One Piece - Season Three, Fifth Voyage
FUNimation // Unrated // $49.98 // April 19, 2011
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 19, 2011
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Series:

It's hard to keep a series, especially a comedy, entertaining for over 200 episodes.  One Piece makes it look easy though.  The series zooms pass the 200th episode in FUNimation's release of One Piece Season Three, Fifth Voyage.  Still as entertaining as ever, the Straw Hat pirates find themselves in a bit of a pickle in this collection, trapped in the middle of a marine base with their ship, the Going Merry, impounded.  Of course something as small as a naval base full of marines isn't enough to stop Luffy D. Monkey.  The base will never be the same. 
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.

At the end of the last collection, the crew had wrapped up their adventures on Skypiea, a floating island in the sky.  They all boarded their ship and, with the help of an inflated octopus creature, slowly fell back to Earth.  As this set opens, we discover that the end of the journey wasn't as easy as the beginning, and the Going Merry plummets into the sea, scattering the crew far and wide.  To make matters worse, the ship doesn't land in the middle of the ocean, but in the middle of a Navarone, a marine stronghold built on an island surrounded by a heavily fortified atoll, complete with seas gates.  The Going Merry is quickly seized and the marines start looking for the crew.  Meanwhile the various members of the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves trying to avoid detection and get to their ship. 

Some of the crew pose as marines, something that works to varying degrees, but Zoro gets captured and thrown in the brink right away.  That means a rescue mission, but with Sanji competing in a cooking contest against the base's chefs, Chopper helping out in the hospital, and Nico Robin posing as a VIP from the government, who is going to get him out.  Not only that, but if they do get to the Going Merry and somehow manage to get the sea gates open and then outrun a whole armada of marine war ships, they crew still won't have the treasure they've acquired from Skypiea... that's been taken by the marine's CO.  It's a tough situation, but if anyone can get out of it, it would be the Straw Hats!

This was  a very enjoyable set.  Though the story isn't totally finished in this collection, it doesn't have the feel of an epic like the previous story, and that's a good thing.  While I enjoy the longer story arcs, it's nice to have a simple mission every now and then.  This time they just have to get in their ship and sail away.  It's a nice problem and one that gives room for a lot of the goofy humor that is the series strong point.  It's still a funny show, watching Luffy steal the base commander's food while he's eating it was great, especially since he wasn't even trying to be stealthy.  It's a funny scene and there are a lot more like it in this story.
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 (196-205) 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:
So far One Piece hasn't disappointed.  After 200 episodes the show is still creative, absurd, and immensely enjoyable.  They managed to wrap up the latest adventure in a nice neat package while leaving things open for the next sure-to-be-amazing saga.  This is a fun and exciting collection that comes Highly Recommended.

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