Review

by Sam Leach,

One Piece Episode of Sabo

BD+DVD

Synopsis:
One Piece Episode of Sabo BD+DVD
After his disappearance as a child, leaving his sworn brothers Ace and Luffy to believe he is dead, Sabo has found himself to be the second-in-command of the Revolutionary Army. Now an adult, his job has taken him all over the world investigating a black market weapons trade that leads him to Donquixote Doflamingo's home turf of Dressrosa. It's here that he is fated to cross-paths with his long-lost brother Luffy, and together they will fight to protect the Flame-Flame Fruit, the ultimate prize in Doflamingo's tournament and the last ember of ‘Fire Fist’ Ace's legacy.
Review:

The “One Piece: Episode of ______” series, which currently spans both TV specials and theatrical films, can be a frustrating endeavor at times. I can't say with any confidence that these movies are actually for anybody. Theoretically, they're recounts of individual One Piece arcs, now at a more digestible pace and featuring more impressive production values, but there's always too much missing from them for me to ever recommend them to somebody who isn't already familiar with the material. Two hours is rarely enough time to put an audience through a proper One Piece-level emotional rollercoaster, and more often than not I find myself missing a lot of the old animation and directorial choices that made these stories memorable in the first place. Even if we're just looking at getting the general story beats out there for a more casual audience, the TV series is already slammed with clip shows and recaps as it is.

That said, Episode of Sabo is easily the best looking One Piece special to date. Dressrosa is a fairly recent arc, so there isn't really any old art that I'm mourning, and just about everything here is a visual improvement on the TV version. I love the amount of detail that can be seen on every individual character, and the actions scenes are outstanding. Luffy vs. Don Chin Jao is a particularly strong highlight and it boasts a notable stylistic in its slightly muted color scheme, frequently evoking an overcast sky.

Story-wise, this is a weird arc to give the TV movie treatment. It's the first half of Dressrosa, focusing on Luffy's battles in Doflamingo's colosseum. The main difference being that we're witnessing parts of the story from Sabo's perspective, who's appearance in the colosseum was a surprise twist in the original. Since this is Sabo's episode, we're frequently cutting back to flashbacks of Ace, Luffy, and Sabo's childhood, so this special also doubles as a remake of their particular backstory. The “three brothers” flashback is already well-trodden ground—I doubt there are any fans who aren't intimately familiar with it already—and it doesn't pair well with Dressrosa's extremely busy plot, most of which doesn't have anything to do with the titular character. It's like two movies stitched together, neither of which culminate in a particularly satisfying climax given that this is only half a story.

From there, one of the biggest draws of this release is its English dub, which is adapting material far past Funimation's release of the TV series. A staggering number of important new characters have been cast in order to bring this localization to life. I'm really pleased with the mixture of talent from both inside and outside of Texas, allowing us to hear fan favorites like Christina Vee and Christine Cabanos in the roles of Violet and Rebecca respectively. However, for those specific characters—natives to Dressrosa—the dub aims for faux Spanish accents, which goes about as well as you could expect regarding consistency.

Of the new additions to the cast, Tyson Rinehart's Bartolomeo leaves the biggest impression. He's a ton of fun, though I'm reminded of the dub's dearth of naturally deep male voices. We're scratching so many of these actors' throats as it is! The copious amounts of fake gravel make all these side characters difficult to tell apart sometimes. I'd also be remiss not to mention Jerry Jewell as Caesar Clown (one of my favorite characters), who only has a single line but he sounds like a perfect fit so far. I'm excited to eventually hear him in the show itself.

Episode of Sabo, like most TV specials, is something that will likely find itself in any hardcore fan's collection, but I don't expect it's something people will come back to again and again. It's a great looking movie, but its most compelling selling point is the dub and the fact that there isn't a lot of One Piece coming out from Funimation beyond these specials. The blu-ray itself is completely barebones in terms of features, with nothing more than the special and the usual batch of trailers. This movie was created to fill a time slot first and foremost, so the quality of the product exists independent of any other depth or value.

