Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
The real battle for Alabasta begins now!
The Straw Hat crew has been on many a wild adventure that has taken them through dangerous waters and uncharted lands and they even had their fair share of huge fights along the way but, so far, nothing has come close to the epic story that unfolded as a result of picking up a young girl that turned out to be a Princess of a kingdom ready to ignite the flames of civil war. In the Fifth Voyage of Season Two of One Piece, the crew race to put an end to a war started by the leader of Baroque Works who finally reveals himself.
Their arrival in Alabasta Kingdom wasn’t exactly a warm welcome for the Straw Hats or Princess Vivi. They find the kingdom on the verge of exploding in the most violent manner as a man named Koza leads the Rebel Forces and Vivi’s father begins to assemble his Royal Army to prepare for the worst. Seeing as the country hasn’t seen a drop of rain in over three years, you can certainly feel the growing anger of the people of Alabasta that is starting to wonder if the King has his people’s best interest in mind.
In the opening of the Fifth Voyage, the toughest agents of Baroque Works reach Rainbase’s largest casino called Raindinners to meet the man behind the kingdom’s growing anger. He is Sir Crocodile, a man considered a hero of Alabasta and the owner of the casino. Yet during that meeting, he reveals that he’s more than that. You see, Crocodile has a pirate past and a he has a plan for Alabasta that is far from noble … he wants to see it in rubble. He also wants to obtain something in the kingdom he has yet to reveal.
Meanwhile, Luffy and the others find out that the identity behind the uprising. They feel that the best way to stop the kingdom from going to war is to hit the ringleader so they head to Rainbase. Unfortunately, Crocodile sets Operation Utopia in motion as the shape-shifting ballerina, Mr. 2 Bon Clay, pulls off a dastardly trick that gets the Rebel Forces to raise their arms and head for the capitol city of Alubarna to take the palace.
Once in Rainbase, though, Luffy runs into the Marines and Captain Smoker who chases a few Straw Hats into Raindinners where Crocodile springs a trap for them involving giant gators with a banana growing out of it (or is it the other way around?) called Bananagators. One of the best moments comes when Sanji, who didn’t enter Raindinners, comes up with a rescue that fools Crocodile and Ms. All Sunday as he takes on Bananagators solo. Believe me, this is Sanji at his most coolest.
Out of the cage and heading on towards Alubarna atop a giant crab that Chopper managed to find, Luffy is the only one to stay behind to fight against Crocodile. The battle is one of the more impressive as the stretch Straw Hat fights a foe who has the Devil Fruit ability to turn into sand. Unfortunately, it is a battle that is a bit one-sided and you will not believe who saves Luffy’s life.
In one of the more exciting moments, Koza’s Rebel Forces enter Alubarna prepared to clash with the Royal Army and with the King taken captive by Baroque Works agents the King’s trusted advisors could only order the army to fight. Princess Vivi uses her trusty duck Karoo to race to the frontlines to stop the battle only to fail.
Meanwhile, having given her enough time to reach the palace, the rest of the Straw Hats face off against Baroque Works agents. Usopp and Chopper take on Ms. Merry Christmas and Mr. 4 is one of the best (and longest battle) as Sanji takes on Mr. 2 Bon Clay who keeps turning into the only person Sanji could never possibly hurt. Then there’s Zoro’s fight with Mister I as Nami is about to battle Ms. Doublefinger.
Things are definitely going to explode in the next voyage of this season that is already a classic epic in a show already filled with unforgettable moments. The Fifth Voyage is Season Two’s finest moment as the real battle to save the kingdom of one of their own. It’s a story arch that has the Straw Hats fighting for something more meaningful than each one of their dreams. Really, it’s episodes like that that make you glad you jumped aboard.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The Straw Hat pirates and Princess Vivi decide to attack the source of the problem … Sir Crocodile who reveals his sinister plans for Alabasta Kingdom to his Baroque Works agents prepared to fight for him and his true intentions. As the Rebel Forces and the Royal Army clash, Vivi and the others race to Alubarna but find themselves going up against Baroque Works best agents.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
We still love the way the series continues to be true to Eiichiro Oda’s manga and it looks even better in motion. The fight scenes stand out the most in this fifth part of Season Two and you just have to love the Bananagators.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The music in the series is still good and the opening and closing tunes are nice. It’s the voice acting that steals the show in both the original Japanese and English dub versions.
Aside from Marathon Play and the usual assortment of extras that include trailers and textless opening and closing animation, there’s audio commentary for Episode 114. The commentary includes Jason Grundy (ADR), Sonny Strait (Usopp) and Wendy Powell (Ms. Merry Christmas) who talk about the differences between the One Piece movie that covers the Alabasta story and story in the series.
One of the longest yet most gratifying story arch, Season Two’s Fifth Voyage of One Piece is nothing short of exhilarating and packed to the gills with great action sequences. As the Straw Hats fight to save their friend’s kingdom from a tyrant, the situation goes from bad to critical in this part of the story and yes it is just as awesome as it sounds.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment