I talked a bit before about the filler of the last season two collection, mostly making points about how well it all manages to fit into the ongoing arc, thanks in no small part to mangaka Eichiro Oda’s process of personally approving these little side quests. Well, don’t think you’re off the hook from hearing about this yet, because the second voyage of the season—taking us swiftly from episode 67 to 78—further cements how well these additions work.
After Luffy and the Straw Hats set sail to return princess Vivi to her home of Alabasta, a land in revolutionary turmoil, we get an extended look at what’s been happening with Luffy’s very first friend, Coby. Coby is still carrying out his own arduous quest to fulfill his personal ambition to be a full-fledged member of the Navy. Despite the fact that this technically makes Luffy one of his greatest enemies, they’ve always supported one another, and he leans on the successes of his straw-hatted friend for inspiration.
These episodes are basically taken straight from the opening chapter illustrations in the manga. A series of one-shot images that told the story of Coby and his reluctant comrade Helmeppo are now fully fleshed out, making this brief arc a real treat for fans of the source material.
After spending some time with Coby, we discover the next stop on the route to Alabasta, the island known as Little Garden. Fittingly, everything in Little Garden is huge, including the giant warriors, Dorry and Broggy. After fears of being their supper are quelled, Luffy finds out that these two have been clashing in heated battle daily for such a long period that they don’t even recall how the feud started. Nevertheless, it continues, despite the fact that these two seem to share an uncanny, almost brotherly bond.
Our merry crew is going to need to get comfortable, too, because the log pose apparently takes a full year to record the coordinates to the next island. That gives them plenty of time to hang out and eat dinosaur meat, if only things were really that easy.
The extended encounter with Dorry and Broggy is one of the best stories yet, once again showing the heart put into characters that, no matter how long they’re on screen at the time, you just know we’ll see again. For all I know, we already have, but I’m not quite at that point in catching up with the manga, so keep your spoilin’ secrets to yourself. In the course of this little saga, our heroes run into more members of the Baroque Works crew, which means it’s time to discover yet another over-the-top result of the Devil Fruit’s wicked power.
It’s funny how the heroes and villains of One Piece always seem to go about either espousing or rejecting the ideals of the crew in interesting ways, which helps keep the consistently escalating encounters fresh as they dig a deeper hole into their journey. Even if the “we can do it” shonen cry tends to get under your skin, the attitude is executed flawlessly in One Piece, and is dished out in ever-changing style throughout.
These releases are still coming out at a staggering speed. Actually, I’m staring at a copy of Third Voyage as we speak, so I may be extolling its potential virtues sooner than later. I don’t want to keep beating this drum, but I wouldn’t mind waiting a little bit longer for releases that double the episode count. That might actually fit with the slightly high list price of these voyages. If your shelf can bear the weight, though, go ahead and clear some space for the quintessential friendship cruise.
© 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd., Japan.