Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 12

One Piece Collection 12 packages the One Piece Season Five Voyage Two and One Piece Season Five Voyage Three releases together. Between the two sets, there are 24 episodes 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 12
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: April 21, 2015

The episodes in this set continue the Enies Lobby arc. The first three episodes continue showing the audience Robin’s backstory through flashbacks. She has a very heartbreaking backstory, and I nearly cried by the end of Episode 278. If a viewer isn’t moved by Robin’s backstory, then they must not have a heart. But after seeing the four episodes that explain Robin’s past, it’s easy for the audience to understand why she’s acted the way she has up to this point.

But just as it looks that the main story is going to continue, the next five episodes consist of primarily reused footage from earlier in the series and reiterates the important points of the backstories for the various members of the Straw Hats. The exception to this is Robin. Instead of reiterating the backstory we just saw earlier in the set, her episode focuses on what happened to her after the crew arrived at Water Seven. To be honest, these episodes didn’t add anything to the series, and felt like they were there more to buy time for Oda to progress in the manga. The main thing of interest with these five episodes is the “Straw Hat Theater” omake that appear at the end of each of them.

The final four episodes finally see some progression take place for the Enies Lobby arc. But it quickly turns into various characters encountering a member of CP9 and having to fight them and acquire a key from each one in order to obtain the correct key to unlock Robin’s handcuffs. By the end of this half of the set, only one CP9 member has been defeated and only one key obtained.

By far, the best part of this half of the set is getting to see the rest of Robin’s backstory that just started at the end of the previous box set. My least favorite part of this half is the five episodes that focused on the reused footage for other characters’ backstories. The “Straw Hat Theater” omake were OK, but they didn’t entirely make up for the fact that I spent five episodes essentially re-watching characters’ backstories. The final four episodes are worth it simply because they finally continue the story of the Enies Lobby arc.

Most of the episodes in the second half of the set continue the Enies Lobby arc. The only exception is Episodes 291 and 292, which are alternate reality stories set in the Edo period. From what the stories are about, it’s obvious that they were done in order to have a couple of weeks of holiday episodes to end that particular year with. But I’m sure they were also produced in order to have filler for a couple of weeks to allow Oda to get a little further ahead in the manga. In the 10 episodes that cover Enies Lobby, there’s a lot of backtracking that takes place at the beginning of episodes, as well as always having an opening sequence explaining about Gold Roger and the One Piece. These are also sure signs that Toei was trying to do what they could to stretch the story out while waiting for the manga to get ahead some more. While this backtracking was nowhere near as bad as what Bleach did with some of the Arrancar arc, it was still rather annoying.

When all was said and done, there was some progress made on various fronts in these episodes. However, it’s obvious that we’re still nowhere near the end of the arc. By the end of this set, four of the CP9 agents are defeated, which is what accounts for most of the progress in the story. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, the Straw Hats are no closer to rescuing Robin at the end of episode 299 than they were at the beginning of episode 288.

Overall, I have to say that while there’s a good story in the Enies Lobby arc, especially with the character development for Robin, it’s taking a long time for it to truly progress anywhere. And having the two filler episodes in this set really didn’t help anything, either. Personally, I thought both filler episodes were stupid.

The bonus features on the second disc include textless version for three opening songs that appear on this set (“Brand New World,” “We Are!,” and “Crazy Rainbow), as well as a textless version for the ending song on this set (“Adventure World”).

There are also two more of the “On the Boat – Behind the Scenes of One Piece” featurettes. This time, ADR Director Mike McFarland interviews John Swasey (the voice for Crocodile) for about 16-and-a-half minutes and Stephanie Young (the voice for Robin) for about 17 minutes. These interviews were done in the exact same manner as on the previous sets, and they were just as enjoyable to watch. There are also trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment properties.

The fourth disc includes a textless version of one of the opening songs for the series (“Crazy Rainbow”).

The disc also includes two more of the “On the Boat – Behind the Scenes of One Piece” featurettes. For these featurettes, ADR Director Mike McFarland interviews Jonathan Brooks (the voice for Foxy in the English dub) for about 17 minutes and Jason Liebrecht (the voice for Lucci in the English dub) for about 16 minutes. The interviews are done in the exact same manner as in the previous “On the Boat – Behind the Scenes of One Piece” featurettes, and I enjoyed seeing them. I think it’s a great idea to include these interviews, because it allows the viewers to see what the English dub voice actors look like, as well as to see a little bit of who they are and their personalities. There are also trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases.

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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