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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Piece: Season One, Fourth Voyage
One Piece: Season One, Fourth Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // March 31, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 19, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Series:
The fourth set of One Piece episodes takes our hero from the jaws of death (quite literally) to being on his way to the Grand Line.  FUNimation continues to release these wildly amusing and entertaining shows in nice double disc sets.  Though the extras are slim its the show that brings people back time and time agian and  releasing this show in 14 episode chunks is just the way to go.
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.
The first sets basically involve 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.   Finally there is the cook, Sanji, who joins up to look for the legendary All Blue, a body of water where every fish found in any ocean lives. 
This set:
The collection opens with Luffy and his crew in dire straights.  They are battling the Fishmen, and things aren't going well.  Zoro is near death and so is Sanji.  Luffy is unconscious and at the bottom of the harbor with his feet stuck in cement.  The only reason he's alive is because Nami's sister has stretched his neck so that his head is above water.  With Arlong, the captain and most powerful of the Fishmen about to attack, things don't look so good. 
That is until Luffy revives and frees himself.  After his nap, all bets are off as he's not about to be defeated until he becomes King of the Pirates! 
Next the crew sets out for Logue Town, the last place to take on supplies before hitting the Grand Line.  Not only that, but it's also the place where Gold Roger, the pirate who collected the One Piece, was both born and executed.  While Sanji looks for food, Usopp hits the novelty stores, Nami the fashion boutiques and Zoro looks for a new sword.  Luffy however wants to find the platform where Gold Roger was executed so he can see what Roger saw with his last breath. 
Unfortunately none of the crew realizes that there's been a bounty of 30 million berries placed on Luffy's head, the largest bounty for a newly wanted pirate ever.  After all he's defeated some pretty powerful foes, and the Marines are taking no chances.  So not only does the group have to worry about the Marines, but some pretty top-notch bounty hunters too.  Oh yeah, and Captain Buggy is back, and he's looking to even the score against the one person who ever beat him:  Monkey D. Luffy.
This was another rollicking set.  I swear this show gets better and better the longer it goes on.   The action is constant and fun, the comedy works well and the characters are getting fleshed out in a nice fashion.   The adventures (and Luffy's powers for that matter) are so over-the-top that it's nearly impossible not to just sit back and enjoy the ride.  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 Pearl, an effeminate villain who catches on fire when he gets upset.  With strange and unusual characters, outrageous situations, and a tongue firmly planted in cheek, One Piece is a great show.
While the show is really entertaining, the animation style cuts a lot of corners.  The show airs for over 40 weeks a year in Japan, and creating an animated show that often is grueling.  So a lot of short cuts are taken.  It's not unusual to see the camera panning or zooming in and out on static images to give the illusion of motion, the backgrounds (and foregrounds for that matter) are pretty sparse.  They also repeat a lot of footage at the beginning of every episode, with these recaps sometimes taking over 3 minutes.  That's a lot especially when you're watching the shows one after another.
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.
The DVD:

This set contains the next 14 episodes (40-53) 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.
Final Thoughts:
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.
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