Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
The legend of the talking blue-nosed reindeer.
While the best is yet to come, ever since they picked up Princess Vivi the Straw Hat pirates have been getting into some engaging adventures as Season Two got off on an interest start. While the first and second voyage hooked us, the Third Voyage of Season Two of One Piece slows the pace down somewhat but that doesn’t mean you won’t be hooked by the episodes in this set as the series introduces an interesting new member of the Straw Hats.
Having left the island known as Little Garden and defeated a few agents of Baroque Works, the Straw Hats set sail for Alabasta only to realize that Nami’s fever is getting worst. With the ship’s navigator’s life in danger, the crew must put their journey to Alabasta on hold to find medical care for Nami. As it turns out, there’s an island nearby that is said to be stuck in an endless winter. As they could see, the waters near this island are certainly getting cold as they are attacked by a pirate crew with a captain named Wapol who has the ability to eat anything and everything.
The confrontation doesn’t take too long; however, as Luffy flings Wapol off the ship as the rival pirates rush off to save their captain who can’t swim. With that unpleasantness behind them, the crew reaches the nameless winter island only to receive a very unfriendly welcome by the locals of the island. They are greeted by a man named Dolton who acts as the main village’s chief of security. While Vivi manages to convince the villagers to let them into the village, they find out that there are no doctors around with the exception of a witch.
As it turns out, the witch is actually a doctor named Kureha who cures what ails you but at a steep price that is considerably unreasonable. The doctor also travels with her blue-nosed reindeer she calls Chopper but the real secret here is that Chopper can actually talk and transform into a walking man-beast thanks to the fact that the critter ate a devil fruit called Human-Human Fruit that gives him all the properties of a human male. Oh, but we’ll get to Chopper in just a minute.
With Luffy and Sanji running into the forest with a very delicate Nami to reach the castle where the witch currently lives, Usopp and Vivi find out more about the island and why there aren’t any other doctors around. The island has had quite a turbulent history thanks to the old King’s problematic heir and Dolton himself had played a role in the island’s anguish until he finally came to his senses and defied the new king of the island. Unfortunately for them, the heir finally does come home and it just so happens that the royal just so happens to be Captain Wapol … the very fiend that Luffy tossed out of his ship before they arrived to the island the king calls Drum Island.
Meanwhile, Luffy attempts to reach the castle only find themselves going up against vicious killer bunnies as well as Wapol himself. With Nami in bad shape and Sanji becoming injured in the battle, it is up to Luffy to reach the highest peak to get to the witch. We’ve seen a very determined Luffy before but there’s something about him carrying both Nami and Sanji that is very endearing that you can’t help but love the loveable goof even more after this. He even impressed Dr. Kureha who tends to their wounds and, later, joins Luffy and Sanji on the battlefield along with Chopper who shows them all three of his forms … including the ability to turn into a tall, hulking, humanoid size.
While the battle against Wapol is a good one, the real attraction of the Third Voyage is really Chopper’s back-story and how he came to be Dr. Kureha’s assistant/companion. Given the name Tony Tony Chopper by the only man on the island that didn’t consider him a freak, Chopper found himself living with a doctor named Hiriluk whose only wish is to make the cherry blossoms bloom again on the island. Unfortunately, Wapol put an end to the good doctor’s dream. As a result, Chopper has trained to become a doctor as well and with the aid of Hiriluk’s friend, Kureha, he does become a decent physician.
Having been shoot at and chased by everyone on the island, Chopper holds no grudge against the humans and while he sees himself as an abomination, it is Luffy who sees the great potential in him to the point that he hounds the cute reindeer endlessly until he does decide to join the Straw Hats who welcome him warmly as they continue on their way to Alabasta where Captain Smoker and a few agents of Baroque Works are also headed.
While not the most thrilling part of Season Two, One Piece’s Third Voyage is actually a reminder that the series can also be downright touching as well as deeply compelling. Sure, we love the action the show constantly throws at us but we also love the fact that this series takes its time introducing its characters enough that you won’t help but continue cheering them on. Welcome aboard, Chopper, you are a great new addition to the crew.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With Nami’s condition becoming life threatening, Luffy and his crew manage to locate an island of eternal winter. The bad news is that there aren’t any doctors with the exception of a witch and her reindeer who not only talks but is a doctor as well. Unfortunately, there’s a tyrant who will stop at nothing to reclaim the island.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The animation is still wonderfully and consistently original and Chopper is just one of the more interesting (and admittedly) and cutest character to come along in this series.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
I definitely agree with Brina Palencia who, on the audio commentary, said that the Japanese voice actor who voices Chopper is absolutely amazing. It’s true but I think Palencia does a great job too and yes all the female staff here think she makes Chopper sound even more cute. The soundtrack is still great and the new closing theme song is simply Ok.
Marathon Play is still a great feature that should be implemented on other long running series like One Piece and the audio commentary for Episode 90 (with Brina Palencia and Sonny Strait adding colorful background on their characters) is still awesome.
While not as exciting as the second season’s Second Voyage, this Third Voyage is a deeply involving and occasionally emotional introduction to the Straw Hats newest shipmate. As Luffy and his crew fight to save Nami on an unknown island, the crew meets an unusual new ally with an interesting past that makes this portion of Season Two really worthwhile.