DVD Review: One Piece – Collection Five

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It’s time to set Sail (in sand) as we resume the One Piece story with Manga UK’s DVD Release of One Piece – Collection Five, but what exactly did we think of this DVD release and its content? Find out in our Review.

Synopsis:

Crocodile and his army of assassins have their sights set on conquering Alabasta, and the claw-fisted sandman won’t stop until he gets his hand on the most powerful weapon the world has ever known. Only the Straw Hats can protect Princess Vivi from her reptilian oppressor, but they won’t survive this battle without getting a little blood on their hands.

Be on the lookout as Nami unleashes the power of thunder and lightning, Zoro tests his swords against a man made of steel, and Luffy goes underground to settle the score with Crocodile once and for all!

Our View:

This fifth instalment to the One Piece franchise contains 25 uncut episodes across 4 DVD Discs and for those wishing for something different to the previous instalments then you may be in luck. The DVD Menu Layout, Presentation and Audio quality all remain consistent with previous instalments, but it’s the episodic content that is vastly different, and for a series in this length that is where the deciding factor comes from.

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Containing Episodes 104 to 130 we witness the Straw Hat crew, along with Princess Vivi embark on a mission to save Alabasta from destruction. The previous collection set the ground rules pretty clear, Crocodile must be stopped, and with this fifth collection the story immediately picks up and goes into overdrive. Because of this these episodes are filled with nothing but non-stop entertainment, whether it be brutal fist fights between the Straw Hat pirates and the Baroque Work members or the comical banter between characters, there is always something for everyone to enjoy, and unlike Dragon Ball Z it doesn’t take fifty episodes to get there.

Every odd episode is a new confrontation and a new decisive battle, for instance during the confrontation between the Rebel & Palace armies the straw hats each engage in a fight with a Baroque Works member by themselves, with each battle lasting several episodes. The reason these multiple fights take place is so that Vivi can enter the palace undetected in order to stop the armies fighting. Compared to previous fights in the series these multiple battles flow more naturally and don’t jump to another random moment, instead they are straight to the point, bloody and brutal. You’d think with all this fighting that there wouldn’t be time to progress the story, but you’re wrong. During each fight the scene will change to showcase Vivi’s attempt at stopping the armies fighting each other, that is until Crocodile appears at the palace with a trump card and a new motive. This “back and forth” approach not only gives the fight(s) a break but it also progresses the story along just enough to keep the viewer entertainment and wanting more.

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These individual fights also help the members of Straw Hat Crew develop their own abilities, such as Nami’s fight with Miss Doublefinger. Usually Nami would hide behind stronger allies, instead she takes matters into her own hands, which results in probably the most comical fight of the series so far. Since this Collection features a lot of fights the ‘Uncut’ factor is worth mentioning, mainly because there is a noticeable amount of Violence and Blood. Examples include the fight between Miss Christmas & Number 4 against Usopp, whereby Usopp’s Skull gets cracked apart, and more notably the fight between Zoro and Number 1 that sees Zoro get sliced open. This type of brutal action, in my mind at least, reiterates the fact that despite how One Piece looks, it’s not aimed at younger audiences but instead it’s for everyone that enjoys a good story and a good fight.

Extras:

Continuing the trend set by the previous instalments, One Piece – Collection Five includes a variety of text less closing and opening songs as well as the inclusion of two English Cast Commentaries, all of which are spread out over three DVD Discs.

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The textless songs are available in both English and Japanese, but in order to hear (see) both you need to change the audio option from the setup menu. It’s a strange thing to do (especially for a extra feature) but that’s how its been throughout the past five collections.

Disc 2:

  • Episode 114 English Cast Commentary
  • Text less Opening – Believe
  • Text less Closing – Shouchinosuke

Disc 3:

  • Episode 119 English Cast Commentary

Disc 4:

  • Text less Opening – Hikari E
  • Text less Closing – Shining Ray

While the content list (i.e. songs and commentaries) remains the same as previous collections I feel that this selection of extras is weaker than previous sets, mainly due to the English Cast Commentaries.

Previous commentaries have provided a useful insight into their role but in this set its more about the voice actors poking fun at other characters on screen, especially in the Episode 114 commentary. Luckily the Episode 119 Commentary is a lot more entertaining (and on topic) as it sees the voice actors discuss their roles within the series, especially Christopher Sabat who also talks about the roles he has played within FUNimation. The extras have a bit of a marmite effect, most of it I find pointless (as the songs are textless anyway) but there is the inclusion of something that’s informative and entertaining, in this case the Episode 119 Commentary.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x4
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:38:37 (Disc 1), 2:15:49 (Disc 2) 2:38:20 (Disc 3 & 4)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps (English) & Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

With this fifth collection the series moves swiftly along from one fight to the next, it never stops moving until the conclusion has arrived, which ultimately sees Luffy go up against Crocodile in the final fight of the Alabasta Story Arc. The “Marathon” mode seen on Dragon Ball Z DVD’s would be quite useful here, as the opening, recap & closing segments of each episode are the only parts that slows the story down, but luckily these can easily be skipped. Of course when everything is said and done a build-up to the next adventure begins, this time in the form of a new crew mate.

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You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned much about the developing plot, and that’s because the fighting is the main focus. We do see Crocodile explain his motives, we also see The king of Alabasta, Cobra, explain his ideals to counter-attack the rebel army, but it’s the fighting that moves the series along with the talking only acting as a build-up of things to come.

In regards to DVD Quality the picture and audio remains consistent with the previous sets, so the original 4:3 aspect ratio remains along with the inclusion of 5.1 English Surround Sound, 2.0 Japanese Stereo and Yellow English subtitles. Additional extras include the standard opening and closing songs as well as two English cast commentaries, most of which are uneventful but at least they are included for the viewer. The DVD layout also follows the same as previous sets, so its extremely easy to navigate and see the writing, however the continuity of having alternate green and blue highlights (on the text) between DVD discs is still there.

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One Piece Collection Five is a constant stream of entertainment, whether you like a good bloody battle, comical banter or short bursts of story progression this release has it all and unlike the previous collections the story flows at a more natural pace. What you see is what you get with One Piece, very vocal characters, comical banter, insane character designs and colourful animation but at the end of the day it can provide some top quality entertainment and that’s exactly what you get here.

Score: review-stars-4

One Piece – Collection Five will be available on DVD from the 17th February 2014.

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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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