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

August 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates reunite two years later and demonstrate their new skills that they have learned.  But what happens when the crew travels to their destination…Fishman Island?  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”! Recommended!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One

DURATION: Episodes 517-528 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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



Release Date: June 20, 2017

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

Kazuya Nakai/Christopher Sabat as Roronoa Zoro

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard

The human-hating Hordy Jones and his army of 100,000 troops has Fishman Island’s royal family by the gills. Luckily, the Straw Hats make it in time to show off a boatload of powerful new moves! But just when Luffy kicks into gear, an ancient ship nearly twice the size of the island heads straight for Shirahoshi. Only the cowardly mermaid can guide the vessel away before it crushes them all.

It has been two years since Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates has been together and now, the promised day of reuniting has arrived and the group head back to the seas.  But when they find out a group has been impersonating them, the group has chance to show how much they have improved in the past two years.

Also, what happens when the Straw Hat Pirates head to their latest destination….Fishman Island?

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 in its 19th season and a total of 799 episodes have been aired in Japan.

“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. He quit the Straw Hat Pirates and took on a new identity.

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.

Franky – A cyborg who can rebuild his body using pieces of metal and his dream is to build a ship and become its shipwright and sail to the end of the world.

Brook – A pirate from before the time of Roger, he was killed but because of the Paramecia-type-Revive-Revive Fruit, he rose again as a skeleton. An excellent musician, he becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirates.


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.


As for the audio, “One Piece” 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.


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


  • EPISODE 519 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR Director/Voice Actor Mike McFarland, Christopher Sabat (voice of Zoro), Brina Palencia (voice of Chopper) and Eric Vale (voice of Sanji).


  • One Piece Cast Goes to Matsuricon 2016: Live Dub – (18:59) The One Piece cast attend Matsuricon in Columbus, Ohio as the even is celebratine a pirate theme and the cast take part in a live dub in front of their fans.
  • EPISODE 526 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR Director/Voice Actor Mike McFarland, Sonny Strait (voice of Usopp) and Ian Sinclair (voice of Brook).
  • Textless Opening Song “We Go!” Ver. 1 and 2

With the release of “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One”, the episodes feature the reunion of the Straw Hat Pirates (featuring episodes 517-528). Note: In Japan, this arc of episodes is season 15.

Two years have passed since the War at Marineford and as the Straw Hat Pirates promised, they will reunite after they train for two years.  But the group finds out that someone has been impersonating them.  What happens when the Straw Hat Pirates come across the Fake Straw Hat Pirates?

The next storyline features the group together and go on aboard the Thousand Sunny to their destination, Fishman Island.  But they are being pursued by a pirate named Caribou and his crew.  But waiting for them in the sea is a large Kraken known for crushing ships, but what happens when the Straw Hat Pirates and the Kraken confront each other?

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good on DVD, audio is also crystal clear with both voice acting soundtracks are well done, as “One Piece” is one of the best cast anime series, everyone is right for their role and considering that Toei was strict on the casting for the English dub, FUNimation did a fine job in their cast selection and I was pleased with both Japanese and English dub soundtracks. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries but possibly the coolest inclusion is the Matsuricon 2016: Live Dub.  One can hope that Funimation continues this for upcoming releases of “One Piece” or other titles!

Overall, “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates reunite two years later and demonstrate their new skills that they have learned.  But what happens when the crew travels to their destination…Fishman Island?  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”! Recommended!

Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is an enjoyable, action-packed film that will appeal to “Dragon Age” fans or those who love the action/adventure genre with swordfighting, monsters, dragons and  sorcery.  While not a groundbreaking film, it’s an animated film full of action and looks and sounds absolutely great on Blu-ray and features that Fumihiko Sori style that I enjoy watching!   The film takes place within the Dragon Age universe and showcases the origins of “Dragon Age II” characters Cassandra Pentaghast and Divine Justinia V.  And most of all… who doesn’t love a strong female character who can kick major ass!? “Dragon Age” fans and action/adventure fans…”Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Electronics Arts, Inc. FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker


DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV MA (Violence, Fantasy Violence)

COMPANY: EA/BioWare/FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2012

Directed by Fumihiko Sori

Screenplay by Jeffrey Scott

Music by Tetsuya Takahashi

Character Design by Daisuke Nakayama

Sound Design by Koji Kasamatsu

ADR Director: Mike McFarland

Featuring the voices of:

Luci Christian as Revered Mother

Colleen Clinkenbeard/Chiaki Kuriyama as Cassandra Pentaghast

Pam Dougherty as Divine

R. Bruce Elliot as High Seeker

Chuck Huber as Frenic

Mike McFarland as Lazarro

Brina Palencia as Grand Cleric of Orlais

Christopher Sabat/Gackt of Knight Commander

John Swasey as Byron

J. Michael Tatum/Shosuke Tanihara as Regalyan D’Marcall

In a land where battles are fought with swords and magic, a young heroine rises to glory as Templars, mages, and dragons clash. Cassandra, a brash and beautiful warrior, must stop a conspiracy that threatens the realm’s most powerful religious order. Accused of treasonous crimes and hunted by friend and foe, Cassandra must clear her name and overcome her rage in order to save the day and take her place in legend.

