A showdown of epic proportions occurs as the showdown between Luffy and Crocodile commences.
What They Say
Monkey D. Luffy emerges from a death-defying dirt nap to rejoin his mates on their mission to save Alabasta from the clutches of a sinister sandman. Crocodile is on the prowl for the world's deadliest weapon, and his Baroque Works bombers are about to blast Vivi's kingdom into oblivion!
Only the Straw Hats can protect her people from their reptilian oppressor, but no one survives this battle without getting a little blood on their hands. Be on the lookout as Nami unleashes the power of thunder and lightning, Zoro tests his swords against a man made of steel, and Luffy goes underground to settle the score with Crocodile - once and for all!
Contains episodes 117-130.
For this viewing session, we listened to English dub. The English 5.1 track is solid with no distortions or dropouts. The choreographing of Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" - 4th movement to the fight between Luffy and Crocodile is absolutely superb as it so fits the climatic match-up that we have all been waiting for.
The Alabasta Arc originally aired in 2001. 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 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 transfer is as good as it can possibly be.
The box for this One Piece collection continues to follow the path set by the previous second season collections. 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, King Cobra, Pell, and Chaka. Luffy has that impeccable grin on his as if he is about to make a finishing move on Crocodile. King Cobra and his personal body guards are in the background. They pose as if they are a force to reckon with. As usual, the backside of the box features 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 while the second features King Cobra, Pell, and Chaka. 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 menu. To find the staff commentary, you must go to the individual episode listing where you will find it placed under episode 119.
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. The episode commentary in this collection features ADR director Scott Sager and actors Christopher R. Sabat (Zoro) and Brett Weaver (Mr. 1). Your typical episode discussion ensues throughout this episode along with discussion about an encounter with a Inuit transvestite at an Alaskan bar.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
The end is nigh and the second showdown between Luffy and Crocodile is inevitable. Their fight will have to wait as there are other fights that must pan out.
At the conclusion of the last collection Nami was pitted against Miss Doublefinger. She is on the receiving end of a major butt-kicking as Miss Doublefinger has her way with her. As usual with most shonen fights the Miss Double Finger’s postulation and taunting gives Nami enough time to figure her new weapon, the Clima Tact (Climate Baton). This weapon was designed by Usopp and its function(s) are about as inventive as he is crazy. A knockout drag-out cat fight ensues that pits Nami, who is not a real fighter, against nearly impossible odds.
Across town you have Zoro taking on Mr. 1. Again, this is another high stakes fight as Zoro must figure out how to cut through Mr. 1’s steel body. Time is running out for Zoro and he must draw from his inner strength and knowledge to make the impossible, possible. Will drawing on his vow to surpass Mihawk drive him to find a way to cut through steel?
Switching things up, yet again, Crocodile reveals his true reason for seizing Alabasta as he confronts Vivi in her desperate attempt to stop him and save her father. Crocodile is after an ancient weapon known as Pluton, which he hopes to use to defeat the World Government. It is believed that the weapon is somewhere in Alabasta. The Poneglyph that holds the secret to the Pluton’s location is believed to be held within the confines of the Alabasta royal tombs. As Crocodile reveals this, he also unveils his next dastardly act. He has deployed a bomb that will destroy not only the capital city of Alabarna, but also the Rebel and Royal armies that are now engaging in full out war within its confines. Crocodile has to be one of the most conniving evil villains that you just can’t help but hate.
It wouldn’t be shonen anime if the villain didn’t start revealing his whole plan as his certain demise is at hand. Crocodile’s postulation gives Luffy just enough time to save Vivi as he proceeds to the Royal Tombs with King Cobra and Miss All Sunday. It’s at this point when the tables begin to turn on Crocodile and the Baroque Works agents. All the same it doesn’t come easy. Mr 7. and Miss Father’s Day are guarding the clocktower bomb while the Baroque Works Millions are working within the Rebel and Royal armies to further antagonize the fighting. You can tell where this is going. Iit’s going to take the Straw Hat crew working together to stop the bomb and the ensuing battle. Vivi and the gang have little time left.
In the Royal Tomb we learn that the Miss All Sunday who is now revealed as Nico Robin attempts to deceive Crocodile about what is written on the Poneglyph. Crocodile reads right through this lie and stabs Nico Robin, leaving her for dead. At this point, Luffy shows up and thus begins the fight that we have all been waiting for. It is a glorious fight with everything that one would hope for as Luffy throws ever gum-gum fighting technique he has at Crocodile.
The four episodes that wrap up this collection are filled with some great moments as the dust settles from all the fighting. Navy Sergeant Tashigi has to come to terms with her failure to stop Baroque Works. We see a softer side of Captain Smoker as he comforts Tashigi. We also see his continuing rebellious nature toward the promotion he has just received. To wrap up the loose ends, Iagarim, who we thought was dead, appears validating King Cobra’s innocence of the events set forth by Crocodile. Luffy’s leadership is then validated by King Cobra. It doesn’t get any more legit than a naked King bowing to Luffy while in the royal bath. A unique twist of events occurs as Mr. 2 helps the Straw Hats escape the clutches of Captain Hina. In the final moments of this arc, we see the return of Pell. Finally, the Straw Hats once again departure from Alabasta for the open seas and more adventures ahead!
The Alabasta story arc comes to a very climatic ending. Crocodile and the Baroque Works agents are defeated and the fighting between the Royal and Rebel armies have ceased as rain returns to the drought ridden kingdom. Not much time is left to celebration as the Straw Hats must move onward as the Navy comes to clean up and take Crocodile in custody. As the crew departs, an unexpected visitor decides to join the crew. What is her motive? And what lies in store for the Straw Hats can’t quell the anticipation that I have for the next collection.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Staff Commentary
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
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