ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:12 - 25th August 2015, by NEO Staff

One Piece Collection 10

The Straw Hat Pirates are back on the high seas for a tenth sequence of elastic escapades! This time, the gang has made their way to Water Seven – home of the Galley-La shipwrights – to repair the damage their ship has sustained over the last 229 episodes. But things get a little more complicated – and explosive – when the crew clash with a gang of bounty-hunting demolitions experts, a shadowy group of assassins with ties to Robin’s past, and even each other, as divisions begin to form within the crew. Can the Straw Hats keep their group together, their ship afloat, manage to beat the bad guys, and hold on to the treasure?

This collection feels a lot like a shift away from the show’s previous episodes, or at least a change in tone. Though it would be difficult to call One Piece anything other than a light-hearted series, there’s definitely some sombre moments here – and the characters are given a chance to grow, even when they’re trying to beat each other up. The pacing of the arc moves in a different direction also, taking its time to come to fruition. Though this can feel a little strange compared to the show’s earlier, instantly rambunctious episodes, the arc introduces enough new story threads to keep things interesting, and seeing each of these subplots develop is all the more satisfying in the end because of the tenser pace. However, don’t expect too much in the way of resolution from this set – although it comes with a fairly substantial 22 episodes, the arc is far from its conclusion by the end, and there are more mysteries raised than solved.

Of course, all this intrigue and plot development doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole lot of action to be had as well – this is One Piece we’re talking about after all – and even though they’re spread a little thinner, there’s plenty of exciting brawls to watch, with every character stepping up to do something awesome.

What’s more, this arc introduces a lot of weird and wild new characters, antagonists and uneasy allies both, who add to the show’s already oddball cast and escalate the arc’s story to new levels. And just as in the previous collections, the actors in both languages do a fantastic job of voicing these crazy characters, especially the original Japanese cast, who perfectly bring the over-the-top dialogue from the page to the screen.

The art in this collection could easily be described as hit-and-miss: though you’ll definitely notice a lot of shots that are simply slow pans over still images, they often look so visually unique that it’s difficult not to enjoy them all the same. And when the action kicks in, the animation quality always kicks up a notch, with dynamic and distinctive art to show off the exhilarating battle scenes. Especially when you consider that these episodes actually aired ten years ago, it’s surprising how well they hold up compared to their more current shonen peers. And while the visuals can occasionally be a little tepid, the previously mentioned steps forward in storytelling mean that you’ll be unlikely to lose interest in what’s going on.

One Piece Collection 10 shows that even when a series is hundreds of episodes into the story, there’s still room for it to evolve – developing the existing characters, adding new ones, and introducing an arc with greater depth than any of the previous plotlines, while keeping all the action and comedy that the series is known for. Fans are in for a treat, while new viewers should use this arc as an excuse to get caught up – though it might take you quite a while, it’ll be well worth it.

Even ten seasons in, Luffy’s pirates are still pushing the boat out when it comes to quality.
SCORE: 4/5
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