When it comes to video games, the Canadian video game developer BioWare is famous for creating successful video game franchises such as “Baldur’s Gate”, “Neverwinter Nights”, “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic”, especially the popular “Mass Effect” series.

And in 2009, BioWare created “Dragon Age”, a successful dark fantasy role-playing video game whichled to a sequel, “Dragon Age II” in 2011 and since have spawned novels, a Facebook game, a Flash game, a tabletop game, comic books, action figures, a web series and now, an animated film which was co-produced by BioWare, Electronic Arts and FUNimation Entertainment.

The animated film is directed by Fumihiko Sori, best known for his directed the live film “Ping Pong”, but for animation, known for his style of anime featured in the films “Appleseed” and “Vexille”.

The animated film was released in theaters in Japan in Feb. 2012 and in the United States in May 2012.  The film will also be released via Blu-ray/DVD combo on May 29th.

As “Dragon Age: Origins” took place in the country of Ferelden, in the continent of Thedas, gamsrs were introduced to the race and background of a Human Noble, Magi, Daish/City elf, dwarf commoner/noble but most importantly to the Dragon Age mythology.

While there is a connection between “Dragon Age II” to the “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker”, in order to be accessible to a large audience who have never played the video game, a short narration is given on the state of the world.  But the  film features a younger Cassandra Pentaghast.

“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” takes place during a time when people believed in faith, faith in a dominant religious order led by The Divine Justinia V.  Her Templar Knights have a tight control over the mages and making sure that no one uses their power in a negative way in ordering to bring upon the “Blight” (a period when a darkspawn tries to find and corrupt one of the Old Gods and transform it into an archdemon).

There has been corruption within the Templar Knights but fortunately, the best of the Knights, known as “The Seekers of Truth” (who were selected by the Divine), have rotted out corruption within the mages or the holes of the chantry.

And with a celebration for the ten year gathering of the faithful is bringing pilgrims from all over world to the Orlaisian Empire to pray for the peace.

“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” begins with the antagonist, Frenic (leader of the blood mages) forceably feeding the blood of Drake (a male dragon) to an elf named Avexis, in order for her to have the abilities to control the dragons.

When the Seekers arrive to fight the Blood Mages and save Avexis.  We are introduced to Cassandra Pentaghast, a Nevarran royal and Seeker of the Chantry and her mentor, the great seeker named Byron who has treated Cassandra like she is his own daughter.

And while the Seekers are successfully able to save Avexis from Frenic, Knight-Commander Martel (the head of the Templar Order in Orlais) has a major distrust towards the Seekers of Truth and does not get along with High Seeker Aldren.

One night, Cassandra awakens from a nightmare and hears someone walking around the castle.  It is her mentor Byron who has taken the elf, Avexis and is trying to flee the castle.  When she confronts Byron about why he is taking the girl, he does not want to tell her nor get her involved with his special mission.  But when the Templar Knights realize that the girl is missing, both Byron and Cassandra escape with Avexis and learn that Byron suspects a conspiracy that involves the High Seeker and the Chantry.

Because Byron knows that Avexis can control wild beasts, he wants to make sure no one uses her for evil and so he planned to give her to a friend and keep Avexis hidden.  But as Chandra tries to make sense of all that is happening, they are attacked by Blood Mages and in the process, Avexis is once again kidnapped by the Blood Mages and Byron is killed.

But right after the Blood Mages have left, Cassandra detects another Mage, a circle mage  named Regalyan D’Marcall.  But because Cassandra has a major distrust towards mages, for what they did to her family long ago, she can’t believe that Byron was working with a mage.

Now Cassandra must make a decision, to continue her job as a Seeker or to betray her fellow Seekers and the Divine in order to investigate the corruption in the Chantry and carry out the mission that her dead mentor had began.  But this means that she must work with a mage.  What will Cassandra do?

Needless to say, Cassandra decides to continue with what Byron had started and now, Cassandra and Regalyan are now wanted by both The Seekers of Truth and the Blood Mages.  What plan does the Blood Mages have with Avexis? And how is the Chantry involved?


