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DVD Review

DVD cover

One Piece
Collection No. 4


Starring (voice): Akemi Okamura, Hiroaki Hirata, Ikue Ohtani and Kappei Yamaguchi
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £34.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 11 November 2013

Monkey D. Luffy has taken to the seas to follow his hero, the King of the Pirates, who on his death bed promised that whosoever should find his One Piece would become the next King of the Pirates. With this great prize on offer the age of the pirates began with countless numbers taking to the high seas to vie for the prize. Against this swarm the authorities brought forth the Marines and the time was set for high jinks on the briny sea...

One Piece: Collection 4 (2001 - Eps 79-103) is an action adventure, children’s comedy anime, directed by Konosuke Uda. The show is based on the manga by Eiichiro Oda. The collection is presented on a four disc DVD set.

The episodes here can be cut into two story arcs; the first involves finding a doctor for Nami, who is sick. The adventure takes the crew to a new island, in their quest for said new doctor, the pirate Wapol turns up. Cue lots of running around and fighting. The story then neatly segues into whether or not Chopper will join the crew, cue more running around and fighting.

It’s not a bad show and I can see a lot of potential for kids to enjoy it - it’s really slapstick, pretending to be a story. Where other shows create a slim premise in order to create fight sequences, One Piece creates them to engage in amusing anarchic behaviour. That said the story arcs are mostly stronger than the fight shows.

One of the strange things about the way the show is being released is that it does not conform to the actual seasons, so although this collection is mainly season three, you miss the first episode which actually sets up the arc, but you also get the first couple of season four. This is fine if you intend to buy every collection, but it means that for this collection the story does not start properly and you get the start of another new arc which goes nowhere.

The discs do well for extras, considering the state of anime releases. On disc two there is a full length commentary for episode 90, as well as the textless opening and closing sequences. There is another commentary for episode 103 and another opening and closing sequence.

While it is never going to be taken as a serious show, I don’t think that’s where it’s going. One of the good things about the show is its open-ended inventiveness. In the Straw Hat's world there is nothing which is not allowed, so surprise is often the show's greatest strengths.

That said, the zaniness of the show will either drag you into the world or put you off completely.


Charles Packer

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