One Piece Season 1 Part 1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, June 05, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
What They Say
As the Pirate King Gold Roger was executed he revealed that his treasure, known as "One Piece," was hidden somewhere on the Grand Line. Monkey D. Luffy dreams of finding the legendary treasure and becoming the Pirate King, and after eating the devil's fruit he gains the power to do so. But first he must find a crew...
Contains episodes 1-13.
This piece of One Piece is not your kid friendly treasure chest
For this viewing session, we listened to English dub. Being familiar with the 4Kids version of One Piece, we really wanted to see if the new cast and crew held up to the standard of the Japanese crew. The audio was crisp and clear. We did not experience any distortions or dropouts.
Originally airing in 1999, the transfer for One Piece does not disappoint in its original full frame aspect ratio. One Piece's transfer is consistentlyclean 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 10 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 box collection for One Piece is a bit different than most in that it only contains two thinpack DVD cases. The cardboard box that houses them is arranged in a rustic looking wood design with the One Piece logo prominently displayed on each side. It makes you think of an old chest. The front features Luffy, Zoro, Nami, and Usopp. The back side provides a brief description of the series along with the technical specifications and a few screen shots. The two thinpack DVD cases feature Luffy and Zoro respectfully. The inside jackets for each of the DVD cases reveal a map background. The DVD itself is creatively designed as if it were a compass setting on the map.
The menu system for One Piece is rather simple, but effective. The menu background uses the same rustic wood design that is used for the DVD cases and box. The menus feature a picture of Luffy to the left side of standard vertical menu layout. The menu appears on an old piece of parchment. 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.
A new feature found in this collection is the marathon mode, which 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 staff commentary for this collection is a bit tricky to find as it is not placed in an obvious location on the main. To find the staff commentary, you must go to the individual episode listing where you will find it placed under episode 1. The commentary reveals how the cast and crew had to start dubbing the series at episode 144. As many fans know, the 4Kids production ceased at episode 143. The crew also shares some insight on how they are going to approach dubbing the series as it is broadcast on television and redoing the earlier episodes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Finally, the third part of today's holy shonen trinity (Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece) receives a proper American release.
For those of you who are fans of One Piece and are familiar with its history, this is the English dub that you have been waiting for as it maintains continuity with the Japanese version. The proper treatment that fans have been begging and screaming for is here and it's done well.
For those of you who are familiar with One Piece as it was broadcast on television by 4Kids on Saturday mornings, you are in for a different experience. In short, This is not your kid friendly One Piece, as this version now contains the violence, language, and tense situations that were edited and omitted by 4Kids. In this version the swearing can be a little over-the-top. Yes, One Piece is a very cartoony type of show that is appealing to many young kids. However, like Bleach and Naruto, One Piece contains elements of drama and violence that aren't the best type of viewing content for young viewers.
If you've never watched One Piece, then you are in for a wild ride as this story follows a boy named Monkey D. Luffy. Inspired by his childhood hero Red-Haired Shanks, Luffy sets out on a journey to find a treasure called One Piece. Finding One Piece will allow him to become the king of the pirates. To accomplish this, he must reach the end of the most deadly and dangerous ocean: The Grand Line.
The premise of the story sounds like a great setup for an epic pirate adventure. However, you can't take this story too seriously as it mixes up a lot of slap stick, random, and in-your-face comedy. This can annoy the crap out of those viewers who are fans of intense plot lines that are well thought out and appropriately developed. Like many shonen anime, One Piece follows the multi-episodic plots that can sometimes take forever to resolve or conclude. Like many shonen titles, be ready for a very, very, long ride with this series. In Japan, One Piece just aired it's 356th episode!!!
The pacing for this collection moves along rather quickly in the first eight episodes as we are introduced to Luffy and his quest to become king of the pirates. We learn that there are many pirates who are striving for the same goal. Luffy has a big task ahead of him and starts out with nothing, but the straw hat that inspires him. Without a crew or ship, Luffy must scrounge for anything that will give him an edge, even if that means he must go up against the Marines or other pirate crews. With good intentions, Luffy has a heart for helping those who are in perilous situations. Like any great shonen hero, Luffy always assists those who are oppressed by evildoers and strives to right what has been wronged. This allows him to earn the respect of Rorona Zoro, the great swordsman and pirate hunter. Zoro is the first to join Luffy in his quest.
Luffy quickly adds another crewmember shortly after Zoro. Nami is an elusive woman that Luffy and Zoro encounter, by chance, when Luffy attempts to help Zoro escape the clutches of the Marines and Captain Morgan. Nami has an incredible sense of direction and lust for treasure. Nami joins Luffy and Zoro in hopes of obtaining great wealth. Smart and cunning, Nami will definitely be an asset to the crew as Luffy isn't always the sharpest tool in the shed and Zoro has horrible sense of direction.
Setting off for the Grand Line, the Straw Hat Pirates make a stop at an island for some food and supplies, which kicks off the first major story arc. Having narrowly escaped the clutches of Buggy the Pirate, our crew is tired and hungry. The storyline slows down here and thus begins the first major story arc where we are introduced to Usopp and the dastardly Captain Kuro.
Usopp's dream is to become a brave warrior like his father Yasopp of the Red Haired Pirates. Usopp's father left to become a pirate when Usopp was a kid. Usopp has a reputation of being a habitual liar as he told lies to keep his mother's spirit up when she was deathly sick. He would often say that Yassop and crew had returned for them. After her death, Usopp continued to run throughout the town every day yelling that pirates were coming. He began calling himself a pirate and took in three younger children as his crew; Ninjin, Tamanegi and Piiman. Together they formed the "Usopp Pirates" much to the dismay of the villagers who are very annoyed by Usopp's antics.
Usopp learns about Captain Kuro's plans to steal the fortune left to his close and sick friend, Kaya. Because of Usopp's tendancy to tell lies and Captain Kuro's alias, nobody in the village will believe him. Soon, Captain Kuro's crew, the Black Cat Pirates, will return to claim Kaya's fortune and lay siege to the island. The Black Pirates are a real hoot as they personify cat-like behaviors. They are lead by Captain Kuro's second in command, Jango. Talk about strange, Jango is a moon-walking hypnotist that does not fit your typical description of a pirate.
The Straw Hat crew is aware of Usopp's plight and joins him in an attempt to defend the island from the Black Cat Pirates. This collection ends in a climatic cat fight that pits Luffy against the claws and paws of Captain Kuro and the Black Cat Pirates. Who will be the cat's meow and who will be buried in the litter box is anyone's guess as we'll have to wait for the second collection to find out.
One Piece is definitely not your typical pirate adventure. Mixing in the right amount of random fun along with a shonen style storyline makes this an appealing and fun romp. Be ready for some high seas action and overboard comedy as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates set sail in the first of their numerous adventures. Definitely recommended for lots of serious laughs and adventure.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Staff Commentary,Marathon Play
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, Samsung BDP-1000 Blu-ray Player with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 14 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 320
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: One Piece