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It would seem that the One Piece releases are coming thick and fast this year, a bonus for fans of the show and at this rate the releases should catch up with the televised show, which currently stands at over six hundred and sixty episodes, within a couple of years.
One Piece: Collection No. 7 (Eps 157 – 182) continues the zany adventures of rubber limbed Luffy and his crew, still searching for the One Piece which will confirm him as king of the pirates, although in truth he’s succeeding in this endeavour just about as successfully as Daenerys Targaryen’s invasion of Westeros.
The show is directed by Konosuke Uda and Part 7 is presented across a four disc DVD set. As usual the set is presented with two audio tracks DD 5.1 English dub and the original DD 2.0 Japanese. The Overall quality of the show's picture continues to improve and is noticeably different from the initial episodes.
Not content in sailing the seven seas, this release sees the gang once again split up, which always makes for a more interesting dynamic and helps the show feel fresh. They take a trip into another dimension, that of the sky, with a visit to Skypiea.
Out goes the boats and in comes a different lexicon of flying beasts. Unusual for a children’s show, One Piece often stays into more adult discussions, this time the running theme is that of religion and the blind faith demanded by gods. It’s not often shows are willing to make a villain out of God and Luffy’s crew discover that everything they do gets them into more and more trouble, even when they try to make reparations things just get worse for them.
The show does come with a good number of extras, given that anime releases only sell in modest numbers compared to bigger releases, it's good to see a show willing to spend some profit to make the viewing experience better. On disc two you get a full length commentary for episode 166 from the funmation crew, which discusses the episode and the show in general. Disc three has a commentary for episode 171. Across the discs you will also find the textless opening and closing sequences.
The show continues to move its pieces around enough so that you barely notice that it is, underneath, fairly formulaic. That said what it does, it does well, so I can’t see them changing the formula any time soon.