As is the case with each and every one of my One Piece reviews, I have to open by confessing a certain unwavering approval-factor of this series right off the bat. For a property with the word "shonen" right there in its title, the show is surprisingly devoid of the usual formulaic clichés that bog down most entries into the genre. Rather than endless fighting in some mystical tournament, One Piece has absolutely mastered the art of giving fighting fans what they want and blending it with a nice adventure-driven plot with unique (and likable) characters to boot. Suffice to say, I was hooked immediately.
That said, Season Two, Third Voyage contains episodes 79-91 of the ongoing saga across two discs. The packaging, as has been the case with all of the Region 1 releases thus far, consists of two thin packs within an attractive cardboard outer slipcase. Runtime comes in at 320 minutes and the show wears an appropriate if not slightly conservative TV 14 rating (due to a steady dose of cartoony violence rather than inappropriate language, nudity, or gore).
Language options are standard sub & dub, which means the viewer has the choice of the original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (Dolby Digital 5.1) and the option of running English subtitles with either.
Special features consist of textless songs, Funimation trailers, and marathon play option (turns each disc into one continuous episode), and an English staff commentary over episode 87 (note: this last one is not located in the Special Features section but rather in the episode selection. It is very easy to miss!)
The One Piece Season Two Third Voyage basically picks up where the Second Voyage left off in that the Strawhats remain on a mission to deliver the Princess Vivi to her homeland of Alabasta. However, sheer survival is the more immediate goal of this chunk of episodes with Nami fighting an extremely high fever, which causes the crew to port at the wintry island of Drum in search of medical help.
Pursued by a metal-mouthed pirate king named Wapol and his goons (including the hilarious detachable-afro wielding Kuromarimo), there is no shortage of conflict for the big-hearted crew this time around.
Fans of the show will likely mark this entire portion of the saga as the introduction/ origin story of the "only in Japan" adorable talking reindeer, Chopper. His segment is interesting if not a bit heavy on the dramatic side (prepare for a lot of character-crying).
In all honesty, I cannot say that this has been my absolute paramount section of the overall prose but it is an improvement to the last section (Season Two, Second Voyage) in my opinion anyway. Just like last time I suppose my own disappointment comes from the fact that there isn't a whole lot of oceanic pirating to report nor are our infamous crew's special powers utilized to quite the degree of awesomeness that fans have grown to expect. Then again considering the incredible length of the show, I guess island side tangents are to be expected.
Of course this isn't to say that there aren't a steady stream of near-invincible baddies to dispatch, damsels in distress to rescue, or blissful ignorance displayed by the good captain, Monkey D. Luffy, the story just seems to jaunt off on several sidetracks along the way.
Hopefully by now fans have come to expect the fact that the show will end on a cliffhanger (which may or may not be considered a good thing to those of us forced to wait patiently for the next installment to arrive!)
Fans of the show will continue to enjoy the unique, washed-out visual style that has become One Piece's staple over time. The sound work is spot on in both language options with the English dub working just about as well in every aspect as the original Japanese track (especially the voice of Kuromarimo which is just spot on in the dub).
At times it's almost hard to believe that it has been exactly a decade since this collection debuted on television airwaves. While advances in animation process and technology are undisputable, the charm that made One Piece a gem then is undoubtedly present now.
In all a must-own collection for those of us who have been taking the voyage thus far (even if it isn't the best mini story arc per se'). The special features are quite nice (the English staff commentary track actually contains the harshest language of the whole compilation believe it or not) and the packaging maintains the excellent look and feel of its predecessors. My only complaint comes in the form of the ending of episode 91 as its inconclusive nature has me anxiously awaiting the next One Piece release. You would think I would be used to this pattern by now...
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About the reviewer
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing. … more
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With Nami on the verge of death, Luffy's crew abandons its voyage to Alabasta and goes looking for help. Their search leads them to frosty Drum Island, where the locals don't roll out the red carpet for pirates, and the only doctor in town lives atop a treacherous, snow-covered mountain. In order to save their friend, Luffy and Sanji must survive an avalanche, duke it out with a man-eating herd of abominable rabbits, and defeat a foe who devours anything he can get his mouth on. Danger lurks around every corner on this treacherous mission, but the Straw Hats have more at stake than ever before.