Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Thus begins the cat-and-mouse game between pirates and the Marines.
As a One Piece fan for a long time now, it’s incredible to find a long-running anime series like this that is still able to keep its loyal audience happy but somehow we find ourselves gladly jumping into the Straw Hat pirates’ latest adventures. Even after an epic storyline, One Piece is still able to keep fans satisfied as we can see from the Fifth Voyage of Season Three that finds the crew back in dangerous waters.
Having finally said goodbye to their new friends in the island in the sky, the Straw Hat pirates find a way back down to a more familiar sea in their efforts to continue their journey on the Grand Line. However, there’s no telling where the steep drop would put them as they land outside a massive fortress that is enclosed by a giant gate. Jutting out of the island’s massive hill are 108 cannons and there are secured docks that could hold entire fleets of warships.
This is G-8, otherwise known as Navarone, one of the biggest and most famous fortresses for the Marines and the Going Merry just so happens to have landed right within its confines. Immediately, the fortress comes to life with giant floodlights and Marines ready to take prisoners by orders of Lieutenant Commander Drake, a man of action who takes command since the laid-back Commander Jonathan is out night fishing. What they find aboard the Going Merry is a ship without a crew and a storage space filled with exotic treasure that they obtained in Skypiea.
You see, Luffy and the others had jumped ship separately as they try to assess their current situation and thus begins a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse as the Straw Hats try to find a way to get the Going Merry back and escape the fortress while Commander Jonathan and the Marines are out the capture them. This is easier said than done since the Commander is a calm and methodical man and the Straw Hats are, well, a force to be reckoned with even though they don’t look intimidating.
As each member of the Straw Hats infiltrates the main building of the fortress, they become involved in the lives and duties of the Marines stationed in Navarone. Sanji and Luffy, for example, disguise themselves as two chefs and it is in the kitchen that they meet the head chef, Jessica, who takes her cooking duties very seriously. It isn’t until she has a cook-off contest against Sanji that she realizes that there’s a lot she still has to learn about the art of cooking. Meanwhile, with Nami disguised as a nurse, Chopper takes up the guise of a visiting Doctor named Kobato and they both help the temporary physician – who happens to faint at the sight of blood – perform surgeries as well as inspire her to be brave for the patients who depend on her.
What the Straw Hats weren’t counting on, however, is Commander Jonathan’s rational thought process that gives him the advantage in always being a step ahead of the Straw Hats. Guessing their every move, he manages to capture Zoro and then Usopp as the matter becomes even more complicated for them. On top of that, there’s an inspector – who came with a Marine ship forced to dock in Navarone – who makes it his person mission to bring down the Straw Hats after Usopp and Zoro made of fool of him in the fortress prison when Marines mistook him for a member of the Straw Hats.
It isn’t until Luffy finally meets Commander Jonathan that things become a little more action-packed as Luffy – reunited with Zoro, Sanji and Usopp – finally fights the Marines in order to finally get to the Going Merry. They battle their way to the ship in one of the more exciting escapes as the Straw Hats get the upper hand on the Commander … or so they think when they realize that all the gold the managed to secure is lost and, somewhere in the island, Nami left behind the Waver that was fixed in the island in the sky. So the crew heads back into the base again to find their treasure.
Interestingly enough, the various Marines that the Straw Hats encounters begin to think of them in a different light whether it’s Doctor Kobato who decides to help Nami and Chopper or the Head Chef who finds herself wanting to improve thanks to Sanji. Even Commander Jonathan can’t help but admire the crew of the Going Merry but duty calls and this story arc is far from finished.
The Fifth Voyage of Season Three might not have the epic feel of other One Piece story arcs but – make no mistake – this is still a highly entertaining collection of episodes that will continue to make you glad you’re a One Piece fan. The Straw Hats take on the Marines once again but this time on Marine turf and trust me when I say that there’s more than enough here to satisfy true One Piece fans.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After literally falling from the sky after their visit in Skypiea, the Straw Hat pirates land just outside G-8, a famous Marine fortress that is said to be impenetrable. Escaping separately, Luffy and the other try to not only get the Going Merry back from enemy hands but also get back their gold taken from them. This, of course, will not be easy since the fortress is filled with well-trained Marines and led by a tactical-minded Commander.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
This story arc might not be set in a colorful place like the island in the sky but Navarone is still an impressive place and the encounters between the Straw Hats and the Marines are actually very fun to watch.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting in the series has always been consistently good throughout the series whether you like the Japanese voice cast or the English dub. For my money, though, it doesn’t get any better than Mark Stoddard as Commander Jonathan.
There’s the usual assortment of extras that come with every One Piece release such as textless opening and closing theme songs as well as FUNimation trailers and the always appreciated Marathon Play. There’s an audio commentary track for Episode 196 with Mark Stoddard and Bryan Massey (Lt. Commander Drake) as they get into their voice acting method. It’s actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
Sure, it’s not quite as impressive as the Skypiea story arc but the Fifth Voyage of Season Three makes it clear that One Piece very rarely disappoints when it comes to showing its fans a really good time. The Straw Hat pirates return to familiar waters is actually loads of fun to watch so missing this one would be a real shame.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment