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

June 19, 2010 by  



A start of a new season as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates search for the island in the sky – Skypeia.  Featuring a good balance of humor and action, “One Piece” fans will not be disappointed!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage

DURATION: Episodes 144-156 (Duration: 320 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: July 6, 2010

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 by TAP

Animation Production by Toei Animation

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Misa Watanabe/Caitlin Glass as Vivi Nefertari

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 Yong as Nico Robin

When his crew is nearly crushed by the wreckage of a ship falling from the sky, Luffy sets his sights on sailing straight into the clouds! First order of business: finding a stalwart soul who knows how to get from the deep blue sea to the wild blue yonder.

The Straw Hats dock at Mock Town in search of directions, but instead they’re brutally bullied by pirates who’ve forgotten how to dream. Fortunately for adventure’s sake, Nico catches wind of a legendary liar whose monkey minions can equip any ship for a deadly ascent on the Knockup Stream. Hold on to your hats because Luffy and his mates will soon find out if the Going Merry flies as well as she floats!

Contains episodes 144-156.

“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 over 400 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 the May of 2008 and now the final volume of the second season is here with “One Piece – Season Two: Seventh Voyage”.

“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.

It’s a new third season of “One Piece” as Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates continue their search for “One Piece”.  But with this latest adventure, the group looks for the legendary Skypeia, a land which is built in the clouds and features winged humanoids.  In the US, this latest season also marked the first season that FUNimation Entertainment licensed the series (previously licensed and heavily edited by 4Kids Entertainment) and was broadcast on the Cartoon Network in 2008.

The “One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage” comes with episodes 144-156 on two DVD discs (note: In Japan, these episodes are the beginning of season 6). Here are the spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 144 – Caught Log! The King of Salvagers, Masira! – Nami finds a map of an island named Skypeia.
  • EPISODE 145 – Monsters Appear! Don’t Mess with the White Beard Pirates – The Straw Hat Pirats go to Jaya Island to research on more info. on Skypeia.
  • EPISODE 146 – Quit Dreaming! Mock Town, the Town of Ridicule! – Luffy and Zorro encounter a pirate named Bellamy.
  • EPISODE 147 – Distinguished Pirates! A Man Who Talks of Dreams and the King of Undersea Search! – Luffy, Zoro and Nami encounter a pirate named Black Beard.
  • EPISODE 148 – Legendary Family! Noland, the Liar! – The Straw Hats encounter Montblanc Cricket who may know where Skypeia is.
  • EPISODE 149 – Steer for the clouds! Capture the South Bird! – Cricket explains to the Straw Hats on how they can get to Skypeia.
  • EPISODE 150 – Dreams Don’t Come True?! Bellamy Versus the Saruyama Alliance! – Bellamy and his crew attack Cricket and his friends.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 151 – 100 Million Man! World’s Greatest Power and Pirate Black Beard! – Luffy vs. Bellamy!
  • EPISODE 152 – Take to the Sky! Ride the Knockup Stream! – The Straw Hats Pirate ship known as the Going Merry is refitted for flight to Skypeia!
  • EPISODE 153 – Sail the White Sea! The Sky Knight and the Gate in the Clouds! – The group ride the ocean to the clouds but are attacked.
  • EPISODE 154 – Godland, Skypiea! Angels on a Beach of Clouds! – The crew arrive in Skypiea and meet Conis and her pet Suu.
  • EPISODE 155 – The Forbidden Sacred Ground! The Island Where God Lives and Heaven’s Judgment! – Nami learns first hand what happens when you enter the forest.  Meanwhile, the Skypeia police go after the Straw Pirates.
  • EPISODE 156 – Already Criminals! Skypiea’s Upholder of the Law! – The gang encounter the Skypeia “White Berets”.

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 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.

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 Three, First Voyage” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 144 Audio Commentary – Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) with Brina Palencia (Chopper) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy). The group talk about FUNimation’s first “One Piece” episode (after taking it over from 4Kids entertainment) and working with Brin and Colleen for the first time.

DISC 2:

  • Textless Songs – Textless Songs for the opening and ending theme.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

“One Piece” is one of the more popular manga and animated series in Japan and in the US, many fans experienced their first anime series through “One Piece”.

With “One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage”, the episodes featured in this volume was a first for many people as the episodes were the first created by FUNimation Entertainment and aired on the Cartoon Network.  Many fans were excited because the episodes were uncut and now would be handled by a company known for carefully hiring the voice talent for the series.

So, with that being said, I will start off by saying that after the last volume which was literally a filler-episode release, “One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage” (technically, it’s the sixth season if going by the original Japanese season) begins the Skypeia arc.  And like each beginning of an arc, the first volume is more about the adventure and slowly building up for something greater.  And for those who have seen the Cartoon Network episodes know that after these initial episodes, this season becomes more action-packed (expect to see some major battles in the next volume).

Overall, “One Piece: Season Three, First Voyage” is an enjoyable volume which has its share of action and humor but some may find it a bit filler-like.  But in the end, for those who are familiar with “One Piece” know each season has its payoff storywise as each season progresses past the initial beginning episodes.  Another season of “One Piece” worth checking out!






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