Anime Review: One Piece Season 1 Part 2
Gretchen is an anime junkie who spends far too much time reading manga and searching for that elusive new favorite series. She lives with her cat, and raises tomato trees.View all articles by Gretchen Lee
Minutes before his execution, the grandest pirate of all, Gold Roger, announced that he had amassed the greatest treasure in the world, known as the One Piece. His announcement launched an era of piracy, enticing anyone with a boat and tough barnacles to journey to the Grand Line and take a shot at being King of the Pirates. Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a youth who was foolish enough to eat of the mystical Devil's Fruit, turning him into rubber. He doesn't have a boat, crew, or the ability to swim, but he's endearingly optimistic, and determined to find the One Piece. Somehow it seems Luffy and his crew's journey will be infinitely more important their ultimate destination.
Luffy begins his adventure with nothing but a burning desire to be King of the Pirates. As the first season rolls along, Part 2 finds Luffy, his navigator Nami, and the swordsman Zoro caught up in a messy situation fraught with lies, deceit, and a butler with a bizarre tic. Luffy and his friends must sort through the stories and figure out who needs the most help, and whose lies are the most honorable. Help they do, and their reward is more than Luffy ever imagined. Outfitted almost as real pirates, the crew set out in search of a cook. A stray cannonball, the painful knowledge of true want, and...are those chefs wielding giant forks? Finding a cook will be a piece of cake, right?
One Piece is a delightfully fun series. It's about as straightforward as a story can get. It might not require a great deal of thought, but instead presents wonderful humor and heartfelt characters. Truly, the series is on crack, but in a very good way.
Even in the first season, and especially in this second half, it's apparent that the characters already have room to grow. Flashback episodes give insight to several characters, and provide the beginnings of a nice backstory. It will be interesting to see, over the next bazillion episodes, how this group of strangers, united by a thirst for adventure, will bond.
At first the artwork seemed a little off-putting, as did the totally over-the-top score. The artwork wasn't quite like anything I've ever encountered outside of one of the One Piece movies, and it's almost...creepy. Nothing is really in proportion, with seemingly too-small heads and too-big hands. After a few episodes, though, the looseness of the drawings seemed to fit the personalities and cartoonish crackiness of the series perfectly. It's unique and different and if Luffy couldn't stretch in a manner that would put Stretch Armstrong to shame, then it just wouldn't be One Piece. As for the score, the rest of the series is so campy and over-the-top, that a subtle score wouldn't properly do the job.
For a person who missed One Piece when it came on Cartoon Network, I am very thankful to get to see it unedited and in its close-to-the-original glory. In many ways, it has become my new favorite series. It's funny, earnest, and holds a certain innocence amongst the pirates and spraying blood that's incredibly appealing. The good guys always win, as long as they have friends and hope and tenacity. And if I get to snort into my Cocoa Puffs and be pleasantly reminded of Saturday morning cartoons back in the day, then all the better.
Details: Runtime 320 minutes contains episodes 14-26 on two dvds. Extras include a marathon feature, commentary for episode 17, textless songs, and trailers.
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