One Piece Season 1, First Voyage

One Piece Season 1, First Voyage
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One Piece Season 1 Voyage 1While I’ve long known about the One Piece series, I basically came into this first DVD set cold. I knew that it is an anime about pirates. I knew that the idiot in the straw hat is actually a pirate captain named Luffy. I knew the guy with the sword is named Zoro, since there was a huge controversy over the name being changed in other adaptations. I knew there is a character that smoked (who has not shown up yet). I knew that “One Piece” is a treasure. Beyond that, I knew nothing of the show.

As such, the start of things with Luffy being solo and simply looking to start his pirating surprised me. As I’ve stated at other times, doing what I don’t expect is a good thing. I liked Luffy’s carefree nature and simplistic mindset as well as his optimism. The way he goes about bringing a crew together made sense to me. He wants the strongest and does what it takes to get them. So when the pirate hunter Zoro was recruited and turned Luffy down, Zoro becoming part of the crew made sense to me. When the thief (who only steals from pirates) and navigator Nami turns Luffy down, her eventual becoming part of the crew made sense as well (without going into details). So kudos to the writers there.

While there were several moments that made me laugh and made me want to watch the next episode, things quickly become bogged down in filler. What do I mean by filler? Well, there are two kinds of filler in anime. The kind most people complain about is where an anime series creates an episode with a story that was not in the original manga (or other source material) to fill out a complete season. The other kind is the kind I dislike most, where there are long moments where characters have pointless flashbacks (to emphasize the moment they are in), or the characters have long moments of emotion, usually fear or anger. These usually waste a fair amount of time and slow down the progress of the story.

In One Piece, there are many such moments. So rather than move the story along, we get bogged down in little details to make it overly clear that a character is pissed or is afraid or is contemplating things. This can be doubled if the emotion sequence is done before the midpoint eye catch because then you can repeat it again, thereby killing a good minute or so of time. This is further exacerbated by pointless, stereotypical shounen dialog sequences. To make matters drag out more, new opponent characters are pulled out of the air to fight the good guys. Since Luffy is almost like a deus ex machina device at this point (his abilities making him this way), the writers have to find ways of putting him out of the picture. So he’s in a cage for a while (How do you cage someone who’s body is like stretchable rubber?), or he’s put to sleep, or his simpleton ways have him elsewhere for a while. The writers do whatever it takes to keep things dragged out (and to be fair, I would guess there’s some of this in the manga as well).

FUNimation Release

This first FUNimation One Piece set contains two disc and thirteen episodes (disc one has six episodes and disc two as seven). Because of the slow pace at which stories move, the story arc that begins with episode 9 and the introduction of Usopp is not over when the 13th episode concludes. I checked and unfortunately, this arc has four more episodes. _ Gah! I can already see how this is going to be. As Luffy’s crew gets larger, the arcs are going to get larger so that everyone gets some screen time to do a face-off. If true, that does not bode well for me.

While I miss the alternate angle feature FUNimation used to have (so that I could get the original Japanese OP/ED sequences) I love the “marathon feature” which allows me to watch an entire disc without having to touch the remote to skip OP/ED sequences.

Bottom line: While there is fun and laughs to be had, there’s also the tediousness in lengthy, slow-paced arcs filled with a lot of shounen yacking and fighting.

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One Response to “One Piece Season 1, First Voyage”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The arcs will get longer as the show continues.

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