What They Say:
When their descent from the sky doesn’t go as planned, the Straw Hats find themselves trapped in the Marine stronghold of Navarone. This impenetrable island is surrounded by scraggy stone walls and governed by a military mastermind known as Commander Jonathan. Pirates imprisoned within Navarone’s walls seldom live to see the other side, but not even the great Commander Jonathan has ever faced foes as formidable as Luffy and his crew.
Eager to escape the island and get back in the water, the Straw Hats hatch a plan to spring Zoro from the clink, reclaim their confiscated gold, and rendezvous at the Going Merry for a life-or-death, do-or-die, daring dash into the freedom of the deep blue sea! The sailing certainly won’t be smooth, and it’ll take all hands on deck to survive this scrape!
Contains episodes 196-205.
For this viewing session, we listened to English dub. The English 5.1 track is solid with no distortions or dropouts. On par with the other releases, this is a solid sound track that predominately uses the forward sound stage. As mentioned in previous collections, the English dub cast brings a lot of fun and depth to this great series.
The G-8 arc originally aired in 2004. As with the previous collections this transfer for One Piece does not disappoint in its original full frame aspect ratio. One Piece’s transfer is consistently clean and pleasing to watch. All of the colors appear very solid and exhibit great vibrancy. Cross coloration is absent and aliasing is at a minimum. On rare occasions there is just a small bit of noticeable background noise, but nothing to be concerned about. Nearly 7 years old, the animation quality is not quite up to par with today’s new anime style. However, One Piece’s bizarre character designs will keep your attention as they can be very random and often memorable. Not the prettiest, but it will definitely capture your attention. The transfer is as good as it can possibly be.
Following the previous collection’s box art design, the positioning of the collection title as it is featured at the bottom while the main focus of the artwork is positioned at the top. The featured artwork on this collection is that of Nami and Luffy riding the waver that they brought back from Skypeia. In the background, you can see the ever looming presence of the Navarone Marine base. throughout the collection. As usual, the backside of the box features a description of the series along with the technical specifications and a few screen shots. The thinpack case design features a canvas textured background with the Straw Hat pirate logo as was done in the previous collection. Beneath the logo is the words “Luffy’s Pirates”. The inside jackets for each of the DVD cases reveal the same logo and text placed onto wooden planked background. The DVD artwork also changed with an image of The Going Merry prominently featured. Overall, this is a decent design with a welcome set of changes that refresh the packaging.
Nothing has really changed with the menu system for this collection. The menu design is rather simple, but effective. The menu background uses the same design that is used for the DVD cases and box. The main menu features a larger image of The Going Merry that is found on the back side of the cardboard slipcover. The right side of the main menu features a vertical menu selection. Your standard episode and setup menus are all found here as well as a great looping musical score for each menu. The music loops appropriately and does not abruptly end, which is a nice touch. The menus are easy to access and transition smoothly without any problem.
As with other the collections preceding this one, the marathon mode feature allows you to view all the episodes without having to watch the episode introduction, preview for the next episode, and the closing credits.
You will also find the staff commentary embedded within episode 196.
The extras included in the collection are found on the second disc. The extras include the textless songs for the series and a handful of the latest FUNimation trailers.
Mike McFarland, Mark Stoddard and Brian Massey are featured in episode 196’s commentary. The episode will fool you into thinking that there is not any commentary as it does not start out at the beginning of the episode like many of the previous commentaries. The commentary actually starts after the opening theme song. Mike mentions that the G-8 arc has three of his favorite One Piece scenes, so be sure to hit him up at one of you local cons and ask him why! Mark and Brian talk about how they play a lot of various voices and the challenges of doing so, especially with trying to keep new voices and personalities.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Skypeia was a fairly enjoyable story arc, but at times it felt a bit strung out. Eneru was almost too narcissistic and his story wasn’t really that compelling. The side stories, especially the one with Noland and the Shandorians seemed to have more substance. Nevertheless, I had fun watching it as had that unique mix of One Piece craziness that begs you to come back for more. As with most anime, there is a time when filler arcs serve a purpose. They provide Manga artists time to develop new content for the main storyline. This is where we find ourselves with this collection. Plucked right from the sky, this collection of stories feels a bit disjointed from the main story arc, but manages to flow well within the confines of this minor story arc. If you’re a One Piece fan, you won’t care anyway, because it is One Piece!
This collection contains just 10 of the 11 episode G-8 story arc. This means that you won’t get to see the final episode of the G-8 story arc in this collection. We also get two less episodes than are included in the previous collections. I’m sure this has something to do with the current licensing, which I hope is soon renewed.
Arriving in the dark of night, the Straw Hats along with The Going Merry fall into the middle of the fortress island of Navarone. This island is much like the legendary German fortress of WWII. It is massive and formidable with thousands of marines based there. Their base commander Marine Vice Admiral Jonathon is no couch potato and will prove to be quite the hunter as he tries to capture the Straw Hats. Of course, the gang gets split up, which is always expected when a new One Piece story arc begins. And you know that it is going to be a wild romp of ride as the crew tries to find each other and The Going Merry.
The Going Merry has the marines spooked as they think it is a ghost ship. This makes the Straw Hat’s romp through Navarone all that much more fun. Luffy and Sanji end up in the galley and find themselves cooking for head chef, Jessica. This proves to be one of the more humorous events as Sanji’s cooking and Luffy’s eating steal the show. Of course, what collection doesn’t include Sanji trying to hit on women and Luffy eating everything. Nami and Chopper are an unlikely pair as they end up having to serve as doctor and nurse for a very badly wounded crew of Marines. Zoro’s role is minor, but humorous as he ends up being the first of the crew who is captured. In typical Zoro fashion, he tries to grab a few Z’s while captured. There’s a great exchange of humor between Chopper and Zoro later on when almost everyone is captured by the marines.
Robin, always such the thinker, has a little fun with the Jonathon. She seems to figure out ways to evade his the cat-and-mouse game as he tries to ensnare the Straw Hats. Last but not least is Usopp, the scatter brain crazed maniac who is fearful of everything unless he is in group. Usopp’s personal connection with The Going Merry is more pronounced than ever as he befriends a marine mechanic by the name of Mekao. Mekao understands what The Going Merry has gone through and relates well with Usopp, especially when it comes to understanding the ghostly figure that appears to have actually made the major repairs. Mekao tries to tell Usopp what it is, but is not able to finish as Lieutenant Commander Drake interrupts them while the gang is trying to escape.
Without reading too much into things, we know that The Going Merry is on borrowed time. Obviously, this is going to come into play as the story processes and it’s going to have a tremendous impact Usopp, which I think makes for a nice development in his character. While this collection of episodes does not really advance the overall story it feels like it is making some segues into what us yet to come, which is what makes this series so darn interesting.
The G-8 arc makes for a nice reprieve from the main story arc, but does tend to drag just a bit as the side stories tend to drag out the inevitable of getting the crew back together. The big drag is that the final episode of this story arc is not in this collection. You can’t help but wonder about what will happen with the FUNimation license as you watch this. It would be a terrible shame if it were not continued as FUNimation has done a tremendous job of resurrecting the mess that 4Kids made. I will hope for the positive as I just can’t see this being the end as it such an awesome franchise. I want to see who will be King of the Pirates!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Staff Commentary, Marathon Play,
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.