A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
Fillers are a necessary evil. On the one hand, they prevent a series from catching up with the source material and thus going on hiatus. On the other, they are rarely entertaining, and are usually full of plotlines that contradict established canon. Today, I’m looking at One Piece Season Five Voyage Six, a DVD set containing episode 325 through 336 of the series. While the episodes on this set are flanked by solid moments, overall they’re full of the typical filler traps.
Season Five Voyage Six starts off with one of the best battles in all of One Piece: Portgas D. Ace versus Marshal D. “Blackbeard” Teach. Squaring off their their respective Devil Fruit powers, their conflict rocks a small island and sets the stage for some major plot points to come. Meanwhile, the Straw Hat Pirates have just left Water 7 with their new ship, the Thousand Sunny, and new crew mate, Franky. The crew sails into icy waters, where they encounter the Phoenix Pirates, a disgraced group who couldn’t survive the new world and now are beneath the thrall of the bounty-hunting Accino Family. As conflict ensues, it seems the Straw Hats may be unable to reach the New World after all. Finally, the set ends with a short, cute episode featuring Chopperman, the superhero alter ego of Tony Tony Chopper.
As you can probably guess from my introduction, I’m not too fond of these episodes. The fight between Ace and Blackbeard is great, with lots of solid animation, voice acting work, and contribution to the plot. While also technically filler, the Chopperman episode is rather cute, and gave me some solid chuckles with its share of ridiculous antics. What comes between however is far from enjoyable.
I’ll start by dissecting the plot, since that’s where the crux of this arc’s problems lie. Given the feats we’ve seen Luffy and company perform previously, their battles against the ridiculous Accino family shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as they appear. Furthermore, the fact that is arc is filler is evident within the meandering pace of actions, scenes, and choices made by the characters. For instance, why do we hear the history of the Phoenix Pirates three different times over the course of two episodes? Sure, it’s important to know their past and sympathize with them, but it breaks the pace and makes the episodes feel almost unnecessary.
From a technical standpoint, these episodes falter as well. There’s a plethora of repeated animation and, overall, the art and animation quality are rather poor. The character designs aren’t anything to write home about either as, with perhaps the exception of the Don himself, the characters are pulled from some fairly generic molds. The voice work also seems to falter in this arc; actors who normally give stellar performances were not bad per se, but it seemed as if they weren’t as dedicated to their lines in this instance. Chris Rager, voicing the twins Brindo and Campacino, is about the only stand out, which fits fairly well since these are the only interesting characters introduced in the arc (I especially liked their power set).
Overall, One Piece Season Five Voyage Six is a miss. The episodes are far from unwatchable, but at the same time I can’t recommend anyone take the time to watch them unless you’re a completionist. There are a few stand out moments and the battle between Luffy and the Don is fairly entertaining. Still, I think it’s best to avoid this DVD set.
-great first and last episode
-cool battles with interesting power sets
-majority of the episodes are dull and repetitive
-lower quality and repeated animation throughout
-meandering plot that doesn’t contribute to the overall narrative
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