One Piece Season 3 Part 4 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2010
For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for Eneru!
What They Say
Lightning bolts rain from the heavens and cloud-dwelling citizens run for their lives as Luffy and Eneru go toe to toe to determine the fate of Skypiea! The rubber-man is determined to make this exceedingly evil villain pay for his sins against the innocent, but Eneru won't be easily defeated. With his electric ark chock full of gold, the heinous holy man sets in motion a petrifying plan to obliterate life on Angel Island!
Luffy is ready to rumble, but his shipmates are falling one by one, and his punching power bottoms out after Eneru encases his hand in a giant ball of gold. Only one hope remains: Nami and Luffy must risk their lives in a desperate attempt to ring the sacred bell of Shandora - and chase away Eneru's looming cloud of death!
Contains episodes 183-195.
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. As mentioned in previous collections, the English dub cast brings a lot of fun and depth to this great series.
The Skypeia arc originally aired in early 2003. 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 7 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. Not the prettiest, but it will definitely capture your attention. The transfer is as good as it can possibly be.
Following the previous collection’s boxart design, the positioning of the collection title as it is featured at the bottom while the main focus of the artwork is positioned at the top. The artwork featured on the front depicts Luffy and Eneru. As usual, the backside of the box features a description of the series along with the technical specifications and a few screen shots. The thinpack case design features a canvas textured background with the Straw Hat pirate logo as was done in the previous collection. Beneath the logo is the words “Luffy’s Pirates”. The inside jackets for each of the DVD cases reveal the same logo and text placed onto wooden planked background. The DVD artwork also changed with an image of The Going Merry prominently featured. Overall, this is a decent design with a welcome set of changes that refresh the packaging.
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. This is a nice touch that is great for marathoning, but I’m sure many true One Piece fans will want to watch the intro and closing. Of course, you can play each episode in its entirety by selecting play all or going into the individual episode list.
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.
The episode commentary features Mike McFarland, Colleen Clinkenbeard and J. Michael Tatum (Eneru). It was fun listening to them talk about how their voices and how they do not really match up with their personalities. Colleen laughs about how she hates Eneru and the Giant Jack. So, if you want to annoy Colleen at a Con about One Piece, ask her to do Luffy’s voice while climbing giant Jack.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
The Skypeia story arc is finally coming to a close and it has been a wild and fun ride. The crux of this collection encompasses the showdown between Luffy and Eneru and the story of Noland the Liar. The build up for the fight between Luffy and Eneru does not disappoint as the fight is just about as epic as the fight that took place between Luffy and Crocodile. The real surprise with this collection is the real story of Noland the Liar and truth behind the city of gold.
This collection opens with most of the Straw Hats knocked out of action. Everything is pretty much left up to Luffy and Nami as they try to stop Eneru from destroying Angel Island with Ark Maxim, his giant floating ship. With most of the crew either out of action or captured by Eneru, it's up to Monkey D. Luffy to combat the villain. Conis takes on the task of helping the Skypeians evacuate.
Eneru’s god-like powers are anything but as Luffy quickly parries his electrical attacks with his gum-gum fruit abilities. Eneru’s narcissistic tendencies overshadow his intelligence. Unlike Crocodile, Eneru gets caught up in the emotional momentum of destroying everything. Luffy always uncalculating, is lured into a trap as he attempts to finish off Eneru. This trap envelopes his right arm in a giant gold ball that he ridiculously lugs around for the entire battle. Eventually, the rest of the crew, all but Chopper, provides some assistance in Eneru’s defeat.
The showcase fight takes a short pause as the real truth behind Noland the Liar, the Shandorians, and the city of gold is fleshed out. The episodes that encompass this short story bring about validation for the truth behind the story. I was left with a lot of varied emotions as this story shows the amazing discovery of the city of gold, as well as Noland’s chivalrous approach to befriending the Shandorians. His friendship with Calgara and the bond he made feels like a grand tale of exploration. It was a lot of fun to see this unfold, but yet tragic in how Noland and Calgara meet their demise. This twist of fate is birthed by the appearance of the knock-up stream that raises the city above the sky.
When the fight between Luffy and Eneru resumes, the drama comes to a close as Luffy is not only fighting for himself but for everyone. So, when the Shandorian Golden Belfry Bell is rang to defeat Eneru, it brings about significant meaning for the Skypeians, Shandorians, and Cricket. I couldn’t help but cheer as Eneru is taken down. At the end of it all, it’s not quite clear what will become of him.
One last bit of significance for this story arc resides in the poneglyph that accompanies the golden bell. Robin takes time to discover more about it as it reveals information about another powerful weapon called Poseidon. We also learn that Gol D. Roger had found this poneglyph and left a message encouraging anyone who could read the poneglyphs to continue searching for the lost history. With her reading of the poneglyphs, the Shandorians are free from having guard it, thus allowing them to be freed from the burden they have carried throughout the centuries.
As this collection closes, we see a huge celebration as is typical One Piece fashion. Lots of eating, dancing, and drinking are to be had. The Straw Hats waste little time as they hastily make way for the Blue Sea as they must float or fall down from the gates of Clouds End. Making their way down proves to be a challenge as they float by way of a giant octopus right into middle of a Marine base.
The Skypeia arc comes to very satisfying conclusion that features a showcase fight that is not quite as long as Giant Jack is tall. The true story of Noland the Liar is finally fleshed out which brings about a real sense of closure for this crazy tale up in the sky. I had a ball watching this and can’t wait for more as the fifth and final collection of season three cannot come too soon.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 193 Commentary, Marathon Play
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
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: One Piece