Reach for the sky and ride the Knock Up Stream! The Going Merry can fly.
What They Say
When his crew is nearly crushed by the wreckage of a ship falling from the sky, Luffy sets his sights on sailing straight into the clouds! First order of business: finding a stalwart soul who knows how to get from the deep blue sea to the wild blue yonder.
The Straw Hats dock at Mock Town in search of directions, but instead they're brutally bullied by pirates who've forgotten how to dream. Fortunately for adventure's sake, Nico catches wind of a legendary liar whose monkey minions can equip any ship for a deadly ascent on the Knockup Stream. Hold on to your hats because Luffy and his mates will soon find out if the Going Merry flies as well as she floats!
Contains episodes 144-156.
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 Jaya and Skypeia arcs 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.
The box for this One Piece collection is subtly different than the previous collections, but does not deviate too much from the previous collections. The major change is the positioning of the collection title as it is now featured at the bottom instead of the top portion of the front cover art. 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 perched on the front of The Going Merry as it is ascending into the sky. Usopp, Chopper, and Nami are in the background holding on for dear life as Zoro looks onward. 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 is different in that it now features a canvas textured background with the Straw Hat pirate logo. 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.
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 144.
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 very first episode in the collection contains the commentary for Season 3. Mike McFarland (ADR Director and Buggy the Clown), Brina Palencia (Chopper), and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy) host the episode commentary for this collection. Episode 144 is an important milestone in that it marks the very first episode that the FUNimation English dub crew created. Thank goodness they rescued this title from the horrible dub done by 4Kids. Each person reminisces about how they started the dub process and the challenges associated with it. Brina and Colleen share how much fun it is to scream as their characters do LOTS of it. Mike discusses the challenges of casting One Piece, especially when it comes to the revolving cast of support characters both good and bad. I can’t imagine the degree of difficulty in trying to juggle all of the different voice actors.
A special nod to our website (formally Anime on DVD) is made by Mike in regard to a previous poll where Brina was nominated as best voice actor for Chopper. Another interesting side note is that Mike mentions that production for the series is on bit of a hold (at about 200 episodes currently dubbed) as they have surpassed the typical release schedule. Of course, they are itching to get started again. Mike even talks about his work schedule of which I am not envious by any means. It is interesting to get a take on how an ADR goes about his typical work day. Mike even shares how some of the voices of the gang have changed and have been tweaked since.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
The Skypeia saga is one of the shortest sagas in the world of One Piece. It consists of two story arcs, the Jaya arc and the Skypeia arc. The Jaya arc is relatively short with only nine episodes, but important for setting up the premise of how the Straw Hats make it to Skypeia, the floating island in the sky.
The Jaya arc begins with the Nami's Log Pose acting erratically and pointing to the sky. Upon discovering this, a huge ship falls out of the sky nearly hitting the Going Merry. Inspecting the wreckage reveals a map of an island named Skypeia. This discovery does not go without conflict as Masira, an ape-like man, comes along to salvage what is left of the wreckage. His ship and crew are interesting enough to say the least as they imitate his zeal for salvaging shipwrecks. The encounter with Masira further reveals information about Skypeia, the rumored floating island in the sky. Luffy is immediately sold on the idea and becomes obsessed in finding out more about the island. So, they head off to the nearest island, Jaya, to find out more.
The plot in this arc side tracks a bit and we see Ace boarding Buggy the Clown’s pirate ship. Just like his little bro, Ace eats a ton of food before discussing a certain situation about a pirate known as Whitebeard. Not much is expounded here, which leaves you with wondering what is up with Ace, Buggy, and the mystery pirate. And while I am at it, be prepared for a few more surprises throughout the Jaya arc as we get more exposure to the inner workings of the World Government as they discuss replacing Crocodile. Also, be on the lookout for Hawkeye Mihawk as he makes an appearance as do the Black Beard pirates and even Whitebeard!
