One Piece: Season Three, Third Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // $49.98 // October 26, 2010
Review by John Sinnott | posted November 16, 2010
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
The Series:
The Straw Hat Pirates go looking for a fabled city of gold and end up fighting a god in FUNimation's One Piece Season Three Voyage Three.  Their time in Skypeia has been interesting, to say the least, but when Luffy's crew has to face down the god of the cloud islands, it's unclear whether they'll be able to defeat the immensely powerful being... even though they have a god on their side too.
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.
As this collection opens, the group has split up and is traveling across the Upper Yard trying to reach the ruins.  That would be difficult enough but the situation is complicated by the fact that they're doing this in the middle of a war.  The Shandians, who claim the island for their own, are attacking the god Eneru and his priests who currently control it.  The Straw Hats are caught in the middle, with both priests and Shandians attacking them.
Luffy, Zoro, Chopper, and most of the others each face a difficult opponent while battles rage all across the island.  The priests are powerful, but so are their foes, and one by one each side whittles away at the numbers of their opponents.  God Eneru has predicted that only five people will be alive at the end of the fighting, and it looks like he was right.
Meanwhile Gan Fall, the Sky Knight, meets up with Nami aboard the Going Merry.  He finally tells the tale of the Upper Yard and gives the background on Eneru along with relating some interesting pieces to the mystery that is Skypiea, and who he was before he took on the mantle of the Sky Knight.  He decides to team up with the Straw Hats, but will even the power of this former god be enough to stop Eneru?  

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. 

The whole world of Skypeia starts to come together in this collection, where a lot of the back story is revealed.  The whole floating world is fleshed out nicely, with some interesting revelations that make what has come before all the more logical.  (Well, as logical as a wacky anime like this ever gets.)
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 (170-182) 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:
As the Skypiea story progresses it gets more and more interesting.  This collection really does a lot of flesh out the whole world that's floating in the sky and gives this story arc a good deal of heart.  This is a fun and enjoyable collection that comes Highly Recommended.

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