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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Piece Season 3 DVD Impression

Luffy and the crew of the Going Merry continue their adventures in Sky Island and take on God

It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at One Piece but with these new adventures what better time to regroup. See the edited version and even un-edited versions only hit most televisions on cable in limited form. This means not every episode folks. Even if they did it’s tough to keep up with these sequential offerings. That being said the One Piece Season 3 DVD sets from FUNimation give fans a chance to get all the action broken up into 12-13 episode purchase (or online, your choice).

What’s so great about these releases? Besides great story, characters and action the flow of One Piece allows for fans to get hooked and attached to the narrative. The release schedule from FUNimation makes it easy on the fans bank account with affordable purchase options and plenty of episodes to dive into and finally the release schedule. These episode hit fairly frequently with only weeks between release so fans are not left forgetting key story points.

With Season 3, the reason I jump in here is it’s a more unique path in its entirety for Luffy. The journey to Sky Island was outlined on TV (Cartoon Network among others I believe) but due to the amount of episodes it’s better to get the full sets. Season 3 sees a majority of the crew assembled in an adventure seen in the manga but not fully chronicled in Shonen Jump (which has of course jumped ahead in story in the same manner Naruto did). From here on out I’d like to take a look at this outstanding series so let’s get to it with a look at these DVD releases.

Season 3, Part 1 – (Episode 144-156) Another day at sea turns odd as a ship wreck falls from the sky. After checking out the remains for treasure and encountering an odd sort of salvager the crew of the Going Merry make their way to Mock Town where they manage to get into trouble. The local tough guys are not so touch and after Nico learns of a legendary liar a new goal is targeted; the Knockup Stream.

A good start to this new adventure but just that, a start.A tale of a city of gold, yeah, that will get a pirate going.

Season 3, Part 2 – (Episode 157-169) A risky move to travel the Knockup Stream leads to the land of Skypiea located in the clouds with oceans of clouds. After being saved by the Sky Knight and meeting with some friendly locals the crew is quickly marked as fugitives at the mercy of God. Who is this God in the Upper Yard and why is being from the blue sea such a crime.

Now this is adventure. A new land, really new and unique with some cool people in the Skypiean’s and their dial technology. Whoever this God is he’s not very nice and he’s sending his priest to take down the Straw Hats...

Season 3, Part 3 – (Episode 170-182) The city of gold is real? God, better known as Eneru who rules Skypiea has started a game, a deadly contest where his priest and the Shandorian warriors will battle until only a handful remain. Luffy and crew, all separated, are included in this game where losing means death. Nico makes some amazing discoveries while the history of war between the Skypiean’s and Shandorian’s comes into focus.

Action, action and more action. Eneru has nothing but death in mind for all. There is a lot more going on then I outline above, that can be said for each part of season 3, but it’s not until this volume, part 3, that the action really kicks in and takes shape, forms what’s been building to this point. There is still some background needed but all the players are now present and the game has begun.

Season 3, Part 4 – (Episode 183-195) The battle which everyone wanted; Luffy takes on Eneru in a battle of lighting and rubber. History is revealed, plans outlined and agendas laid bare. The sad tale of Shandora brings endless cycles of battle but these will soon end but how? Even if Luffy can take down Eneru will the fighting between the Skypiean’s and Shandorian’s end? How will the crew get back to the blue sea? These questions will be resolved one way or another.

Ah the conclusion and what a very satisfying one it is. There are losses and a land is devastated but the golden bell does ring and it’s such a sweet sound. Trust me this will make sense and after watching you’ll be as thrilled as the Shandorian’s. The story arc’s in One Piece really establish themselves well with background that builds and builds to an epic encounter that’s resolved in unique manners. The legend of Luffy is building and this is one story fans will want to follow.

Season 3, Part 5 – Well, not out yet but we’ll be checking back in April as the crew is back in the blue sea right in the middle of new trouble.

Overall the action in One Piece is great and really going to new levels not seen before in the badly edited versions. These uncut divided up season DVD’s are outstanding and come out frequently enough that the action never stops. The animation quality is rock solid with outstanding voice acting and a style that’s unique among a crowded anime field. Like Naruto, Luffy and his crew are on one long and epic journey that is not full of filler and fluff but story driven action that’s yummy to digest. Having read the updated manga in Shonen Jump I get super jazzed at what’s to come and know that the seasons are nowhere near ready to end.

Fans of Naruto, of great action anime with unique characters, design and action owe it to themselves to checkout One Piece. It really is a shining example of how to do a long running animated series with substance.

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