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

January 18, 2013 by  



The awesome anime series “One Piece” begins a new adventure, but this time around, there is trouble within the Straw Hat Pirates which pits friend vs. friend.  Fun, emotional and exciting, if you have been wanting to join in and start watching “One Piece”, you can literally start doing so with “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three”.  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three

DURATION: Episodes 230-241 (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: December 18, 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!

The Straw Hat Pirates have depended on their beloved ship “Going Merry” in many of their battles in sea.  But with the Going Merry needing repairs, thew crew was given a map to visit Water Seven.  And  when they arrive, they learn that the location has its share of powerful people.  Even pirates have been beaten by the local craftsmen, members of the Galley La Company.

But as the crew needs to get cash by exchanging their gold that they have earned in many of their adventures, Luffy, Usopp and Nami go to exchange the treasure for cash and to use it for repairs on the Going Merry.

But all things go wrong for the Straw Hat Pirates when a group known as the Franky Family end up stealing all of the money from the Straw Hat Pirates.

As Usopp goes to get the money back from Franky Family, he is beaten badly.  But when the Straw Hat Pirates come to help their friend, they easily beat the Franky Family but find out that the money is being spent on blackmarket goods by their leader and the money is gone.  Also, to make matters worse, Nico Robin is now missing.

To make things worse, the Galley La Company inspects the Going Merry and find out that it is in the worse shape that it is not fixable.  So, Luffy makes the decision to abandon the Going Merry and find a new ship.  But Usopp, who considers the Going Merry as family, goes against Luffy in his decision, leading to an argument and fight.

Now Usopp has decided to quite the Straw Hat Pirates and if he wins, he will be taking Going Merry and leaving.

As friends are torn apart by this fight between Luffy and Usopp, trouble arises when the Galley La Company suspect the Straw Hat Pirates are responsible for a crime.

Find out how the Straw Hat Pirates will deal with predicament in “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three”!

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 580 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 Two”, available now, courtesy of FUNimation.

“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 Three” is the beginning of season eight (note: Actually, episode 229 , featured in voyage two, is the first episode that begins season eight).  As the Straw Hat Pirates reach the land of Water Seven where powerful craftsmen, the Galley La Company reside, the crew needs the craftsmen to fix the Going Merry, which has been involved in major wear and tear through the many adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates.

But when misfortune hits the Straw Hat Pirates and pits Luffy vs. Usopp and even Nico Robin has disappeared.  Things between the Straw Hat Pirates have gotten worse, but can they get any better?

The “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three” comes with episodes 230-241 on two DVD discs (note: In Japan, these episodes are actually considered as season 7, while episode 229 begins Japan’s season 8). Here are the spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 230 – The Straw Hat Pirates arrive at the land known as Water Seven
  • EPISODE 231 – Zoro is attacked by the Franky Family and Luffy, Usopp and Nami try to exchange their gold for cash.
  • EPISODE 232 – The Franky Family steals Luffy, Usopp and Nami and try to retrieve it.
  • EPISODE 233 – Luffy learns that the Gallay La Company is unable to repair the Going Merry, meanwhile Usopp tries to take on the Franky Family by himself.
  • EPISODE 234 – When The Straw Hat Pirates find an injured Usopp, the crew takes on the Franky Family.
  • EPISODE 235 – When Usopp finds out that Luffy is planning to not use the Going Merry and find a new boat, this leads to a fight between both Usopp and Luffy.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 236 – Usopp who has quit the Straw Hat Pirates, challenges Luffy in a fight for who will keep the Going Merry.
  • EPISODE 237 – Iceberg has been shot and the Galley La Company try to find out what has happened.
  • EPISODE 238 – Luffy vs. Franky and the Galley La Company suspect the Straw Hat Pirates of shooting Iceberg.
  • EPISODE 239 – Galley La Company vs. Luffy.
  • EPISODE 240 – Rumors are spreading that Robin was meeting someone from an organization known as CP9.  The Straw Hat Pirates continue to hide from the residents.
  • EPISODE 241 – Luffy wants to know if Robin is responsible for shooting Iceberg but first they must find her.

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 will release these later seasons on Blu-ray in the near future.

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 Three” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 233 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Brina Palencia (Chopper) and Phillip Webber (Iceberg).

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 236 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talent Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy) and Sonny Strait (Usopp).
  • Textless Songs – Textless songs for “Kokoro no Chizu” and “Eternal Pose”.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

It’s a brand new adventure for the Straw Hat Pirates, but when circumstances  put members at odds with one another, what happens when Usopp and Nico Robin decide they must part ways?

With this latest season of “One Piece”, things are not well with the Straw Hat Pirates as their beloved ship, the Going Merry is suffering from major damage.  So, they end up going to Water Seven in hopes that the best craftsmen, known as the Galley La Company can repair their ship using the cash that they earned from the treasure they have acquired on past adventures.

But when the money is stolen by the Franky Family and news that the Going Merry is not repairable, this leads to Luffy having to make a major decision and that is to part ways with their ship.

But Usopp, who looks at the Going Merry as part of their family will fight Luffy in order to keep it.  But Luffy is the Captain and unfortunately, their disagreement goes as far as to causing problems between the two.  And as for Nico Robin, she has gone missing and rumors are running rampant that a shooting that injured Iceberg was committed by one of the Straw Hat Pirates, Nico Robin.

Not wanting to hurt the group, Robin wants to distance herself away from her friends.

With “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three”, this is probably the most emotional season we have seen internally with the Straw Hat Pirates.  We have seen them fight against many rivals and opponents, but this time, the battle is within and for Usopp, he has seen himself lucky to be alive because he has no special abilities like the other Straw Hat Pirates.  But one thing he did believe in, was fighting as a family and that includes the Going Merry.

For Usopp, the ship is family that he does not want to see destroyed or left behind and when it pits him and Luffy against each other, we can see how it hurts the other Straw Hat Pirates to see one of their own leave.

But as they worry about one former shipmate, now they have to worry about another, especially for themselves as they are all wanted by the people they just befriended.

As for the DVD, you get 12-episodes and picture quality is very good. Especially in Japan, all “One Piece” episodes since 2007 have been 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, there are two fun audio commentaries featuring the English dub voice talent, textless opening and ending themes plus trailers.

Overall, I enjoy the adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates and I’m in it for the long haul. While, we are 241 episodes down and are over 340-episodes behind Japan, it is the longest running action anime series in Japan and the fact that young and old continue to read and watch this series, its a testament of how addictive “One Piece” really is.  But what it comes down to is if you want to get started on a long anime series.

Personally, you can join in on any season and still be interested in “One Piece”.  If you are new and want to jump in, just make sure it’s the first voyage of the season, so you get an idea of what’s going on.  While it would be good to at least catch the first season to know what the goal of the Straw Hat Pirates is and how they all joined to form their crew (note: you can either look for the anime series or purchase the manga).

Exciting, crazy and one of the awesome anime series that is still airing in Japan and being released in the US, “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Three” is recommended!






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