All aboard the Sea Train!
What They Say:
The Sea Train has left the station! Next stop, Enies Lobby!
Nami, despite her desperate dash, arrives at the station too late to stop the Sea Train, but she’s relieved learn that Sanji has stowed away on board the vessel and will stop at nothing to rescue Robin! With the storm of all storms bearing down upon them, Nami and Chopper risk their lives to save Luffy and Zoro from the rapidly rising waters. Back aboard the train, Sanji is aided in his battle against the CP9 goons by the arrival of the mysterious Soge King, a wandering warrior from the Island of Snipers!
As the scattered Straw Hats fight to reunite, fate draws them ever nearer the foreboding fortress of Enies Lobby. Will our heroes live to face the hour of reckoning?!
Contains episodes 253-263
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.
Originally airing in 2005, the Water 7 Arc 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.
The packaging for this collection follows the previous collection. 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 artwork is bright, colorful, and always an attention grabber. This edition features Luffy, Robin, Sogeking, Zoro, and the Sea Train. The thinpack case artwork is virtually the same as the previous collection.
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.
The extras for this release include a couple of English language commentaries. The “On the Boat” featurette brings about some interesting and fun interviews with Christopher Sabat and the other with Colleen Clinkenbeard. Last, but not least, we get some new clean opening and closing sequences.
The Water 7 arc has been an epic ride so far with a lot going on. The uniqueness of Water 7 itself along with a whole gambit of new characters has made this a very enjoyable story arc. There has been drama aplenty with the divorcing of Usopp from the crew, the attempted murder of Iceberg, CP9, and now the Sea Train. And how can I forget Franky, this guy is a trip!
In this collection, you are going to see lots of action. However, there is not a lot of substance for advancing the storyline. In the previous collection, we were left with the CP9 gang taking Robin aboard the Sea Train, making their way for Enies Lobby. Of course, the Straw Hats are still scattered throughout Water 7 with no means of catching up with them, or do they? Besides, can Sanji and Franky really take on the CP9 gang by themselves?
Here, is where Franky and Iceberg’s backstory intersects with the present day as there just happens to be another sea train aka. The Rocket Man. It was the first sea train prototype that was built by Tom the Fishman and is the fastest sea train ever built. The only hitch to it is that it was unsafe for commercial use due to its inability to stop. Knowing that Luffy will stop at nothing to save Robin, he teams up with the Franky family to pursue the Puffing Tom and the CP9 gang along with a blessing from Iceberg and assistance from the Galley-La foremen. In a pinch, you can always trust that Luffy can put together a group of misfits to take on the bad guys!
The Rocket Man, with the Franky Houseboat in tow, sets off to catch up with the Puffing Tom. Battling the Aqua Laguna is one thing, but Luffy and Zoro have to pretty much protect the train from CP9 baddies, detached sea train cars, and other various sea creatures. Comically and seriously connected, this proves to be a great set of action sequences that will make you laugh and stay riveted to the seat in suspense. Zoro and Luffy’s teamwork is very reminiscent of their earlier days together as they keep clearing a path for The Rocket Man.
The most memorable sequences of the collection take place when Soge King (aka. Sniper King) makes his grandiose entrance. And, it is everything as awesome and campy as one would hope for as it is new alter ego for Usopp. Of course, it doesn’t take Franky and Sanji long to figure him out nor the viewer. All the same, it is great way for Usopp to come back into the overall plot with a possible reunion with the Straw Hats. Still, it makes for some great comical fun with his character in how he feels like he is really a superhero when behind the mask. A man from the island of snipers should be not be taken lightly!
The most dramatic sequence that takes place near the end of this collection encompasses the interaction between Sanji, Usopp, and Robin. No matter how hard Usopp and Sanji try to free Robin, she just can’t seem to get past carrying her own burden. Standing alone for so long, she does not want anyone to share that burden. Even, if it means watching her friends abandon everything to save her from the One World Government.
Water 7 as a whole has been a great ride so far. The most frustrating aspect is that you only get 12 episodes at a time when it would be so much better if you could watch the whole story arc in shorter period time. The overall plot is more of a side car on this high speed action packed collection. You will find that this collection returns to the tried and true blend of One Piece action and campiness that fans dearly love. I just can’t seem to get that song about Sniper Island out of my head!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Running Time: 320 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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