Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
The dreams of pirates will never die.
One Piece fans who have been watching the series since the Season One probably already know the opening speech by the pirate who started the quest for the legendary “one piece.” In the First Voyage of Season Three, we find that the new generation of pirates have lost sight of the vision the old King of the Pirates had but there are also pirates that continue believing in the dream as they travel on to a mythical island.
While the Seventh Voyage of Season Two consisted of filler episodes, the First Voyage brings us back to business as the Straw Hats continue on their journey when a ship comes crashing down from above. As the fragmented pieces of the ship all around the Going Merry, the skeletal remains of the fallen ship and some of their treasure falls aboard the Straw Hat’s ship. Piecing these clues together, Nico Robin believes that the ship must have come from a rumored island in the skies. It must be true because Nami’s Log Pose is pointing skyward.
To investigate Nico’s claim, Luffy, Sanji and Zoro go underwater to find further clues from the ship’s remains only to get interrupted by a massive vessel captained by a monkey-man named Masira. As it turns out, Masira is a salvager and this part of the sea is his territory so he sees the Straw Hats as intruders but, strangely enough, the big ape is charming enough to find the crew of the Going Merry likeable enough. While Masira’s arrival was a distraction, Luffy does manage to find a map that leads to an island in the sky called Skypia. The rumors might actually be all true.
So, determined to go to Skypia, the Straw Hats find themselves heading for the nearby island of Jaya for more information on Skypia. One in the port town of Mock Town, the crew discovers that the place is filled with pirates from all walks of life. One of the nastiest pirates in Mock Town happens to be Bellamy the Hyena who has a huge bounty on his head. As the Straw Hats are about to find out, Bellamy and his crew of pirates are nothing but trouble. Unfortunately for Luffy, Nami and Sanji, they run into Bellamy while asking about Skypia at a local bar.
Interestingly enough, Luffy keeps his promise to Nami not to fight until they find out more about Skypia. The result of that decision is that Sanji and Luffy get beat up badly by the pirate captain. Even more interesting, however, is the strange man they met in the bar before the brawl sitting outside with words that are actually encouraging. He believes that Bellamy is wrong about the new age of pirates forgetting about dreams. Dreams will never die and will lead those who have them to something far greater. It is the new pirates that have forgotten this.
As it turns out, the stranger is right as pirates from all over begin to gather and that includes some familiar faces such as Buggy the Clown and Red-Haired Shanks just to name a few. The meeting also finds the remaining Warlords who are trying to decide who should replace Crocodile after his defeat in Alabasta by the Straw Hats that are now considered a threat. Meanwhile, back in Mock Town, we discover the identity of the famous pirate named Blackbeard.
The Straw Hat’s only lead takes them to the home of a man named Mont Blanc Cricket who is connected to the legend of Noland the Liar who tells a story of great treasure and the island in the sky. The only problem is that he is seen as a liar and Cricket is spending his days trying to prove that his ancestor was no liar. With the help of his friends, who turns out to be the monkey brothers, Masira and Shojo, the three help the Straw Hats prepare to enter Skypia via a massive stream of water called the Knock Up Stream to take them there.
Unfortunately, Bellamy finds Cricket and his friends and beats them to a bloody mess and Luffy – in one of his finest moments – heads back to Mock Town to get revenge. Things get more interesting as the Straw Hats, with their modified ship, use the Knock Up Stream to head to Skypia. The place is interesting right off the bat as they meet an elderly knight atop of a strange spotted Pegasus that’s actually a bird, a crazy native and a woman who tells them the entrance fee to Skypia is very hefty.
Still, they travel on where they meet a cute girl names Conis and her father who tells them everything about Skypia that is filled with an ocean of clouds, citizens that look like angels and technology far more advanced than they have seen below. Naturally, trouble has a way of finding the Straw Hats as Nami – enjoying a ride on a watercraft called a Waver – encounter a forbidden island. Meanwhile, the Skypia authorities are after the Straw Hats for not paying the entrance fee.
Season Three of One Piece is off to a very good start as we can see from the First Voyage and after the filler episodes of the last voyage it is a good thing to see One Piece back on track. Skypia as well as the road to the island in the sky is loads of fun to watch and the story is just getting warmed up so the next episodes will definitely be an interesting one as the Straw Hats continue to explore the mysteries of Skypia.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
When a ship drops from the sky, the Straw Hat pirates decide to follow a rumor Robin Nico heard of about an island in the sky called Skypia. Yet in a nearby island, the rumors seem to be just that … until they encounter a man who knows how to get to Skypia. Once there, the Straw Hats discover that the island isn’t a heavenly as it seems.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
Skypia is an even more fascinating place than we have seen in past adventures with citizens of the sky island being a nice change of pace … just check out the spotted “Pegasus” the Sky Knight rides.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Technically, this is the first season recorded in terms of the English dub by FUNimation but many of the voices still sound as good as they do in the releases of earlier seasons. The music is still just as good as well and fits the series well.
There’s an audio commentary track for Episode 144 with the episodes ADR Director, Mike McFarland as well as Brina Palencia (Chopper) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy) as they talk about their experiences working on their very first One Piece episode that happens to be this particular one. Plus, there are some trailers, clean opening and closing episodes and the Marathon Play feature.
The First Voyage of Season Three of One Piece finds the Straw Hats in newer and stranger territory that feel like a return to vintage One Piece fun. The journey to Skypia itself is a blast to watch and, once there, the adventure takes a very fascinating turn that will prove to be another great story arc for this long series. The next voyage is sure to be even more fun so we are definitely on board for that.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment