One Piece: Episode of Sabo is a television special for the One Piece anime that aired on Japanese television on August 22, 2015.

One Piece: Episode of Sabo
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: March 19, 2019

This special is an abridged telling of the colosseum battle that incorporates some of the story of Sabo, Ace, and Luffy as kids in flashbacks. It begins with Sabo visiting the graves of Ace of Whitebeard and having brief flashbacks of his childhood with Ace and Luffy. There’s also a recap of what happened about two years earlier at Marineford when Luffy tried to rescue Ace.

After these basics are established, there’s a new scene of Koala and Sabo in Dressrosa to provide an “info dump” about some the characters and the situation in Dressrosa. This was done in a way that it was depicting Koala giving Sabo the intelligence she gathered before Sabo arrived. Normally, I’m not a fan of “info dumping” scenes like these, but it was necessary in order to establish some information that would be important later for the abridged version of this story. There are other new scenes of Sabo included as well, which show what Sabo was doing during the action taking place at the colosseum, as well as showing scenes that happened in the original story from Sabo’s point of view.

This special focuses primarily on the colosseum battle, but it also incorporates material from the batch of One Piece episodes focusing on Ace, Luffy, and Sabo as kids. There are also occasional scenes showing what was happening to the other Straw Hats and to Trafalgar Law while the colosseum battle was going on. The inclusion of these occasional scenes of the others were important to set context for when Luffy hands the “Lucy” disguise over to Sabo, but they did kind of make the special feel a little jumpy.

Overall, One Piece: Episode of Sabo is decent for what it was trying to accomplish. Even though there was some sense of jumpiness in this special, it was nowhere near as bad or as pronounced as in some of the other One Piece specials and anime films that were condensing arcs from the television series.

The Blu-ray included in this release has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native) video. The audio includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 2.0. The DVD included in the release has two audio options: English 5.1 Surround and Japanese Stereo. I had no complaints about either the video or the audio quality of this release.

Unfortunately, the only “extra” that’s included here is a selection of trailers for other releases that FUNimation Entertainment was promoting at the time this was released.

This Blu-ray/DVD combo release is the only way to acquire the One Piece: Episode of Sabo anime special in North America. I would recommend it to fans who want to own every part of the One Piece franchise that has been released on home video in their anime home video library or to fans of the franchise who really like Sabo.

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