I’m not going to mince words: One Piece is an absolute beast in the Japanese sales charts. Each manga volume sells through upwards of four million copies, and the show occupies a permanent spot near the top of the TV ratings charts each week. Over 600 episodes aired already, and there are few signs of the show slowing down, let alone stopping.
On April 15, FUNimation will release One Piece’s ninth DVD set, which contains episodes 206 through 229. We were fortunate enough to receive a review screener for the show a few days ago. And, since we received the full product, I felt that a full tear-down was warranted. (Click images for larger versions)
The set shipped in a cardboard slipcase, which features a shot of Captain Foxy posing in front of the Going Merry’s flag. The back of the slipcover features a two-column design, with a brief description of the show content and extras on the left. The right side of the slipcover features another shot of Captain Foxy, along with a selection of four smaller shots from the episodes in the set. Information such as run time, age rating, and presentation are contained in a grid in the bottom-left side of the back cover.
The case itself features an identical design to the slipcover.
The inside of the cover features a solid black background, with episode listings and the collection title printed in white. Each of the discs is presented in a solid black color. The One Piece logo is stamped on in white, while the Captain Foxy logo serves as a container for the episode listings on each disc.
Note: Since the release has a consistent look & feel across the discs, I will only be covering the first disc of each edition. Further dissections would be redundant.
As a contrast to the dark tones of the packaging and discs, the menus feature bright colors and a generally light style.
The front menu features a massive image of the Straw Hat Pirates’ insignia. The menu options are lain out on a white background directly to the right of the emblem, in bold sans-serif font. The series name and disc number occupy the whitespace directly above the menu options. Above this, a “wave” styled border separates the menus from a piece of key art of Captain Foxy’s crew.
The Extras menu features the half of the Straw Hat Pirates’ emblem placed to the left of the screen. Directly to the right of the emblem, the menu options are lain out under a bold “Extras” heading. The white background is cut on the bottom by a “wave” pattern that transitions to a sea-blue colour. A piece of key art of Captain Foxy occupies the remaining whitespace beneath the menu options.
The Setup menu contains the same base design of the Extras menu. The emblem, menu item positioning, and color transitions are located in the same base locations. The key difference rests in the placement and piece of key art used to accent the menu itself.
The Episodes menu follows the same format as the Extras and Setup menus. The placement of the emblem, color transitions, and menu items are located in the same positions, though there is no key art placed in the menu itself.
The ninth set for One Piece is a sleek, straight-forward release. The slipcover is a nice addition, though I can’t help but feel that it is a bit lacking in comparison to FUNimation’s recently released Fairy Tail set 9. The key art chosen is a bit on the repulsive side to casual potential buyers, though Captain Foxy will surely strike a chord with fans of the show itself.
Video quality on the release is fantastic. There are no obvious video or audio issues, and the colors are preserved well. On the right setup, the visuals really pop, and the action scenes simply look wonderful.
Extras on the set include textless songs and episode commentaries, which are par for the course at this point. That said, the commentaries themselves are still fun to listen to, and give a bit of insight into the people who helped to make the One Piece dub a reality.