Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 19

One Piece Collection 19 packages the One Piece Season Seven Voyage Six and One Piece Season Eight Voyage One releases together. Between the two sets, there are 23 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 19
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: May 23, 2017

The first seven episodes in this set continue the story that’s taking place in Impel Down. It begins with Luffy taking down Hannyabal, the vice warden at the prison. Luffy also encounters Blackbeard, who reveals that his original plan had been to capture Luffy but changed his plans after encountering Ace and capturing him instead. A fight gets underway between these two, but Jimbei convinces Luffy not to waste this time that he needs to rescue Ace.

Magellan and his poison become an important part of the plot when he uses it to take down both Ivankov and Inazuma. While these two try to buy time for the others, Magellan launches a plan to move the Marine ships to make it so Luffy and the others can’t get away. Fortunately, Jimbei and Crocodile have a plan to gain a ship, and Ivankov uses his power to fight against Magellan’s poison so he can rejoin the others and help stall for time until Jimbei and Crocodile can return with a ship.

While Luffy and the others escape, Bon Clay (aka Mr. 2) makes a sacrifice in order to make this happen. In order to get to Navy headquarters, someone needed to stay behind so the gates could be opened from within, since they can only be opened from the inside. Thanks to Bon Clay’s ability to disguise himself, he’s able to pose as Hannyabal and achieve his goal. Unfortunately, he knew he’d be caught by Magellan and poisoned, and that was a sacrifice he was willing to make. There’s an emotional scene involving Luffy and Bon Clay communicating over a transponder snail until the ship is out of range. This was a very emotional scene, and I never thought I would feel emotional about anything involving Bon Clay. When he was introduced in the Alabasta arc, I thought he was such an annoying and obnoxious character. But during the course of this arc, he really grew on me as a character, and this growth allowed his sacrifice to have the emotional weight that it was supposed to have.

The next four episodes continue the stories for what’s happening to the other characters while the main storyline is going on. Just like the last batch, each episode focuses on two of the characters. The only character whose story I’m truly enjoying watching is Robin’s. Nami’s story is just OK, but the rest just feel like throwaways. I just wanted to get through these so I could get back to the major storyline of Luffy and his attempt to rescue Ace. Sadly, none of the stories conclude here, so I suspect at some point we’re going to have at least one more batch of these “what’s happening to the other Straw Hats” storylines to go before the current main storyline of the series comes to a conclusion.

The first two episodes for the main storyline are flashback episodes. The first episode is split between Luffy and Ace. For Luffy, he remembers his childhood with Ace and meeting him in Alabasta and getting his Vivre card. He also recalls meeting Blackbeard before knowing who he was, hearing the news about Ace’s execution, and encountering Blackbeard at Impel Down. For Ace, he remembers his encounter with Blackbeard that led to him being captured and sentenced to execution. The second episode sees the three Navy Admirals gathering, and the audience sees flashbacks about each one of them. On the one hand, these episodes are killing time and delaying the main storyline. However, it also serves as a reminder to the audience of the relationship between Luffy and Ace, as well as the fact that the three Navy Admirals had appeared in the series in the past.

The remaining episodes of this set focus on the events taking place at Marineford. During Sengoku’s speech before the execution is scheduled to begin, it’s revealed that Ace is actually the son of Gol D. Roger, and this reveals that Ace and Luffy are not biological brothers. Through Garp, we see a flashback of how he learned right before Roger’s execution that Roger was going to have a child, and Roger asks Garp to look after that child. The Navy begins searching the town where Roger had been, rounding up the women who had recently given birth or who were about to give birth, because these women would be giving birth around the estimated time that Roger’s child was scheduled to be born. Seeing what happened with these women makes it clear, if it hadn’t already been made clear earlier in the series, that the Navy aren’t the good guys. Fortunately, Ace’s mother, Portgas D. Rouge, was smart enough to go into hiding and was lucky that Ace stayed in utero after the Navy’s projected birth window. Garp manages to track her down in time for Ace’s birth and takes custody of Ace after Rouge dies of exhaustion after the birth. To be honest, Ace’s parentage wasn’t a twist that I was expecting. When Oda wrote this story for the manga, he successfully made the audience believe that Luffy and Ace were biological brothers.

But then, Whitebeard and his pirates make a dramatic appearance, and this kicks off the war between Whitebeard and the Navy that the civilians in this world feared would come to pass. During the battle, we get to see someone interesting on Whitebeard’s side: Little Oars Jr., a descendant of Oars. This piques Moria’s interest, and he’s determined to capture Oars’ descendant in order to create a new super zombie. It takes almost six episodes from Whitebeard’s appearance until Luffy and his group make their dramatic entrance onto the scene. During those episodes, they’re making their way toward Marineford. It’s actually thanks to an action taken by Whitebeard that they make it on time, even if this created one hell of an entrance for Luffy’s group. There’s an interaction between Luffy and Whitebeard, with Luffy declaring to Whitebeard that he will become the King of the Pirates. At this point, as Luffy rushes to try to save Ace, chaos ensues. The set basically ends in the middle of a major melee between several groups.

Phew! Even with the interruption of the “what happened to the other Straw Hat” stories, a lot still takes place over the course of One Piece Collection 19. It becomes clearer by the end of this set that this series is heading to a climax of some sort. If you’re familiar with the fact that this story continues on for a while, then you already know that you’re basically heading to the end of the “First Act” of the One Piece story. At this point, if you’re this invested in what’s going on, you’ll definitely want to continue with the next set in order to find out what happens next.

When it comes to bonus features, the first disc has commentary for two episodes: Episode 446 (“Refusal to be Defeated! Serious Hannyabal”) and Episode 452 (“To the Navy Headquarters! Off to Rescue Ace!”). Disc Two includes a feature called “Usopp: The Sniper King,” which sees Sonny Strait (the English voice actor for Usopp) showing off his “sniper skills.” It’s comedic in nature and runs for about six minutes. While it’s not as bad as the Zoro bonus feature that appeared about two sets ago, it’s not as good as Eric Vale’s cooking segment included in One Piece Collection 18. There’s also a textless version of the opening theme, “Kaze wo Sagashite,” as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

Disc Three includes commentary for Episode 462, “The Force That Could Destroy the World! The Power of the Tremor-Tremor Fruit!” The fourth disc includes a feature called “Robin’s Search,” which features the English voice actress for Robin. It’s about four-and-a-half minutes in length, with the voice actress trying to find something and doing research in the library. Someone keeps trying to help her, but it turns out they don’t know what she’s looking for. The twist at the end was just… “meh.” This wasn’t one of the better features in these sets that feature the English voice actors. There’s commentary for Episode 468, “Hard Battles, One After Another! Devil Fruit Eaters Vs. Devil Fruit Eaters!” There are also textless versions of the two openings that appear on this disc: “Kaze wo Sagashite” and “One Day,” 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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