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

September 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two” is the a must-see volume of this very important “One Piece” season and sets the story up before the hardhitting episodes to be seen in volume three. Highly recommended!

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two

DURATION: Episodes 469-480 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: July 26, 2016


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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


In One Piece Season 8 Voyage 2, A bold rescue plan turns into a Navy trap! As Luffy and his pirate allies advance across the bay of Marineford to save Ace, the government unleashes a deadly surprise – a powerful ­squad of living weapons – the Pacifistas.

Just as the pirates’ doom seems assured, Whitebeard reveals a trick up his sleeve – a hidden ship that rises from the depths to carry them toward the only breech. The Whitebeard Pirates, along with Luffy and his allies, meet the Navy forces led by the three Admirals, in a vicious, explosive, no-holds-barred clash at the base of Ace’s execution platform. Whitebeard is faltering. Luffy can barely move. And Luffy’s grandfather, Vice Admiral Garp, blocks the way. Can the pirates rescue Ace against all odds? Find out in One Piece Season 8 Voyage 2!


The race is on to save Luffy’s brother, Ace from being executed.

With the marines now setting the execution early, Luffy and Whitebeard try to save Ace from being executed.

But the Pacifistas begin their attack on the Whitebeard Pirates while Luffy and others take on Mihawk.  But awaiting for Luffy is his grandfather, the vice admiral, Monkey D. Garp of the Marines.  The highly anticipated battle between grandson and grandfather begins!

With time of the essence, can Luffy and Whitebeard save Ace?

Find out in “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two”, available now on DVD from FUNimation!

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 18th season and a total of 755 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2016, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two” (Episodes 469-480), 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. 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.


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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 2:

  • Music Lessons with Brook – (4:38) Featuring voice actor Ian Sinclair (voice of Brook) giving music lessons.
  • EPISODE 476 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Jason Douglas (voice of Aokiji) and Andrew Love (voice of Akainu).
  • EPISODE 480 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Brian Mathis (Monkey D. Garp) and Ed Blaylock (voice of Sengoku).
  • Textless Opening Song – “One Day”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two”, the episodes are from the Japanese 14th season (featuring episodes 469-480) as Whitebeard and Ace are much closer to saving Ace, but the Marines and the Pacifistas put an amazing fight to try and prevent them from reaching him.

This volume is truly epic as it gets close to setting up the third volume of episodes that will no doubt shock One Piece fans (who have managed to avoid any spoilers so far).

This volume is purely all action and while a lot of the episodes focuses on Whitebeard and his determination to save Ace, we see Luffy taking on two vice admirals and Kizaru.  Especially as Akainu waits for Whitebeard for battle.

Also, we get to see the return of Luffy’s grandfather, Monkey D. Garp, who is the Vice Admiral of the Marines who will do anything to prevent Luffy from rescuing Ace. And it is the highly anticipated battle between Yuffy and Garp.

Needless to say, this volume has a tremendous amount of action and “One Piece” fans will not be disappointed!

For “One Piece” fans, this season is possibly one of the more monumental seasons of “One Piece”, as it changes the direction of the series and the characters because of what happens in this season.

I don’t want to spoil anything for “One Piece” fans who are avoiding any reading of spoilers, but these first three volumes of season eight (US Funimation seasons) will be action-packed, surprising and absolutely heartbreaking. So, prepare yourself for one heck of an emotional rollercoaster.

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 and a featurette with Brook voice actor Ian Sinclair.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two” is an another action-packed volume as Luffy and Whitebeard and friends are now closer to Ace but as the Marines and Pacifistas try to undermine them from rescuing Ace, will they be able to make it happen?

If you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Two” is the a must-see volume of this very important “One Piece” season and sets the story up before the hardhitting episodes that will be featured in volume three.

Highly recommended!

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

September 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One” is the first must-see volume of this very important “One Piece” season. Highly recommended!

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One

DURATION: Episodes 457-468 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: May 31, 2016


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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Duncan Brannan as Mr. 3

Kazuki Yao/Barry Yandell as Bon Clay


In One Piece Season 8, with the tides turned against him, Luffy’s prison break becomes a race to save Ace!

Fresh off their daring escape from the underwater prison Impel Down, Monkey D. Luffy and his band of Buggy-obsessed escapees set out to rescue Ace from being executed by the World Government. Just one problem – he’s being held at Marineford, the Navy’s most heavily guarded headquarters with a reputation for being impenetrable!

With only three hours to spare before the execution, Luffy finds himself blocked out by the large gates surrounding the base. As the legendary pirate Whitebeard and his crew declare war on the marines, the three admirals, backed by the Seven Warlords of the Sea, vow to carry out Ace’s sentence no matter what.

