Anime Review: One Piece Uncut Collection 19

By Drew Hurley 02.10.2018

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One Piece Uncut Collection 19 (UK Rating: 12)

The King of Shonen is back again! Annoyingly still massively far behind Japan and even the English releases. The UK has for the longest time remained literally years behind the anime, although thankfully now the manga is finally beginning to make roads into catching up. There's a positive to the anime being behind, though, at least in the immediate. It means viewers are getting one of the greatest parts of the series' long history in this collection. Picking up at the climax of the Impel Down arc, Luffy has recruited some surprising allies in his quest to escape the legendary prison and save his brother. This complete collection comes courtesy of Manga Entertainment, contains episodes 446 to 468, and is available from 22nd October.

The collection opens with Luffy having picked up a bunch of new friends and working his way up from the darkest depths of the dungeons to try and get back to the top floor and steal a ship. These friends contain some interesting characters from his past. Impel Down has taken in plenty of lost souls over the years that have had a big impact on the lives of the Strawhats - from their first chapters, to some of the biggest arcs: Buggy the Clown, Crocodile, and some of his minions from Alabasta. It's a crazy mix and, between this unexpected alliance and freedom stands one of the most powerful men on the planet. Warden Magellan ate the poisoned fruit and the ooze he is able to produce is a guaranteed death sentence. Also, lurking in the shadows is another group, with a very different agenda.

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The first disc contains the conclusion to the Impel Down arc and setting underway the beginnings of the grandest arc in the series to date. As the anticipation builds to boiling point for Luffy and his new friends getting to Marineford, though, the series decides to subvert expectations. Instead of finally showing Marineford and glimpsing the war that's to come, the story instead breaks away from Luffy and finally reveals what happened to the rest of the crew after their sudden journey, courtesy of Bartholomew Kuma. Each of the Strawhats was shot off across the globe and the second disc contains four episodes, each split in half, and showing just what each member of the crew is up to. Whether it be embracing their inner Okama, training under old enemies, learning new abilities, or even just enjoying a good cup of tea.

If this release was a standard anime release with just two discs, this would be a disappointing collection; a superb conclusion to the Impel Down arc but then just as anticipation is reaching fever pitch for the war in Marineford, a handful of episodes going completely elsewhere and looking at the other Strawhats. Thankfully, this is a four-disc collection. When Marineford originally launched, the pages of Shonen Jump were unbelievable, the action was non-stop, and there were so many huge moments, big characters. Whereas One Piece occasionally receives a big, double splash page from time-to-time, when Marineford hit its peak, every chapter had a splash; heck there was occasionally multiple in a single chapter. The art was unbelievable. Sadly, this can't quite live up to its origin. There's just too much action going on and the production values of Toei simply can't keep up. There's a ton of repeated scenes and moments long drawn out. Despite this, there are some big scenes that clearly took a big chunk of the budget to deliver some gorgeous looking moments.

The term 'war' is thrown around a lot, but this really is a war, without thousands on either side and at the front line of either side are legends from around the world. The world government has the Shichibukai - the world's greatest swordsman, Mihawk, the Pirate Empress Boa Hancock, Gekko Moriah, Doflamingo, Kuma - the vice admirals who have been glimpsed throughout the series, a mammoth amount of troops, and then at their head the strongest of all: the three admirals, the hero of the marines Garp and, finally, the grand head of the Marine, Fleet Admiral Sengoku. Opposite them are the Whitebeard Pirates and their allies, but just what they will bring to the war is unknown. Then there's the wildcard, Luffy, and those who made it out of Impel Down - a group neither side of the war has planned for.

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As with all the previous collections, there is both an English dub here along with the original Japanese. And as with all the others, the Japanese is far superior and deserves to be the experience of choice, not to mention it's an opportunity to again hear the dulcet tones of the legendary voice actor Unsho Ishizuka who sadly passed recently. On top of the dubs, there is a bundle of extra features. There are the usual episode commentaries from the English cast and crew, the usual clean opening and closings, and some trailers. Then there's more! There are featurettes made for Crunchyroll that are absurd and mind-numbing. In the first, Sonny Strait is once again acting the absolute fool, pretending to be some sort of Bear Grylls type character. The second horrendous skit sees Stephanie Young - the voice of Robin - looking for a renewal to her singing voice… Basically a three-minute excuse to show Stephanie singing. These are so ridiculously terrible that simply by including them on the collection makes the whole collection worse. What an absolute waste of time.

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
The Marineford War is, without a doubt, one of the greatest arcs in One Piece's grand history and it really hits the ground running with this collection. It epitomises One Piece, managing to balance huge action, touching moments, and plenty of great comedy. This fantastic arc will leave fans desperate for the next part, the conclusion of the war, and a whole new world for the series.

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