Arriving at the city of Mock Town, on the island of Jaya, the Straw Hats soon discover that it is a haven for pirates and thugs. One thug in particular, Bellamy the Hyena, gives Nami, Luffy, and Zoro nothing but trouble as he ridicules the idea of Skypeia. A war of words ensues and Bellamy and his crew give Luffy and Zoro a beating. Refusing to engage in a fight, Nami must drag both Zoro and Luffy away from the thrashing that they are receiving. This is very reminiscent of another fight that occurred way back in season one. Their pacifistic resolve is strong but they choose to not fight and get royally beat up for it.
The Straw Hats, searching for more information about the island in the sky, set out to sail around Jaya. This is where they run into Shojo, who is Masira’s brother. He is quite ticked as he knows that Luffy beat up Masira. Shojo is as bombastic as his brother and uses a special sonar attack that nearly shatters The Going Merry. This leaves Usopp in a panic about how to fix the ship. Narrowly escaping Shojo, the Straw Hats come across Montblanc Cricket. Suffering from decompression sickness due to all of his diving, the Straw Hats take Cricket to his home where they help heal him.
Everything has appeared in whirlwind format so far which can leave you reeling from all of the events. But, in usual One Piece fashion, the plot begins to solidify. Cricket is the holder of all knowledge that the Straw Hats seek in regard to Skypeia. Cricket believes in the legend of the sky island, shares what he knows about the island as well as the story of his ancestor Norland, the King of Liars. Norland was said to have actually traveled to the legendary sky island. Cricket has been ridiculed for his belief in the story and has lived in isolation in attempt to disprove the false accusations of his ancestor.
Interestingly enough Sanji knows of the story as do Shojo and Masira. Coincidentally, Shojo and Masira have a unique father and son relationship with Cricket. Now that Cricket has befriended the Straw Hats, so do Shojo and Masira. If friendship were so simple, as a One Piece character, I would have tons of friends!
Luffy’s zeal for traveling to the sky island strikes a chord with Cricket and he agrees to help them make it to Skypeia, but only after some pretty hard partying!
Everything picks up in very rapid pace as Cricket realizes that the Knockup Stream, which is the primary means for getting to Skypeia, is due to appear soon. However, they first have to catch a South Bird. The South Bird can point them to the exact location of where the stream will erupt from the ocean. Nothing goes as planned as the South Bird is difficult to catch and Bellamy shows up. Bellamy makes off with Cricket’s gold, which was Cricket’s only proof he had of the mysterious island’s existence.
With the South Bird in hand and time running out everyone focuses on trying to prepare The Going Merry for its encounter with the Knockup Stream. The Going Merry is in pretty rough shape. Luffy, on the other hand, takes off to Mock Town where he plans settle a score with Bellamy. Little do Bellamy and his crew know that they are in great danger as they scoff at the wanted posters of Zoro and Luffy. Luffy easily disposes of Bellamy with one big hit that leaves a huge imprint on the right side of his face, thus knocking him out.
Dawn has approached and time is short. Luffy barely makes it back in time to shove off. Returning Cricket’s treasures, Luffy jumps onboard The Going Merry. Masira and Shojo plan to escort The Going Merry as the Song Bird points them in the right direction. Little do they know that the Blackbeard Pirates, together with their captain, Marshall D. Teach are tailing them. Needless to say, the Straw Hats ride the Knockup Stream and make their way to Skypeia.
The Skypeia arc begins at episode 153 and proceeds on toward the end of the collection. With that said, there appears to be a lot going on in the floating sky island. A Sky Knight, a land ruled by different laws, and rumors of a civil war are but just a few things that we learn about. If that isn’t enough to keep you guessing then try on this perspective, Skypeia has a lower realm and an upper yard, laws that proclaim the use of Heaven’s Judgment, and an angry God who rules over it all. It is no wonder that the Straw Hats are almost immediately marked as criminals. It’s a good thing they have found friendship in Pagaya and his daughter Conis.
The third season of One Piece begins with a relatively short story arc that sets up the premise for the adventure that awaits the Straw Hats in the floating land known as Skypeia. Plenty of action and laughs are bound to be had in this collection. As with any new One Piece story arc, you are going to be inundated with a slug of new characters that will leave you guessing as to how they will fit in the adventure. Old characters from previous episodes make brief appearances that will further peak your curiosity. This collection does a great job of leading you in and leaving you hanging. The next collection won’t come to soon.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Marathon Play, Commentary Track
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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