FUNimation continues their release of One Piece with the third set of episodes, and even though this collection takes us through episode 39, we're still not done with the first season. That's okay, because One Piece is one of the most popular and longest running anime series (currently at over 390 episodes.) This show is an irreverent and fun filled romp that's sure to please young and old viewers alike. In this set Luffy finds a cook for his crew, and meets his first villain from the Grand Line.
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.
The first sets 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 adds Usopp, a youth who's good with a slingshot (and telling tall tales) who has dreams of becoming a great pirate also, too his crew.
The collection opens with Luffy defending the Baratie, a floating restaurant. Don Krieg, head of the largest pirate organization in the area has shown up and wants to take the restaurant over. Though he's unbelievably tough, Krieg and his crew were near death after spending just a short amount of time on the Grand Line, the oceans where the One Piece is likely located and home to the most vicious pirates in the world.
Zoro is practically out of it, having met his match and almost died when he fought Mihawk, the greatest swordsman on the Grand Line, and Nami ran off with Luffy's ship (and what treasure he had) leaving just the rubber boy to take on the most vicious pirate in the area.
After the epic battle, Luffy convinces one of the cooks aboard the Baratie to join his group. Together they head off in search of Nami and their boat, though Luffy's sure the whole 'stealing of the boat' thing was just a misunderstanding.
Without much trouble they track her down to
This was another set of fun and riotous shows. This anime is 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. In the stand alone episode Luffy meets a man who has been stuck in an empty treasure chest for so long that it has grown to be a part of him. He lives on an island with elephant-sized turtles and other odd creatures. That's not to mention the Baratie, the fish-shaped floating restaurant, or the pirate
While the show is really entertaining, the animation style cuts a lot of corners. The show airs for over 40 weeks a year in
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 contains the next 13 episodes (27-39) on two DVDs, each in its own thinpak case. The two cases are held in a nice slipcase.
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. Unfortunately the only other bonus item is a clean opening.
A funny, irreverent, and exciting show, it's great to finally get to see this program 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.