“The captain has said too much or he has said too little, and I’m bound to say that I require an explanation of his words.” – Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
The adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates continue – albeit at a sluggish pace, due to quite a bit of filler in this collection.
The first collection of episodes (No. 54-60) covers a story that does not even appear in the original manga. In it a young girl called Apis escapes from the marines and makes her way onto the Going Merry. Soon they arrive at her home, an island in the shape of a warship, where the crew discover that Apis is looking after a dragon. Together the crew decide to return the dragon to its home.
Episode 61 sees the beginning of the “Baroque Works” storyline, as Monkey and his crew make their way to the Grand Line. Here they discover a ruthless organisation which is secretly planning to take control of the entire kingdom of Alabasta. They decide to help the country’s princess, Vivi, and get to the kingdom as quickly as they can. This in turn results in them visiting an island called Little Garden, home to a pair of fearsome battling giants.
For those who enjoy the battle side of things, this collection on the whole does not disappoint. Monkey, Zoro, Nami, Ussop and Sanji get into plenty of scrapes, especially in the Baroque Works section where,amongst other things, they fight a man who can control wax, a girl who can control emotions using paint, and another man who fights using explosive snot.
We also see some interesting characters, such as the mysterious head of Baroque Works, Mr. 0 – Crocodile, and his deputy Miss All Sunday, a character who plays a much bigger role later in the One Piece saga. The last episode in the series, in which Nami falls ill, is also the start of another significant storyline which will see another important character making their debut, but that is for Collection 4 to deal with.
However, the filler is a something of a drag for this collection. Admittedly, the opening story about the dragon does have its merits. It is not original, but there are fights, a bit of humour, and parts are rather enjoyable. But as you watch it, you get the feeling that you would rather be reading a story that occurred in the manga. You certainly think that during the two very dull filler episodes covering two earlier characters, Coby and Helmeppo, working for the marines. It adds nothing to the series and also fills you with dread, because these are original side stories that fill up introductory pages in the manga, so once you have seen this story you know that they will be adapting all those other stories you do not want to know about.
This collection is slow at times, but it does build up to a more exciting storyline, as is evidenced by the cover of Collection 4 – it stars a certain blue-nosed reindeer.