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One Piece – Season Two: Fourth Voyage (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

December 14, 2009 by  



“ONE PIECE” is just a fantastic anime series that has a great combination of humor, action, artwork, great voice acting and cool animation.  This volume begins the Alabasta storyline as the Straw Hat Pirates arrive in the desert, to take on more challenges.  Also, a volume that focuses on Princess Vivi and introduces us to Luffy’s older brother Ace.  Overall, an enjoyable volume in the series!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece – Season Two: Fourth Voyage

DURATION: Episodes 92-103 (320 minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: September 29, 2009

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

Kazuki Yao/Barry Yandell as Mr. 2 Bon Clay

Kazuya Nakai/Christopher R. Sabat as Roronoa Zoro

Ryuzaburo Otomo/John Swasey as Sir Crocodile/Mr. O

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Yong as Nico Robin/Miss All-Sunday

Bin Simada/Andy Mullins as Wapol

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Duncann Brannan as Mr. 3

Letter of Marque

As Luffy’s crew prepares for a treacherous trek across the parched sands of Alabasta, they are joined by Chopper, the ship’s new doctor. His healing powers are sure to come in handy with Crocodile and the assassins of Baroque Works plotting to take over the country by force. Meanwhile, Captain Smoker, a foe Luffy is powerless to defeat, continues to pursue the merry pirates to the far reaches of the globe. But thanks to some new friends and a fiery ally from the rubber-man’s past, the Straw Hats just might survive long enough to help Princess Vivi restore peace to her beloved kingdom.

Exciting, action-packed and just all out fun! One of my favorite storylines of the “One Piece” anime series makes its way to DVD!

“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 with a total of 13 episodes per volume.

“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.

Vivi Nefertari – The Princess of Alabasta and trying to infiltrate Baroque Works and find out who the leader is.  She and her duck Carue join the Straw Hat Pirates and are on adventure to get back to Alabasta.

Carue – A duck like animal who understands what the crew are talking about and although used by Vivi and others to ride on, Carue is also protective of Vivi and the others.

Characters that play a part in the Alibasta Storyline:

Baroque Works – An undercover criminal organization ran by Crocodile (aka Mr. 0) who is intent to overthrow the government of Alabasta (where Vivi is from).

Sir Crocodile – Leader of Baroque Works.  Has the villages in Alabsta thinking he’s there to help them but in truth, he uses the organization for his plans to overthrow the Alabasta government.  Known as Mr. 0 and very powerful and has the ability to manipulate sand.

Mr. 1 Das Bones – The second runner up who of Baroque Works who is powerful and deadly.  Has the ability to turn any part of his body to a steel blade.  Works with Miss Doublefinger (who can turn her body into spikes).

Mr. 2 Bon Clay – A transvestite who has the power to touch anyone and take on their identity.  Also, a skilled martial artist.

Miss All-Sunday/Nico Robin – The Vice President of Baroque Works.

Portgas D. “Fire Fist” Ace – Luffy’s older brother who has the power to turn his body into fire and joins the Straw Hat Pirates during their venture through the desert of Alabasta.

Captain Smoker – A Marine officer who loves cigars.  He has the ability to manipulate smoke and is after the Straw Hat Pirates.

Tashigi – A Marine officer and Smoker’s second in command.  Her goal is to capture Zorro and take his swords.

In “One Piece – Season Two: Fourth Voyage”, the group finally arrives at the country of Alabasta, a desert that has its fair share of trouble.  But the Straw Hat Pirates are determined to bring Vivi back home and help her take on Baroque Works which is led by Crocodile.  With Crocodile planning to overthrow the Alabasta government, Luffy reunites with his older brother Ace who joins the gang during the trip through Alabasta.   Vivi quickly learns that things have changed so much in her country that the villages affected by the drought are hurting and people are starving for food.