After a shocking family secret whips the crowd into a frenzy, the stakes grow even higher – meaning Luffy will have to get creative if he intends to stand a chance against the titanic forces standing in his way. Don’t miss the thrilling adventure in season 8 of One Piece!

 


The race is on to save Luffy’s brother, Ace from being executed.

With three hours left until execution, the five Warlords and the three Marine Admirals prepare for their battle against Whitebeard.

And what is the relationship between Ace and Whitebeard?

Find out if Luffy and Whitebeard are able to achieve their goal in “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One”, available now on DVD from FUNimation!

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 18th season and a total of 755 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2016, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One” (Episodes 457-468), 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. 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.


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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • Episode 462 Commentary – Director Joel McDonald with voice talent Daniel Baugh (voice of Jimbei).

DISC 2:

  • Robin’s Search – (4:38) Featuring voice actress Stephanie Young (voice of Nico Robin) on her search for a book at the local library.
  • EPISODE 468 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Director Joel McDonald, Bruce Elliot (voice of Whitebeard) and Kyle Felix (voice of Marco the Phoenix).
  • Textless Opening Song – “Kaze wo Sagashite”
  • Textless Opening Song – “One Day”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One”, the episodes are from the Japanese 13th season and 14th season (featuring episodes 457-468) as Whitebeard has now arrived to try and save Ace.

With three hours until Ace’s execution, the Marines try to find out who the true parents of Ace and Luffy are.  And in this latest volume of “One Piece”, Ace’s origin is revealed.

For “One Piece” fans, this season is possibly one of the more monumental seasons of “One Piece”, as it changes the direction of the series and the characters because of what happens in this season.

I don’t want to spoil anything for “One Piece” fans who are avoiding any reading of spoilers, but these three volumes to be released will be action-packed, surprising and absolutely heartbreaking.  So, prepare yourself for one heck of an emotional rollercoaster.

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 and a featurette with Nico Robin voice actress Stephanie Young.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One” is an another action-packed volume as Luffy and Whitebeard and friends have only three hours to save Ace before his execution.  But with the powerful Marine Admirals waiting for them to arrive, do they even have a chance?

If you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage One” is the first must-see volume of this very important “One Piece” season.

Highly recommended!

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

May 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

onepieces7p5-a

“One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five” features Luffy’s race to free his brother Ace from execution, but Luffy must take on his biggest rival yet, Magellan.

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five

DURATION: Episodes 434-445 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: January 26, 2016


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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Duncan Brannan as Mr. 3

Kazuki Yao/Barry Yandell as Bon Clay


The Burning Hot Hell of Impel Down serves as the backdrop for a showdown with Warden Magellan, a monster with a penchant for poisoning prisoners! Luffy throws down with the toxic terror, but no warrior escapes unscathed when pummeling a foe too poisonous to touch.

After the rubber-man succumbs to the toxins breaking down his body, Bon Clay braves subzero temperatures and bloodthirsty wolves to track down a miracle worker rumored to have vanished into the gates of hell! Enter Emporio Ivankov. This larger-than-life personality has the Healing Hormones needed to save Luffy, but the cure could take ten years off the pirate’s life!

Consequences be damned, Luffy and Bon Clay take the ultimate leap of faith as they hurtle toward a reunion with Crocodile – and prison riot that could spring them from the clink and speed them on the way to saving Ace!


The race is on to save Luffy’s brother, Ace from being executed.

With Ace being held prisoner inside the hellish prison known as Impel Down, Luffy and Bon Clay must confront the poisonous warden, Warden Magellan.

Find out if Luffy is able to achieve his goal in “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five”, available now on DVD from FUNimation!

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 17th season and a total of 741 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2016, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five” (Episodes 434-445), 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.

So far, in “One Piece”, the group has entered Fishman Island and meet an old enemy, Hatchan and his friends Camie and Papagg. But also the first mate of Gold Roger, Silvers Rayleigh and also 9 rookie pirates known as the “11 Supernovas”.

The Straw Hat Pirates find out that their mermaid friend, Camie is being sold off in an auction and they must rescue her. News from the World Government arrives that they are going to execute the captured Portgas D. Ace, a move that could provoke a war with Whitebeard.

But what happens when the team fights for their life against Bartholomew Kuma, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea?


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.


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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 434 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR Director Mike McFarland, Colin Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy), Duncan Brannan (voice of Mr. 3) and Barry Yandell (voice of Bon Clay).

DISC 2:

  • Cooking with Sanji – (21:59) Featuring Eric Vale (voice of Sanji) in a cooking featurette for a Thai pasta dish.
  • Episode 442 Commentary – ADR Director Mike McFarland with voice talents Colin Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy), Jeremy Inman (voice of Magelan) and Randy Pearlman (voice of Ivankoff).
  • Textless Opening – Textless opening song for “Kaze wo Sagashite”
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

With the release of “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five”, the episodes are from the 13th season (featuring episodes 434-445), Luffy and Mr. 2 (Bon Clay) are trying to find Luffy’s brother, Ace, who has been captured and sentenced for execution by the ruthless and poisonous warden Magellan.

