Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 16

One Piece Collection 16 packages the One Piece Season Six Voyage Four and One Piece Season Seven Voyage One 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 play once, there are no next episode previews.

One Piece Collection 16
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 28, 2016

The first half of the set focuses on finishing the Thriller Bark arc and giving the audience backstory for Brook. There’s also a couple of filler episodes that feature Foxy and a couple of the other Foxy Pirates. The first three episodes in this half finally wrap up the fight with Gecko Moria and bring about a happy outcome for those on the island who lost their shadows because of Moria. Unfortunately, this happiness is short-lived, because Bartholomew Kuma (one the Seven Warlords of the Sea) has been ordered to kill the Straw Hat pirates. There are a couple of episodes of Zoro fighting with Kuma, and Zoro undergoing an ordeal that he tries to keep a secret from the rest of the crew. Even though Zoro is badly beaten up, he won’t tell them what happened. I have the feeling that this is going to become an important plot point later on in the series.

We then get to see Brook’s backstory. In the previous set, he mentioned that he and the pirates he was with had made a promise 50 years earlier to a character the audience met much earlier in the series… the whale named Laboon. One of my favorite parts of Brook’s backstory was seeing Laboon as a baby whale. He was so adorable!

Unfortunately, these wonderful backstory episodes are followed by the filler episodes featuring Foxy. I can’t stand Foxy, and I think he’s one of the most annoying characters to appear in the One Piece franchise. Can we please never have to see Foxy again after these two episodes? Please?

There is also one more episode in the first half that feels like filler to me. It’s an episode where Brook is trying to fit in with the rest of the Straw Hats, but he’s constantly making mistakes or getting in other people’s way when he’s trying to help. Most of the time, I could figure out what mistake Brook was going to make before he made it.

The second half of this set begins the Sabaody Archipelago arc. At this point, the Straw Hats have reached the Red Line, which is on the other side of the world from where they entered the Grand Line. The group is trying to get to Fish-Man Isle, and in the process, they meet a mermaid name Camie and her starfish pet, Pappagu. When Camie learns her fish-man friend has been kidnapped by Iron Mask Duval and the Macro Gang, Luffy and the others join her in going to rescue their friend. But Luffy and the others are shocked to discover that Camie’s friend is Hatchan, a former member of Arlong’s crew. Luffy and the others must work to overcome their dislike for Hatchan in order to help their new friend. An interesting, yet hilarious, discovery is made concerning Iron Mask Duval. Duval was definitely intended to add some comic relief to this arc, as the tone of the arc becomes darker as we progress through the remaining episodes in the set. Themes of human trafficking, slavery, and abuse are introduced in this arc and take on a personal meaning for the Straw Hats when Camie is kidnapped and sold to a slave auction.

I find it quite fascinating that the previous arc (Thriller Bark) had a dark environment and atmosphere, since those who lost their shadows will disappear if they go into the sun. So for a lot of the episodes in the arc, the backgrounds were dark and the colors were more subdued. And then the next arc (“Sabaody Archipelago”) has such dark themes running through it. Thematically, I would say that this arc is the darkest in tone that the One Piece franchise has had. No wonder a comic relief character like Duval was introduced in this arc. I applaud the series for tackling such a dark subject as human trafficking in its story. The next set will definitely continue this story arc, and I can’t wait to see how it progresses.

There is at least one bonus feature on each disc in this set. The first disc contains commentary for Episode 377, “The Pain of My Crewmates Is My Pain! Zoro’s Desperate Fight.” Disc two includes “In The Galley With the Straw Hats,” which is a roughly 27-minute interview with four of the cast members of the English dub and the ADR Director. You can tell the actors and ADR director have a good rapport with each other, and it was fun to watch the interactions between them. There’s also commentary for Episode 384, “Brook’s Great Struggle! Is the Path to Becoming a True Comrade Rigorous?,” a textless version for the opening that appears on this set (the ten year anniversary edition of “We Are!”), as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

Disc three contains commentary for Episode 387, “The Fated Reunion! Save the Captive Fishman.” Disc four includes “Villains and Fishmen: A Peek Behind the Curtain,” which is a roughly 22-minute interview with ADR director Joel McDonald, along with two new voice actors who are voicing Duval and Macro, two of the new villains introduced in the Sabaody Archipelago arc. It was nice getting to see a couple of newer voice actors to the One Piece franchise, as well as hearing thoughts about these new villains. There is also commentary for Episode 393, “The Target Is Camie!! The Looming Clutches of a Professional Kidnapper,” textless versions of the two opening themes that appear in this half of the set (the ten year anniversary edition of “We Are!” and “Share The World”), as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

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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