DVD Review: One Piece – Collection 4

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It’s nearly time to “set sail” again with the Straw Hat crew, but how does the fourth instalment into the One Piece saga fair? Find out in our DVD Review of One Piece – Collection 4.

Synopsis:

Climbing a mountain to save Nami! With Nami on the verge of death, Luffy’s crew abandons its voyage to Alabasta and goes looking for help. Their search leads them to frosty Drum Island, where the locals don’t roll out the red carpet for pirates, and the only doctor in town lives atop a treacherous, snow-covered mountain.

In order to save their friend, Luffy and Sanji must survive an avalanche, duke it out with a man-eating herd of abominable rabbits, and defeat a foe who devours anything he can get his mouth on. Danger lurks around every corner on this treacherous mission, but the Straw Hats have more at stake than ever before.

Our View:

A new DVD collection, a new story – it seems perfectly fitting that this fourth instalment starts off with a brand new story arc, and an important at that, as the first story arc featured within this DVD Collection introduces the next member of the Straw Hat Crew, Tony Tony Chopper. That’s not the only story arc covered either as this collection also begins the Alabasta Story Arc with the Straw Hat Crew navigating harsh deserts in hopes of saving Vivi’s kingdom, but more importantly introduces a relative of Luffy.

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The first two DVD Discs, which equates to 13 episodes, covers the Drum Kingdom Story Arc, whereby in order to save Nami from a mysterious illness the Straw Hat Crew race to the nearest island in search of a doctor, upon arrival they soon discover that the island has no official doctors, other than the witch that lives in a castle on-top of a mountain. After much persuasion Luffy and Sanji head up the mountain in search of this mysterious witch, meanwhile Wapol (the previous king of the island) returns and causes havoc within the villages, that is until he discovers someone is staying at his castle on-top of the mountain. It then becomes a race to the top as both factions attempt to get to the castle, however with Luffy carrying Nami on his back he is unable to defend himself from Wapol’s impeding attacks.

This just acts a prelude of things to come, as when Chopper finally makes his grand appearance that’s when things start to get interesting. This is due to the fact that Chopper’s emotional back-story is fully explored and once the Straw Hat Crew discover this fact they decide to help him defeat Wapol and his crew, in the meantime Luffy is just “amazed” at Chopper’s abilities (and for being a talking reindeer).

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Moving on from the Drum Kingdom Story Arc, and Choppers backstory, sees the start of the Alabasta Story Arc, this begins on third and carries onto the fourth DVD Discs. This collection of episodes see the Straw Hat crew arrive in Abalastra, stock-up on resources and then travel the desert in search of the rebel base.  So as you can see the series (in this release) goes from hot to cold within a matter of episodes, but in regards to the episodic content the first half of the series is much more enjoyable than the second half.

The first half of this release provides a detailed, emotional backstory for Choppers  origin with some pretty comical fighting (not to mention a slow-minded Luffy) thrown into the mix, all of this combined creates an entertaining conclusion to that particular story. That ‘entertaing’ pace just disappears when the crew arrives at Alabasta, as Luffy becomes more ‘retarded’ and ‘predictable’ than in any previous story segment. Luffy ends up getting all sorts of trouble because of his stupidity, which is more noticeable due to his coolheaded brother Ace. This half of the collection is also slightly dull not because of Luffy’s tiresome acts but also because the story drops to snails-pace, especially when the crew are travelling across the desert.

Extras:

The fourth instalment into the One Piece Collections is no different to the other collections released thus far, as the only extra features are English Cast commentaries and Text less songs for both the opening and closing sequences of the series.

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Just like the other releases both Disc 2 and Disc 4 have special features, each of which are laid out below:

Disc 2

  • Episode 90 – English Cast Commentary with Jason Burgmeier (ADR Director), Palancia (Brina Palencia)  Sonny Strait (Usopp)
  • Textless Opening – Believe!
  • Textless Closing – Before Dawn!

Disc 4:

  • Episode 103 – English Cast Commentary with Scott Sager (ADIR Director), Barry Yandell (Mr 2) & Leah Clark (Miss Doublefinger)
  • Textless Opening – Believe!
  • Textless Closing – Fish!

Usuallly I’m excited to see (or hear) that English Cast Commentaries are included, however the two commentaries provided are rather boring (especially Episode 90) as they despite new cast members being used they hardly talk about their experiences with the show or their dubbing process, instead they point out comical mishaps that happen on screen. The only ‘interesting’ information heared within the commentaries is the ‘partial’ explanation into the English produced songs but even that discussion is vague.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Textless Opening and Closings songs are available in either Japanese or English, this is achieved by changing the audio language in the setup menu. This is something I missed on the other releases so it is probably worth back-tracking to see if the others releases are the same.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x4
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:38:20 (Disc 1), 2:15:43 (Disc 2), 2:15:43 (Disc 3), 2:15:43 (Disc 4)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English) Dolby Digital 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

As you’d expect One Piece – Collection 4 continues the story of the One Piece saga, with this particular collection introduction a new member into the straw hat crew, namely Tony Tony Chopper and his unique “doctoring” skills. In Addition to Choppers introduction the crew arrive at Alabasta and prepare for their trek across the harsh desert.

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Just Like the third collection this fourth collection has a real mixed variety, with the first two discs offering a more entertaining experience than the later two discs, not to mention Luffy’s goofyness becomes annoyingly unbearable to watch (even though he is one of my favourite characters).

As far as DVD releases go its on par with all the other ‘Collection’ releases released thus far by Manga Entertainment UK. It features the same minimal extra features with the inclusion of Text less songs and cast commentaries, but unlike previous releases the cast commentaries are extremely boring to watch. Audio-wise its presented in either 5.1 English Surround or 2.0 Stereo Japanese, with the option of removable English subtitles for both audio tracks.

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One Piece – Collection 4 continues the ‘One Piece’ saga further into the Grand Line, with new enemies, new crew mates and unexpected twists but sadly majority of this release is unentertaining and downright annoying, as you can guess this is collection is only for the people interested in the franchise, but as always its best to start off at the beginning.

Score: review-stars-3

One Piece – Collection 4 will be available on DVD from the 11th November 2013.

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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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