As Magellan is prepping Ace for the Marines, Luffy is willing to fight the warden, despite his ability of excreting poison.

Meanwhile, in order to survive, Luffy may need to turn to former enemies for their help.

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 and a cooking featurette with Sanji dub voice actor, Eric Vale.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five” is an another action-packed volume as Luffy must take on his most dangerous opponent yet, Warden Magellan.  Meanwhile, trying to survive in order to save his brother Ace from execution.

If you are a “One Piece” fan, “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Five” is worth watching!

Recommended!

Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

hamatara-a

“Hamatora” is a fascinating and action-packed series on a world with individuals with supernatural powers and the protagonist is a leader of a detective agency.  Featuring a good balance of humor and action, the series does become much more darker and violent towards the end.  But for the most part, an entertaining action-packed anime series worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © cafe nowhere / Hamatora Project. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080pHigh Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV MA VS

Release Date: September 22, 2015


Original Concept by Natsu Shobu, Yuki Kodama

Original Character Design by Yuki Kodama

Chief Director: Seiji Kishi

Directed by Hiroshi Kimura

Series Composition by Jun Kumagai, Touko Machida

Music by Makoto Yoshimori

Character Design by Yu Wazu

Art Director: Kouki Nagayoshi

Anime Production by NAZ


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Leraldo Anzaldua as Art

Ryota Ohsaka/Adam Gibbs as Nice

Wataru Hatano/David Wald as Murasaki

Atsushi Ono/Carl Masterson as Master

Ayaka Ohashi/Juliet Simmons as Rei

Ayami/Kasi Hollowell as Chiyū

Emiri Katō/Christina Kelly as Hajime

Eri Kitamura/Margaret McDonald as Honey

Jun Fukuyama/Blake Shepard as Birthday

Katsuki Murase/George Manley as Three

Kiyono Yasuno/Nancy Novotny as Koneko

Megumi Ogata/Carli Mosier as Momoka

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Greg Ayres as Seo

Takuya Eguchi/Mike Yager as Mao

Yūichi Nakamura/Andrew Love as Ratio

Yuuki Ono/Chris Patton as Moral


Nowhere may seem like just another Yokohama cafe, but as with many of its employees, this apparently innocent eatery leads a double life. Because Nowhere is also where you can find Hamatora, the mysterious detective agency run by P.I.s who are also M.H.s. That’s M.H. as in Minimum Holders, individuals gifted with extraordinary powers and abilities.

For the right price, you can hire founder Nice, who moves at the speed of sound, and partner Murasaki, whose super strength and near invulnerability are a significant asset. Of course, with incredible talents like these up their sleeves, Nice may not decide to take a case unless it personally interests him. But when a series of serial murders all turn out to involve other Minimum Holders, that interest is about to become extremely personal. Something monstrous is going on, and Minimum Holders as a class may be targeted for extinction!


In 2013, writer Yukino Kitajima and illustrator Yuki Kodama created the manga series “Hamatora” (which derives from the words “Yokohama Troubleshooter”).

The manga series was serialized in Shueisha’s “Young Jump” magazine and several months later, an anime TV series for the first 12 episodes produced by NAZ debuted on TV Tokyo from January through March 2014, followed by a second series titled “Re:_Hamatora” several months later produced by Lerche and a Ninteno 3DS RPG game titled “Hamatora: Look at Smoking World”.

And now the first season will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Hamatora” takes place in today’s modern time but when several humans known as Minimum Holders are discovered to possess supernatural abilities.  These special individuals are then trained at Facultas Academy to develop their powers and their existence is confidential to the world.

The series revolves around a Minimum Holder named Nice who has a detective agency known as “Hamatora” in Yokohama and together with his partner Murasaki, they take on cases that involve other Minimum Holders.

But instead of having a few of these enemy Minimum Holders serving time, they are given a chance to become allies and partner up with Hamatora.

But recently, crimes are being committed by people who posses a Minimum but they were not born with it.  Who is turning regular humans to Minimums and who is also responsible for the murder of other Minimum Holders?

Find out in “Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection”!

The following characters in “Hamatora” are:

  • Nice – The main protagonist and the founder of the detective agency known as “Hamatora”.  A former member of the Facultas Academy and despite being a genius, because he doesn’t take any job, he is often broke.  When he puts his headphones on, he is able to use his power, Sonic Minimum.
  • Murasaki – A former agent of Facultas who was sent to capture Nice, but ends up becoming his partner.  He is a rational thinker and has the Holder ability known as Gravity minimum.  His goal is to someday defeat Nice.
  • Hajime – A girl who tends to stay at Nowhere Cafe and likes to eat.  She has a powerful Holder ability.  She is one of the founders of Hamatora and close to Nice. She also has for some reason, lost all her memories.
  • Koneko – An employee of Nowhere Cafe and also is Hamatora’s receptionist and contract negotiator.

