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One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 9, 2012 by  



I’m just excited that “One Piece” is back again!  It’s a series that I tend to look forward to every month and is definitely one of my favorite anime series to be released in the U.S..  So, I’m definitely looking forward to the continuing episodes between the Straw Hat Pirates vs. the Foxy Pirates. Crazy, fun and action-packed… if you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2001 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One

DURATION: Episodes 206-217 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: August 7, 2012

Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Monkey D. Luffy refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become King of All Pirates. With a course charted for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line, this is one captain who’ll never drop anchor until he’s claimed the greatest treasure on earth: the legendary One Piece!

Along for the ride are his loyal crewmates, a wonderfully-bizarre collection of outcasts and misfits from the far corners of the world. Each member has their own special talent, and they’ll utilize their skills to help Luffy achieve his dream! Together, the rubberman and his crew can conquer any challenge and defeat any foe!

It has been well over a year since we have seen a DVD release of  “One Piece”, the anime TV series.    But Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates are back as they take on the Foxy Pirate crew in “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” courtesy of Funiamtion.

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide. The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is at 563 episodes and despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation Entertainment began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One”.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.

The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.

While the DVD release is listed as season four for America, in Japan, “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One ” is actually part of season seven.  “One Piece”, Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates continue their search for “One Piece” and last when seen them, the Straw Hat Pirates were taking on the Marines who have captured them and have taken all their treasure.

But the crew have managed to work as a team and take back their treasure.  Now they escaped from the Marines but immediately come into contact with a mysterious pirate ship and are captured by the Foxy Pirate crew.  And now Captain Foxy and his subordinates have challenged Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates to a “Davy Back Fight” contest and to make things worse, the Foxy Pirate Crew have taken Chopper and if the Straw Hat Pirates don’t win, Chopper will need to join their crew.

The “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” comes with episodes 206-217 on two DVD discs (note: In Japan, these episodes are actually considered as season 7). Here are the spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 206 – Farewell, Marine Fortress! The Last Battle for Escape! – How will the Straw Pirates crew escape from the Marine Fortress?
  • EPISODE 207 – Great Adventure at Long Ring Long Land – The Going Merry is captured by the Foxy Pirate Crew.
  • EPISODE 208  – A Davy Back with the Foxy Pirates – Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates are challenged by the Foxy Pirate crew in a Davy Back Fight.
  • EPISODE 209 – Round 1! One Lap of the Donut Race! – The first challenge….a tiny boat race around the island.
  • EPISODE 210 – Silver Fox Foxy! The Merciless Interference! – Fox shows off his Devil Fruit powers and Porche takes Chopper.
  • EPISODE 211 – Round 2! Shoot It Into the Groggy Ring! – The Straw Hat Pirates vs. the Foxy Pirates in a ball game.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 212 – A Barrage of Red Cards in Groggy Ring! – Sanji and Zoro must work together in order to win…but can they?
  • EPISODE 213 – Round 3! The Round-and-Round Roller Race! – The next round…roller skate competition.
  • EPISODE 214 – A Seriously Heated Race! Into the Final Round! – The Straw Hats come back and now it’s time for the final round!
  • EPISODE 215 – Screaming-Hot Bombardment! Pirate Dodgeball! – Chopper returns back to the Straw Hats but instead of leaving, Luffy accepts another challenge by Foxy.
  • EPISODE 216 – Showdown on the Cliff! Red Light, Green Light! – Foxy takes Robin from Luffy.
  • EPISODE 217 – The Captains Square Off! The Final Combat Round! – It’s the final game….a battle between Luffy and Foxy in a battle of brawn aboard Foxy’s ship.

VIDEO :

For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

It’s important to note that in Japan, the 207th episode was the first “One Piece” episode to be broadcasted in HD and in widescreen.  So, it will be interesting to see if FUNimation does release this season on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, the series is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 211 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice actors Ian Sinclair, Eric Vale and Christopher Sabat.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 215 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice actresses Tia Ballard (Porche) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy).
  • Textless Songs – Textless songs for “BON VOYAGE”, “Kokoro no Chizu”, “Dreamship” and “Eternal Pose”.
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

It’s great to have “One Piece” back again!  I can’t believe it has been over a year since the last DVD from Funimation was released (back in April 2011).  But with a popular series such as “One Piece”, also a very long series, I’m glad we’re back on track for season four (or Japan’s season 7).

With this new DVD volume, the Straw Hat pirates have escaped the Marine Fortress but after escaping one troublesome group, they run into another.  This time they run into the very odd Foxy Pirate crew.

These episodes are actually quite fun and what makes it so different from past antagonists is that the Captain Foxy and his crew are somewhat, like rejects.  Obviously, Captain Foxy and his crew have not received any recognition, so that is why they are taking on the Straw Hat Pirates who have gained notoriety and are wanted by the marines.

And as odd as Foxy and his crew look, you think it’s all fun and games until you realize that the Straw Hat Pirates are put at a disadvantage (Foxy Pirates are constantly cheating) but suffice to say, Luffy and gang have met another challenge.  We see Zoro and Sanji being put together as a team and this is a major challenge as both teammates are always at each other’s throat. And because they are distracted towards each other, they are in dangerous of losing their matchup.

Possibly the cutest situation of this entire volume is seeing Chopper being taken by Porche and with Tony Tony Chopper in tears, the crew makes him remember he is a man and must be brave and watching his character trying to put on brave face for his teammates.

But this is probably one of the craziest seasons of “One Piece” that I have seen yet.  These episodes are essentially a game competition filled with colorful, odd looking characters but yet so fun to watch.  It may not be the darkest or most threatening of adversaries but despite how nonthreatening or goofy the Foxy Pirates look, they have become an interesting opponent so far.  And it’ll be interesting to see how things continue for the remainder of this series and to see if Foxy does pose a threat in the next few episodes.

With “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” and with episode 207 being the first episode to be broadcast in HD and widescreen in Japan, it would be interesting if that means the series would get a Blu-ray release in the United States.  But for the DVD, the DVD is colorful, vibrant and looks good on DVD, but it would be interesting to see how this series would look in HD and I’m looking forward to whenever that day comes.  Audio is good, dialogue is clear.  And for special features, we do get two fun audio commentaries featuring the English dub voice talent, textless opening and ending themes plus trailers.

Overall, I’m just excited that “One Piece” is back again!  It’s a series that I tend to look forward to every month and is definitely one of my favorite anime series to be released in the U.S..  So, I’m definitely looking forward to the continuing episodes between the Straw Hat Pirates vs. the Foxy Pirates. Crazy and action-packed… if you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage One” is definitely recommended!






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