Anime DVD Review: One Piece Collection 23

One Piece Collection 23 packages together the One Piece Season Nine Voyage Three and One Piece Season Nine Voyage Four releases together. Between the two sets, there are 22 episodes included. It should be noted that Episode 542, which was a crossover between One Piece and Toriko, is not included on this set. 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 23
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: November 13, 2018

The first five episodes in the set continue the backstory arc that started at the end of One Piece Collection 22. Over the course of these episodes, Queen Otohime gains support for her petition for equality between humans and fishmen. But there are cracks forming between members of the Sun Pirates. Tiger and Jimbei are against killing humans, but Arlong and Hordy believe that humans should be killed. This crack becomes wider when Tiger agrees to take a human slave girl named Koala back to her home. But this leads to an attack on Tiger, who dies because he refuses human blood to be donated to him. Tiger’s death causes the splitting of the Sun Pirates, with Arlong creating the Arlong Pirates and Macro creating his own crew. Jimbei becomes one of the Seven Warlords.

When a Celestial Dragon named Mjosgard appears on Fishman Island and threatens Otohime, Shirahoshi unknowingly uses her power to summon the Sea Kings and save her mother. After Mjosgard is healed, Otohime agrees to go to the surface with him to negotiate. When Otohime returns to Fishman Island with a signed paper from the Celestial Dragons supporting her cause, and she successfully gathers signatures for her petition. Unfortunately, this success is short-lived when the box of signatures burn and Otohime is struck down by an assassin’s bullet. It appears that Otohime was killed by a human, and the success that Otohime was about to accomplish is completely destroyed. This is definitely something that One Piece has been good at: building something up and making it look like something good is about to happen, but the event is destroyed by someone or something… and the destruction is usually done in the most cruel way.

After making it through all this backstory, I was glad to see Nami forgive Jimbei. Nami has reached a point where the only Fishman she harbors any resentment for is Arlong. And her resentment of him is completely justified. I’m just glad to see that she realizes that not all Fishmen are like Arlong, and that she refuses to discriminate against a group of people just because she was treated badly by one of them.

But then, Hordy launches his plan. He intends to execute Neptune, and that any Fishman associated with humans will be exiled from the island. He also has a signature box from Shirahoshi’s brothers’ attempts at trying to keep their mother’s dream alive and says he will use the signatures he finds in the box to track down and kill Fishmen.

And this is the focus of the remaining episodes of the set. Shirahoshi and Luffy go to Hordy, and Luffy launches an attack. The other Straw Hats eventually join them, and they all get to showcase the new abilities that they honed during their two years apart. The Straw Hats are up against a lot of enemies, but with their new powers, they are able to keep taking them on. Hordy reveals the truth about Queen Otohime’s death, and the citizens of Fishman Island are horrified.

We can’t forget about Vander Decken and his obsession with Shirahoshi. After she rejects him, he decides to kill her… by using an abandoned ship called the Noah. He targets her with his Devil Fruit power, and Luffy finds he has more to deal with than just Hordy. In true One Piece style, the stakes continue to get higher and higher as the episodes progress. However, this arc isn’t finished with the final episode of this set, so the stakes could continue to get even higher.

Even though the big battle that takes place on this set spans 17 episodes and still isn’t finished at the end of it, I still found it to be exciting and entertaining to watch. And to be honest, I’ve seen enough of One Piece to expect this kind of pacing for the battles that take place in each arc. I’m actually looking forward to acquiring the next One Piece Collection set in order to find out what happens next.

When it comes to the bonus features, the first disc includes commentaries for two episodes: Episode 541 (“Kizaru Appears! A Trap to Catch Tiger!”) and Episode 543 (“The Death of the Hero! A Shocking Truth of Tiger!”). The second disc includes a video commentary for Episode 552 (“A Surprising Confession! The Truth Behind the Assassination of Otohime!”). It is an episode commentary done with visuals, and there are three commentators: ADR director Joel McDonald, Jim Foronda (the English voice for Vander Decken), and Larry Brantley (the English voice for Hordy Jones). Sometimes, the image is done as a “picture-in-picture,” and alternates between the commentators being the main image and the footage from the show being the main footage. To be honest, this feature didn’t do much for me. I didn’t think that being able to see the commentators really added to the commentary, This disc also includes a textless version of “We Go!,” as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

The third disc in the set includes commentary for Episode 559 (“Hurry Up, Luffy! Shirahoshi’s Life in Jeopardy!”). The final disc in the set includes an 11-minute feature titled, “One Piece: Pop Up Moments.” This feature includes two employees of FUNimation, Bryn Apprill (the English voice for Shirahoshi), and ADR Director Kyle Phillips. In this feature, various scenes from this set are highlighted, and we see the commentators appear in a “picture-in-picture” image, as they share their thoughts on the scene being shown. This was an OK bonus feature, but I know that FUNimation is capable of more than this. To be honest, I thought the bonus features on this set were a disappointment compared with many of the previous collection sets.

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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