 

VIDEO:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  The anime series is colorful and vibrant.  Characters are well-designed and well-shaded, while background art is good.  Interesting choices to have these red splatters on the bodies, which at first made me do a second take if those were artifacts or some sort of splotchiness, but those are intentional art that was utilized by NAZ.   But for the most part, picture quality is very good and didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Dialogue and music are crisp and clear through the front channels.  I heard no hiss or problematic issues with the audio.  Both Japanese and English voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” comes with Clean Opening and Closing, Japanese Disclaimers, Japanese Promos.


 

I first discovered “Hamatora” while in Japan looking at the Nintendo 3DS game.  Having no idea what the series was about, watching the first season on Blu-ray made me feel reminiscent of the X-Men.

While the X-Men, the storyline revolves around the fear of mutants (individuals with supernatural abilities) and the struggle between the good and the bad, “Hamatora” has similarities but revolves around a detective agency trying to uncover cases that involve the killing of Minimum Holders (the name given to individuals with special abilities) and also humans given the Minimum power, despite not being born with it.

For the most part, the first season serves as an introduction to the characters and seeing Nice and Murasaki take on various humans given the minimum power, who will later become allies.  But also learning who is responsible and how demented the person really is and why he is giving normal people these abilities.

As the story progresses, it goes from lighthearted to something much darker and more violent and yes, even a bit bloody.

While the first season is only 12-episodes, the first season is fascinating and if you enjoy stories like the “X-Men”, then you will enjoy the special abilities that each person has.  The protagonist Nice is an interesting character.  A genius, yet a person who is often broke, he is also a person trying to understand why these humans would want to have a minimum power and when he confronts those who are on the wrong side of the law, it’s interesting to see him and others use their supernatural ability.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” features a colorful and vibrant palette, but NAZ gave an interesting animated style for the first season.  I didn’t notice any extensive banding issues or artifacts, but the series looks very good in HD.  Lossless soundtrack is presented in Japanese and English DTS-Master Audio 2.0.  The dialogue and musical score are crystal clear through the front channels.  Special features are your typical clean opening and closing theme, Japanese promos and disclaimers.

Overall, “Hamatora” is a fascinating and action-packed series on a world with individuals with supernatural powers and the protagonist is a leader of a detective agency.  Featuring a good balance of humor and action, the series does become much more darker and violent towards the end.  But for the most part, an entertaining action-packed anime series worth checking out!

 

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

August 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

onepieces7p2-a

“One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two” is an another action-packed volume as the Straw Hat Pirates take on their most powerful adversary yet, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Bartholomew Kuma and we will see the group in a position that they have never been in before! Exciting and if you are a “One Piece” fan, worth watching! Recommended!

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two

DURATION: Episodes 397-409 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: September 1, 2015


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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Izo Oikawa/Philip Weber as Iceburg

Takahiro Yoshimizu/David Wald as Paulie

Bin Shimada/Jonathan Brooks as Foxy the Pirate

Tomokazu Seki/Jason Liebricht as Rob Lucci

Masaya Onosaka/Christopher Corey Smith as Spandam

Kumiko Watanabe/Alexis Tipton as Fukuro

Naomi Shindo/Shelley Calene-Black as Kalifa

Hiroaki Yoshida/Andrew Love as Kumadori

Ryotaro Okiayu/Alex Organ as Kaku

Masaya Takatsuka/Phil Parsons as Jabura


Luffy turns a mermaid auction into a pirate-style brawl when he knocks the snot out of a celestial dragon. The punch heard ’round the island may have saved Camie, but it lands the Straw Hats squarely in the sights of an entire fleet of marines! A little help from fellow pirates Trafalgar Law and Eustass Captain Kid buys the crew some breathing room, but the situation goes from bad to worse when an army of Kuma-clone Pacifistas make their presence felt. Throw in some Light Speed Kicks from Admiral Kizaru and Senfomaru’s battle axe, and things couldn’t get much worse for the Straw Hats.

Or could they? Luffy is forced to watch in horror as the real deal Bartholomew Kuma makes his beloved friends vanish one by one until the rubberman ends up a lonely castaway on the island of Amazon Lily!


The Sabaody Archipelago Chapter continues as the Straw Hats entered Fishman Island and they get more than they ask for when they met an old enemy Hatchan, his friends Camie and Papagg (a first mate of Gold Roger), Silvers Rayleigh and the 9 rookie pirates known as 11 Supernovas.

