One Piece Episode #422 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, October 19, 2009
Release Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Luffy slips into the most dangerous prison in the world under a woman’s skirt.

What They Say:

At the gates of Impel Down, Luffy and Boa Hancock have finally reached their destination, but their clever plan to sneak into the prison is only minutes away from being discovered! Ace's life hangs in the balance!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”

As this is the first time I’ve reviewed One Piece, I feel a little context is in order. When I saw the first DVD set from FUNimation, I came away disappointed with the show because of the dub and didn’t much care for that first chunk of episodes. I ended up having another review take on the series that’s more of a fan of it since I didn’t want to spend potentially hundreds of episodes essentially disparaging it. I had done this in the past with Naruto and the person reviewing that stopped, which left me in a quandary as I had to start watching it from about a hundred episodes in and trying to put it all together and go forward. With One Piece, I took the opposite approach of watching the season sets as they come out but not reviewing it, so I did not look at it with a critical eye.

And I enjoyed it. Which really threw me as I now close in on the first one hundred episodes in that format. So I decided to try and challenge myself by jumping ahead about three hundred or so episodes and watching what’s streaming out there now with only a little bit of the back story. While I won’t do this with a series of novels or movie trilogies for example, jumping into the middle of a show of this length isn’t a big deal. I did it for years with Marvel and DC Comics series that have lots of back story and a rich universe. One Piece essentially is the same thing so while I may be missing a lot of what’s driving things at this particular moment, the show runners also have to ensure somehow that the show is accessible to newer viewers at times as well, otherwise their audience doesn’t grow. And after this many episodes, surely the One Piece audience is still growing? Well, yes, it grew by at least one with me now watching.

Episode 422, A Deadly Infiltration!, is certainly an amusing place to jump into things but it may be just right for me. There’s a lull in the action as so much has happened recently and now Luffy is making his way into Impel Down, the most dangerous prison in the world run by the World Governments. Working with the pirate empress Hancock, he’s secured himself access to inside the prison, or at least through the massive and well protected gate, by essentially hiding himself in her cloak. Though she’s come with one of the more powerful men in the marines there, she’s still subject to distrust as they insist she be manacled, which is where the tension comes in as it will reveal that Luffy is there.

Luffy’s going to the prison is a mission that’s quite important to him, though he is the type to take on every mission with a sense of importance. Rescuing Ace however is something more since there’s the familial relationship. Some of the episode is spent with Ace in his chains hanging from the wall as his grandfather prattles on about things while we see the other Marine higher ups going about and acting all important. Much of this is all about the setup and preparations for what comes, but there are some good reflective moments that talk about recent battles with the Warlords and exactly what kind of ruckus that Luffy has caused to get everyone in an uproar, as well as explaining why he’s so high on the wanted list with what kind of trouble he’s causing for the World Governments.

In Summary:

Jumping ahead this far in a show can be a dicey proposition depending on the property, but it’s something that I’m terribly familiar with from my comic book background. There’s a certain kind of strange pleasure that you can get from watching the origins at the same time as watching the new episodes, and sometimes it can make those ties all the more apparent, especially because of how characters grow and change over time. I’m still surprised at times at how much I enjoy One Piece, as it is the epitome of a guilty pleasure. Even some three hundred plus episodes from where I am with the DVDs, I can see a lot of the fun and excitement is still there in the new episodes and I’m looking forward to getting into a groove with it. This episode is a good stepping on point if you’re familiar with the basics of the franchise as everything feels like it’s about to blow wide open – again.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

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.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: One Piece