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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Piece: Season Two, Fifth Voyage
One Piece: Season Two, Fifth Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // January 19, 2010
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 28, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Series:
 
Presenting the middle chunk of a great story, One Piece Season Two Set Five is a not to be missed collection.  Luffy and his crew are trying valiantly to stop a civil war from erupting, but that's hard to do when the crime syndicate Baroque Works is manipulating events from behind the scenes.  This is an epic story that ranks up there with some of the best Dragon Ball Z adventures.  It's a lot of fun and sure to please anime fans.
 
Series background:
 
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 ship.
 


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.
 
In the first season Luffy set off from his home in an old barrel and started to gather his crew.  He now has a real ship and the people to man it:  Zoro (translated as Zolo in the manga) a pirate-hunter who wants to become known as the best swordsman in the world, Nami, an attractive thief who acts as navigator and dreams of mapping all of the oceans of the world, Sanji, a cook and master kick-boxer who's greatest desire is to find the All Blue a sea that contains every type of fish in the world, and Usopp, a youth who's good with a slingshot (and telling tall tales) who has dreams of becoming a great pirate also. There's also Vivi, the crowned Princess of Alabasta and Chopper, a reindeer who has eaten a devil fruit and is an excellent doctor.  Together they head to the Grand Line, the most dangerous place on the planet, because that's where the One Piece is hidden!
 
This set:
 
If you though the last collection was great (and I did) you ain't seen nothing yet.  The set starts out with the Straw Hats wandering around in the desert determined to stop the rebels from taking over the oasis kingdom of Alabasta.  Vivi, the Princess of that country, is determined to risk her life to save her kingdom.  When she says that's the most she can do it starts fist fight with Luffy.  He strongly disagrees.  She can ask her friends to put their lives on the line too... after all, that's what friends are for.
 


Realizing just how strong her bond with the other Straw Hat Pirates is, Vivi and the group decide to take the direct approach and confront the man behind the rebellion, Crocodile.  This isn't such a good idea as the Baroque Works leader has anticipated their move and set a trap for them, one that captures Luffy and most of his crew in an escape-proof cell. 
 
The set ends just as things are getting really good, with the rebels attaching the capital city and the Straw Hat crew battling Baroque Works officers in some exciting battles.
 
This is what good kid-oriented anime is all about.  First and foremost, this story arc is grand and epic in scale.  Luffy and his mates are fighting over the fate of a nation, with huge armies clashing in the middle of a desert wasteland that hasn't seen rain in three years.  There are kings and princesses and generals at odds with each other and into this mess walks a raggedy crew of would-be pirates to make it all right.
 
This story also has a lot of drama and heart.  That's not something Shonen Jump style shows really worry about, after all they're aimed at young boys who are more interested in action than drama, but this show manages to work it in none the less, and it's a stronger series because of it.  When Luffy fights Vivi and is actually insulted that she wouldn't call on him to put his life on the line is one such moment where the drama of the situation feels real and palatable.  Another such incident is Karoo's valiant beyond-the-call-of-duty efforts to get Vivi to the capital city of Alabasta before the reble army, and the events that follow.  I'm pretty jaded when it comes to sappy boy and his dog (or girl and her duck in this case) stories, but I have to admit I was rooting for the loyal duck by the end.
 


That's not to say this arc has toned down the bizarre and odd facets that make this show so enjoyable.  It hasn't.  In this collection fans get to see a demonstration of Ballet Kempo by the world's most proficient master.  We also get introduced to the Super Spot-Billed Duck Squad (aka the Super Sonic Duck Squadron).  Ducks are funny (just look at Donald or Daffy) but ducks that can run really fast while carrying a rider, and dressed in outrageous getups are hilarious. 
 
As I mention in every review of this series, 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.
 
The DVD:

 
This set contains the next 13 episodes (104-116) on two DVDs, each in its own thinpak case.  The two cases are held in a nice slipcase.
 
Audio:
 
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.
 
Video:
 
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.
 
Extras:
 
Like the other volumes in this series, 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.  Unfortunately the only other bonus items are clean animations and a series of trailers.
 
Final Thoughts:
 
This is by far the best collection is this series so far, and that's saying something since the previous volumes were very good too.  This is an epic adventure series that's not to be missed.  Highly Recommended.
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