One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // $49.98 // July 6, 2010
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 27, 2010
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
The Series:
Monkey D. Luffy and his band of eclectic pirates continue to sail the waters of the Grand Line in FUNimation's release of One Piece Season Three Voyage One.  This time the Straw Hat pirates run into a problem when their navigation device says that the nearest island is straight up.  It's never wrong, so there must be an island in the sky!  Once the idea of sailing through the sky gets into Luffy's mind, there's no turning back.  He and his crew start searching for a way and if there is one, you know the rubber boy will find it.
I'll skip the basic recap, if you're not sure who Luffy and his companions are, check out my reviews of the earlier sets.
After a pleasant set of short adventures, Luffy and the gang set off on another epic adventure, the Sky Island saga.  As Luffy and his crew sail along, a giant 200-year-old ship falls from the sky and almost crushes their ship, the Going Merry.  Intrigued by this turn of events, some of the crew dive down to examine the wreckage and return with a map of Skypiea, a legendary place that is said to float in the sky.  
Some people think the map is just a hoax, but when Nami notices that her Log Pose that always points to the next island is aimed straight up, she becomes a believer.  The crew set off for a nearby Jaya Island to look for information on how to reach this legendary floating mass of land.
Jaya is an island that makes its money off of servicing pirates and the baddest pirate in the place is a man by the name of Bellamy the Hyena.  He laughs at Luffy when he asks about Sky Island and ridicules his dreams of finding the One Piece.  Instead of fighting however, Luffy and Zoro allow themselves to be beaten, since Bellamy isn't worth their time.  Later Luffy will be back.
They finally find some information about the floating island from a local kook, Montblanc Cricket.  He's collected information about the island for years, and though everyone thinks he's crazy, he tells the Straw Hats exactly what they need to do to reach it:  Just sail up a waterspout that erupts every once in a while... and the next time is very soon.
I was glad to see the show start on another big adventure.  While the short stories that populated the previous set were a lot of fun, I prefer the more grand sagas.  This one is shaping up to be a good one too.  I really enjoyed Luffy's interaction with Bellamy.  He was the exact opposite of Luffy, and it is very obvious from their first brief encounter that they'll end up fighting, but it was a lot fun seeing how they postponed the confrontation.  Just when you thought they'd battle, they don't.  It only makes you want to see Luffy clean Bellamy's clock even more, and when he finally does it's very satisfying.
The Sky Island promises to be an interesting place to visit.  This series is filled with wacky, far-out ideas and the way Skypiea works is right up there with the best of them.  Strange, unpredictable, creative, and bizarre, this next port of call for the Straw Hats is going to be another unique experience for the group.  I won't give too much away about the place, but there are a couple of aspects that make it quite interesting. 
As I mention in every review of this series, 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 (134-156) 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:
The next great adventure begins as the Straw Hat Pirates try to find a way to get to Skypiea, an island that floats in the sky.  Filled with all of the fun and adventure that One Piece fans have come to expect, this newest set is sure to please.  If you've followed the series this far, you can't stop now.  Highly Recommended.

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