Review: One Piece Season Five Voyage Two

One Piece is one of my favorite manga and the CP9 arc is my favorite story line. Thus, I was very excited to finally watch animated episodes of some of my favorite moments from the series on the DVD set “One Piece Season Five Voyage Two.” The two disc set covers episodes 276-287.

A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.

One Piece Season Five Voyage Two

“Season Five Voyage Two” starts off by finishing a recounting of Nico Robin’s past. We find out about her inspiration to become an archaeologist, and see the turmoil in her youth that led her to earning a bounty at the tender age of eight. Next, we return to the present, by Luffy and company reflect on their personal journeys as they prepare to assault the Tower of Justice and rescue Robin from CP9. Shortly thereafter, the vicious battle between the Straw Hat Pirates and CP9 begins.

I’m a big fan of One Piece, and I feel CP9 arc is so good because it exemplifies all the high points of the series. There are amazing battle, silly moments, and plenty of wild, unpredictable, creative abilities given to the heroes and villains. Kaku and Kalifa’s Devil Fruits bear special mention, as the first is a downright unexpected animal (and handled expertly) while the second involves an ability that sounds odd at first, but turns out to be amazing.

CP9_Assembled

CP9 ready for a brawl.

Funimation’s done great work dubbing One Piece. The voice cast shines, and I feel they get better with each new episode. It’s clear they understand and feel a connection to their characters when performing their roles. My only complaint is Fukurou’s voice which, while it is similar to the Japanese voice, I still feel is far from how I imagined the character sounding when I read the manga. That said, Spandam’s voice actor, Christopher Corey Smith, hams up the role beautifully and is quickly becoming my favorite VA in the show. Given that the series’s animation and art continue to improve with each arc, the show only improves.

Regrettably, I cannot give this DVD set as high a score as I’d like. Although I love this arc, and some of these episodes are truly among the best of One Piece, I just cannot abide the flashback filler episodes. Given that there are only twelve episodes on two discs, it’s really a shame that five episodes are devoted to needless recapitulation. Any fan of the series probably remembers the characters’ histories, or at least recalls enough for plot purposes. The inclusion of these filler episodes really breaks the pacing of this arc, especially since they come right before a major climax. This isn’t Funimation’s fault, since this was part of the original broadcast, but nevertheless these episodes weakened the set.

Overall, “One Piece Season Five Voyage Two” is worth watching. There are some great episodes that kick off the best arc of the entire series. Sadly, the filler detracts from the overall narrative, lowering the score for a set I’d otherwise rank much higher.

Pros:

-Robin’s past finally explored and explained

-beginning of a great arc

-solid voice acting

Cons:

-filler episodes really detract from the pacing, and take up 5 of the 12 episodes making this set less appealing

-not fond of Fukurou’s voice (English or Japanese)

Rating: 3.5/5

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