the Pirates Festival. Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat Crew receive an invitation from its host Buena Festa who is known as the Master of Festivities. They arrive to find a venue packed with glamorous pavilions and many pirates including the ones from the Worst Generation. The place is electric."
New characters and cast members for the film include Tsutomu Isobe as Douglas Bullet, Yusuke Santamaria as Buena Festa, Rino Sashihara as Ann, Ryota Yamasato as Donald Moderate, and Chinese fashion model and singer Ron Monroe, YouTuber group Fischer's, and Naoto Takenaka in currently unconfirmed roles.