DVD Review: One Piece – Collection 1

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The wait is finally over as the anime adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s manga One Piece has finally arrived into the UK, but was it worth the wait? Find out in our DVD Review of One Piece – Collection 1.

Synopsis:

Monkey D. Luffy is a boy with big dreams. This daring rubber-man refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become king of all pirates. With a course charted for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line, Luffy strikes out in search of a crew – and a boat. Along the way he’ll do battle with scallywag clowns, fishy foes, and an entire fleet of marines eager to see him walk the plank. The stakes are high, but with each adventure, Luffy adds a new friend to his crew of Straw Hat Pirates! Like his hero Shanks, this is one captain who’ll never drop anchor until he’s claimed the greatest treasure in the world – the Legendary One Piece!

Our View:

Collection 1 of One Piece see’s the first 26 episodes spread over four DVD discs, with each disc holding around 6 to 7 episodes. Since this is the start of the ‘One Piece’ saga Luffy interacts with an extensive catalogue of different characters, be it Pirates, Swordsman, Marines or Civilians and because of this a lot of long talk sessions (backstories) and intense fight scenes take place, with characters such as Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Usopp and Sanji all being introduced within a relatively short space of time. While these characters are introduced quite quickly the details of their backstory don’t get told straight away and are usually spread out over several episodes, if not several story arcs, such as Nami’s hate for pirates and Zoro’s pursuit of becoming the number one swordsman.

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It’s not just the insane amount of good guys we get to see introduced either, as Pirate Captains such as Buggy The Clown, Captain Kuro and Don Krieg are also introduced, with their full ‘story arcs’ (except for Don Krieg’s) being told within this Collection 1 box set. The episodes contained within Collection 1 shows Luffy attempting to recruit the main crew for his pirate group, with him defeating other notorious pirate’s leaders in order to save/befriend people that he wants in his crew. At the same time Luffy and his crew help anyone that he believes needs their help, whether they want it or not. The Collection ends halfway through the Don Krieg Story Arc, whereby Sanji is being beaten up by Don Krieg’s right hand min, Gin while Usopp and Zoro chase after Nami who has stolen the Going Merry, the Straw Hat Crews pirate ship.

Extras:

This particular release of One Piece Collection 1 features two audio commentaries from the English Cast as well as text less videos for the english opening and closing songs.

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The English commentaries included are on Episode 1 and Episode 17, with each audio commentary being available on the disc that the particular episode is featured on, for example the Episode 1 commentary is located on Disc 1. The first commentary see’s audio director Mike McFarland joined by Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy) and Christopher Sabat (Voice of Zoro) while the second commentary has Mike McFarland joined by Sony Strait (voice of Usopp) and Luci Christian (voice of Nami). Both audio commentaries provide an interesting insight into the world of English dubbing as well as discussions surrounding the One Piece characters that the actors had to play.

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Text less songs are included in the extras, on both Disc 2 and 4, but they are only available in English, which means that the original Japanese songs can only be enjoyed by watching the episodes themselves. The English Opening of ‘We Are!’ has been sang by Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist), while the English ending song ‘Memories’ is sang by Brina Palencia (voice of Yumi Azusa in Soul Eater).

Tech Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x4
Running Time: 2:52:09 (Disc 1), 2:27:33 (Disc 2), 2:52:06 (Disc 3), 2:27:31 (Disc 4) (26 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dobly Digital 5.1 – 448kbps (English) / Dolby Digital 2.0 – 192kbps (Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Due to the age of One Piece all of the episodes in this release are presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, which means black borders on the left and right hand side of the screen maybe present on viewers screens. Depending on your TV / DVD setup your player might automatically adjust it to widescreen, which in turn will remove the black borders but at the same time making the picture look stretched an unnatural, so I recommend reverting it back to its original 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s nice to see the original aspect ratio being left in as it could have easily been remastered in widescreen like on the recently released Orange Dragon Ball Z DVD Box sets. Other than the black borders the visuals are as you would expect them to be, by being smooth, colourful and cartoony, but despite its childish approach there is plenty of violence, blood, swearing and action. Art style aside there was some noticeable pixilation around the edges of characters during fast moving action sequences, but it happens infrequently and is most likely defined by how the player is connected to the TV.

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In terms of the audio we have the original Japanese Audio track included (in stereo) along with a 5.1 Surround Sound English Dub which has been provided by FUNimation. Compared to the original 4Kids edit the English voice acting from FUNimation is vastly superior with Colleen Clinkenbeard leading the way by providing an outstanding voice for Luffy and one that, in my opinion, suits the character perfectly, however if English dub isn’t your thing then you can always listen to the Japanese Audio which has removable English subtitles The inclusion of 5.1 sound also offers an immersive experience whereby large explosions arrive from the bass speaker and battle noises come from the surround speakers, but if you don’t have a 5.1 kit then it’s not something you’ll notice.

In regards to the DVD we have an odd combination of Blue and Green highlight being used for the menus, which doesn’t go with the disc layout and looks horrible. While in the form of extra features we have English only text less songs that’s available twice in this collection and two audio commentaries. While the DVD Menu and English Only songs is a massive let down, and yet another outside the control of Manga, the inclusion of the audio commentaries relinquishes some of the pain, as for me the commentaries are extremely interesting to listen to and what’s unique with the One Piece Commentary is that the cast started work on Episode 144 (onwards) before working on Episode 1. This is something which very rarely happens in the anime industry so it is interesting to hear how the voice actors changed their style in order to present a younger or uninformed character as compared to the later episodes.

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Collection 1 of One Piece is provided uncut and its original format with the inclusion of English & Japanese Audio, but while it provides an entertaining start to the franchise the lack of care to the menu and extra features is a real let down to its fans that have been waiting for the series to arrive. Menu layouts aside One Piece is an anime that deserves to be in anyone’s DVD collection and it is something that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Score: review-stars-3

One Piece – Collection 1 will be available on DVD from the 27th May 2013 in the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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