Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Welcome to Alabasta … the most dangerous kingdom in the Grand Line.
The Straw Hats have certainly seen their fair share of unusual friends and foes and have gotten themselves into many a fascinating adventure. Yet it isn’t until they picked up a most curious young girl who – having been a member of Baroque Works – actually turned out to be a Princess on a mission to locate the leader of the organization determined to overthrow her father that this series has gotten really engaging. In the Fourth Voyage of Season Two of One Piece, the pirates make it to Alabasta where the real trouble is about to begin.
Having finally navigated their way out of Drum Island and recruited a very cute critter and helpful crew physician by the name of Tony Tony Chopper, the Straw Hat pirates are getting closer to Princess Vivi’s home kingdom of Alabasta. Before they get there, though, they cross paths with a very unusual and flamboyant character that calls himself Mr. 2 Bon Clay who has the Devil Fruit power to turn into anyone he comes across. His oddball antics are an immediate hit with the Straw Hats but what they don’t realize is that this crazy male ballerina is a member of Baroque Works. The funny part is that he doesn’t know who they are either.
Oh, but that’s a matter for another episode, though, because after they say their farewells the crew finally reaches Alabasta’s port city of Nanohana. All seems peaceful there seeing as the early reports say that the rebels and royal army have already started fighting but the city appears to be calm … that is until they all see that there are a few Baroque Works ships in the same port as well.
Leave it to Luffy to get lost as well as he strays so far from Nanohana that he finds himself in the desert. Tony gets lost too only to meet a funny camel and see the inside of the rebel camp where the leader, a man named Koza, is preparing to arm his troops. In the meantime, Luffy manages to learn a thing or two about Alabasta such as the fact that it hasn’t rained in three long years. When he finds his way into Nanohana, though, Luffy makes another discovery … somebody is looking for him and Captain Smoker and the Navy is in Alabasta as well.
As it turns out, the man looking for Luffy also happens to be a pirate working for White Beard and he also happens to be connected to Luffy seeing as the rubbery pirate recognizes him right away. He is “Fire Fist” Ace and while I won’t reveal his identity but it is clear that these two are clearly birds of the same feather … so to speak. Still, Ace is a more calm and collected individual while Luffy acts on pure impulse (a fact that gets him in trouble often). Together with Ace, the Straw Hats attempt to journey to the town of Yuba to calm the rebels.
Of course, the Alabasta desert is filled with many hazards, one of which is that there are terrible sandstorms and the wildlife is also abnormally large. We’re talking huge scorpions, giant lizards and even desert pirates such as a lively crew led by the likeable Captain Barbarosa. They meet a group of thugs pretending to be rebels that Princess Vivi asks the Straw Hats to test to see if they’re willing to protect the town they’ve been swindling.
We learn a little more about Vivi in this Fourth Voyage as well such as the friendships she made growing up as a member of the royal family. She befriends a little girl who grew up to be a pirate and later befriends a boy who fights to protect Vivi. This boy is later sent to a section in the desert to help create the town of Yuba with his father. The identity of the boy I certainly won’t reveal but their reunion will be very interesting when she finally catches up to him.
As the crew makes it to the kingdom of Alabasta on a mission to save it, the Fourth Voyage of this second – and most electrifying – season begins what is going to be a truly epic story. We’re already sold on the great episodes that lead them to Alabasta but this series just keeps getting a lot more exciting as the Straw Hats find themselves on a mission to help one of their own stop a threat that wishes to violently take a kingdom on the verge of exploding.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Finally reaching Alabasta, the Straw Hats find the port town rather peaceful until they realize that the rebellion against the King is underway and is led by the man Alabasta sees as a hero … Sir Crocodile. On their journey, Luffy meets up with a familiar face as well as old enemies as the Straw Hats are determined to help Vivi.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
This series has always looked good and it still does as the series strays from off the ship and into an interesting continent. Alabasta might be a desert kingdom but it looks really good in the anime version as it does in the manga.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice cast is once again amazing thanks to some very talented actors for both sides whether you love the original Japanese or the English dub voices. Personally, the opening and closing songs don’t do it for me but at least they’re catchy.
There’s audio commentary for one episode and it’s not too shabby to listen to and the option to watch the opening and closing animation without credits rolling. Marathon Play wasn’t just made for the Dragon Ball series so glad to see it for One Piece.
The Fourth Voyage of this second season brings the Straw Hats in new territory as they aid Vivi try to reclaim Alabasta from a foe that is determined to see it in ruins. This is but the beginning of what is going to be an exciting and epic story arc that is already off to a very good start. We cannot wait for the next DVD set.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment