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One Piece Season 4 Part 1 Anime DVD Review

6 min read

Pirate games aplenty, One Piece brings its own take on the Laugh Olympics.

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 206-217

Audio:
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.

Video:
The G-8 arc originally aired in 2004 as did the beginning of the Davy Back Fight arc. 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 8 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.

Packaging:
The packaging for Season 4 changes things up a bit with a white background slip cover for the two think pack DVD cases. You will find the familiar One Piece logo across the top with some artwork from the series on the front with the typical collection summary and technical specifications on the back. The featured artwork on this collection is comprised of some crazy images of Luffy, Foxy the Silver Fox and some members of his crew. The thinpack case artwork is virtually the same as the previous collection. Overall, this is a decent design with a welcome set of changes that refresh the packaging.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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. You will also find Mike McFarland’s commentary on episodes 211 and 215, which gives us some insider information about long hiatus that took place between this collection and the last.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
After a long break between collections, season 4 collection one makes it grand entrance. It is like saying hello to an old friend and realizing how much you miss what makes this series so awesome. Trying to reconnect to the G-8 arc took a little bit of memory recall, but everything came back to me as I watched the Strawhats make their grand escape from the clutches of Commander Jonathon at the island fortress of Navarone. Unfortunately, the end of the G-8 arc fell flat as it was kind of a how-hum ending with nothing really making a great impression on what took place.

What comes next, is some crazy awesomeness that encompasses what is known as the Davy Back Fight Arc. One Piece continues to surprise me with its zany characters and plot. It’s like watching survivor meets Hannah Barberra’s Laugh Olympics where the Straw Hats find themselves in having to participate in a high stakes, winner take all crewmembers situation. All brought to you by none other than the cheat, of all cheaters, Silver Fox Foxy and the Foxy Pirates!

For One Piece manga aficionados, this roughly takes place between the Skypeia and Water 7arcs. The arc took just about one volume while the anime spans across twelve episodes. Of course, you’ll have to get the next collection to see the end of the arc. Some may say feel as if there is already plenty of filler as was the case with the G -8 arc. However, these episodes are worth a view just because of the hilarity in this uniquely, yet crazy arc.

While G-8 was true filler arc, the Davy Back Fight Arc does pick up with the manga at the beginning with episode 207. Coming upon Long Ring Island, the Straw Hats investigate the visually unique island that is comprised of elongated fruits, trees, and animals. Everything is elongated and brightfully strange. This is especially so with some of the animals. As with any island, there has to be a partially senile old man who is wondering about. Of course, he befriends Luffy, Chopper, and Usopp immediately. I bet he will play an important role at some point in this saga.

The Foxy Pirates make their grand entrance. With an enormous ship, Captain Foxy appears to amass such a large crew by winning challenges. You will son learn that he wins by tricking crews into participating in his high stakes games known as Davy Back Fights. These games are governed by rules of Foxy’s own making. Being the sucker that he is, Luffy enters into an agreement to participate in the games much to the bequest of Nami.

The games are anything but short as they are exaggerated into very long matches. Officiated by Itomimizu who also serves as the announcer for the matches, craziness takes the competitors all around the island and then some. Differing from the manga, you will find that there is an addition of three additional matches in the anime which kind of drags on a little. However, it is funny to see Captain Foxy get his feelings hurt. The back and forth emotionality between Luffy and Foxy is a lot fun.

From a boat race to roller derby, you will find a lot to like in these insanely entertaining matches. My favorite competition encompasses the Groggy Ring Fight where Zoro and Sanji have to work together to take on the Groggy Monsters. The bickering that ensues between Zoro and Sanji are pure fun as they try to win Chopper back, who seems to be the perpetual pawn victim of the lost matches. If anything, Itomimizu keeps things entertaining with his side boisterous play-by-play commentary.

Summary
The G-8 arc ends with a small splash as the Davy Back Fight brings some craziness that will remind dub fans of how much they have missed One Piece since its long hiatus in the US. Of course, the most dedicated will have gone ahead and watched the streaming releases that are leaps and bounds ahead of the dubbed collections. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see the US dubbed verison of One Piece moving ahead again for what seems to be for good while as the licensing seems to be taken care of. The Davy Back Arc is not the most powerful nor is it the most plot intensive of One Piece’s many arcs. But, it is a great starting point for those who have been waiting for this collection and is a safe place for new viewers to jump on board.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings, Commentary Tracks

Content: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C+

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: August 7th, 2012
MSRP: $39.98
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)

Review Equipment
Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p

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