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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Piece: Season Two, Fourth Voyage
One Piece: Season Two, Fourth Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // December 15, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 2, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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The Series:
The Straw Hat crew arrives in Alabasta in One Piece Season Two Voyage Four.  The show keeps hitting new heights, with each collection topping the previous one in terms of story quality, and this set is no exception.  With some great new characters and a well structured story this is an excellent set of shows.
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 head to the Grand Line, the most dangerous place on the planet, because that's where the One Piece is hidden!
This set:
The Straw Hat crew arrives in Alabasta along with the princess of that country, Nefeltari Vivi.  Alabasta is having a hard time however.  It's a desert country filled with a series of oases but they've been drying up and there hasn't been a drop of rain in three years.  The people have started to blame the government and Baroque Works is using the unrest to attempt a takeover of the country.  They're funding a rebel army which is fighting the government forces.
Vivi has proof that Baroque Works is behind this and needs to get the information to her father, but first she wants to confront the rebel commander, someone that she grew up with.
Luffy and his crew promise to help Vivi in her quest, and they all set out across the desert, with Luffy frequently getting lost.  Along the way they encounter another pirate who has devil fruit powers, the infamous Fire Fist Ace.  Not only is he a fearsome warrior, but he's Luffy's older brother too.  He joins up with the Straw Hats for a while, since they're travelling in the same direction.  Ace is looking for a bounty hunter named Scorpion, someone who may have killed a friend of his.
This set doesn't wrap up the Alabasta storyline, but it's a great collection none the less.  The travels through the desert are a lot of fun, with Luffy meeting up with Sand Pirates, a group of thugs posing as rebel soldiers to get free food, and even Captain Smoker.
One of the nice things about these shows is that there's a lot of time to explore Alabasta's background and history while trekking through the desert.  Vivi tells stories about her past, fleshing out her character as well as her father's and the country's history too.  It's these stories that may seem like filler that actually give this story arc its depth.  Without them it would be just another series of pointless fights.  Just look at the 8th One Piece movie that was recently released.  It was based on this story, but they cut out all of the good parts and just left in the fights making it pretty lame.
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 12 episodes (92-103) 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.
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 my favorite anime show that currently being released.  The action is exciting and the characters are well developed, but most of all this show is hilarious at times and has a great sense of fun.  If you're looking for something that's a bit different but still entertaining, don't look any further.  Highly Recommended.
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