Anime Reporter heads back to the Grand Line for some theatrical pirating adventure in One Piece film: Z.
Even big time One Piece fans might be well warned to stay away from this film. If you know what the Grand Line is, but you’re not familiar with the New World, you’re definitely still not ready for Z. While many One Piece films stay away from established characters of the series, this film draws on them, really connecting the plot with that of the manga/anime series. While the events of this film shouldn’t spill out into the series, the reverse is definitely not true and viewers should be well versed in One Piece before daring to approach.
If you’re just about up to date with the latest DVD release in the UK and Ireland (here), then you’re definitely not up to speed for this film. In other words:
The plot is relatively straightforward to begin with. One Piece has long been a story of pirates versus marines, with quite a few radical factions on both sides. Z introduces a third group, the Neo Marines, dedicated to replacing the weakness of the marines and eradicating pirates altogether. The leader of this group, Z, is a devout believer in the justice of his cause and, equipped with a giant metal arm that compromises Devil Fruit powers, he more than packs a punch to back it up. Naturally, when Z encounters the Strawhats, things become a little more complicated. One of Z’s crewmates reduces some of the Strawhats to younger ages, with varying reactions and concerns. The crew take off after him, after licking their wounds, to have them returned to their rightful ages, while also, if there’s time, maybe getting around to stopping his plan to kill hundreds of people. Or not, whatever.
The strength of this film is in its visuals. The Strawhats change their ensemble outfits more than once and it’s pretty stylish/ridiculous each time. Battle scenes and special effects are great, looking modern and impressive while staying utterly true to the source. The comedy of the series and characters is a little bit lacking in this particular venture, opting instead for a darker tone and more of a violent story.
All in all, if this wasn’t a non-canon film, it would feel a lot more like the set up for a momentous storyline, and as it is, it feels a little anticlimactic. Still, it’s an enjoyable film and a great piece of action. It’s a great piece of filler for diehard fans who can’t get their hands on enough One Piece action, but it’s not worth the spoilers it provides for anyone not entirely up to date.
One Piece film: Z is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and Ireland from Monday 25th May 2015 and is is more than worth a look for anyone up to date on their One Piece.
New Characters: 7
80% – “Great Stuff” – One Piece film: Z won’t be the most iconic anime to end with Z that you’ll ever see but it does combine strong action, great effects and an emotionally driven plot, along with all of the phenomenal characters about the Thousand Sunny.