I was astounded at what I was seeing. The changes were so dramatic it was as if I was watching a completely different show. What4Kids did to that series could only be considered an anime equivalent of a war crime. Why even bother with the series if you were just going to change everything? From that point on fan sub websites were the only source I could find that had the real One Piece episodes.
A few years ago 4Kids lost the rights on the dub and the FUNimation company stepped in to redub the series from square one. It was exciting, but from what I had seen. FUNimation was keeping some edits to the series. Just no where near as extreme as their predecessor. I really wanted to give this series a chance, but Cartoon Network took it off before it could go through a single story arc.
New Era It wasn't too long ago that FUNimation started something that was like a blessing to US One Piece fans. On their websites they were streaming brand new episodes directly out of Japan with subtitles. They were also uploading the early seasons offering both dub and subtitles. I was unsure about the site at first, but thought I should give it a fair shot if it could mean properly supporting the anime. This is my review.
Where things fall apart are in the huge gaps that are present on the site. The list of missing episodes stretches from Episodes 14-53 and 104-390. That makes a gap of 325 episodes total missing. They do seem to be adding three episodes to the gap between 104-390 each week, but for some reason don't seem to be touching the14-53 gap. At this rate, just to fill that later gap at a rate of three episodes a week will take about 96 weeks. These gaps take up some of the most epic and enjoyable story arcs in the series.
Missing Story Arcs
Don Krieg Arc / Arlong Park Arc / Loguetown Arc / Jaya Arc / Skypiea Arc / Davy Back Fight Arc / Water 7 Arc / Enies Lobby Arc / Thriller Bark Arc
Most of my favorite episodes are in these missing story arcs. It's difficult to give up on fan subtitle sites when there are these massive gaps that wont be filled for almost two years.
I haven't focused too much on watching the new Dub work, but in the few episodes I have watched. It seems pretty solid. For some odd reason though. On all the Dubbed episodes. The title songs have been redone with English lyrics that match the rhythm of the original Japanese openings. Even in the English dubs of Narutoand Bleach the Japanese songs were untouched. It seems like a pointless alteration. Either way, my interest has more been viewing this site from the perspective of someone who used to only get these episodes from fan subtitle sites for years.
There is also an odd inconsistency that I only found in the more recent episodes so far. The character Bon Clay has been playing a major role in the series recently. His personal combat style has always been known as Okama Way Kenpo. It's something he repeats before using an attack. Much in the same way Luffy says "Gum Gum-" or Zoro's "Santouryu". "Okama" is the Japanese term for male homosexual or male transvestite. Whenever Bon Clay uses the term, the subtitles replaces it with "Oh Come My Way Kenpo". At first I thought this was some sort of over sensitivity issue, but it must not be. The series is not shy at all about the frequent use of the words "queer", "gay", or "fairy" when the word "okama" is used to describing someone. In some cases the term is literally used as "Kama" when describing a location, such as the "Kamabakka Kingdom" or "New Kama Land". (Gia might like Kamabakka Kingdom. It's an island of all men in drag. Including the animals. lol)
It makes me wonder why when they are talking about Bon Clay's move set, why not just call it "Okama Way Kenpo" rather then just make up something that he's not even saying?
I'd like to talk about any edits, but in an odd way I can't. That's because the episodes that would look to have the most heavy edits are missing from the site. I can say that they aren't cutting out the smoking and drinking. They don't appear to be making any real dramatic edits in blood or fan service scenes either from what I have been able to see. So, that's a big plus.
The video player is a bit cumbersome at times. There are scenes i just enjoy and I want to watch it over again. I try to go back, but it freezes as it tries to rebuffer that moment. Other players from sites start right up.
Image quality is really good. In the later episodes it's much better. Far better then the quality you can find on most fan sub sites, where image quality is sacrificed over expediency. It's nice to watch old episodes just a little clearer and easy to read subtitles.
What is surprising is the lack of commercials. I can watch several episodes without a commercial ever appearing. In all honesty, since I am watching these for free. I wouldn't mind commercials in each episode. This could be a blessing, because the when commercials have appeared. They can tend to pop on screen abruptly and occasionally cut off dialog. The commercials aren't long, and if FUNimation could incorporate them into the episodes better that would help.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Closing comment: If FUNImation would start airing the Detective Conan anime series subtitled and with the proper names the way they are with One Piece. I would write them a love letter.
-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.