Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Heroes, villains and legends … it’s the pirate’s life for me!
Marching down the narrow cobblestone street that would lead to a tall platform overlooking the piers and the blue ocean itself, a man in shackles smiles as he is being lead to his death. He doesn’t weep or beg for mercy but rather lifts his head high as if he was leading a parade in his honor. This man is offered to say his last words once up on that platform and he refuses until the last minute when a few adventurers and greedy treasure seekers ask him where the man hid the gold he plundered. Just before being executed, the man shouts the words that would launch a thousand pirate ships.
This man who was executed with none other than the legendary Gold Roger or, as he was better know, the “King of the Pirates.” His words and the promise of his treasure hidden somewhere in the Grand Line has started the age of the pirates that would inspire one Monkey D. Luffy to take his Straw Hats all the way to the Grand Line in search of Gold Roger’s loot known as the One Piece.
Then again, he has to survive the Fish Men and their dangerous half-shark-half-man leader named Arlong. As Zoro and Sanji battle Arlong’s lieutenants, they come close to defeat but the two men muster what little strength they have left to not only turn the tables on their foes but also save Luffy who was close to death. With Luffy free and Arlong’s top men defeated, the young Straw Hat pirate fights Arlong in a lengthy battle of strength and Luffy’s stretchy abilities.
In the end, the Straw Hats come out of this victoriously. Not only do they free Cocoyashi Village of the Fish Men but they also make a name for themselves with the Marines who post a hefty reward on Luffy’s head. On the day after they ship out of Nami’s home village, the crew finds Luffy’s wanted poster in the morning newspaper. Yes, it seems like the young pirate has finally made a name for himself as word of his bounty even reaches Luffy’s idol, “Red-Haired” Shanks who is proud of the kid.
Still determined to get to the Grand Line, the Straw Hats decide to head out to Logue Town, which is one of the stepping stones to get to the Grand Line as well as the place where the legend of Gold Roger ended. Excited about being in the town where a legendary pirate was executed, Luffy make it his first destination when they finally reach land. In the meantime, though, Nami brings up Buggy the Clown (who Luffy defeated) and what might have happened to him. We do find out as we watch Buggy try to escape the island he’s trapped on, get into trouble with the ocean’s dangerous creatures and finally meeting a beautiful woman who rescues him and wants revenge against Luffy as well. Buggy even manages to locate his faithful crew trapped on another island.
In Logue Town, the Straw Hats decide to take the opportunity in a thriving town to look for necessary supplies. What should have been a pleasant time in a legendary town turns out to be trouble as a Marine Navy officer named Captain Smoker is convinced that Luffy is in town. Meanwhile, Usopp gets in trouble with the daughter of a known gunslinger bounty hunter named Daddy while Sanji is challenged to a cooking contest with a beautiful cook named Carmen who is determined to beat him at cooking. In his search for more swords, Zoro runs into a Marine named Sergeant Major Tashigi who reminds the bounty hunter of a girl he once knew.
As Captain Smoker catches up to Luffy (who learns a few things about Gold Roger), Buggy and his crew also find themselves in town. Things get even more interesting as these characters finally clash when Buggy manages to capture Luffy and prepares to execute him on the same platform where Gold Roger was executed. As Zolo and Sanji come to his aid, Nami and Usopp find themselves going up against the Marines and trying to escape as a major storm hit’s the area.
A lot happens in this fourth chapter of the first season and while I did enjoy the episodes that had Luffy and the others fighting Arlong and his men, I felt the story really took off in these 14 episodes. We learned a lot about Nami and Sanji in the last set and that was a good thing but this one sets up the danger that is to come in the next season. It was also good to see Usopp stand up for himself in two instances and Zoro shows he’s a swordsman worthy of carrying a cursed sword.
In the end, Season One’s Fourth Voyage of One Piece is a mighty entertaining package that is sure to please One Piece fans. I actually found the Fourth Voyage to be more energetic, more inspiring and even more amusing than the last set. It also feels like the start of what’s going to be a very thrilling next season for the Straw Hat pirates. We are definitely on board for the next season thanks to this Fourth Voyage.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The long and difficult battle to save Nami’s home village from the Fish Men and Captain Arlong comes to a smashing conclusion. In the episodes that follow, the crew feels complete now that everyone is back together as they head even closer to the Grand Line. At last, Luffy has finally made a name of himself as a wanted pirate.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
As always, the animation does a great job of capturing Eiichiro Oda’s wonderfully unique visual style so it’s always a thrill seeing Luffy and company in action. The series definitely does benefit from the DVD treatment.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Once again, the voice acting in both the English dub and original Japanese works beautifully for a series of this caliber. The original score is still good and the opening and closing theme songs are decent enough.
The extras are not new to returning One Piece fans who can look forward to the Marathon Play option. The rest is made up of a few trailers and clean opening and closing animation.
One Piece fans will find a lot to love about Season One’s Fourth Voyage DVD set that finally places the crew a bit closer to their dreams. It also means the series is at the start of an even more exciting chapter as Luffy and the others find themselves growing closer to the Grand Line and more high seas adventure. This is a really good time to jump onboard if you’re new to One Piece.