Monkey D. Luffy and his band of Straw Hat Pirates face off against CP-9 in order to save one of their own in One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three. It's another wild, exciting, and altogether fun collection from one of the most outrageous and enjoyable anime series ever created. If you haven't been bitten by the One Piece bug, stop reading and go buy the first collection.
It's a race against time in this collection. Spandam has manacled Nico Robin with a pair of handcuffs that are hard as diamond, and also suppress Devil Fruit Power. The only way to free her is with the key, and each members of CP-9 has one, but which one will fit Robin's cuffs? The only way to find out is to defeat all of the powerful government assassins and try all of the keys. The Straw Hats only have a little bit of time however, as Spandam is taking Robin to the Gate of Justice, and once past the gate there's no hope of them every getting her back.
To make matters worse, two members of CP-9 have just eaten devil fruit and now have new, extraordinary powers. The Straw Hats weren't able to defeat them on Water 7, so going up against them was a dicey proposition, even before two gained new abilities. Now it seems nearly impossible.
On top of all that, Spandam, who isn't too bright, accidently makes Robin's worst fear come true: he orders a Buster Call to the Navy, signaling them to surround Enies Lobby and totally destroy it. Even if they can save Robin before she gets to the gates, how will they ever escape the island when it's being bombarded by Navy ships?
In addition to the regular story line, this collection includes a pair of holiday episodes that take place outside the regular One Piece continuity in a world very similar to Japan during the Edo Period. In these two shows Nami owns a restaurant where the lazy yet always hungry Luffy sponges meals. He gets into trouble when he stops Buggy and his crew from extorting money from an old man and so they hatch a plan with a local official to get Luffy arrested. The second show, a New Year's program, involves Buggy's crew trying to steal rice caked that the King is going to distribute to the populace. One of which contains a valuable gem.
This was another fun set of shows, though I didn't really care for the back-to-back Christmas and New Year's programs. They were just okay, and they were inserted in the middle of the Enies Lobby story, which ground to a halt. It's not nearly as bad as the five recap shows from the last collection, so I shouldn't really complain.
The show still has a lot of creativity left in it, as illustrated by the new Devil Fruit powers that are displayed for the first time. One is a bit unusual and odd, and the second is so silly that it's funny. When Kaku displays his new powers (which I won't reveal here... that would spoil the surprise) it's pretty funny. Zoro and Sogeking can't fight because they're laughing so hard. The best part however is Kaku's teammate Jyabura's reaction. Classic. The Enies Lobby story doesn't wrap up in this collection, but a lot happens in any case. This is another very fun set of shows, so it's well worth picking up.
This set contains the next 12 episodes (288-299) 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.
As with the other volumes, there's a "Marathon Play" option, which lets you watch the show without the opening and closing credits. That's really cool and something that all shows should offer. There are commentary tracks to two episodes, but they don't really excite me. There is, however, a pair of extras that I did enjoy: interviews with the voice actors. These segments, going under the title On the Boat, had some solid information about the actors and how they see their roles, and they were interesting. This time around we're treated to talks with Jonathon Brooks (Foxy) and Jason Liebrecht (Rob Lucci and his bird Hattori). The roughly 15 minute talks are hosted by ADR Director Mike McFarland H e asks the actors about the auditioning process, their favorite moments, and how they think their character has changed over the course of the show. These are an interesting look behind the scenes and I've really been enjoying them.
After nearly 300 episodes, One Piece is still going strong. A fun and exciting collection, fans should run out and get a copy. Highly Recommended.