Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and The Pirates Adventures in Alabasta Impression

One Piece gets what it deserves, an anime that’s not dummed down, cut and hacked to suite an audience it really was not made for. Eiichiro Oda’s manga seen in the pages of Shonen Jump is fantastically drawn with unique characters that are both memorable and funny and weaved into a story of Pirates and Devil Fruit that makes even Captain Jack jealous. The action is fast paced with plenty of blood being spilled, but fans of the Fox Box version of One Piece would never know this. Luffy was never stabbed with spikes; he was hit with suction cups. Sanji had a stupid voice and never smoked, no he sucked on lollipops and Captain Smoker … oh the horror.

Say hello to One Piece FUNimation style. Having just picked up the One Piece license, FUNimation is not starting from scratch but rather releasing the movie One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and The Pirates Adventures in Alabasta that picks up with the series well into its run. The Alabasta saga is condensed Campbell Soup style with fights being reduced in time and characters shown as if you already know them. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy as he and his crew assists Princess Vivi in freeing her land, Alabasta, from the clutches of fake hero Crocodile and his Baroque Works cronies. There are many fights, the entire crew gets involved and the good guys end up winning but it’s what FUNimation did with this translation that’s the true treat to fans of Oda’s work.

The manga has always been great and now there is high hope for the anime. The entire series will begin being released in box sets, uncut box sets, later in 2008 which will bring the series up to speed very soon. The voice actors chosen by FUNimation sound very similar to the original cast with one huge change in Sanji. Gone is the annoying Brooklyn accent, in is a … well normal sounding guy. Characters now smoke, bleed and die and it’s this change that you should be thanking FUNimation for. The movie is a service to fans of the manga like myself who have always been put off by the edited anime, and is an easy buy as it’s just a movie, not a $50+ investment when you may not yet be sold on the new product. Viz proved that a series can work in edited format (Naruto) with successful uncut box sets following. FUNimation is tapping into this principal with One Piece and I have nothing but praise. One can only hope a series like Shaman King gets the same treatment (hint, hint).

When all is said and done, if you’re a fan of One Piece, the manga especially, you owe it to yourself to get this DVD. It’s faithful to the manga action, and is indeed a refreshing reboot to a great series. Like Dragon Ball Z before it, One Piece is in for a makeover that even Tye Pennington would be envious of.

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