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One Piece Season 5 Part 4 Anime DVD Review

10 min read

One Piece Season 5 Voyage 4
One Piece Season 5 Voyage 4
The destruction is far and wide and not all of the Straw Hats will survive.

What They Say:
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!

Contains episodes 300-312.

The Review:
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 2007, 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 thirteen episodes to it spread across two discs with seven on the first and six on the second. 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, even when it’s dark since it’s also colorful and playful in a way that draws you in. The cover for this release gives us some good imagery as we get Luffy in action as he goes up against Lucci while we also get the intensity of the Merry on fire, which I admit that I wouldn’t put on the cover. 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 various serious scenes from the episodes. 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 Hat 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 two new English language commentary for a couple of episodes. The second disc also brings us a new “On the Boat” segment, this time with Brina Palencia, which runs for about twelve minutes and explores her role as Chopper and the fun of the show mixed in with clips from it. We also get a couple of clean opening and closing sequences as there’s a change in these episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When One Piece gets towards the final segment of an arc, it’s always interesting to see how it sort of just barrels towards a conclusion far quicker than it built up to it. This arc is no exception as we’ve moved through events that really started back during the Water 7 period that has now lead us to the Straw Hats storming the gates of the World Government. Well, not the formal headquarters of it or anything, but what they’re doing at Enis Lobby is more significant than they probably realize. With it being the place where the law of the world is handled and the processing of so many prisoners, it’s symbolically huge. And just having them standing up to what’s going on here as they seek to get Robin back from Spandam is definitely an important and defining moment. As is said at one point, they’re defying the government in a huge way here and that will reverberate and accelerate their reputations.

Providing they survive it. Well, we know they will because that’s not a real plot point, but they have to face some serious challenges in order to do so. And not just physical ones but emotional as well as some of what’s key here is really cementing Robin’s place in the group. With her having given herself up to the CP9 since she feared the threat of the Buster Call and she knows what her past would mean to the present of others, she’s very meek throughout much of this part of the arc, suffering through the venom and bile that comes from Spandam as he goes on and on about what she means, how much of a threat she is to the world and just how well his position is secured by bringing her in. He’s gone so far in bringing her in and ensuring that it happens that as events start to spiral out of control, you can understand why he’s made the Buster Call for Enis Lobby in order to deal with it.

It doesn’t make sense that the Navy agrees to this, no matter who makes the call, Spandam included. Much of the arc focuses at different times on the fight between Lucci and Luffy and that’s a very visible thing, which is what makes Spandam panic so much, though I like to think it’s the attack by Sogeking that really drives him to a panic since nobody can stop him. Spandam is willing to destroy anything and he has the backing of his position in the CP9 to ensure Robin is his and he has no care for the collateral, a common enough theme among many of the higher-ups in the Navy, which is reinforced with the high ranking people that arrive to deal out the Buster Call. While some of the subordinates are shocked that they’re shooting at their own people, those that express it get killed. But it’s hard to grasp why the high ranking Navy admirals would do this without a second thought, even admitting structure and order that comes from an organization like this, when the level of destruction is so big and it’s a place of their own. It’s one thing when it comes to one of the many strange islands out in the Grand Line. Enies Lobby though? I’m still shaking my head over it. But it’s a wedge that shows just how far the World Government will go and that can shape public opinion.

While a number of the Straw Hats get largely supporting roles here towards the end, and the arc does come to an end, it is fun to see them get involved a bit with the running around they do and the comedy of it, which helps to lighten the mood properly. The action is largely focused on Luffy and Lucci and that means we do get a background episode on Lucci that makes it clear just how powerful and ruthless he is, explaining why he’s gotten as far as he has and ended up in the CP9. But we also get the nod, from Chopper of all people, that makes it clear that Luffy seemingly always knows who it is he’s going to have to face off with in an adventure like this. We get the flashback to how he called out Lucci, so it all comes to resolution here as Luffy struggles with the gear shifts he pushes his body through and what it means. It’s good to see the evolution of this and how he works through it as well as seeing the toll it takes on him. The fight with Lucci isn’t much to write home about overall though, but it definitely has a good extended slugfest that rallies everyone to Luffy’s side as things get dark towards the end.

While the ramifications of the win here will be dealt with down the line as the Straw Hats have completely risen to a high level of notice here, it’s the more personal side that he series closes out with that strikes the best chord. After three hundred episodes, we finally lose our first Straw Hat to events as the Going Merry, which has inserted itself into this fight in order to save the day, can truly go no further. The ship is truly given its due here as the shipwrights from Water 7 are here and Iceberg is shocked by what he learns and they all hear the voice of the ship in its own way as we learn why and how it’s been talking to them. It’s a beautiful kind of moment that has them all saying their goodbyes with memories of what they’ve been through, bringing this particular chapter of the series to a close. The Going Merry gets its due here and I really loved how they handled this part of and the emotion of it all. And how it’ll usher in the next phase for the crew since they have so many adventures ahead of them.

In Summary:
The conclusion of the Enies Lobby aspect of this arc is quite well done and full of action, excluding the awful Jipang filler episode that shows up mid-set. There’s a lot to like here as the cast deals with trying to rescue Robin, having her realize that she has worth and value – and friends, and seeing them all fight so hard and come together in the face of such adversity. It’s hard to believe things get more dangers than a Buster Call in the future, but they do. But here, this is where things are at their worst and the group comes together wonderfully to save a friend and move forward as a tighter, strong team. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows as there is a lot of collateral damage here that isn’t explored, which is unfortunate as it could make for some great side story material, and that adds to the arc in a very good way. There’s a lot of changes going on here in the larger sense and the story handles it very well.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Ending, Commentary Tracks, On The Boat

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

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
MSRP: $39.98
Running Time: 320 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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