That was actually an insane episode.
I can't believe I'm saying this after 1015 which was literally 2 episodes ago but this is the probably the best animated episode of the series.
First off, they covered the entirety of 1002 in the second half, which was brilliant and something they absolutely needed to do. The first half had some small padding, but it was well done and didn't overstay its welcome, really allowing us to appreciate the absolute hype of the action this episode. WTF bros.
This was a monumental feat for the staff, and I'm aware some animators, namely Tu Yong Ce(who was the animation director for the episode as well as providing 90 cuts, handling the 3 captains landing their big moves on Kaido in the first half which was nearly two minutes worth of animation, Killers scene in the second half, and Luffy's Kong Rifle in the second half), again detrimentally effected his health through overworking on this episode(as well as also providing a contribution to 1015...and 1022 as well by my guess), so major props to him, even though I feel terrible that he is overworking himself. Man is a machine but I worry for his health. Give this man a vacation.
This isn't also to discount the work of a metric crap ton of other excellent animators like Vincent Chansard who handled that awesome scene of the three captains flying together towards Kaido and Kaido's amazing bit of character acting in the lead into Tu's scene, Kidd's Gibson Slam on Kaido, and the inside cut of Law's gamma knife on Kaido. I can't believe the man managed to make Kidd look cool.
Henry Thurlow also deserves a special mention for storyboarding 1/4th of the episode while also providing 2 minutes of animation, notably handling Kidd and Law "preparing their attacks" in the 1st half of the episode and Kaido's demolition breath in the second. I'm not sure what part he storyboarded, since there were 4 storyboard artists on this episode.
Which brings me to Katsumi Ishizuka, who I presume storyboarded the last portion of the episode from Kaido's blast breath to Luffy's Kong Gattling, which Ishizuka animated himself. Man has still got it when it comes to animating gattlings. This is probably his best in the series(and he animated Luffy's jet gattling on Lucci and Gum Gum Storm on Crocodile).
There are a metric ton of other animators to mention, with all of them contributing something fantastic, but it sort of defies description with how incredibly stacked this episode was.
What an accomplishment for the anime.
Next episode is going to be 100% more tame. I'm not expecting anything too special, but I'm hoping that a few key scenes are animated well.