But what happens when the Straw Hat Pirates are attacked by Bartholomew Kuma, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea?

Find out in “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two”, available now from FUNimation!

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 17th season and a total of 705 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2015, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two” (Episodes 397-409), available in September, 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.

So far, in “One Piece”, the group has entered Fishman Island and meet an old enemy, Hatchan and his friends Camie and Papagg.  But also the first mate of Gold Roger, Silvers Rayleigh and also 9 rookie pirates known as the “11 Supernovas”.

The Straw Hat Pirates find out that their mermaid friend, Camie is being sold off in an auction and they must rescue her.  News from the World Government arrives that they are going to execute the captured Portgas D. Ace, a move that could provoke a war with Whitebeard.

But what happens when the team fights for their life against Bartholomew Kuma, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea?


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.


 

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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 398 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Justin Cook (voice of Eustass Kidd) and voice actress Luci Christian (voice actress of Nami).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece in the Booth: With Sonny Strait – (22:10) Featuring an interview between Joel McDonald (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Sonny Strait (voice actor of Usopp).
  • Episode 405 Commentary –  ADR Director Joel McDonald with voice talent (with Supernovas) Laura Wetsel (Jewelry Bonney) and Major Attaway (Urouge).
  • Textless Opening – Textless opening song for “Share the World”
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

With the release of “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two”, the episodes will complete season 11 and begin season 12 and continues the Sabaody Archipelago Chapter as the Straw Hat Pirates try to save their good friend, Camie who is being auctioned off.

But possibly one of the coolest action-driven arcs as we see the Straw Hat Pirates go against one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Bartholomew Kuma.  And suffice to say, things do not bode well for our favorite pirates.

While I don’t want to spoil what happens at the end of the Sabaody Archipelago Arc, by episode 408-409, this kicks off season 12 and is a single story arc titled “Maiden Island” and is based on vol. 53 & 54 of Oda Eiichiro’s manga.

But this is probably one of the arc’s to jump into because it becomes the starting point of Portgas D. Ace being captured by the New Government and is set to be executed.  The other importance is the introduction to a new character that will play a prominent role in “One Piece”, her name is Boa Hancock.

This is a long story arc but as the storyline gets ready to jump into the Portgas D. Ace storyline, it’s one of the heaviest, action-packed storylines of “One Piece”, so it’s definitely an important for “One Piece” fans to definitely jump on the viewing bandwagon with “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two”.

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 and also the latest “One Piece in the Booth” featuring Sonny Strait.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Seven, Voyage Two” is an another action-packed volume as the Straw Hat Pirates take on their most powerful adversary yet, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Bartholomew Kuma and we will see the group in a position that they have never been in before!

Exciting and if you are a “One Piece” fan, worth watching!

Recommended!

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

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

onepiece-s5-v5

“One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Five” is an upbeat, fun DVD volume and for fans who have been watching this arc very closely, will be thrilled to see the two new members joining the Straw Hat Pirates!  Recommended!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Five

DURATION: Episodes 313-324 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: January 14, 2014

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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Izo Oikawa/Philip Weber as Iceburg

Takahiro Yoshimizu/David Wald as Paulie

Bin Shimada/Jonathan Brooks as Foxy the Pirate

Tomokazu Seki/Jason Liebricht as Rob Lucci

Masaya Onosaka/Christopher Corey Smith as Spandam

Kumiko Watanabe/Alexis Tipton as Fukuro

Naomi Shindo/Shelley Calene-Black as Kalifa

Hiroaki Yoshida/Andrew Love as Kumadori

Ryotaro Okiayu/Alex Organ as Kaku

Masaya Takatsuka/Phil Parsons as Jabura

Luffy and his mates emerged victorious from the battle at Enies Lobby, but after bidding a fiery farewell to the Going Merry, these pirates won’t be going anywhere! There’s a hefty new bounty of each of their heads, and their only hope for escape rests on the cyborg shoulders of Franky. The blue-haired, speedo-sporting shipwright offers to build the Straw Hats a new vessel, but time is of the essence. Some very familiar marines are breathing down their necks, and the crew can’t set sail without a boat – or their stubborn sniper.

A bombastic barrage of cannonballs inches closer and closer as the Straw Hats wait to see whether Franky will join the family, Usopp can swallow his pride, and if an angry face from Luffy’s past will sink their new ship!

Two members join the Straw Hat Pirates, who is Vice-Admiral Garp and will the Straw Hat Pirates find a new ship?

Find out in “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Five”, available now from FUNimation!

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 16th season and a total of 629 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation 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 Five” (Episodes 313-324), 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.

So far, in “One Piece”, the aftermath with the battle against CP9.

