"Episode of Nami: Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Nakama" is the 5th One Piece special and the 3rd recap of a saga in general.
First of all, I really enjoyed watching the "Arlong Park" arc all over again.
I like nami background story the most and seeing old characters like Genzo and Nojiko was really nice. Also, seeing it now had a great rewatch value (which I will talk about later).
Before saying more about the rewatch value, I want to talk about the changes they did from the original arc. (keep in mind that episode of nami is a special, while episode of chopper/alabasta
Thankfully, they didn't change anything major(like adding a second antagonist in episode of chopper). The most critical change was making sanji break the stone trap that Luffy had in his fight against Arlong, before getting thrown into the water(only to be later saved by Nojiko).
Apart from that, nothing that bothered me.
The special starts off with a wink to the Fishmen-Human conflict, a short and awkward introduction of the crew and how Luffy met each one.
Besides that, they did a great job with Nami's past. Nothing was rushed out or skipped.
The art was great, as expected. Nami was as beautiful as ever and the whole art direction was great. However, they did make it a bit more mature.
Scenes like Bell-mère death or Nami stabbing her shoulder were much more graphic and detailed. It was a bit harsh in some point, but no complaints.
Now for my favorite part of watching a recap, the rewatch value.
Seeing Episode of Nami after "Fishman Island" and even "Post-War" arc gave it a great rewatch value.
The most important one, is knowing about the racism along with Arlong past. (Unlike in the manga, Arlong mentioned Fisher Tiger and his death).
I mentioned Post-War arc because it ends with luffy setting out to sea which prepares the ground for episode 1 and everything that happens afterwards which made me want to watch One Piece all over again.
With all of that, you get a second perspective for the story which is a really nice thing.
In the end of the special, you get to hear the original "We Are!" with moments from the special in the background and it was SO much fun and nostalgic for me I nearly exploded.
All in all, if you don't like to watch recaps don't even bother.
If you do, I think it's the best recap yet and you get to re-live awesome moments like the walk to arlong park.
I’ve heard many times before that people not sure about one piece have been told to get up to and finishing the Arlong park arc before they drop the show… but as if anyone would drop one piece… anyway the reason is that it’s simply such a great arc. One of the most emotionally driven arcs in one piece and a good one to explore the characters while showing their thoughts and views, especially Nami of course. Arlong is a great villain, being the first “none human” villain in the series and demonstrating his power really gives the sense of helplessness the people around him
This special is a recreation of that arc, completely re-animated. And ‘Oh My’ was it enjoyable. Unlike the Alabasta remake witch was released around 5 years ago, this was made much better. Alabasta was good but it was a much longer arc to start with and the final result was a movie that actually ran shorter than this special. Of course there were still cuts in this special as well but they didn’t weaken the story at all, mainly we missed out on the whole Luffy being thrown into the sea and drowning but hey, I’m fine with that and it made the whole special move so smoothly. A couple of the fights where a bit shorter but of course we still got the great scene of “USOPP HAMMER, USOPP HAMMER, USOPP HAMMER, USOPP HAMMER” arr classic Usopp, just had to mention that scene. Also I enjoyed how the little lead in while not showing you every detail, the opening few minutes gave you enough to be able to remember everything that happened in the original series or give sufficient details for someone new to just jump into it. I’d recommend someone who never got into one piece or gave up on it quite soon to watch this special.
Ok too the Art/Animation, WOW this is where the story and art come together to create something amazing. In my opinion the character designs look better in this style than in the original series, the animation was also done really well. It gave me the same feeling I had while watching Strong World (Movie 10) it was such a nicely coloured, designed, animated and just a generally well thought out special.
Clap Clap!... now let’s hope the 'Episode of Luffy' special will be just as good!
Luffy's hat is way too big, -10 points. No, but seriously, his hat looks like it's bulging or something instead of resting comfortably on his little dummy head. In fact, you can see it on the cover for this page, Nami could be hiding a sandwich under there.
