Fishmen, fishmen, rolly, polly...
What They Say
Luffy's encounter with the scallywag pirate commander Don Krieg reaches an explosive climax, and master chef Sanji joins the Straw Hats with dreams of exotic seafood spurring him onward. As the gang sets sail, they soon encounter underwater oddities that won't end up on a plate without a devil of a scuffle.
Ferocious on land and downright deadly in the water, fishman Arlong is a ruthless money-grubber if ever there was one. His cruel betrayal of Nami prompts a spirited attack by Luffy, but the fishy pirate quickly has the rubber-man headed for Davy Jones' Locker!
Contains episodes 27-39.
For this viewing session, we listened to English dub. The audio was crisp and clear. We did not experience any distortions or dropouts. Again, the English cast continues to impress as the saga continues. All of my memories of the long forgotten 4Kids dub is now buried in my furthest recesses of my brain. With this being my third collection review, I am finding that the musical scores within the episodes is fantastic in that they really help set the mood for scenes that they accompany.
Originally airing in 1999, the 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 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 for this One Piece collection continues to follow the path set by its predecessors. As with the other collections, this set features 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. The front of this collection features Luffy and Nami in the foreground. While Arlong looms over them in the background. 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 Arlong and Nami 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 main menu features the same picture of the character that is shown on the front of the thinpack DVD case. The left side of the main menu features a vertical menu selection. 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.
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.
Again 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 30.
The extras included in the collection are found on the second disc. The extras include the textless songs for the series and a handful if the latest Funimation trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
In the last piece of One Piece, (Ooops… I’m starting to sound like the old 4Kids dub) we left Luffy and Sanji in the midst of a huge fight with Don Krieg at the Baratie. It’s amazing that Baratie can still float at this point. Don Krieg is losing control of his siege as Ghin is completely conflicted about the orders that he has been given. He is to take out the guys who saved him when he was starved. Even Luffy and Sanji argue about what is in the best interest of the restaurant while Chef Zeff is held at gunpoint. In the end, Ghin makes a choice based on his sense of honor that turns the tide and opens up an opportunity for Luffy and Sanji to send the Don Kreig gang packing.
The fight that ensues between Luffy and Don Krieg is shonen-epic at its best. Luffy has to be bailed out by Sanji because of the curse that is associated with the Devil Fruit Luffy can’t swim and he sinks when in water. This leads to Sanji having to risk his life to swim deep into the ship wreckage to save Luffy. This very reminiscent of Chef Zeff’s rescuing of Sanji all those years ago. In the end, chore boy Luffy defeats Don Krieg and saves the Baratie. It’s amazing that the Baratie can still float after all of the fighting. Ghin gathers up the Don Krieg crew and a crazed Don Krieg and sets sail. Ghin promises not to come back to the Baratie. Ghin and Krieg’s pirate departure leave us to believe that we might just see them again.
Zeff is convinced that Luffy is the real deal and encourages Sanji to join the Straw Hat crew. Sanji still feels loyal to Chef Zeff, but he secretly aspires find the All Blue where he can create the best of dishes. As hard as it is to part ways, Sanji decides to go with Luffy. From out of the mouth of a panshark, Yosaku appears on the deck of the Baratie. He has the directions that will point them in the right way. Yosaku, Luffy, and Sanji set off to find Nami.
Meanwhile, a desperate and tearful Nami is nearing her home port Cocoyashi Village. Nami is trying to settle a debt with a fishman by the name of Arlong. Nami’s back-story is told in great detail. We learn that as an orphaned infant she was found on a battlefield by Bellemere, a female Marine. Bellemere adopted Nami and another girl, Nojiko. Their time together was short-lived as the infamous Fishman Pirate Arlong took over Cocoyashi Village their adopted hometown. He imposed a fee on every single adult and child in the village in order to live on the island. A great backstory develops here as we get another in-depth perspective on Nami and who she really is.
