I've become aware that many people have complained about the length of my One Piece reviews and that they contain way too many spoilers, so I hope that this "shorter than usual for me" review will be more to their liking.
Once again, we have a One Piece DVD that is mostly filler, but it should contain enough to satisfy rabid OP fans like me. The first two episodes, of course, are not filler but continue with the final showdown between Luffy and Foxy. It starts as a straight on boxing match but Foxy, ever the trickster, leads Luffy through a hall of mirrors, attacks him with a "gorilla puncher" machine (apparently this is a popular carnival game in Japan), and finally traps him on the deck of his ship where he has slowed down about 50 cannon balls and timed them to resume their normal speed once Luffy is in the crossfire. Apparently someone forgot to tell Foxy that Luffy is immune to cannon balls. Gum Gum Balloon!
After Luffy gets Robin and Chopper back from Foxy and Tonjit moves on to the next island to find his family, the Straw Hats take a well deserved rest (except for Robin who stays up to read). Unfortunately, when everybody wakes up again, they've lost all memory of the times since they met one another. Zoro runs off to find bounty heads (like he did before he met Luffy) but the rest agree to band together to find who (or what) stole their memories. Fun fact: this 5 episode segment is actually based on a One Piece video game that I believe was not sold in the U.S.
In the next two episodes, the Straw Hats run into Foxy again, who has now been expelled from his own ship in a power struggle with Kiba (the former Fanged Toad Pirate captain). The Straw Hats help Foxy to get his ship and crew back, but soon find out that perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. Best scene: Luffy gets attacked by three "gorilla punchers" with flaming fists and it's up to Nami and her Clima Tact to save his neck.
Foxy still hasn't given up the fight when, during the next two episodes, the Straw Hats encounter a very tall man who is sound asleep while standing up. Most of the Straw Hats think this is rather amusing, but Robin, upon seeing the man, is frozen with terror. And once everybody finds out who this man is and what he is capable of, they are frozen as well (in more ways than one). In fact, the journey very nearly ends for Luffy and Co., but miraculously they are spared.
The last episode of this set finally begins the long awaited Water 7/Enies Lobby superarc which is almost 100 episodes chock full of colorful characters, odd situations, and thrilling action and intrigue. It all begins with the Going Merry encountering a railroad crossing in the middle of the ocean and a giant crawlstroking frog trying to derail the train. The Straw Hats then meet Kokoro (a constantly grinning and constantly drinking old woman who is a conductor of the "Sea Train"), her granddaughter Chimney, and their pet rabbit Gombei. The Straw Hats ask where they can find a shipwright to repair the Going Merry and Kokoro directs them to Iceburg (who is both mayor of Water 7 and the CEO of the Galley La Company, perhaps the most renowned ship builders in the world). The set ends with the Straw Hats heading toward the city of Water 7 (which looks a lot like a multi-tiered public park fountain).
Next: Wackiness and woes in Water 7. And FRANKY is coming!!