Anyway, to the review. For some context, I'm currently on episode 208 or so, just beginning the Water 7 arc. I discovered this special when watching an AMV with the first ending song, Memories. I'm sure many agree that the Arlong Arc is when One Piece gets serious and as such I had high expectations for this special.
To be blunt, it was disappointing.
The story crams about a dozen episode's worth of material into one and a half hour. It wasn't really done well. Of course, shortening it that far means cutting things out, and there's no time to establish tension and stuff. But the special doesn't have much emotional impact at all. It's just a series of events shown one after another. It felt like sitting through a bullet-point slideshow. As a summary, it works; but as a source of entertainment, it's pretty weak.
The art is more fancy than the original. Which means they actually have shading, and more smooth and lively animation (stuff like moving their heads and jaws instead of simply flapping their mouths). Of course, the character design is slightly different as well. It's been updated to be more smooth and crisp with more shading again, but it's not as cute. Whether or not this is a good thing is up to the viewer. Personally, I enjoyed the more simple and cartoony feel of the original series. Perhaps it's also because of the weak story that this art seems like wasted effort.
The sound wasn't noteworthy, at all. Again, it's a summary of a dozen episodes so of course things will be cut out. There isn't any of the jolly soundtrack to accompany the funny moments, some of which have also been cut or truncated. In fact, if I recall the music was even mismatched in places and didn't fit the mood. Moments that were funny had no music, moments that were serious had funny music.
The characterization fits hand-in-hand with the story. Not much can be said. This is a Nami-centered story so most of the focus is on her. But everyone, including Nami, is given the bullet-point treatment, one event happening after another. Certain side-plots were also cut off, plots like Zoro getting captured or Luffy drowning, which again contributed to a rather dull straightforward presentation of events one after another. Everything just moved along smoothly in this monotonous pace.
Overall, it was an adequate summary of the Arlong Arc, but it wasn't enjoyable. It didn't have the same impact as the original episodes. As a standalone, it wouldn't be enjoyable at all. In fact, I'm rewatching the original episodes just to wash myself of this special.
A nice if uninspired update of a classic One Piece Arc.
As most One Piece fans will attest, the Arlong/Nami back story arc was when the show first entered the world of greatness.
I was very excited to see an update with new Animation. The original was comprised of year 2000 tv animation, so while it still had a sumptuous art style its more basic animation could have really used a modern update. In addition the arc itself was not long, so a edited down definitive version was def possible.
So was this update a success? Unfortunately not really
First good points.
The story retains its power,
what Nami had to suffer was monstrous and to see all that suffering come to boil and then to a head with Arlong still feels transient.There is a story change that improves the story slightly, dropping the contrived method to keep Luffy incapacitated used in the show to drag out the fight a bit. The characters are the usual top notch cast you have come to expect.
However there are some significant down sides compared to the original arc.
While the animation is technically improved, it loses a lot of its sumptuous art style, become bland to look at. For that reason the animation is far more enjoyable in the original.
The editing severely damages certain parts of the story. Trying to rush through and not having time to dwell on all the emotional and epic upheaval going on, it feels like watching a summary of the original arc rather then a definitive version. As soon as an important event occurs we are rushed onto the next one.
The flaw wouldn't be so bad if not for its biggest critical flaw. The voice acting.
In the modern day part of the story it is not as bad. While not as well acted as the original (possibly because they are rushing through it) it stands up to anime's high standard ok.
However the voice acting in flashback parts is quite bad. The children are voiced by their adult versions putting on kid voices and their mother says her lines without much feeling. This is in contrast to the original in which they had diff actors for the kids and performed their horror and sorrow beautifully. The mother had feeling in the original and the pivotal scene was well better directed in the original. This version in essence destroys the pivotal scenes of the arc.
Ultimately, while an enjoyable throwback to old school One Piece, this is a shadow of the real Nami arc. People new to One Piece should not watch this version they should watch the proper version in the tv show.
Bottom line the Nami arc is one of the best One piece arcs but this version of it does NOT do it justice.