The “ONE PIECE – Season Two: Fourth Voyage” comes with episodes 92-103 on two DVD discs.  Here are the spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 92 – Alabasta’s Hero and a Ballerina on the Ship! – The Straw Hat Pirates encounter a transvestite ballerina and don’t know that the person is actually Baroque Works Mr. 2.
  • EPISODE 93 – Off to the Desert Kingdom! The Rain-Summoning Powder and the Rebel Army! – The Straw Hat Pirates enter their first village in Alabasta.
  • EPISODE 94 – The Heroes’ Reunion! His Name is Fire Fist Ace! – Captain Smoker, Tashigi and the marines goes to search for the Straw Hat Pirates.  Meanwhile, Luffy’s brother Ace is also in town.
  • EPISODE 95 – Ace and Luffy! Hot Emotions and Brotherly Bonds! – The Marines go after the Straw Hat Pirates and Ace.
  • EPISODE 96 – Erumalu, the City of Green and the Kung Fu Dugongs!!! – The Straw Hat Pirates and Ace travel through the deserts and learn quickly about the dangers in the area.
  • EPISODE 97 – Adventure in the Country of Sand!  The Monsters that Live in the Scorching Land! – A thief of bandit birds steal the Straw Hat Pirates supplies and now the group must travel the desert without their food and water.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 98 – Enter the Desert Pirates! The Men Who Live Freely! – The Straw Hats encounter a group of desert pirates.
  • EPISODE 99 – False Fortitude! Camu, Rebel Soldier at Heart! – Vivi wants to make sure that there are people who will be protecting each village and the Straw Hat Pirates make sure these soldiers are.
  • EPISODE 100 – Rebel Warrior Koza! The Dream Vowed to Vivi! – A look into Vivi’s past in Alabasta.
  • EPISODE 101 – Showdown in a Heat Haze! Ace vs. the Gallant Scorpion! – We learn why Ace has business in Alabasta and how he has been going after someone known as the Gallant Scorpion!
  • EPISODE 102 – Ruins and Lost Ways! Vivi, Her Friends, and the Country’s Form! – The Straw Hat Pirates continue to travel through the desert and Luffy, Chopper and Zorro find an ancient tomb.
  • EPISODE 103 – Spiders Cafe at 8 O’ Clock! The Enemy Leaders Gather! – The meeting of the members of Baroque Works.  Meanwhile, Vivi and friends arrive in Katorea and learn about how many other villages are hurting from the drought and by the desert pirates.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

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.

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.

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 Two: Fourth Voyage” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary for 103 – Spiders Cafe at 8 O’ Clock! The Enemy Leaders Gather! – Featuring audio commentary with director Scott Sager and voice talents Barry Andell (Mr. 2), Leah Clark (Miss Doublefinger).
  • Textless Songs – Textless Songs for the opening song “Believe” by folder5 and the closing song “Fish” by Kaleidoscope.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

I absolutely love “ONE PIECE”.  The characters, the action, the involving and well-written storylines and of course, the wonderful voice work via Japanese and also the English dub tracks and the refreshing and unique artwork.

With the release of “One Piece – Season Two: Fourth Voyage”, finally the group arrives in Alabasta and for those who watched the eighth “One Piece” film, this is the volume that kicks off the storyline with the full episodes and the traveling and dangers the gang faces around the desert.

Although not as battle intensive as the previous two volumes, this latest volume focuses more on Princess Vivi and what her country has endured but also we see a little of her past.  Also, we are introduced to Luffy’s brother Ace (who is one of the most popular anime characters in Japan according to a Shonen Jump poll).  There are a good number of hijinks with these episodes as the group are in a hot desert and are lacking food/drink supplies but for the most part, what I found enjoyable are the number of Baroque Works top members being introduced and needless to say, you can tell that this is setting up for a major battle between them and the Straw Hat Pirates (which I am definitely looking forward to).

As for the DVD release, you get the uncut and unedited videos featuring “marathon play” (watching all episodes seamed together without the credits) and an audio commentary for one of the episodes plus clean opening and ending themes.

For “ONE PIECE” fans, this saga is definitely an entertaining saga and the Alabasta arc is definitely one of the more exciting storylines of the series, so although this volume doesn’t have as many action sequences as the previous two voyages, the episodes are more character driven and we get to learn more about those characters, especially Vivi.  Some viewers may find the filler episodes of the gang traversing into towns a bit too repetitive but the writers made these storylines a bit more intriguing and fun and not boring at all.  But definitely, this volume is definitely setting the viewers up for a possible major battle with Baroque Works (which I definitely look forward to).

Overall, “ONE PIECE” continues to be a fantastic anime series that has a great combination of humor, action, artwork, great voice acting and cool animation.  Highly recommended!

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