Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 22

One Piece Collection 22 packages together the One Piece Season Nine Voyage One and One Piece Season Nine Voyage Two 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, and there are no next episode previews.

One Piece Collection 22
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 25, 2018

This set begins right after the two-year timeskip, and the first six episodes see the Straw Hats reuniting at the Sabaody Archipelago and heading to Fishman Island on the now coated Thousand Sunny. Of course, it wasn’t easy for the crew to reunite, especially when a group of pirates disguising themselves as the Straw Hats try to intimidate people and convince pirates with high bounties to join their crew. But the fake Straw Hats learn the hard way that you really shouldn’t be trying to pass yourself off as someone as notorious and wanted as Luffy and the others. One of the higher bounty pirates who is insanely violent is captured by the Straw Hats and taken with them as they head to Fishman Island. Caribou’s capture and eventual escape play an important role for the story that unfolds during this set.

When the Thousand Sunny arrives at Fishman Island, the crew is approached by Hammond, a fishman who says he is part of the New Fishman Pirates. Luffy is given an offer to join this group, but he refuses. In order to make it onto the island, a Coup De Burst is used. When they arrive on the island, the bubble surrounding the ship bursts, and the crew is separated. Luffy, Usopp, Sanji, and Chopper are found by their friend, Camie, and taken to her place to recuperate. They are taken to meet Camie’s mermaid friends, and Sanji gets so many nosebleeds because of going two years being around cross-dressers, that he loses a lot of blood and needs a blood transfusion. The twist as to who the eventual blood donors for Sanji are is kind of amusing.

A fortune teller sees a vision of Fishman Island in fire and Luffy standing by the flames. She assumes this means that the Straw Hats are going to destroy the island, and the three sons of King Neptune try to track down the crew. Meanwhile, Neptune finds Luffy and the others (who have reunited with Nami in the meantime) and invites them to the palace because they saved his daughter’s pet in a fight they had as they came to Fishman Island.

A lot actually happens at this point. Luffy finds Shirahoshi, the mermaid princess, who’s locked in a tower because she’s being stalked by Van Decken IX, who is obsessed with marrying her. He believes that if he can’t have her, then no one will. Luffy and Shirahoshi become friends, and he helps her escape so she can visit the Sea Forest. It turns out the Thousand Sunny, Franky, Robin, and Jimbei are also here. Franky meets a relative of his master, Tom, and this relative is recoating the ship. Meanwhile, the palace is attacked by the New Fishman Pirates, and Decken tracks down Shirahoshi.

The last couple of episodes in the set see important backstory revealed for Jimbei, as well as information about Shirahoshi’s mother, Queen Otohime, as well as Fisher Tiger, the man who freed Boa Hancock and her sisters when they were slaves. I found Jimbei’s backstory to be a little more interesting, though, because he has connections with Arlong. Nami’s reaction to learning of this connection was realistic. Unfortunately, the set ends before all of the backstory is revealed, so you have to see the episodes included on One Piece Collection 23 in order get the remaining information.

A big theme in these episodes is how often the Straw Hats are separated from each other for various reasons. While this has happened in the series before, it just hits the viewer more with how often they are being split up when they’re finally reunited after being apart for two years.

As a viewer, I was happy to finally see the Straw Hats make it to Fishman Island. This plot point was referenced before Luffy and his crew were separated at the Sabaody Archipelago. Even though the road (or sea in this case, I guess) wasn’t a straight one and had many twists and turns, the group still managed to make it… although it was two years later than originally planned.

The new look of the various crew members took a lot of getting used to, especially the characters who had the more drastic redesigns. However, by the end of this set, I was finally accustomed to the characters’ post-timeskip designs. Even with the redesigns for the characters, I enjoyed the episodes included on One Piece Collection 22 and getting to see how the characters have changed and evolved. I’m curious to see how the story will progress going forward.

When it comes to the bonus features, the first disc includes commentary on Episode 519, “The Navy Has Set Out! The Straw Hats in Danger!” The second disc includes a feature titled, “One Piece Cast Goes to Matsuricon 2016: Live Dub.” This roughly 19-minute feature shows several of the One Piece English dub actors doing a “live dub” of some scenes from the series. Sometimes, they would have the usual actors doing their characters, and sometimes they would switch people around. This was an interesting idea, although the scene they were “dubbing” wasn’t projected, so it could be hard to remember what scene they were doing. I think that having that visual context would have made this bonus feature a little stronger. There’s also commentary on Episode 526, “Undersea Volcanic Eruption! Drifting to the Fish-Man Island!” There are textless versions for the two versions of “We Go!” that are included on the first two discs of the set, as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

The third disc in the set includes commentaries for two episodes: Episode 532 (“A Coward and a Crybaby! The Princess in the Hard Shell Tower!”) and Episode 534 (“The Ryugu Palace in Shock! The Kidnapping of Shirahoshi!”). The fourth disc includes a feature titled, “One Piece Cast Goes to Matsuricon 2016: Q and A Panel.” This roughly 33-minute feature is a question and answer panel session of some of the One Piece voice actors that took place at Matsuricon in 2016. I really enjoyed this bonus feature, because the voice actors were very endearing, and through some of their answers, I felt I got to know them a little better as people. And some of those answers were highly amusing. There’s another textless version of “We Go!” on this disc, 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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