Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 20

One Piece Collection 20 packages together the One Piece Season Eight Voyage Two and One Piece Season Eight Voyage Three releases together. Between the two sets, there are 23 episodes included. It should be noted that Episode 492, which was a crossover between One Piece and Toriko, is not included in either this set or on One Piece Collection 21. It’s one of the few episodes of the series that FUNimation Entertainment does not have the rights to.

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 20
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 19, 2017

Unlike some of the previous collection sets, there are absolutely no filler episodes included here. All 23 episodes work to advance the plot of the current arc that’s taking place at Marineford.

All of the episodes in the first half of this set lead up to Luffy making it to the scaffold where Ace is. Hancock gives Luffy the key to Ace’s handcuffs, while Buggy and his men take a transponder snail into their possession as part of their plan to make Buggy famous around the world. The Navy shuts off the other transponder snails that were transmitting to the Sabaody Archipelago because they want to maintain an illusion that they are winning the war against Whitebeard. However, they are unable to shut off the one Buggy has. Unfortunately, since Buggy and his men are focusing on Buggy, the people watching the broadcast are frustrated because they can’t see what’s actually going on.

Squard, one of Whitebeard’s “sons,” is tricked by Akainu, which leads to him to believe that Whitebeard has betrayed him and the others. Squard stabs Whitebeard through the chest with his sword, The physical wound doesn’t affect Whitebeard too much, but the emotional pain is there from Squard’s betrayal. When Squard realizes he’s been tricked, it takes an emotional toll on him… which will play an important role in one of the later episodes in the set.

Just when it seems like Luffy is about to successfully reach Ace, the Navy activates a wall to block him and the other pirates from advancing or retreating. This happens when Luffy has used his Gum-Gum power to launch toward the scaffold, and the rising wall knocks him down. I felt so bad for Luffy, because he was so close to reaching Ace.

There’s basically seven more episodes of chaos and fights that take place until Luffy can finally manage to reach Ace on the scaffold. It sounds like it takes a lot of episodes to reach this goal, but I didn’t think the story was stretched out. In fact, I appreciated seeing the tensions rising and the stakes upped. This is a war, after all, and it wouldn’t have been realistic if it had been too easy for Luffy to reach his goal.

The second half of the set is an emotional viewing experience. After rescuing Ace, Luffy teams up with him and it seems like everything is going to be OK. Whitebeard knows he’s not going to be leaving Marineford alive, so he gives his final order… as many of his “sons” need to escape from Marineford alive. It looks everyone, including Ace and Luffy, will manage to escape. But then, Ace is fired up by Akainu taunting Whitebeard. Unfortunately, this loyalty to Whitebeard ends up being his downfall. He takes on Akainu, but Akainu takes aim at Luffy with his power. Ace jumps in the way to protect Luffy and takes the blast instead.

And this is where the emotional portion of the story comes in. Episode 483 focuses on Ace and Luffy as Ace is dying, and this episode felt like an emotional gut punch. I was actually starting to cry right near the end of this episode. The relationship between Ace and Luffy, as well as Ace’s own emotions as he’s dying, are portrayed so well. And poor Luffy takes Ace’s death really hard, to the point that he basically shuts himself down. Jimbei has to take on a role of protecting Luffy throughout the rest of the set.

Blackbeard enters the fray, which leads to a battle between him and Whitebeard. Unfortunately, Whitebeard doesn’t survive this ordeal, which adds another emotional layer to this story which had already become emotional. Coby finds some inner strength after seeing all the needless death that has happened around him after the Navy achieved its goal. Fortunately, Shanks appears in time to save Coby from being harmed by Akainu. Shanks has enough power to declare that the war is over. However, the Navy spins the situation into being a complete win for them and that they defeated all of the pirates. Of course, the audience knows this isn’t true. After initial jubilation from the public, it’s revealed that with the death of Whitebeard and his declaration before his death that the One Piece is real, the pirates are driven to be more unsettled and being more active. With this renewed activity, the Navy appears to have egg on its face for underestimating the effects that this war would have on the pirates.

It should be mentioned that when Shanks appears, Trafalgar Law and his crew arrive in their yellow submarine. I admit, I couldn’t help thinking about The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” song when his sub surfaced. It’s revealed that Law is a doctor, and he takes the injured Luffy and Jimbei on board his submarine and operates on the two of them. The very last episode in the set sees Luffy being taken to Maiden Island, after an invitation is extended by Boa Hancock. The sub has to stay out in the bay, though. Right at the end, Luffy wakes up and keeps asking where Ace is. When he finally realizes that Ace is dead, it hits him hard. At this point, Luffy is going to have both physical and emotional healing that he needs to do, and I suspect that the episodes in the next collection will focus on Luffy trying to recover. The PTSD that he now has from this incident is going to be quite the hurdle to overcome.

Collection 20 is one of the stronger collections for One Piece that I’ve watched in a while. I was impressed that all of the episodes in the set progressed such an important storyline, and that there wasn’t any interruptions of any kind for filler material.

When it comes to bonus features, there are absolutely no bonus features included on the first disc. The second disc has a bonus feature titled, “Music Lessons With Brook.” This nearly five minute features Ian Sinclair, the English voice actor for Brook, offering to give a “music lesson” to the audience because he has background for playing some instruments. He is first asked to demonstrate playing a violin, and it’s obvious he doesn’t have a clue. He gets frustrated, and there is a “technical difficulties” screen. When he comes back, he is asked to play the piano… which he also doesn’t know and gets frustrated with. After another “technical difficulties” screen, he is upset and asked to play a flute. He figures this one out, and his mood improves. To be honest, I felt this feature became a little redundant and wasn’t that humorous. There are two audio commentaries included: one for Episode 476 (“Luffy at the End of His Tether! An All-Out Battle at the Oris Plaza!”) and one for Episode 480 (“Each on Different Paths! Luffy vs. Garp!””). There is a textless version for the opening theme song, “One Day,” as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

The third disc includes two episode commentaries: one for Episode 482 (“The Power That Can Burn Even Fire! Akainu’s Ruthless Pursuit!” and Episode 486 (“The Show Begins! Blackbeard’s Plot Is Revealed!”). The fourth disc includes a Top 10 Moments feature, which runs for about 18 minutes. Three voice actors, a director, and two other staff members share what they feel are the Top 10 moments in One Piece. Overall, I agreed with their top ten choices, except for the one that features the Foxy Pirates. Outside of that, it was a decent list. Although I felt that some of the commentary was a little on the annoying side. But I have to say that this was a stronger bonus feature that most of the recent features that focused on the voice actors acting like their characters. There’s another textless version of the opening song “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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