Anime Blu-ray Review: One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta

One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta is the eighth anime film in the One Piece franchise. It was released to Japanese theaters on March 3, 2007.

One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: January 27, 2009

This film is another telling of the Alabasta arc, and it condenses the story down to 90 minutes in length. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already read this arc in the manga or seen this arc in the anime series before watching this film, you could become completely lost. Some important details are skimmed over or not addressed, which affects a viewer’s understanding of what’s happening. It feels like the writer and the director went into making this film with the idea that only viewers who are familiar with the One Piece franchise would be watching it, so they didn’t need to provide some of this missing information.

Unfortunately, the first half of the film feels rather choppy. While important narrative beats were included, it was the way that the story moved from one narrative beat to the next just didn’t feel natural. Overall, the second half of the film has more of a naturally flowing narrative. But there was a visual decision that was made at one point during the second half that would temporarily stop the flow of the narrative in an abrupt manner. I’m not sure what the director was hoping to accomplish with this visual decision, but I thought it kind of hampered the flow of the narrative in the second half.

While I think a condensed version of the Alabasta arc could have worked and been an interesting viewing experience, I don’t think how it was ultimately done for this film was the best way to go about it. I wouldn’t say that One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta is necessarily a bad film, but I think it could have been better. If the writer and/or the director had just made a small handful of different choices, I believe that this could have been a much stronger film. There was potential for this movie, but I think that potential was wasted.

When it comes to this Blu-ray release, it has 1080p High Definition 16×9 video. The audio includes Dolby True HD: English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1, as well as Dolby Digital: English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0.

Unfortunately, FUNimation Entertainment didn’t go to a lot of effort for this Blu-ray release for One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta. There were absolutely no bonus features included for this release, outside of trailers for other properties released by FUNimation. I was surprised that the Japanese trailers for the film weren’t included at the very least.

To be honest, I can only truly recommend this Blu-ray release of One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta to fans of One Piece who want to own everything released for the franchise in their anime home video library, or for fans who like this film. In my opinion, at least, these would be the two groups who would most appreciate this release.

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