Grade:
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B-
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : B

+ Great animation, fun to hear the new additions to the English cast
Not a stand-alone movie, redundant for long-time fans and impenetrable for new fans

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Production Info:
Series Director:
Toshinori Fukuzawa
Satoshi Ito
Aya Komaki
Kōhei Kureta
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Tatsuya Nagamine
Munehisa Sakai
Junji Shimizu
Kōnosuke Uda
Director:
Toshinori Fukuzawa
Satoshi Ito
Gou Koga
Aya Komaki
Kōhei Kureta
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Tatsuya Nagamine
Munehisa Sakai
Junji Shimizu
Kōnosuke Uda
Series Composition:
Junki Takegami
Hirohiko Uesaka
Shoji Yonemura
Script:
Hiroshi Hashimoto
Aki Kanehiro
Naoki Koga
Takuuya Masumoto
Tomohiro Nakayama
Tsuyoshi Sakurai
Michiru Shimada
Yoshiyuki Suga
Junki Takegami
Suminori Takegami
Jin Tanaka
Atsuhiro Tomioka
Hirohiko Uesaka
Ryota Yamaguchi
Shoji Yonemura
Storyboard:
Kimitoshi Chioka
Junichi Fujise
Ayako Hiraike
Mamoru Hosoda
Takahiro Imamura
Hidehiko Kadota
Yukio Kaizawa
Gou Koga
Tsuyoshi Koga
Aya Komaki
Kōhei Kureta
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Yutaka Nakajima
Tetsuji Nakamura
Yutaka Nakashima
Masayoshi Nishida
Daisuke Nishio
Munehisa Sakai
Naotoshi Shida
Michiru Shimada
Yoshiyuki Suga
Katsumi Tokoro
Kōnosuke Uda
Yoshihiro Ueda
Ryota Yamaguchi
Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Kenji Yokoyama
Episode Director:
Tetsuya Endo
Yuji Endo
Junichi Fujise
Toshinori Fukuzawa
Ayako Hiraike
Hideki Hiroshima
Mamoru Hosoda
Masahiro Hosoda
Yoko Ikeda
Takahiro Imamura
Satoshi Ito
Hidehiko Kadota
Yukio Kaizawa
Hiroyuki Kakudou
Tsuyoshi Koga
Aya Komaki
Harume Kosaka
Ken Koyama
Yasunori Koyama
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Kazutoshi Mori
Yutaka Nakajima
Tetsuji Nakamura
Yutaka Nakashima
Kōdai Nakatsuka
Daisuke Nishio
Munehisa Sakai
Hiroyuki Sato
Hiroyuki Satoh
Junji Shimizu
Makoto Sonoda
Koji Tanaka
Katsumi Tokoro
Kōnosuke Uda
Yoshihiro Ueda
Sumio Watanabe
Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Music:
Shiroh Hamaguchi
Kouhei Tanaka
Original creator: Eiichiro Oda
Original Manga: Eiichiro Oda
Character Design:
Kazuya Hisada
Keiichi Ichikawa
Noboru Koizumi
Midori Matsuda
Art Director:
Kunihiro Chida
Kumiko Fukuzawa
Yoshiaki Honma
Eisaku Inoue
Iwamitsu Itoo
Michiyo Kawasaki
Toshiaki Marumori
Yuri Sanan
Miyuki Satō
Tadami Shimokawa
Miho Shiraishi
Fumihiro Uchikawa
Yoshito Watanabe
Tomoko Yoshida
Takashi Yoshiike
Chief Animation Director:
Kazuya Hisada
Keiichi Ichikawa
Midori Matsuda
Animation Director:
Shigefumi Aragaki
Toshio Deguchi
Kentarō Fujita
Masayuki Fujita
Yuuji Hakamada
Kazuya Hisada
Keiichi Ichikawa
Takeo Ide
Kazuyuki Igai
Eisaku Inoue
Katsumi Ishizuka
Yūsuke Isouchi
Kimitaka Itō
Atsuko Kawamura
Yuki Kinoshita
Masahiro Kitazaki
Yukari Kobayashi
Noboru Koizumi
Yuuji Kondou
Hidemi Kubo
Kazuya Kuta
Natsuko Makiyo
Hideaki Maniwa
Kiyoshi Matsushita
Naoki Murakami
Kumi Nakajou
Yukiko Nakatani
Asako Narasaki
Tetsurō Nireki
Ryō Ōnishi
Masahiro Shimanuki
Takanori Shimura
Takayuki Shimura
Shigefumi Shingaki
Kouji Sugimoto
Shinichi Suzuki
Masayuki Takagi
Kazuo Takigawa
Naoki Tate
Tadayoshi Yamamuro
Megumi Yamashita
Kenji Yokoyama
Art design: Ryuuji Yoshiike
Director of Photography:
Hideki Chiba
Tomoyoshi Ishizuka
Producer: Yoshihiro Suzuki

Full encyclopedia details about
One Piece (TV)
One Piece Episode of Sabo (special)

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