One Piece: Season Three, Second Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // $49.98 // August 31, 2010
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 7, 2010
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
The Series:
Monkey D. Luffy returns with his band of eccentric and off beat pirates in FUNimation's One Piece Season Three Voyage Two.  In the past Luffy has had to battle super powered pirate, evolved sharks, and even a government's army, among other things.  This time he's setting out to face his most powerful foe yet, a living god.  If you've enjoyed the earlier releases, these 13 episodes will sure to please.  The show is still as funny and offbeat as ever.
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.
While traveling to the floating island of Skypeia, the Straw Hat crew inadvertently broke the law and was attacked by The White Berets, the local law enforcement.  Easily besting the arrogant and obnoxious soldiers, the leader sentences Luffy and his crew to 'Hevaen's Judgement" on the Upper Yard, a part of Skypeia where god lives.  Soon afterwards a giant Lobster takes the Going Mary, along with Chopper, Robin, Nami and Zorro, off to a sacrificial alter in the Upper Yard.  The rest of the gang, Luffy, Sanji and Usoppe, borrow a boat and head off after their friends.
The going is pretty easy for Luffy and company at first, but once they get to the Upper Yard things get a bit hairy.  The river is filled with booby traps, and getting past those only brings travelers to the by four priests.  Each one of these powerful warriors controls a different area of the island.  Soon after arriving, the river they're following splits off into four tunnels and Luffy has to decide which of one to follow.  He picks the one labeled "ordeal of spheres" for pretty much no reason at all.
After travelling through the tunnel things don't look so bad.  There are a lot of floating balls of cloud-like material, but nothing that appears dangerous.  At first.  They soon discover that each ball has a different trap, and that they're controlled by a rotund priest named Satori.  Pushing the trio off their boat the pirates will have to defeat the ball-like priest before their boat sails out of the region or else they'll be trapped there forever.  That's a bit hard to do when the Priest can predict their every move.    
The Skypeia storyline has been a lot of fun so far, and while it doesn't have the emotional impact that the Alabasta saga does, it makes up for that with a quicker pace and a lot of unique and fanciful villains.  This story 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 13 episodes (157-169) 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:
With the next saga well underway, fans of the Straw Hat Pirates need to pick up this collection of fun and enjoyable episodes.  The series hasn't slowed down even though it's passed the halfway mark in the second hundred episodes, which is pretty impressive.  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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