Anime Reporter signs on for One Piece: Strong World, the tenth One Piece anime film and the first of the films to be penned by Eiichiro Oda himself, the creator of the One Piece series.
As this is the tenth film in the series, there are several characters and plot developments which you’ll need to know because there won’t be any helpful exposition to fill you in on the who’s who of One Piece. Viewers who are still following on from Collection 06 of the series may need to wait a few hundred more episodes before it’s quite time to venture into Strong World territory. That said, Manga UK are soon going to be releasing all of the One Piece films so budding fans in the UK and Ireland will still be able to get their One Piece cinematic fix.
Things start off pretty dramatically when something like a cross between a pirate ship and a meteor manages to turn Marine HQ on its head, causing outright chaos and more than a little destruction. The culprit: Shiki the Golden Lion, also known as the first person to ever escape from the prison of Impel Down some twenty years or so before Luffy and crew hit the scene.
What follows, with a little intermittent flashbacking, is a series of battles between the crew members, who’ve been scattered across a variety of islands, and some of the biggest, baddest beasties to be found. We soon find out that these islands, which happen to be floating in the sky, are the domain of Shiki himself and that his little power, courtesy of the float-float fruit, means that he is effectively the master of gravity and an incredibly bad person to have as your adversary. It’s unfortunate then, that Shiki has chosen to kidnap of the Strawhat crew members, forcing a full on confrontation.
But wait, there’s more; the crew can’t just afford to take their time in rescuing their comrade (we won’t name names for the sake of spoilers), because Luffy has decided that the entire crew needs to head back to East Blue, the ocean which holds the island homes of half of the crew members and which has recently come under an inexplicable wave of destruction.
There’s tension, there’s drama, there’s a hell of a lot of action. This is one aptly named movie: Strong World.
The animation is excellent throughout the film, blended CGI effects with One Piece’s trademark simplistic anime style for some of the bigger and grander scenes. The colours and animation effects overall are a marked improvement upon the series, with a much greater feeling of quality without ever sacrificing the signature appearance of the characters or battle scenes.
Humour is present and fairly in-keeping with the series; Zoro’s great prowess in battle being somewhat deflated by his inability to tell what direction he’s supposed to run in, Sanji’s “fondness” for women and Brooks’ penchant for inaccurate jokes about his body. The personality and style of the characters is kept intact, with the exception of Nico Robin, whom it must be said feels fairly absent throughout most of the film. The action is up there with the best of the series and the character’s costume design are superb. Eiichiro Oda’s character design is clear from the villainous Shiki (who cut off his own legs to escape from prison and now walks on two swords) and his right-hand man Dr. Indigo.
The problem with anime films is that there’s often a sense of false character growth. Main characters will often learn valuable lessons and form important bonds with new friends, only for those friends to effectively disappear for the rest of the anime’s series. One Piece: Strong world manages to strike the perfect balance, encompassing what feels like a full-blown story arc in just two hours. Great action, great plot, great One Piece!
One Piece: Strong World is available on DVD and Blu ray from Manga Entertainment UK on June 30th. For more info, check out the Manga UK Facebook and Twitter pages and, of course, stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more reviews and updates!