As the group are back in the water, the Straw Hat Pirates are approached by a group of Marines led by Vice-Admiral Garp, but instead of being arrested, Luffy sees two familiar faces and learns more about his father, Monkey D. Dragon.

As the group arrives on land, fans will be treated with episodes of Luffy and Chopper helping a girl named Abi find her Yagara bull, Zoro gaining a family, Sanji encountering a drunken old man who may be a talented chef and as Franky, Iceburg and the Galley-La foreman work to build a new ship for the Straw Hat Pirates, Franky makes a major decision.

Meanwhile, the Straw Hat Pirates adds two members to their group.

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 (aka Cutty Flam) – 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.

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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 317 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) and voice actress Apphia Yu (Adi).
  • EPISODE 319 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) and voice actor Charlie Campbell (drunk cook).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece in the Booth: With Colleen Clinkenbeard – (22:10) Featuring an interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Monkey D. Luffy) and a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of Colleen doing Luffy’s voice at the studio.
  • Textless Opening – Textless opening song for “Crazy Rainbow”
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

With the end of a riveting emotional Enies Lobby arc, as with most action-packed arc’s in “One Piece”, things tend to become more uplifting and giving the audience some breather room before  breaking out into another action-packed storyline.

In “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Five” (which episodes 313-324 are part of season nine in Japan), we see a few familiar faces from “One Piece” past make a return but we also see someone from Luffy’s family also make an appearance in the series.

And as we get to see the group split up for a few fun adventures, the main storyline revolves around two members joining the Straw Hat Pirates but also the unveiling of their new ship.

And that’s all I can mention without spoiling the episodes but for the most part, “One Piece” fans will definitely enjoy each and every episode in this latest DVD volume!

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 and also the latest “One Piece in the Booth” featuring Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy) and love how they show the behind-the-scenes recording of Colleen doing the voice of Luffy behind-the-scenes.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Five” is an upbeat, fun DVD volume and for fans who have been watching this arc very closely, will be thrilled to see the two new members joining the Straw Hat Pirates!

Recommended!

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

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

onepiece-s5-v4

In “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Four” , it’s the final battle between the Straw Hat Pirates and CP9 but also an emotional volume as the Straw Hat Pirates say goodbye to something very close to them.  Action-packed, emotional yet magnificent, this is one DVD volume that fans will not want to miss!  Recommended!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Four

DURATION: Episodes 300-312 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 3, 2013

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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Izo Oikawa/Philip Weber as Iceburg

Takahiro Yoshimizu/David Wald as Paulie

Bin Shimada/Jonathan Brooks as Foxy the Pirate

Tomokazu Seki/Jason Liebricht as Rob Lucci

Masaya Onosaka/Christopher Corey Smith as Spandam

Kumiko Watanabe/Alexis Tipton as Fukuro

Naomi Shindo/Shelley Calene-Black as Kalifa

Hiroaki Yoshida/Andrew Love as Kumadori

Ryotaro Okiayu/Alex Organ as Kaku

Masaya Takatsuka/Phil Parsons as Jabura

Luffy pours his heart and soul into the battle to keep his nakama together!

The assault on Enies Lobby reaches a boiling point as Spandam drags Robin towards the towering Gates of Justice! Zoro’s demonic nine-sword fighting style sets the stage for a blistering barrage of heroic attacks as the Straw Hats inch ever closer to a joyous reunion with their captured crewmate. The showdown between Luffy and Lucci rages out of control against a backdrop of devastating destruction thanks to Spandam’s Buster Call.

While the rubber-man trades blows with the most powerful assassin of CP9, his mates need help from below to avoid a watery grave. Explosions rock the horizon, Luffy’s giant attack sends him down for the count, and the unexpected return of an old friend represents the last glimmer of hope for our heroes!

As The Straw Hat Pirates go to save Robin, the Straw Hat Pirates must take on the Navy elite ala CP9 in “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Four”!

As Spandam takes a bounded Robin as Franky tries to rescue her, Zoro vs. Kaku and Luffy vs. Lucci in which Luffy utilizes his latest fighting technique! Will it work against Lucci?

Meanwhile, the Straw Hat Pirates must say goodbye to something very close to them.

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 16th season and a total of 629 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation 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 Four”, 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.

So far, in “One Piece”, Robin had quit The Straw Hat Pirates in order to sacrifice herself to save the others.  But for The Straw Hat Pirates, after learning why she wanted so sacrifice herself, they will do anything they can to help her.

But as they go to save her, CP9 (Cipher Pol Number 9), a secret organization affiliated with the Navy, begin their attack on the Straw Hat Pirates.

So far, it has been a tough battle but now Spandam has taken Robin, while Luffy is busy fighting Rob Lucci and Zoro takes on Kaku.

Who will become victorious in this battle?

