One of the most popular and longest running anime series (currently
at over 350 episodes, based on a long-running manga series) finally gets
an uncut and unedited release, thanks to FUNimation. Now otaku can
watch One Piece the way it was meant to be seen in One Piece:
Season One First Voyage. Unfortunately this isn't the entire
first season, only the initial 13 episodes. While it would have been
nice to get a larger chunk of the show, this two-disc release is still
great. Just a down-right fun show, it is well worth picking up.
When Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates was executed, he used his last
words to tell the world that he had hidden all of his treasure: "You
want it, you can have it. Find it! I left everything the world
has to offer there!" This started the Great Pirate Era: the seas
are filled with men looking for adventure, riches, and most of all Gold
Roger's treasure: the One Piece.
Of the many looking for the One Piece, few are as unlikely to find it
as Monkey D. Luffy. This young boy has vowed to become King of the
Pirates, but he doesn't have a ship, or even a crew. He sets off
to sea in a barrel, and it is only by luck that he's taken aboard a pirate
While Luffy may have none of the skills that a pirate would need, like
how to navigate on water (or dry land for that matter) he does have a powerful
advantage: he's eaten a Gum-Gum Devil Fruit. This magical object
has turned his body to rubber. Not only does this make him invulnerable
to bullets and most physical attacks, but he can stretch his arms great
lengths and use his first as powerful weapons or turn himself into a human
slingshot and launch his body through the air. Along with his unwavering
resolve to succeed, this makes him a formidable opponent.
This first set of shows basically involves Luffy getting his crew together
along with cleaning the floor with a couple of mean pirates (and an evil
naval officer.) The first person he recruits is Zoro (translated
as Zolo in the manga) a pirate-hunter who wants to become known as the
best swordsman in the world. He also manages to convince an attractive
thief, Nami, to become his navigator, and as this set ends has just met
Usopp, a youth who's good with a slingshot (and telling tall tales) who
has dreams of becoming a great pirate also.
This is just a fun and enjoyable show. It's based on a long running
manga that appears in Shonen Jump, and as such it's aimed at young boys.
There are lots of fights and plenty of action. What makes this show
better than several other Shonen Jump-based anime is that this one doesn't
take itself seriously at all. With tongue planted firmly in cheek,
Luffy and his friends walk through a strange and unusual world that's almost
comical. With clown pirates, quaffed poodle-like sea serpents, and
lion-maned animal trainers the visuals let viewers know that the series
is just out to have a good time and isn't worried about little things like
believability or the rules of physics. A good example of the show's
sense of humor is swordsman Zoro (aside from the fact it's pretty gutsy
to name a character after the California hero.) He uses the Sant?ry?
three sword style of fighting holding the third sword in his teeth and
using it with deadly accuracy. Hilarious!
Luffy's character is also enjoyable. He seems dim-witted most
of the time, not minding if people insult or attack him, as long as they
don't touch his straw hat, his most cherished possession. As with
many comical anime characters he eats a lot, and loves to sleep, but when
he does get riled up there's nothing that will stop him.
I've been following the English translations of the manga, and this
show follows them pretty closely. The start a few chapters in and
then fill in the beginning as a flash back, but that's just to start the
show off with a bang instead of a sedate origin story. The main difference
between the comic and TV show is that the battles pass much, much more
quickly in the anime. Fights that would take several weekly chapters
of the manga to resolve are over in minutes here, which isn't such a bad
thing. While I enjoy Dragon Ball Z, the fights in that show mirror
the manga more closely, and I'll be the first to admit that they drag on
a bit too long. This show does it better, giving viewers all the
action and excitement of the battle, but condensing it to a more manageable
It should also be noted that this is the uncut version of the show.
Though it is aimed at kids, there is some swearing. People called
"ass" and "son of a bitch", but nothing worse than that. People do
get killed too, and when blood is spilled it's red. The show isn't
very bloody though, and I had no problems letting my 6th grader watch it.
This set offers the original Japanese track in stereo as well as an
English dub in either stereo or 5.1. While the 5.1 dub was nice during
the battle scenes, I preferred the original language track. The voices
just seemed to fit characters better and made for a more enjoyable viewing
experience. The English voice actors did do a good job however and
people who like watching in English shouldn't be disappointed.
The full frame video looked pretty good overall. The colors were
bright and solid and the blacks were nice and inky. The image was
generally sharp too. The only real problem was a more than average
amount of aliasing. Diagonal lines are often jagged and when the
camera pans across a scene, fine lines tend to shimmer a bit. There's
also a bit of cross colorization, but it wasn't distracting.
I was a little disappointed that the bonus items were so meager.
There's a "Marathon Play" option, which lets you watch the show without
the opening and closing credits, which is really cool. I wish more
anime would offer something like this. The only other extra is a
commentary to the first episode with ADR Director Mike McFarland, Colleen
Clinkenbeard (Luffy), and Christopher Sabat (Zoro). They really don't
talk about the episode very much, instead they discuss their characters
and how they approached them, how much fun the show is, and the usual anime
commentary stuff. This really doesn't give viewers much information
about the show itself.
A funny, irreverent, and exciting show, it's great to finally get to
see this show in its uncut form. With a lot of adventure and action,
this show never takes itself seriously and that's what makes it so enjoyable.
While there aren't many laugh-out-loud sections, the whole attitude of
the show will have you smiling all the way through. Highly Recommended.