Anime Reporter picks up from where we last dropped anchor for Collection 05 of One Piece (episodes 104 -130).
In Collection 4 (reviewed here ), Luffy and co. were last seen making their way across the deserts of Alabasta to confront the dreaded Sir Crocodile and his Baroque Works and stop their rebellion. Collection 05 is unusual in how little time is actually spent aboard the Strawhat’s ship, seeing the crew instead making a perilous journey over burning sands. The desert setting makes a nice change from the slightly repetitive notion of ship-to-ship sea battles and the trek across the vast dunes of Alabasta provides a great opportunity to learn the reasons for Alabasta’s woes and the growing rebellion and gives Luffy enough time to care about the nation and its people.
Unsurprisingly for One Piece, there are three things ever present in this story arc: action, humour and heart. Luffy’s ability to inspire the people around him and his unyielding desire to help his friends are in top form throughout this collection and his character manages to be moving without straying too far from his innocent, if ambitious, nature.
True to One Piece form, over the course of the collection, the Strawhats are divided and forced to fight insanely powerful foes separately or in small groups. Each of these battles is absolutely stellar, seeing each and every crewmember truly develop and grow in their abilities and their characters. Sanji, in particular, manages to pull off some very suave victories, though, true to form, Zoro soon catches up to him. The urgent situation also means that each of the Strawhats needs to finish their battles as quickly as possible to stop any bloodshed between the rebel fighters and Alabasta’s soldiers, making the stakes feel higher than the typical conflicts.
Though each member of Baroque Works is well-crafted and interesting in their own right, the three which truly stand out are Mr. 2, Miss All Sunday and Crocodile himself. Mr. 2, also known as Mr. Bon is a flamboyant ballerina with the Devil fruit ability to copy the faces of people he touches. While his ballet skills give him powerful kicking abilities, his real talent lies in manipulating people through his mimicry. Bon tends to act ridiculously and is much more of a clown than his Baroque Works colleagues making him an entertaining and unpredictable character throughout the arc.
Miss All Sunday, also known as Nico Robin is a mysterious and intelligent woman, the right hand of Crocodile. She seems to have many dark secrets, even from Crocodile himself and has a Devil fruit ability of her own. Thanks to the Flower-Flower fruit, Robin can grow any of her limbs anywhere, sprouting arms and legs on other people and objects across large distances. She makes quick use of her abilities to disable enemies without warning and gives every impression of being a cold and calculating opponent.
Crocodile, the mastermind himself, makes for an imposing foe.Having earned the love and respect of the entire country, his security and his network of warriors is unparalleled. Crocodile’s wealth and manipulative nature make it impossible for Luffy to turn the people against him without proof of his crimes and his sand abilities allow him to drain opponents of all water and reduce people to mummified husks in an instant. What’s more, he can turn his entire body to sand, rendering physical attacks a complete waste of time and making his battles the ones to watch closely, even while all hell is breaking loose around him.
The episodes are well paced and balanced, with plenty of time being given to character development and action, with humour flowing neatly throughout. The animation, as with the previous collection, can seem slightly outdated by today’s standards but is nonetheless beautiful to watch and with just the right blend of detail and cartoonish exaggeration. More than a little time is devoted to the idea of trust and friendship over this arc and the episodes manage to strike a powerful note of emotion without becoming overly reliant on it. Truly spectacular.
One Piece Collection 05 is a tremendous story arc in the world’s most popular anime. More than worth watching, it’s not worth missing!
One Piece Collection 05 is available now on DVD from Manga Entertainment.
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90% – Pure Gold
One Collection 05 is a necessary jewel in any anime collection. A true treasure.