So Long Going Merry!
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.
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 2006, the Enies Lobby 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 5 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 socking it to Rob Lucci. And sadly, we see the Going Merry on fire in the background. 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. The DVD labels use the same image of the Going Merry as the front cover.
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.
The extras for this release focus on the English voice cast. The “On the Boat” segments with the cast of the show are fun and allow us to experience the cast as they share their experiences in recording the dub. Brina Palencia is featured in this segment as she explores her role as Chopper.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
The finale that we have all been waiting for and yet dreading, as it pertains to the Going Merry, culminates in this action packed collection of episodes that begins winding down the Water 7 saga. There is always a certain amount of heightened expectation and anticipation when the a story arc begins to conclude. As usual, One Piece does it in spades and does not disappoint. CP9, Enies Lobby, and the Gates of Justice cannot stop Staw Hats. There is no doubt that the whole world will come to know the rag tag crew that fought the law and won. Their reputations will definitely precede them in what is yet to come.
The crux of this arc has really been mostly about Robin. She has pretty much been a welcome addition to the crew, but never really solidified as true member who is devotedly true to the cause. By the end of this saga, there is no doubt she is part of the family as everyone has sacrificed so much to save her from the clutches of CP9 and Spandam. And, she welcomes that union with both arms. We have witnessed changes in everyone, but most notably with Usopp, Chopper, and Luffy. That’s not to say we don’t see some changes with Sanji, Nami, and Zorro. It seems like Usopp and Luffy have grown up a bit and Chopper has discovered a bit more about himself and that he can be great contributor. And I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention Frankie. He just seems to fit right in and always there when needed. And, a very welcome addition if I might add.
You know that the Straw Hats are going to come through no matter how high the peak. However, they will have plenty of scars from the experience and will be the stronger for it. This arc definitely proves that. Surviving the Buster Call and taking down CP9 is no small feat! And that leaves us with Spandam, who kind of reminds me of Cobra Commander from Gi-Joe. He is a maniacal madman, but a complete buffoon at the same time. He isn’t so stupid as to know when he is beat and that is evident in how he attempts to use Robin as his hostage. Especially when it means that he can use her as means to secure his position within the World Government. He wants to take credit for the glory, but when the chips are down, he wants to place the blame elsewhere. As for how many teeth this guy loses from being beat up so many times… that’s anyone’s guess. But, I am sure that we have not seen the last of this guy. It is amazing that the Navy and the World Government tolerates this guy at all. Perhaps we will learn some revelation about him in the future.
As this arc comes to a close, the marquee fight between Luffy and Rob Lucci comes to its eventual end. This is a knock-out-drag-out fight that goes into extra innings. Of course, this allows us to sympathize a little bit with Lucci as we learn more about him and his background. This long fight also allows us to see Luffy experiment with the gear shifts as he tries to take down Lucci. Of course seeing Chibi Luffy is always funny. While this fight is intense, it is not the best of fights nor does it compare with the fight with Crocodile back in the Alabasta arc.
The most intense moments of the whole arc culminate with the crew being reunited again aboard the Going Merry for one last time. Without spoiling it much, it certainly wraps up the arc and brings the crew back together again. The whole rift between Usopp and Luffy is all, but forgotten. Although, Luffy and Chopper still can’t figure out who Soge King is! I couldn’t have asked for a better ending as all is right with the world and the crew is back together safe and sound surrounded by their new friends from Water 7. I can only expect that the next collection of episodes will contain at least one big party with Luffy eating everything in site!
It’s time to leave Enies Lobby and Water 7 and those Grand Jipangu filler episodes. As with most One Piece story arc conclusions, you are going to find a lot of action. Bringing the crew back together, Robin’s rescue, and saying goodbye to the Going Merry are the highlights of this collection. The results of the events that took place will set a heavy precedence for what is yet to come as the Straw Hats have dealt a heavy blow to the World Government. I am sure the million berry bounties will only increase for the heads of each Straw Hat. A lot has happened in this arc where bonds have been strengthened, new abilities forged, and new friendships developed to name just a few. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the Straw Hats. What lies ahead may be something that not any one crew member will be able to face alone.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 3rd, 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