CAUTION: In D.A.R. Sam Weller enjoys a few brews and reviews the latest DVD releases. He is over 21, will NOT be behind the wheel of a car, and encourages everyone to do the same no matter the circumstance. Enjoy your anime responsibly!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of Bombay Saffire!
For all of those ready to enjoy a drink or two and read on, ye be more adventurous than me! Or not ... considering that I just put these DVD’s on marathon mode and cranked through them in an evening. And, as even-handed as a drunken sailor can be, I had me some thoughts regarrrrrding ONE PIECE.
Often described by my Vice Pit co-host Tom as “what would happen if SpongeBob SquarePants kept going until it became a shonen” I have stepped away from this volume with a new-found support of this shonen show... but not without me reservations, ya hear?!
So I ventured into this review assuming most of you know the back story of ONE PIECE. If you don’t, I’m sure one of our database entries will get you up to speed since our website has the best mods and community in the world. Their entry on this arc lets me know that this it's entitled "Water Seven" and that's it "partial-filler" (boy, is it ever), which is helpful to know.
Besides... would you trust a drunk with the details? NO!
So here’s the D.A.R. format, if ye be curious...
First, I’ll tell you what I drank while watching the show in THE DRINK, so maybe you’ll get some new cocktail ideas out of the bargain (for those of legal age, of course!) And second, I’ll break down my thoughts into the easy-to-digest form of drunken stages: THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE BLERGH.
Since I was throwing back on a high-seas anime, I thought it only appropriate to be having a cocktail befitting a hungover sailor on a Sunday afternoon...
The Dark and Stormy
- 2 oz. dark rum (Sailor Jerry for me!)
- 8 oz. ginger beer
This might look, at first, like the hipster cousin of a rum and coke... and you’d be right!
Most bars don’t carry ginger beer, but any slightly off the mainstream grocery store should have some available for ya! If not, I’ve heard that muddling a little home-shaved ginger into some cola should do the trick. For an extra tang, I recommend a lime hugging the side of the glass for effect!
As a newbie to the ONE PIECE franchise I went into this show anticipating great things, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the complexion of the Straw Hats' crew aboard the Romance Dawn.
Even though head honcho Luffy doesn’t feature much in this volume, Franky’s backstory was actually quite groovy. His tale of betrayal has some tasty character depth, and the world of Ocean 7 (Sea 7? Did I get that right?) is a fully-formed environment, both economically and socially (which is far more fun than it sounds, trust me).
Franky’s mentor Tom (no, not that Tom, har har) is a hell of a character, too. He has a killer line where, when blaming a catastrophe on someone, he says, “Pirates! Or worse... the government!” Maybe it doesn't seem as profound when you aren't a little buzzed but, in my mind, that line just encapsulates this arc. Friggin' hilarious!
Also, I... uh... I can see why people think Nico Robin is hot. She has too many hands not to be alluring! Also, BANGS! They’re so hot, right now...
While its a quality in long-standing shows can be easily overlooked, I really dug the music. Strings, horns and the like... it's just a timeless sound, man! I’m happy Funi didn’t mess with this soundtrack the way they did in DBZ at points. It's all light 'n fluffy -- it should sound light 'n fluffy, alright?
I’ll take a line from Geese Howard and say the action is totally PREDICTABO!
Seriously, the decompressed storytelling reminds me of current American superhero comics in the worst way possible. The pacing - - the pacing, man, the pacing - - is right out of the shonen playbook, sure, and the show's hurt by that. When you can watch a whole series in an evening, via a box set or Netflix or Hulu or whatever, the stretching out of certain character beats for the sake of themselves gets grating to the highest degree.
Namely (Namli?)... there's Episode 246, I think? The Straw Hats talk in a room for 21 straight minutes in that one. How long does a building have to burn down before you call it and go home? Jeez!
There are some weak-ass episodes near the end of this set that are literally focused on groups of characters searching... for... someone else? When I neared the end of my third cocktail, those details really started to get on my nerves (even as they did start blurring together).
Look... I’m not an animator, or a person with a schedule to fill... but can you find more levels to a character than SCREAMING YOUR MOTIVATIONS AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS?!
I felt terrible for the actor playing Usopp in this arc - - just really bent up for him, man - - because he has a whole episode where he’s literally whimpering and screaming through his motivations for keeping the Romance Dawn alive. It's compelling, but I got it the first time, alright? You can sit down and relax.
There's a similar moment with Luffy, who - - for no reason whatsoever - - begins SCREAMING ABOUT HOW HE IS FRUSTRATED. Yes, it’s a style difference, but I couldn’t be sicker of this character-development crutch. I think even Goku went through more over-wrought moments while still retaining his dignity. Luffy seems to get impassioned at the drop of a hat...
...a STRAW HAT. Hee hee.
OK, I’m done. *hiccup*
Sobering up, now, I’d recommend this volume to anyone who bought the previous one.
No, seriously... while I definitely found a lot of entertainment here, I never got into the game of serially buying a show that lasts over 26 episodes.
That said, I do think there’s enough here for noobies that'll get them watching the show. While it comes off as tiresome to me, there’s enough enmity towards the bad guys that, by the end of the set, you do want to see them eat it pretty hard.
Still, nothing replaces a strong drink while watching these long-ass shonen shows.
While I’m at it, can we toast one to Eiichiro Oda? He seems to be losing out on a lot of life experience while he bangs these stories out. I mean... you figure he ever gets to make ONE PIECE while drunk?
Either way, this shot’s for you baby!
With a name like Anime Vice, I thought it only appropriate to bring my only "vice" into the fray with D.A.R. If you like this idea, and wish to suggest some good anime and cocktail pairings, be my guest in the comments below!
Sam Weller is a writer and actor who's scribed for shows like FIRST EDITION, GEEK THERAPY, and most recently BATGIRL: SPOILED. He also really likes anime. To know what is going to happen next, follow@cravesam