The Straw Hat Pirates continue on their journey with FUNimation's release of One Piece Season Five Voyage Five. After taking on the World Government and loosing an important part of the team, the group takes a bit of a breather before starting out on their next grand adventure. That doesn't mean this set is all filler, far from it. There some significant plot developments including the addition of a new Straw Hat, surprising revelations about Luffy's family, as well as discovering just what's going to happen with Ussop who had quit Luffy's gang. Fans of the show will be pleased to hear that it's still firing on all cylinders!
The last collection ended on a sad note as the group said goodbye to a loved member of their outfit. It picks up with a recap of tear-jerking episode before the morose pirates head back to Water 7. Once there Luffy throws massive party that will go down in the history of the island to thank everyone who helped them in their battle against the Marines at Enies Lobby. The party last all night and when the smoke clears... they discover that Luffy spent nearly all of their loot on the bash. That leaves them to scrounge up supplies on the cheap, and fast, since the Marines are certainly going to come looking for them in a hurry.
Luckily the members of Galley-La and most of the Franky Gang are in the clear as far as the law in concerned. The Government decided to pin the destruction of Enies Lobby on the Straw Hat Pirates and didn't implicate anyone else except for Ussop (technically he quit the team) and Franky himself. But that still means Luffy and Co. are in lots of trouble, and that comes in the form of a high-ranking Marine who quickly shows up at Water 7 with a fleet. He marches up to the Straw Hat's quarters, rips open a wall instead of opening the door, and proceeds to chastise Luffy, his grandson. Though they part peacefully, it's clear that the next time they meet they'll fight with all they've got, blood relative or not. (And before he goes the Admiral drops some interesting information about Luffy's father!)
With that problem past, that only leaves the crew with the task of gathering supplies... oh yeah, and finding a ship that can carry them through the tough seas ahead. The answer comes from an unlikely source.
It's nice to take a break from the non-stop action of the larger story arc to catch your breath, and that's what this collection allows viewers to do. It's still a lot of fun and they use the time to advance the plot and actually fill in some holes that have cropped up along the way. (Did you ever wonder what Franky did with all of that money he stole from Luffy way back when? You get to find out in this collection.)
I've been waiting for this show to jump the shark for at least 100 episodes, and I'm happy to say it's still going strong. Not only are the stories fun and entertaining, but the characters grow and evolve (slowly, granted) over the course of the show without even changing so dramatically that it seems unrealistic. The way Ussop's situation was resolved is a good example. He does things that we probably wouldn't have done when he first joined, but he still behaves in a way that makes you think "yep, that's Ussop." It's hard to keep so many characters consistent over such a long run, but the creators manage to do it and they make it look easy.
This set contains the next 12 episodes (313-324) 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.
As with the other volumes, there's a "Marathon Play" option, which lets you watch the show without the opening and closing credits. That's really cool and something that all shows should offer. There are commentary tracks to two episodes, but they don't really excite me.
A new segment is started this time: One Piece in the Booth where we get to see the process that FUNimation goes through to create the dub track. This time we're given a look at what Colleen Clinkenbeard, who plays none other than Monkey D. Luffy, does in the recording booth. It's a pretty interesting and informative extra and well worth a watch.
One Piece is one of the most exciting, outrageous, hilarious, and just plain fun series out there. If you haven't experienced the show yet, start with the first collection and proceed from there. If you've been following the Straw Hat Pirates all along, you don't need me to tell you to pick this set up... you've already done that. Highly Recommended.