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 FUNimation DVD release is listed as season five for America, in Japan, these episodes are part of season 9.

The “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Four” DVD comes with episodes 300-312 on two DVD discs. Here are the spoilerless summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 300 – The conclusion of Zoro vs. Kaku’s fight.
  • EPISODE 301 –  Spandam has Robin bounded and reveals to her of the person responsible for causing her so much trouble.
  • EPISODE 302 – The Buster Call shipps arrive and begin attacking the Tower of Justice.
  • EPISODE 303 – A flashback episode about Luffy and the missing 1000-year-old sakura tree.
  • EPISODE 304 – Luffy vs. Lucci and Luffi activates his second gear attack.  But will it defeat Lucci?
  • EPISODE 305 – The backstory of Rob Lucci.
  • EPISODE 306 – Franky vs. Funkfreed, Luffy activates his third gear attack.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 307 – The Straw Hat Pirates reunite, while Luffy continues to fight Rob Lucci.
  • EPISODE 308 – Rob Lucci activates his most powerful technique on Luffy, the Six Kings Gun.
  • EPISODE 309 – The end to the Luffy vs. Lucci battle?
  • EPISODE 310 – The Buster Call ships try to attack the Straw Hat Pirates, Franky Family and Galley-La foremen.
  • EPISODE 311 – What is the mysterious voice calling out for the Straw Hat Pirates?
  • EPISODE 312 – The Straw Hat Pirates must say goodbye to something important to them…

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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 300 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Christopher Sabat (Zoro) and Alex Organ (Kaku).
  • EPISODE 301 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Stephanie Young (Robin) and Christopher Smith (Spandam).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece in the Booth with Brina Palencia – (12:45) Featuring an interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Brina Palencia (Tony Chopper).
  • Textless Opening – Textless opening song for “Crazy Rainbow”
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

There is no denying that this Enies Lobby arc has been one of the most emotional seasons of “One Piece”.

From Robin’s emotional storyline, the exciting battle against CP9 and a final farewell to something so close to the Straw Hat Pirates.

And with “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Four”, you’re getting one wonderful DVD release which One Piece fans will surely enjoy but also some may shed a tear.

This arc has no doubt been one of the awesome arc’s in “One Piece” considering there have been 16 seasons aired in Japan, but memorable because of the backstories and the final goodbye but how everything has culminated to these episodes have been nothing short of wonderful.

The final battle between Luffy and Rob Lucci was spectacular, also to see Zoro meet a rival so powerful, but it has been a long journey for the Straw Hat Pirates and I really don’t want to spoil the storyline for fans, so I’ll just keep things vague and just say this is a recommended release full of action and emotion.

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 and also the latest “One Piece in the Booth” featuring Brina Palencia (voice of Chopper).

Overall, “One Piece: Season Five – Voyage Four” is a magnificent DVD release and if you are a curious or longtime fan, this is one volume you do not want to miss!

Highly recommended!

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

October 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

onepiece-s5-v3

In “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three” , it’s an all out fight as the Straw Hat Pirates take on CP9!  Action-packed, hilarious and all-out fun, this latest volume is highly recommended!

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

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three

DURATION: Episodes 288-299 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: October 15, 2013

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

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Izo Oikawa/Philip Weber as Iceburg

Takahiro Yoshimizu/David Wald as Paulie

Bin Shimada/Jonathan Brooks as Foxy the Pirate

Tomokazu Seki/Jason Liebricht as Rob Lucci

Masaya Onosaka/Christopher Corey Smith as Spandam

Kumiko Watanabe/Alexis Tipton as Fukuro

Naomi Shindo/Shelley Calene-Black as Kalifa

Hiroaki Yoshida/Andrew Love as Kumadori

Ryotaro Okiayu/Alex Organ as Kaku

Masaya Takatsuka/Phil Parsons as Jabura

All hands on deck for a Straw Hat slugfest with the assassins of CP9!

While Luffy races to save Robin from the cowardly clutches of Spandam the madman, the rest of his mates fight for their lives against the heinous henchmen of CP9! Robin steps into save Sanji from taking a beating at the hands of a lethal bathing beauty, and Chopper goes on a rampage after eating one too many Rumble Balls during his showdown with a samurai lion! Meanwhile, Franky teaches a zipper-mouthed freak a thing or two about the punching power of cola, Zoro s swordplay is hampered by being handcuffed to Usopp, and Sanji reappears just in time to introduce his wolfish opponent to the burning power of the devil s leg! The fists are officially flying, and the most epic One Piece arc ever just got brutal!

The Straw Hat Pirates take on CP9 in the latest volume of “One Piece”!

