Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Sailing for dangerously personal waters.
It’s not often that the people in this office enter an aggressive game of rock-paper-scissors to get a chance to review an anime series but here were are – again – and it’s all thanks to you, One Piece. Maybe it’s the fact that the season sets feature the episodes in all their beautiful uncut and unedited glory that has us so excited to review each volume. Perhaps, it’s the fact that the DVDs look pristine that has us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Whatever the reason, One Piece, Season One: Third Voyage is mine and it’s definitely a voyage worth taking.
Then again, those One Piece fans that have been following the series from the first two sets already know that. You see, One Piece is the type of series that is not only a fun action series but it’s also completely unique with a wonderful cast of original characters and an assortment of fascinating creatures. Oh, and there are pirates that are like nothing like you might expect. Third Voyage is the third part of the first Season and it continues right where the second set left off with talented cook, Sanji, fighting to protect the ship where he learned to cook. Their opponent is not only the dastardly Don Krieg but also his top commanding officer, Ghin, who Sanji had saved once.
Luckily for Sanji, Luffy has his back and our stretchy hero decides to go up against Don Krieg who is the type of pirate that is willing to sacrifice the lives of his own men. Using a weapon that is able to shoot a lethal gas canister, Don Krieg is about to unleash this deadly attack when his own right-hand man isn’t willing to kill Sanji when the opportunity comes up in their one-on-one battle. If anything, Sanji impressively puts up a worthy battle and definitely shows Luffy that he can take a serious beating and survive. When Don Krieg does fire the gas, it is Ghin who manages to save Sanji as well as Luffy from the gas while taking the full blast himself.
Luffy definitely doesn’t pull any punches when he gets back up to fight Don Krieg and does manage to punch through the pirate’s armor. Defeated, Don Krieg’s remaining men desert him and it is Ghin that surprises them by taking a more diplomatic and friendlier position. Meanwhile, Sanji decides to be an official part of Luffy’s crew although he finds it difficult to say goodbye to the old chef that had taken him in when Sanji was an orphaned child. In one of the best scenes of Third Voyage, Sanji and his mentor try not to cry when Sanji is about to set sail with Luffy but they fail miserably. While he means to see the All Blue, Sanji does promise to come back to the cooks.
Their first order of business is to find Nami who has gone off by herself and return to her seaside village where she grew up. While she made it clear to Luffy and the others that she plans on not only collecting the bounty on a dangerous pirate but also collect a vast sum of money for reasons she never explained. For somebody wanting to collect a bounty on a pirate, Nami comes home to a pirate much like she described. Arlong and his crew of Fish Men pirates (they’re half-fish-half-men) run the town with an iron fist and Nami seems to be on friendly terms with them. Her tattoo even reflects the fact that she runs with the Fish Man pirate captain, Arlong.
While Luffy and Sanji have a way to go to reach Nami, a ship containing Usopp, two trusty men and Zolo (called Zoro here) arrive first. Unfortunately, the Fish Men who rule the village immediately jump into the water to investigate and – seeing as he’s a big coward – Usopp leaves the ship leaving Zolo tied up. In Arlong’s home base, Zolo sees Nami with them and the girl doesn’t even acknowledge the swordsman as a friend.
Meanwhile, on land, Usopp comes to the aid of a human civilian, an act the surprises a young girl that just so happens to consider herself Nami’s sister. It is through this young woman that we come to learn a lot about Nami as her tragic past is revealed later. Unfortunately for Usopp, he is captured just when Zolo escapes (thanks to Nami) and tries to make a break for it when Nami puts a stop to it. Has she really turned her back on her friends out of loyalty to Arlong. Nami’s sister doesn’t think so.
We come to see Nami as a child and meet Bellemere, the woman that cared for Nami and her “sister” when Nami was but an infant, in a flashback that gives us a better understanding of what motivates her and why she takes being Luffy’s navigator so seriously. On top of those things, we also find out that she actually enjoyed her time with Luffy and the others. It’s vexing to the others to see Nami even hanging out with the man responsible for her hometown’s misery as well as her own emotional scars.
In the end, Luffy ignores Nami’s past because he feels it’s the present that counts and he stands up for her when Nami finally gives up hope. Seeing Luffy determined to make Arlong pay, he is quickly joined by Zolo, Sanji and Usopp who begin to battle the Fish Men in their own base. Still, with Zolo still injured from his own violent confrontation with another swordsman and Fish Men who are able to take out the Royal Navy so easily, this battle isn’t going to be a walk in the park. In fact, Arlong even knows Luffy’s weakness and uses it against him during the battle. Once again, the Season One set ends in a cliffhanger and once again One Piece fans cannot wait for the next season set.
One Piece, Season One: Third Voyage is among the best episodes of the first season and damn if the 13 episodes won’t keep you very entertained. Luffy and company find themselves in some tough and personal situations that make this third part of Season One too hard to resist. If you aren’t aboard for this voyage then you are seriously missing out on one of the best action anime based on one brilliant manga series.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
If it wasn’t enough trouble taking down Don Krieg and his loyal crew, Luffy chases after Nami only to find his friends going up against some even more powerful enemies … the Fish Men led by a pirate named Arlong. Add the fact that Nami has a long history with Arlong and we have ourselves a very personal and dangerous battle.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The uncut and unedited episodes look amazing on DVD and you have to hand it to the animators who do a great job of not only recreating Eiichiro Oda’s art but also making the fight scenes really stand out.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
It’s great when both the original Japanese voices and the English dub are handled this well. The original score makes the action scenes even more exciting and the opening and closing theme songs are Ok.
There’s audio commentary for only one episode on the first disc only and there are trailers included in the second disc. Aside from the textless songs, the Marathon Play feature is just about the only extras you’ll find in this 2-disc set.
Third Voyage is, by far, one of the more electrifying and action-packed chapters in the first season of One Piece. Then again, fans of One Piece already know that this series is never lacking in the action department and it definitely is one of those rare Must-Not-Miss anime series. Hop aboard because this voyage is fantastic.