Bellemere could not pay the fee and was used as an example by Arlong to demonstrate what would happen if the townspeople resist him. Bellemere was brutally murdered by Arlong in front of Nami and Nojiko. Nami was kidnapped and forced to become a cartographer for Arlong as she has a talent for map making. However, Arlong struck a deal with Nami: if she brought him 100,000,000 berries he would free her village. For the next eight years, Nami worked making maps and stealing treasure from pirates in order to buy back her village. Nami even has a tattoo of the Arlong symbol on her arm. Nami only needs 7,000,000 more berries more to buy back her town from Arlong.
What follows next is a whirlwind of a story arc. The Arlong arc has been revered as one of the better in One Piece. An island under siege, the townspeople submitting to the whims of the fishmen, the Marines in bed with Arlong, is but just a few of the plots and twist that one will find.
Nami shows up at Arlong’s resort with the money that she swiped not knowing that Arlong is playing her. Usopp, Johnny, and Zoro arrive at the island completely oblivious to Nami’s plotting. Realizing that Arlong has laid siege to the island, Usopp and Johnny tie up Zoro to prevent him from taking the fishmen head on. Usopp and Johnny’s antics are hilarious as they try to avoid the fishmen. In fact, they leave Zoro tied up on the ship at the mercy of the fishmen.
What follows is a series of scenes where Nami faces the capture of her crewmates, Zoro and Usopp. At the most inconvenient time, Nami must work to play Arlong while trying to save her crewmates. This requires her to allow both Zoro and Usopp to be beaten and thrown around by the fishmen. When Luffy finally arrives, Nami tells him to leave. She just partnered up with him for the treasure. She tells the Luffy to take the Going Merry and leave. It’s at that moment the gang is finally all together. Here, they learn everything about Nami and her motives from Nojiko.
Captain Nezumi and the Marines show up at Nami and Nojiko’s home to seize all of the money that she has stashed away to buy back the village. Genzo tries to plea with Captain Nezumi, informing him that the money is for the repurchase of the town. The Marines succeed in taking her money, but it somehow doesn’t stay with them for long as Arlong has other plans.
Nami runs back to Arlong and accuses him of sending the Marines to look for her money. But Arlong denies it, claiming he never broke their deal. He tells her that if she wants her village back, she'll just need to start again from scratch. Nami runs off as he laughs. Back in the village, Genzo rallies the villagers. He wants to attack Arlong for going back on the deal he and Nami brokered. Nami tries to stop Genzo, but the townspeople’s minds are set. The wheels of deception spin into motion here as Nami realizes that she’s been played for a fool!
A furious and upset Nami uses a knife to try to cut out the Arlong tattoo on her arm. As Luffy shows up she tearful asks for his help. Enough said… Luffy places his straw hat on her and yells out “He’s gonna pay!” With that, Luffy, Zoro, Usopp, and Sanji head for Arlong Park. The English voice acting crew did a great job with the Nami and Luffy scene as it added that level of emotionality that really drives home the turning point for the over arching plot.
The gang is back together and goes to Arlong Park with Nojiko, Genzo, and the Cocoyashi Village townspeople. Luffy bursts in and sucker punches Arlong for making Nami cry. Luffy takes on Arlong as Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp take on Kuroobi, Hatchan, and Chew respectively. This leads to an all out free-for-all that is as much fun, exciting, and humorous as any One Piece tale yet. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
More high seas fun than you can shake an iron hook at. The Straw Hat crew is finally assembled to take on the Arlong Fishmen. The Baratie is safe and sound, but Nami has gone her own way. Her motivations are pure at heart. However, she can’t take it all on her own as Arlong is as deceptive as he is powerful. Nami’s past is revealed in great detail as we learn about the plight of the people from Cocoyashi Village. All secrets aside, the Straw Hat crew is faced with a formidable opponent who will chew them to shreds if they don’t work together as a team. Highly recommended!
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.