What They Say:
Monkey D. Luffy refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become King of All Pirates. With a course charted for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line, this is one captain who’ll never drop anchor until he’s claimed the greatest treasure on earth: the legendary One Piece!
Along for the ride are his loyal crewmates, a wonderfully-bizarre collection of outcasts and misfits from the far corners of the world. Each member has their own special talent, and they’ll utilize their skills to help Luffy achieve his dream! Together, the rubberman and his crew can conquer any challenge and defeat any foe!
Contains episodes 218-229.
The audio presentation for One Piece is a solid work though the favoring goes to the English language track. The series comes with its original Japanese mix in stereo which is good and has a solid feeling throughout it, though it never really extends itself all that much as it uses the forward soundstage. The English mix gets the 5.1 bump to it and that adds with the volume being louder in general and some occasional bigger moments thrown to the rear channels. It’s a decent mix to be sure, but it’s working with simple source material so it can only go so far. It makes up for it by being a bit brasher and outgoing. Both mixes work well and are free of problems like dropouts and distortions, leaving us with a pair of clean and clear mixes
Originally airing in 2004 and 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This collection has twelve episodes to it spread across two discs with six on each. The series in its widescreen form has a very good look where it takes what we had in full screen and just gives it a new life. The placement, framing and general look of the series comes across as brighter, cleaner and better choreographed both in fight sequences and general humor. The transfer brings through the detail of the animation much better and it just feels like the source material is in better shape as well. Colors are bright, appealing and problem free with only a mild smattering of noise in some of the backgrounds that never really detracts.
One Piece goes bright with its thin slipcover packaging as it has a white background with some colorful black and red framing to tie it together. The artwork is kept to the center under the same logo as used before and it stands out well here, bright and colorful and playful in a way that draws you in. This edition brings us scenes from the memory loss arc with Zoro and Luffy fighting along with a strange seahorse creature there. The front cover also lists the episodes so you know what you’re getting. The back cover goes for the same framing and is pretty light and inviting with the artwork as it uses the blue skies and clouds while also focusing on the Straw Hats themselves along the right. The left has a small summary of what to expect that hits some key points but keeps it simple. The discs features and what it contains is accurate, though it omits the clean openings that are included.
Inside the case we get a pair of clear thinpak cases that hold the two discs. Both covers are done the same in that they have the Straw Hate logo across it with the simple text logo as well which is all done in an old leathery volume kind of way. It has a good look but I almost wish we had more artwork here instead of this to go with the colorful slipcover that we have that holds the cases. The back covers are a bit traditional in that we get a wood deck feeling with the main colorful logo here as well as a breakdown of episodes by title and number. The reverse side has more of the wood feeling with the logo but no additional artwork or anything. No show related inserts are included.
The menu design for this release is quite fun and simple as it goes for a white background where part of the upper half is cut out in waves. White dominates it outside of the Straw Hats pirate logo along the left whereas the right has the season listing and the navigation in black and red, making for an easy read. The top portion brings in a bit of character animation artwork from the show that adds some splash of color that’s really nice to see. With a bit of mild instrumental music attached to it that doesn’t dominate, it sets the mood well and hits all the right notes. Submenus load quickly and easily and there were no problems moving around. I do wish they had kept to the menu designs for consistencies sake, but I like what was done here.
The extras for this release are pretty good as we get a few new English language commentaries as well as the clean versions of the openings here with a few variations to them that we discussed below the video section above.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having been set in my ways for so long now, 140 episodes or so, of watching the show on a weekly basis, going into a set once more just feels weird. Being able to get through twelve episodes like this (or twenty-six on the doubled up re-release collections) just gives ita very different flow and feel, largely for the better. Week by week, you can get into the nuts and bolts and detail of it, but when you spend a few hours and just watch twelve episodes in a row, you get to see the bigger picture in a clearer way. This set continues on from the previous set while also opening us up to a whole new, bigger world that’s highly enticing.
One Piece brought in some simple but good fun in the previous set with the introduction of Captain Foxy and his crew. They ended up in some weird Davy Back matches with him in order to gain crew members and treasure that sucked in the Straw Hats and lost him a few of his members as Robin and Chopper got traded away. The races and stuff were silly, but the shift to the more intense fight between Luffy and Foxy on board his ship was a lot of fun and carried over into this set. With Luffy all dressed up with his power-up afro, they wreck havoc over the ship as Luffy tries to figure out a trick to win. It goes as one would expect, but it just works well with its blend of comedy and action as he just gets more and more intent on gaining victory. Foxy just gets him all worked up with his mocking and the use of the slow motion ability.
Suffice to say that the crew is all back together and things are wrapped up well is an understatement, though there isn’t quite an entirely reset to zero feeling to it. The wrapup of events is pretty nicely done though since it goes back to how they first landed on this island. Where it goes from there though as the Log Pose takes them back out into the seas to yet another curious island. Well, the island itself is fine, but the group suffers early on as everyone but Robin suddenly loses their memories and are reset to certain times in their relatively recent past before they all met each other. It’s very, very amusing to see them go back to these days, not know who each other are and go through various stages of panic.
It does, in the end, highlight the changes to the characters over the last two hundred episodes. Luffy is sort of the same overall, still full of wanting adventure, but we get to see Nami freak out over being with pirates and just trying to figure out how to get back home so she can save her island. She really regresses in a big way here and is the most notable change. Chopper is similar in that he’s completely distrusting of humans, so being on a ship with them is unnerving. Especially since some want to eat him. The praise he gets from Robin though helps to settle him a bit as we get to see a really cute side of him. In the end, Zoro and Sanji just want to head back to what they believe their lives should be.
Naturally, there’s more to the story with how their memories are stolen, but that’s sort of just the ending point of the story as they work towards resolution. What a lot of this arc is focused on is dealing with the group that doesn’t know or really trust each other, especially since they realize that Zoro is a pirate hunter. Getting this look back at who they were and just how close they’ve become is fun, particularly when the memories obviously do return and it’s like a grand old time again.
What’s really engaging with the show, after a brief returning bout with Captain Foxy, is a seemingly out of the blue encounter with a man named Aokiji. He’s a somewhat laid back and relaxed guy they find on a new island they just landed on that they thought was uninhabited, but they also learn that he’s been looking for them, or Robin specifically as he’s actually one of the three Admirals of the World Government. It’s a brief couple of episodes that deals with this, but it sets into motion someone very, very powerful that is aware of them even as the World Government doesn’t give them much mind. It also brings a touch of Robin’s past into the present and makes it clear that there are some that are viewing Luffy as potentially a very big threat down the line that may be easier to deal with now. Luffy’s been making his way onto the larger stage for awhile after Alabasta and this just reinforces it.
This set brings season seven to a close and hits the first episode of season eight, covering a decent bit of ground and fun while opening the show up to the next realm. This set goes for a lot of humor and wacky situations throughout with a pair of Foxy arcs to deal with and some down time to get us to look at the overall progression of the characters over the course of the first seven seasons. When it starts to move on towards the larger world again, this time with the Admiral we get to meet, it’s a bit hint of things to come and the track that Luffy’s life will take. This set hits a lot of good notes overall, a lot of fun and ends with a new place that they’re going that will bring in one more main character to the series, eventually. Definitely a lot of fun and has me eager for the next installment already.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings, Commentary Tracks
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (episode 206) / 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (episode 207-217)
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.