The Enies Lobby Arc continues as Luffy receives some help from Chimeney and Gonbe and continues his search for Robin (who has been taken by Spandam and Rob Lucci).  Meanwhile, the one-on-one battles vs CP9 begins as Franky takes on Fukuro and Chopper takes on Kumadori, Nami vs. Kalifa and Zoro and Sogeking vs. Kaku and Jabura.

Find out what happens during the fight against CP9 in “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three”, available now on DVD courtesy of FUNimation!

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 Three”, 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 FUNimation DVD release is listed as season five for America, in Japan, these episodes are actually season 9.

The “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three” DVD comes with episodes 288-289 on two DVD discs.

Here are the spoilerless summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 288 – Luffy continues to go after Robin, with the help of Chimeney and Gonbe.  Frank vs. Fukuro.
  • EPISODE 289 – Frank continues his fight vs. Fukuro.
  • EPISODE 290 – Chopper vs. Kumadori.
  • EPISODE 291 – A filler alternated reality “Grand Jipangu” episode about a small girl named Rika and taking in a person who needs help.  Meanwhile, crimeboss Bugg the Clow tries to get rid of Detective Luffy.
  • EPISODE 292 – Continuing the alternate reality “Grand Jipangu” storyline, Nami, Sanji and Chopper make their way to the Shogun’s Castle.  Meanwhile, someone kidnaps Princess Vivi.
  • EPISODE 293 – Chopper’s newest transformation.  The conclusion of Chopper vs. Kumadori.
  • EPISODE 294 – The Marines have arrived and Spandam tries to contact CP9 but instead, he accidentally invokes the Buster call.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 295 – Luffy vs. Rob Lucci.  Meanwhile, Nami and friends don’t understand what has happened to Chopper.
  • EPISODE 296 – Nami vs. Kalifa.
  • EPISODE 297 – Zoro vs. Kaku, Sogeking and Nami vs. Jabura.
  • EPISODE 298 – Sanji returns to take on Jabura.
  • EPISODE 299 – Franky goes to help save robin, while Zoro’s fight with Kaku continues.

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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 289 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Alexis Tipton (Fukuro) and Patrick Seitz (Franky).
  • EPISODE 290 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Sonny Strait (Usopp) and Brina Palencia (Chopper).

DISC 2:

  • On the Boat: Behind the Scenes of One Piece with Jonathan Brooks – (16:59) Featuring an interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Jonathan Brooks (Foxy the Pirate).
  • On the Boat: Behind the Scenes of One Piece with Jason Liebrecht – (14:34) Featuring a video interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Jason Liebrecht (Rob Lucci).
  • Textless Song – Textless opening song for “Crazy Rainbow”
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

We have watched as Robin has tried to leave the Straw Hat Pirates to protect her friends but how Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates will not stop in order to rescue her.

We have seen the sheer power of CP9 and now it culminates in these episodes as members of the Straw Hat Pirates go one-on-one with members of CP9.

Franky takes on Fukuro and Chopper takes on Kumadori, Nami vs. Kalifa and Zoro and Sogeking vs. Kaku and Jabura.  Suffice to say, this is an all action-packed volume as this latest fight is their most difficult challenge yet.

So difficult that Chopper has to do another transformation that literally makes him a terrifying beast with hardly any control.  While Zoro, Sanji and Nami grow from their battle.

While the episodes are primarily all fighting, all-action-based episodes, there are two filler episodes that take on an alternative reality where Luffy is a detective and everyone must try to save Princess Vivi.  Fortunately, these filler episodes are only two episodes long.  But what I love about this volume is the opponents that the Straw Hat Pirates must take on.

From the zipper mouth Fukuro and his distinguished laugh, the lying and very tough wolf fighter, Jabura and to see Kaku turn into a fighting giraffe.  It was no doubt an odd and unusual fight for the Straw Hat Pirates and yet, CP9 constantly fight as if they have no weaknesses.  So, it’s interesting to see how the Straw Hat Pirates try to counter the opponent in their solo battle.

As for the DVD, you get 11-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, picture quality is colorful, vibrant and looks good as one can expect on DVD. Audio is good, dialogue is clear. And for special features, it’s awesome to see FUNimation featuring more special features and in this case, two one-on-one video interviews between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and main cast members. There are also 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 the Ennies Lobby Arc is quite fascinating and with this volume, very exciting and a lot of action that will keep One Piece fans glued to this arc and its episodes.

A great combination of unique storylines, plenty of action and humor.  The characters are awesome, the anime are well-acted (Japanese and English dub) and it’s definitely one of the better action anime TV series to be released in the U.S. and continues to air in Japan.  “One Piece” 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 and how people gravitate towards this series.

In “One Piece: Season Five, Voyage Three” , it’s an all out fight as the Straw Hat Pirates take on CP9!  Action-packed, hilarious and all-out fun, this latest volume is highly recommended!

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