The Baroque Works saga progresses on with one of the strangest story arcs yet…
What They Say
The Grand Line is no place for a crew of yellow-bellied land-lubbers! Lucky for the Straw Hats, they've got Monkey D. Luffy - the bravest captain sailing the high seas. So when a night of drinking turns into a daring attempt to protect a princess from treacherous assassins, Luffy's crew is ready for action!
Their death-defying rescue mission sees them cross paths with monstrous sea creatures, prehistoric predators, and battle-tested giants with an explosive thirst for ale. Adventures like this might take the wind out of some swashbucklers, but it's all in a days work for a rubberman determined to become the king of all pirates!
Contains episodes 67-79.
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. The musical scores within the episodes are fantastic in that they really help set the mood for scenes that they accompany. The only drawback on the audio is the occasional over-the-top swearing that occurs. Sometimes it feels a little too forced and unnatural.
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.
Inconsistencies are always abound in a long series such as this. If you paid close attention to Vivi in the past collection, you will notice that she looks quite a bit different now. She looks way younger than she looked as her alter ego, Miss Wednesday.
The box for this One Piece collection continues to follow the path set by the previous second voyage collection. 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 Zoro, Luffy, Nami, and Vivi. In the background, is the very strange Mr. 3, in one of his menacing candle wax creations. The back side provides a brief description of the series along with the technical specifications and a few screen shots. The front side of the first DVD thinpack features Luffy and Mr. 3 while the other features Zoro, Nami, and Vivi. The Thinpack images are nothing more than cropped images from the collection case. The inside jackets for each of the DVD cases reveal a map background with the Going Merry in the middle. The DVD artwork depicts the four cardinal directions, like a compass, but looks more like pieces of rigging and sail fabric.
The menu system for One Piece 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 portion of the artwork found on the thinpacks/box front. The right 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 67.
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.
Of course, the staff commentary is also featured in this collection. It was focused primarily on Niko Robin (aka. Miss Sunday). It seems a bit odd that she was chosen for this collection as she only makes a very short appearance in episode 67. Overall, it is still a nice addition as you get a really great perspective on her character.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
When we last saw the Straw Hat crew, they were a docked at the crazy town of Whiskey Peak. And, we also had Zoro and Luffy literally at each other’s throats over a miscommunication of sorts.
The crew quickly learns the identity of Miss Wednesday as none other than Princess Vivi of Arabasta. With her identity known by everyone on the island, including all of the Baroque Wroks bounty hunters, she makes her plea to the Straw Hats. How can Luffy turn this down? So, they set sail as Igaram (Mr. 8) sacrifices himself to create a diversion as the Going Merry flees Whiskey Peak.
Thinking they have made their escape, the gang comes across the mysterious Miss Sunday, the Baroque Works’ second in command. She teasingly attempts to offer them an Eternal Compass to an island near Arabasta to help them as she knows they will have to aimlessly wonder around the seas without a compass. Luffy breaks it instead of allowing an enemy to decide their destination.
The pacing for the Baroque Works arc has been bit sporadic. You will find in this collection that it stops and starts quite a few times. Just when things were getting interesting, we get a two episode diversion that revolves around Coby, Luffy’s buddy, whom he helped out and encouraged back in the first season. The two episodes share Coby’s plight to become a Marine and receiving Vice Admiral Garp’s favor. I’m sure Coby is going to have some important role in aiding Luffy at some point in the future.
What comes next is a crazy free for all with some Baroque Works agents and two giant warriors on the island of Little Garden. The Little Garden arc is crazy, yet entertaining, as the two warrior giants; Dory and Brogy steal the show with their crazy chortling/laughing. You just can’t help joining in the merriment of these two guys who have such big hearts and somewhat dim bulbs.
Little Garden is an island that is anything but little. This island is teeming with huge dinosaurs and massive plant life. In typical One Piece fashion, the entire gang splits up and sets out to explore the island while Usopp and Nami feel stay with the Going Merry. Vivi and Luffy decide to go explore the island where they meet Dorry, a giant warrior from the village of Elbaf. Sanji and Zoro decide to compete against each other to see who can bring back the most amount of meat. Usopp and Nami meet Broggy, another giant, who just happens to shows up near the ship. They soon befriend Broggy and head home with him. We soon learn that Broggy and Elbaf have been fighting each other for over 100 years. Their intelligence quotients aren’t of the highest and it’s easy to see why they’ve fought this long. Trust me; it makes for some light humorous fun.
While the Straw Hats are split up, Baroque Works agents Mr. 5, Miss Valentine, Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek show up to collect a 100,000,000 Beli bounty on each of the giant's heads. And to top it off, Mr. 3 wants the Straw Hats as well. Each of these Baroque Works agents is as notorious as they are cunning. Mr. 3 and Mr. 5 are your typical male villain with single minded objectives while Miss Valentine and Miss Goldenweek appear frilly and non threatening. However, don’t let that fool you as these women are just as evil and conniving as their male counterparts.
As one would guess, the giants, the Baroque Works agents, and the Straw Hats are going to cross paths as Little Garden is not a huge island. What ensues makes for interesting series of fights and monologuing. Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek capture Nami, Vivi and Zoro and imprison them in a candle wax trap. Luffy, Usopp and Carue work to free everyone with aid from the giants.
As this collection closes, an interesting plot point takes place which sets the tone for what will take place in the next collection. The identity of Mr 0 is revealed and the crew gains a permanent Log Pose by taking it from the Unluckies. You gotta love the Unluckies as there nothing more amusing than a Vulture and an Otter acting as the main henchman for Mr. 0. With a permanent Log Pose, the Straw Hats can make it to Arabasta. Having fled from Little Garden, the crew is faced with another crisis, Nami is very sick! What will the Straw Hats do and how will they make it to Arabasta?
The Little Garden story arc makes for another entertaining and crazy collection. The story arc follows a formulaic plot by splitting up the gang, bringing in some new characters, and a handful of villains. The prescription of action, humor, and mystery melds together well and makes this another fun collection that will keep you wanting more.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Staff Commentary, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080i