Anime Review: One Piece Uncut Collection 20

By Drew Hurley 28.12.2018

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One Piece Uncut Collection 20 (UK Rating: 12)

One Piece Collection 19 built the energy of the Marineford War to an absolute boiling point, bringing together years of storytelling and the biggest characters of the world all in one place - with some notable exceptions! As the rest of the Strawhats continue to be scattered. Luffy refuses to let the World Government execute his brother, as does Ace's father, and there are countless pirates willing to give up their lives to save their friend. This has become so much more than one man and the war will change the world forever. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this latest collection contains episodes 469-492 and has been available from 17th December.

When the last collection concluded, Ace's execution had been gatecrashed. Firstly by one of the Four Emperors, the strongest man on the planet Whitebeard. This old pirate may be getting up in years but he is still on a level all of his own, with the power of his tremor-tremor fruit he can shake the very planet… and he's very angry. He didn't come alone, either, as he brought along an entire armada of allied ships, headed up by some of the most powerful captains of the New World, and then there are his division commanders - absurdly powerful individuals who are able to go toe-to-toe with the Shichibukai. The second group of gatecrashers was headed up by Ace's brother Luffy, recently escaped from the hellish prison of Impel Down. Luffy has gathered up plenty of new allies during his time in the pen, and brought them along for the ride. Former Warlord Crocodile and Jinbei, some of the leaders of the Revolutionary army, even Buggy the clown. They are all charging alongside Luffy in hopes of saving Ace.

It's an impressive force, but the Marines are prepared. They expected the rescue force - well, apart from Luffy's lot! - and have gathered their entire might along with planning for the defence. They have got the home field advantage. The three Marine Admirals are worth an army each and are backed up by the Seven Warlords - most of them, although one is smitten with Luffy and working to help him. No, not Kuma. Hancock.

It's hard to say much about this collection. It's a war and the entirety is spent on pitched battles between the two forces and showcasing one-one-one fights between some of the most powerful characters in this world. There are some surprising twists and developments as the leaders of each try and outsmart each other but, much like the original Dragon Ball, this is crying out for a remaster cutting out much of the excess footage. Far too much time is spent watching cannon fodder pirates running or exploding from huge special attacks. It's understandable to some degree, keeping the anime as a weekly show without overtaking the manga is no easy task, and the result is these long drawn out episodes. Thankfully, this can easily be ignored thanks to the amount of big moments and constant surprises through this collection. Considering how far behind the English anime releases are to the Japanese, and especially the Manga, it's hard to have avoided the many spoilers. Those who have been lucky to do so will find an amazing piece of storytelling with some groundbreaking revelations and developments that will impact the series until its conclusion.

As with all these releases, both the English and the Japanese dub are available here, and while the dub has come leaps and bounds from the horrific days of Sanji with a lollipop and "Zolo," it still can't live up to the original, sadly. It's okay… it's enjoyable… but the original is special. On the bonus feature front, there's the same marathon feature available here as the previous collections, which plays one episode after another without showing the opening or closing animations. However, it doesn't skip the recap of the previous episode or the introduction to the series that plays. Every. Single. Time. It really ruins the marathon feature and still requires some fast-forwarding. Speaking of flawed bonus features, there's more of Funimation's attempt at making the voice acting cast into comedians. This time, Ian Sinclair - voice of Brook - is messing around with some musical instruments. Then the crew embraces its inner Buzzfeed to put out a top 10 list, this time of favourite One Piece moments. For once, this isn't a cringey mess. It's actually nice to see the cast and crew share its love for the series.

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
One Piece Uncut Collection 20 is the very best of One Piece; the finest part thus far of a story stretching back over twenty years. It is an absolute master-class in how to bring so many story threads and multiple characters, which have been expertly interspersed, all the way up to this amazing conclusion. Only the pacing issues from its adaptation into anime give it any sort of failing. Even these, though, can be forgiven thanks to the amount of heart in this collection. The greatest shonen of all time shows off its very best.

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