SPOILER ALERT: This is a review of a long-running series and does reveal details of past collections. However, there is an even bigger spoiler alert in the actual DVD menus.
“These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms.” – Dire Straits
If you have been watching One Piece you will know that the episode titles often tend to spoil the plot a bit. They tend to sum up exactly what is going to happen in the show before it has even happened.
Anyone who has read the original manga may also know this to their cost, especially when it comes to the current storyline. The back of one of the manga volumes gives away the big plot point in the entire story. It is annoyingly the same with the anime as well. Thus, I would recommend that if you are new to the story, whatever you do, don’t go to the episode page on the third disc of this collection, because there is a REALLY big spoiler given away.
Anyway, the story so far…
The war over Portgaz D. Ace is underway and the fighting is fierce, with his younger brother, Monkey D. Luffy, trying everything he can to save him before he is executed. Luffy is fighting the strongest that the Navy have to offer. However, he has plenty of allies on his side of the conflict, even if not all of them want to follow him.
Those on the side of the straw hat-wearing captain include Whitebeard, Ace’s captain, who treats all of his crew like his sons and has the power to cause tremors and earthquakes, along with all of Whitebeard’s crew and their diverse powers and abilities. Also supporting Luffy are several people whom he helped to break out of Impel Down prison, including Jimbei the whale shark fishman and karate expert; Emporio Ivankov, the Dr. Frank-N-Furter like head of the Revolutionary Army; several Baroque Works members including Sir Crocodile, who seems more interested in taking down Whitebeard for his own purposes; and Buggy the Clown, who ended up freeing a load of prisoners who now worship him, which is causing him more problems than solutions due to their ridiculous adoration of him.
Meanwhile, the Navy have several of the Seven Warlords of the Sea fighting on their side, although some of their loyalties lie elsewhere. The main example of this is Boa Hancock, who is still madly in love with Luffy and refusing to let anyone harm him. There are also other naval figures, including the head, Fleet Admiral Sengoku, whom we discover has Devil Fruit powers that allow him to turn into a gigantic golden Buddha. There is also Luffy and Ace’s grandfather Garp, who is refusing to let their relationship get in the way of what he sees as right. Plus there are the three admirals with their seemingly unstoppable Devil Fruit abilities: Aokiji, who can turn just about anything to ice; Kizaru, with a body made of light; and Akainu, who can make his body turn into magma.
As the conflict goes on, there is plenty of death and destruction along the way, but it remains hard to say, for most of it, which side is going to win. In the end, several other pirates appear on the scene, some good and some bad, some causing more chaos and others bringing calm to battlefield. The result of it all however, will mean that life for Luffy will never be the same again.
It is obviously difficult to comment on all of this, because so much of this collection gives away massive plot points. This collection certainly has the most dramatic moment in the entire series, across both all the anime and the manga. It is arguably the key turning point in the whole of One Piece. It is not only one of the most shocking moments in the show, but also one of the most emotional. Although this point occurs in the fore-mentioned third disc, it is when Luffy finally comes to terms with what has happened in the war at the very end of this collection when it truly hits you. This is because most of this collection is so chaotic, you are caught up in the actual war. You don’t really have time to process what is going on, much as if you were in a real battle – you wouldn’t have time to think about what had just happened, you’d just carry on with the fighting. It is only when it is all over that you can finally start to try and make sense of the madness.
Aside from the on-disc spoilers, the only other big sticking point is that none of the other Straw Hat Pirates appear anywhere in the main story. There isn’t even any filler story. It just focuses on Luffy, which is arguably good, as the plot goes at such a pace you don’t want to break from it, but if you are more into the other characters, this isn’t a collection for you.
For DVD extras, there are episode commentaries, a textless version of the opening song although it is not a new track, trailers, and two other featurettes: a music lesson from Brook, and a selection of the top ten moments from the series.