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Warship Island, Reverse Mountain, Whisky Peak & Little Garden
on 14 October 2013
This third, four disc box set for the great 'One Piece' anime contains a further twenty-five episode of the show (episodes 54 to 78) and sees the Straw Hat Pirates make their way from the East Blue to start their adventure in the strange and unpredictable Grand Line. The episodes in this volume cover roughly four story arcs, the entertaining but ultimately forgettable Warship Island arc, the Reverse Mountain arc that sees the crew take their first steps on the Grand Line, the Whisky Peak arc that begins the Baroque Works storyline that runs throughout the next three arcs, and the Little Garden arc that is a reasonably fun story.
The first seven and a half episodes of this volume cover the Warship Island arc, the first of the anime's filler arcs. The arc sees the crew rescue a little girl with a mysterious power who is lost at sea only to find that she is being hunted by the Navy because she could hold the key to an elixir of immortality. While this arc if filler, it is nonetheless relatively entertaining and while it isn't the best of the One Piece filler it is definitely not the worst (and is a lot better than the filler from some other shonen series). The arc has some nice funny moments throughout as well as some good action scenes and the ending is reasonably sad as well. The only real problem with the arc is that it does lead to a few minor continuity errors with later events in the proper storyline.
The two and a half episodes following the Warship Island filler sees Luffy and his friends finally make it into the Grand Line only to be confronted by a couple of massive problems. Reverse Mountain is an good arc that introduces some entertaining characters and some important exposition about the realities of navigation on the Grand Line as well as what it is like to travel on the most unpredictable of seas.
After leaving Reverse Mountain behind them the crew, and a couple of passengers, travel to their first island on the Grand Line, Whiskey Peak, only to find that it is not quite what they expected. This four episode arc is probably my favourite arc of the volume as it includes everything that I love about One Piece, good action, nice humour and a plot that will develop into something very interesting and enjoyable. The arc also introduces a large number of characters (some of whom become very important as the show goes one), including two of my favourites from the series as a whole Vivi and the woman who is currently known as 'Miss All Sunday'.
The next two episodes of the volume is the short but funny arc that details what Luffy's friend Coby got up to after joining the Navy. These episodes are expanded from a mini-story from the chapter cover pages of the manga and are reasonably entertaining but they are most notable for the introduction of Vice-Admiral Garp, another character who will become important later.
The next eight episodes of the volume are the Little Garden arc where the crew stop at an island with dangerous wildlife and a pair of larger than life inhabitants only for Baroque Works to interfere. For some reason I cannot explain, I have never personally been much of a fan of this arc but it still includes some good action, nice characters and some reasonable humour. The arc also includes some nice advancement of the Baroque Works storyline.
The final episode of the volume begins the Drum Island arc which is quite good.
The animation for the series remains reasonably good (although it can be a little rough in places) and the series itself remains as entertaining as ever beginning the first of the show's multi-arc storylines. The English dub of the series remains a good as always (the original Japanese version is included as well of course) with the only thing that I didn't like all that much being the dubbed songs. Of the performances, Caitlin Glass and Stephanie Young are both great as Vivi and 'Miss All Sunday' while Jerry Russell and Brian Mathis are very good as Crocus and Garp respectively.
The volume includes the usual extras in the form of textless songs and cast commentary (that do include a few spoilers.
This is another very good volume that starts an important plotline and introduces some very important characters. Volume three of the 'One Piece' anime is well worth a full five stars.