On Sale at MCM London Comic Con: One Piece: Collection 1 Review

First released in Japan in October 1999 and still running even now after over 500 episodes, numerous OVA’s and 12 films, One Piece is one of the few anime series’ that even after all this time manages to hold the public’s affections. It is these affections that Manga Entertainment hope to capitalise on with their release of the first 26 episodes of this classic series in the form of One Piece: Collection 1.

One Piece: Collection 1

The series follows rubber-limbed Monkey D. Luffy and his crew of Straw Hat Pirates as he searches for the fabled treasure in a bid to become the next King of the Pirates. This first collection introduces us to Monkey and the start of his journey in which he will meet up with the first members of his crew, have his origins explained and, in what seems to be a signature of the series, get into a lot of fights which are all won (minor spoiler) through the use of his rubbery fists and feet.

The first thing that fans and indeed newcomers should realise about this set is that it is the Funimation dub and as such it is the uncut version of the series. This means that all of the content that was once deemed to be not suitable for US and UK audiences is now back in. This includes cigarettes in characters mouths and characters who were previously made tanned to hide the fact they were black. This version also returns the episodes to their full lengths and gives them a new dub too. Granted when I say new I mean a dub that was recorded in 2007, but as this is the first time the series has been released in the UK, new it is.

The next thing to note is that the episodes in this set (and indeed up until episode 206) are not in widescreen and thus you are given the full screen format that will have some purists reaching for their soap boxes. The other thing to remember is that these episodes are over a decade old now and so if you are new to the series and expecting cutting edge anime then the show’s signature cartoony style will not be for you either. In fact the show’s animation is more reminiscent of shows such as the early episodes of Pokemon and at certain points seems even to be a little dated with the characters moving against static backgrounds. 

One negative point is that this series seems to have most of the dialogue delivered in what can be best described as shouting and screaming voices, which can often be high pitched too, so after a time it will either come to grow on you or just annoy you.

But that said the quality of the transfer in this release is very good and as such the vibrant colours that form part of the aforementioned style carry over very nicely. Another good point is that it manages to squeeze 26 episodes into the set and so offers you value for money, particularly if you are a fan of the series.

Whilst it is fair to say that some of the negative points in this anime are seen by many as classic anime tropes, it does beg the question as to whether these tropes are just that, classic and as such should be left to the past if you are a anime newcomer.

Overall One Piece Collection 1 is a fun trip down memory lane if you are fan of the series, but be warned if you are newcomer; you must be prepared to watch it in the context that this show is one that defined a generation and a generation that watched it for the first time over a decade ago.

One Piece Collection 1 is available on DVD from May 27th courtesy of Manga Entertainment priced £34.99 and a special edition (that includes a treasure map and tote bag) will also be available to buy at MCM Comic Con London this May from the Manga Entertainment stand located at stand 510 next to the Namco Bandai stand. 

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