“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is an animated film that has Fumihiko Sori’s style.  Presented in 1080p High Definition, “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

For those familiar with “Applessed”, “To” or “Vexille”, it’s a unique style that Sori films are known for.  That is to feature beautiful background art, well-detailed surfaces, may it be vehicles, structures or in this case, dragons.  But most importantly, it’s the design of his characters.  Some may say “over-exposed” or a “shiny” look.  It’s unlike any other anime film and it’s Sori’s style of creativity and when you see this style, you know he’s involved.

Sori is also known for having his films showcase black levels and shadow details.  Everything is pretty deliberate when it comes to the look of Fumihiko Sori’s work and whether or not you like it, I personally have enjoyed Sori’s animated films and see how far he can take his films and trying to incorporate realistic movements with his animated style.  And for the most part, he is able to accomplish a style that is much different from “Vexille” and also “Appleseed: Ex Machina”, but you can tell from this film of how far Sori films have come since “Appleseed”.


“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and because the film’s many action sequences, the film sounds absolutely impressive.  Great use of the surround channels, as well as LFE and dialogue and the musical score by Tetsuya Takahashi is crystal clear.  But things really do get immersive towards the final action sequences in the film and for the most part, audiophiles should be pleased with the lossless soundtrack.

And as far as the voice acting goes, both English and Japanese voicework are well-done.  Both Colleen Clinkenbeard and Chiaki Kuriyama do a magnificent job with their voice role for Cassandra Pentaghast and for J-Rock fans, I’m sure many will love the fact that Gackt does the voice of the Knight Commander.

Subtitles are in English.


“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” comes with the following special features:

  • Bioware Studio Tour – (7:56) Mike Laidlaw (Creative Director of “Dragon Age”) gives viewers a tour of BioWare’s Edmonton studio.
  • Dawn of the Seeker Backstage Pass – (20:40) Featuring BioWare and FUNimation staff discussing the film, the visual design of the characters, the characters in the film and how the movie came about.
  • Dragon Age Production Art – View various sketches and art created during production of “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker”.
  • Previews – FUNimation Entertainment and BioWare trailers


“Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” comes with a Blu-ray and two DVD’s featuring the English feature film and the Japanese version of the feature film.  Also, included is a code for a free download of a “Dragon Age: The Silent Grove” digital-exclusive comic which can be redeemed from Dark Horse Comics’ online store.  Also, the Blu-ray release comes with a slipcover case.

I have probably watched “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” four times now and part of the excitement of why I enjoyed this film is because of the work of Fumihiko Sori and his staff.  The look and feel of the animated film was very cool and I was very impressed by the 3D rendering of the dragons and also how beautiful the landscapes and structure were.  The Blu-ray really does a magnificent job in showcasing the detail plus the various colors of the film, may it be the dark blacks to the vibrant outdoor, day colors.

And for “Dragon Age” fans, especially those who have played “Dragon Age II”, will get a kick out of watching a storyline that revolves around a younger Cassandra Pentaghast.  Also, for the fans who have watched the web series “Dragon Age: Redemption” and seeing the tie-in between Cassandra and the characters of “Redemption”.

As for the film itself, while I do feel that “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” will appeal to “Dragon Age” fans, fortunately the storyline is accessible to those who have never played the “Dragon Age” video games.  Writer Jeffrey Scott (who worked on the animated TV series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Dragon Tales”, “Mega Man”, “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog”)  was able to make a straightforward screenplay that doesn’t get too convoluted in Dragon Age mythos.  All you need to know is that Cassandra is a seeker, an important position within the Chantry and that she is on a mission to uncover a conspiracy within the Chantry and also how it relates to the Blood Mages.

The film itself is rather violent, has a lot of blood, major loss of body parts and thus the reason for the TV MA rating.   But for those who enjoy this genre will find “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” to be more to their liking and may entice them in playing the video game series.

The Blu-ray release looks and sounds magnificent and I was pretty impressed of how Sori’s films have gotten better in look since his work on “Appleseed” and for audiophiles, the film also has its fair share of awesome moments during action sequences in producing an immersive environment.  As for special features, I did enjoy the studio tour of the BioWare Edmonton studio and also interviews with crew of BioWare and also Funimation but I was hoping to see a few more special features.  May it be an audio commentary or even featurette involving the Japanese side who worked on the film.

Overall, “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is an enjoyable, action-packed film that will appeal to “Dragon Age” fans or those who love the action/adventure genre with swordfighting, monsters, dragons and sorcery.  While not a groundbreaking film, it’s an animated film full of action and looks and sounds absolutely great on Blu-ray and features that Fumihiko Sori style that I enjoy watching!   The film takes place within the Dragon Age universe and showcases the origins of “Dragon Age II” characters Cassandra Pentaghast and Divine Justinia V.  And most of all… who doesn’t love a strong female character who can kick major ass!?

“Dragon Age” fans and action/adventure fans…”Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” is recommended!