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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Piece: Season Two, First Voyage
One Piece: Season Two, First Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // June 30, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted July 9, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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Nami:  Luffy, the Lost Island sank!
Luffy:  I know, and now we're gonna find it!
Nami:  *sigh* Underwater... no map...  It's insane!  Count me in.
Monkey D. Luffy, the man made of rubber who dreams of being King of the Pirates sails on into the second season of One Piece.  Filled with all of the silly humor and colorful characters that made the first season so enjoyable, this set is just as fun as the ones that preceded it.  So sit back, relax, and let Lufffy and crew take you (at last!) to the Grand Line.
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.  Together they're searching for the One Piecew!
This set:
After a narrow escape at the end of the last set, nothing stands in the way of the pirates making it to the Grand Line.  Nothing that is, except a young girl.  Found out in the middle of the sea in a row boat, Apis was a captive of the Marines until she managed to escape during a storm.  While it's slightly out of their way, Luffy agrees to take the girl home to Warship Island.  Once there they discover why the Marines wanted her:  she knows the location of a Millennium Dragon.  An immortality potion can be made from their bones, and the Marine commander will stop at nothing to get some. 
As the Marines are coming back to Warship Island and will certainly discover the dragon, the Straw Hat Pirates decide to take the ancient dragon back to his home on Lost Island.  The only problem is that, well... it's lost.  This leads to a cat and mouse chase with the Marine fleet and eventually a show down with the commander and his ships.
After they straighten that out, it's off to the Grand Line!  They crew follows the only path, through a river that runs, impossibly, up the side of a mountain.  They speed down the other side and right into the mouth of a waiting whale, just like Pinocchio.  This isn't any normal whale however; it's Laboon a very faithful animal who is trying to find the pirate ship that it followed into the Grand Line.
Navigating the Grand Line is a bit more difficult that Nami thought it would be.  First of all, the islands are all filled with magnetic ore, making a regular compass spin around and around.  The only way to navigate is with a 'log pose' an instrument that looks like a compass inside of a globe.  It will point to the nearest island, and by going from island to island a crew can navigate the grand line.
Managing, with great difficulty, to get to the first island, Whiskey Peak, the crew receives a warm, and unexpected, welcome.  That's because the town there is really part of Baroque Works, a secret criminal organization and they have plans for Luffy and his crew.
This is another excellent group of shows.  I'm so glad that FUNimation is releasing this in 13 episode chunks rather than 4 or 5 shows per disc.  Once you get into the groove of the program, it's very enjoyable and really easy to sit through an entire disc (Especially if you use the 'marathon play' option.) 
There's really little difference between the second season shows and those of the first.  If you enjoyed the earlier sets, this collection will tickly your funny bone too.  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
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 13 episodes (54-66) 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 commentary on one episode by the English crew that was uninspiring.
Final Thoughts:
Having followed the adventures of Luffy in Shonen Jump for a while now, I know that the best is yet to come.  This set is another highly enjoyable romp.  While there are lots of fights and plenty of action, it's a show that doesn't take itself seriously and places a premium on fun more than anything else.  Highly Recommended.
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