FUNimation's First Voyage Review Ace

One Piece FUNimation DVD box set 1: Season One, First Voyage Review

Alright, anyone who actually reads the stuff I write know all about how much of a One Piece fan I am. I love the show, love the comic, love the characters... Hate 4Kids. Typical, right? Anyway, as you'd probably expect from someone like me, I was overjoyed when FUNi took over the dubbing of my favorite anime. Well, it's been a while since that news. The hype has died down considerably and FUNi has released the first DVD set of the series dubbed by them. I'm going to make this as unbiased as possible, hopefully it won't be too hard since I've been over the "Al Kahn must die" phase for a couple of years now.

Animation: 3/5
First thing you notice about any anime. I'll admit the earlier episodes of One Piece look pretty weird from the viewpoint of the casual onlooker. The animators stuck to the original source material pretty well, but let's face it; Eiichiro Oda was a strange type of artist for a while. That said, the framerate is smooth and the style has its own unique charm once you get used to it.

Music: 5/5
This show has some great tunes. The first one that should hit you from the start is the theme. No longer is there some ear-grating trainwreck rap song leading you into the show. Instead, we are greeted with a pleasant, catchy translation of Hiroshi Kitadani's "We Are" sung by Vic Mignonga, the voice of the Fullmetal Alchemist dub's Edward Elric and quite frankly no slouch at singing. The background music is a mixed bag of small song segments that perfectly fit the mood of each situation the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves in. Finally, each episode fades away to Brina Palencia (voice of Tony Tony Chopper in the dub, but we won't see him for a while at this rate) singing an English version of Akihito Tanaka's "Memories." Excellent music, excellent show.

Plot: 4/5
What can I say, it's pretty simplistic. Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year old boy with boundless optimism and an I.Q. of 5 is on a journey through a world full of pirates in a quest to become King of them all (yes, pirates have kings. At least in this show.) Having partaken of the mystical Devil Fruit, he is now gifted with the ability to stretch like rubber at the expense of his ability to swim. Of course, in a world where more of the surface is water than our own, this is a serious handicap, so he'll need all the help he can get. 10 guys sounds about right, doesn't it? Of course, 13 episodes in, he's only recruited two crewmembers and one isn't even official, So the story hasn't really taken off yet.

Voices: 5/5
This may be the part where I get a bit biased. Here's the deal: 4Kids was full of terrible voice actors, and there was a time when something possessed me to watch their dub every Saturday morning. Sanji was the worst, but he's not in until the next DVD set, so I'll avoid that rant for now. Every single main member introduced in this set sounds spot-on. They capture the essence of the characters, seem to enjoy their parts and, most importantly, convey actual emotion. The only VA who could do that in the 4Kids dub was Marc Diraison, the voice of Roronoa Zoro (Zolo in their version.) It's a shame he had to go, but Chris Sabat does an excellent job as well. The villains, who were constantly done well by 4Kids (go fig, I guess they know evil when they see it,) are effortlessly topped by FUNi's VA's as well.

Is it true to the original? Very yes.
No cuts means no cuts. No blood edits, no cross censorship, there aren't even any instances of dialog getting changed to alter the circumstances. Heck, even the song translations are accurate. That's really hard to do. I've tried. There are a few minor visual edits, such as FUNimation's shiny new gold logo, but nothing serious.

One small annoyance is the amount of episodes. At $40 a pop, you'd think you get more than just 13 episodes. Still, there's some fun commentary on the first episode and the overall quality of the product makes it worth it. Besides, I hear it's dirt cheap over at Wal-Mart.

Overall: 4/5
Good show, good dub. All the original Japanese audio is there, too, along with subtitles that are as literal as possible in translation. A must buy for One Piece fans. Then you should show it to your friends who were only ever exposed to the 4Kids dub before to prove to them that you aren't crazy.

9 more sets 'till Alabasta.

Date Published
06/03/08 (Originally Created: 06/03/08)
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