One Piece, Season One Review

One Piece has been one of the mainstays of Shonen Jump magazine for years. It's one of your classic boys' action comics a colorful, macho, freewheeling story about a crew of cartoon pirates and their adventures across the seemingly endless seas of a fantasy world. Monkey D. Luffy, blessed with the soul of a shonen manga hero and the stretchy limbs of Mister Fantastic, vows to sail across the Grand Line until he finally discovers a legendary treasure and claims the title of King of the Pirates.

This is not a difficult concept to make a fun series out of. It's about bad-ass pirates beating the hell out of each other, 24 hours a day. Eiichiro Oda's character concepts are bad-ass even by bad-ass pirate standards, though besides Luffy and his stretchy limbs, he has a gorgeous navigator with a boss shoulder tattoo, a big-nosed hilarious pathological liar who never misses with his trusty slingshot, and a two-fisted swordsman with a katana in his teeth.

Gundam's Shuuichi Ikeda just about trumps them all, though, with his brief guest appearance as Red-Haired Shanks, the captain who inspired Luffy to become a pirate king in the first place. It's the Shanks flashbacks that make you really appreciate this unedited version of the series -- 4Kids deplorably deprived America's youth of a chance to watch his pirate crew raise hell in all their violent glory. This show may be a little bit rough for very young kids, and perhaps a bit too cartoony for the no-longer-young-at-heart, but for a 10, 12, 14-year-old audience, it hits a pretty sweet spot.

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