A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
A few weeks ago, I checked out One Piece Season Four: Voyage Four, a DVD set detailing the revelation of CP9 and discussion of Franky’s past. This week, I had the chance to watch the most recent DVD release, One Piece Season Four: Voyage Five. This DVD set contains episodes 253-263 and focuses on the Strawhat Pirates chasing after the sea train Puffing Tom in hopes of rescuing Nico Robin before she is taken to the dreaded island of Enies Lobby. How did these episodes compare to the previous high quality releases often synomous with Funimation?
Voyage Five contains eleven action-packed episodes. As the Sea Train speeds away with only Sanji, Franky, and Usopp (disguised as the enigmatic “Sniper King”) on board to combat the Marines, Luffy and company must figure out a way to follow after them. Revelations about the past come to light and new bonds of fellowship form as the Strawhats plan to take their battle to the very gates of the World Government itself.
For fans of action anime, these episodes will not disappoint. There are a number of exciting (and, at times, downright funny) battles that occur. Fans of Sanji will be very happy, since he’s a major player in most of these episodes after having very little screentime during Voyage Four. The character of “Sniper King” is also a fun addition to the cast; his introduction secene is especially hilarious, and I fell the dub did a great job adopting his superhero theme song (which is equally entertaining in the original Japanese). Franky also receives a good amount of character development through these episodes. Overall, the plotline of these episodes moves quickly and succeeds in entertaining the audience.
The voice acting in Voyage Five is high quality. Sanji’s greater role means we hear more of Eric Vale (English) and Hiraoki Hirata (Japanese), both of whom are great voice actors. I must note that Kokoro’s English voice, provided by Juli Erickson, annoyed me at first, but it grew on me and is preferable to her Japanese voice, performed by Ako Mayama. Though he was a minor character, I really enjoyed Chef Wanze’s crazy voice, though I preferred the English rendition provided by Josh Grelle. Everyone else does a good job, and even Colleen Clinkenbeard’s Luffy (who I normally find somewhat irritating) was bearable.
The animation for these episodes also reveals a notable improvement. The quality is especially evident in the scenes of flooding occurring in Water 7, where the flowing tide is beautiful to watch. The battles, which I’ve mentioned previously, are especially entertaining thanks to this improved animation, and show almost no recycled scenes. The character designs are great as well, especially the likes of Mad Chef Wanze and Captain T-Bone.
The DVDs also include some decent bonus features. The commentary and “On the Boat” cast interviews are fairly enjoyable, as it’s interesting to hear the cast and crew provide their opinions on not only the dubbing process, but also how they get inside the minds of these characters. As with most anime DVDs these days, textless opening and ending themes are present as well. I really wish Funimation translated and recorded their own version of these themes as they have in the past. Ultimately, One Piece Season Four Voyage Five is an entertaining DVD set. One Piece fans won’t be disappointed with these episodes and, while they’re not the best of the series, are definitely in the upper echelon. I’m a big fan of this arc, and eargerly await the next entry into the series.
-great voice acting all around, especially for both the Japanese and English voices of Sanji
-action oriented episodes that move the plot forward with little filler
-improved animation over previous episodes
-Kokoro’s Japanese voice is bad, and her English one takes some getting used to
-while the Japanese opening and ending themes are fine, English dubs of them are sorely missed
-some of the episode titles are misleading
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