Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection Four

One Piece Collection Four packages the One Piece Season Two Third Voyage and the One Piece Season Two Fourth Voyage releases together. Between the two sets, there are 23 episodes of the series included. Episodes can be watched with either the English dub or with the Japanese audio with English subtitles. It should also be noted that in addition to watching episodes or using the “Play All” option, there is also a marathon feature, which allows you to watch all the episodes on a disc back-to-back without interruption. In the marathon feature, the opening credits only plays once, there are no next episode previews, and the ending credits are not included.

One Piece Collection Four
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 31, 2012

The set opens with Nami falling ill and the Straw Hats deciding to find an island with a doctor so Nami can get well. Before they can get very far, though, they are attacked by a pirate named Wapol. Fortunately, Luffy sends him flying. With their leader defeated, Wapol’s crew flees. I admit that when Wapol appeared at this point, I really had no idea what the point of him being introduced was. However, later episodes in the set explained that Wapol was more important to the story than it first seemed.

Luffy and the others make it to Drum Island, and they are not welcomed at first. After gaining the trust of the people, everyone except Zoro and Karoo, are taken to a village. They learn that the only doctor lives on a mountaintop. Luffy and Sanji take on the task of taking Nami up the mountain to see the doctor. Usopp and Vivi stay in the village and learn the history of the island from a man named Dalton. Dalton has an interesting backstory to him, which gets revealed over the course of the episodes in this set.

While Luffy and Sanji are going up the mountain, Wapol lands on the island with his crew. After a confrontation with Wapol, Luffy finally makes it to the top of the mountain with Nami and a now injured Sanji. Here, they are all treated by Kureha and her assistant, a small blue-nosed reindeer named Tony Tony Chopper.

Once Chopper is introduced, there’s a lot of focus in these episodes on his backstory. Personally, I thought that Chopper not only had a good backstory, but it’s one that should be moving to most viewers. During these flashback episodes, there were times where I found myself wishing I could somehow give Chopper a hug.

During the last few episodes that are included in the first half of this set, there’s a big confrontation with Wapol, and Chopper makes the decision to join Luffy and his crew in order to become the ship’s doctor.

I have to say that I really enjoyed all the episodes that appeared in the first half. They were all relevant for progressing the story along and are also crucial for introducing Tony Tony Chopper to the crew.

The second half of the set starts off with Luffy and his crew unknowingly encountering Mr. 2 from Baroque Works. Fortunately, they learn about Mr. 2’s special ability, so they can try to take some precautions in case they run into him again.

When Luffy and the crew are separated after arriving at Alabasta’s port city of Nanohana, he learns about Dance Powder, which is a powder that can create rainfall. When the Straw Hats have a run-in with Smoker and Tashigi, they also encounter Luffy’s older brother, Portgas D. Ace. Ace, who is also a pirate, is hunting for a man named Blackbeard, and he decides to travel with Luffy and the Straw Hats.

After the group makes it to Erumalu, they begin traveling through the desert and dealing with the many dangers in it. A running gag during this portion of the story is that each time they run into one of the dangers, Vivi realizes that she should have warned them of that danger earlier. The first couple of times, this gag was a little amusing, but the gag ends up getting a little overused and loses its humor factor.

Vivi also encounters someone from her past, and we also learn some more backstory for Vivi. The second half of this set also sees the Straw Hats making it to the town of Yuba, where they learn the rebel army in Alabasta is on the move.

The episodes in this half firmly entrench the story in the country of Alabasta, and the Alabasta arc begins to move. However, there was at least one episode near the end of the set that felt like it was a “filler” episode and isn’t going to be relevant to the story in the long run.

It was nice to see through Vivi’s backstory flashback that we were provided some information about the rebel forces in Alabasta. As a viewer, this finally allowed me to begin putting a face to this group, instead of simply being a group named in the series without any real information on them.

Ace was also an interesting addition to the cast, because it allows the viewer to see someone else from Luffy’s past that had never been seen before. The dynamic between the brothers, as well as the contrast between them, was interesting to see.

Overall, I enjoyed the episodes in the second half. To me, the weakest episode was “Ruins and Lost Ways! Vivi, Her Friends, and the Country’s Form!,” because this feels more like filler to stretch out the story a little rather than being anything truly relevant.

The bonus features are what I’ve come to expect from these releases: staff commentary, textless songs, and trailers. The commentary can be found on the first and third discs of the set, while the remaining bonus features are on the second and fourth discs.

If you’re a One Piece fan who wants to own the series on home video, but don’t want to spend the time and money to track down each individual set that’s been released, these Collection sets are a good way to go.

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