Anime Film Review: One Piece Film: Strong World

One Piece Film: Strong World is the tenth anime film in the One Piece franchise.

One Piece Film: Strong World
Directed by: Munehisa Sakai
Written by: Hirohiko KamisakaStarring: Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Akemi Okamura, Kappei Yamaguchi, Hiroaki Hirata, Ikue Ohtani, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Kazuki Yao, Cho, Hiroshi Naka, Takkou Ishimori, Naoto Takenaka, Ryusei Nakao, Banjo Ginga, Yasuhiro Takato, Kosuke Kitajima, Wasabi Mizuta, Mika Doi, Aiko Kaito, Hisako Kyoda, and Wakana Yamazaki

The One Piece television anime series had four episodes that had a connection to this film. Those episodes reference Shiki the Golden Lion, who is the main antagonist of the film. He’s the only prisoner to ever escape from Impel Down, the prison that houses the worst criminals in the Grand Line. There’s also references to the fact that several of the Straw Hats come from the East Blue, which is an important detail to the plot of the film. There’s also a fight with a giant insect in these episodes, and this is another important element from the film. One Piece Film: Strong World appears to be set between the Thriller Bark and Sabaody Archipelago arcs.

During their travels, the Straw Hats read a newspaper article about an attack in the East Blue, and Luffy vows to protect the sea that he came from. They see a ship overheard, just as Nami realizes that a storm is coming. They try to get the other ship’s attention, and Shiki and his crew can’t tell what they’re saying. Shiki sends a dial their way, and Nami uses it to relay the information about the storm. Shiki is impressed they know how to use the dial, but they don’t see any indication of a storm. Suddenly, the storm is upon them and Shiki and his crew have to maneuver to escape.

Shiki and his crew go to the Thousand Sunny after they’ve safely avoided the storm, displaying his ability to make any inanimate object he touches float. When he discovers it was Nami who sent the warning message with the dial, he offers her the chance to join his crew as a navigator. When she refuses, Shiki kidnaps her and sends the Thousand Sunny plummeting to the island.

The Straw Hats are divided into three groups: Sanji with Usopp, Zoro with Tony Tony Chopper, and Nico Robin is with Franky and Brook. Luffy is fighting genetically-enhanced animals and insects, as do Sanji and Usopp. Zoro and Chopper rescue a young girl named Xiao and are taken to her village. Robin and her group have an encounter with some of the genetically-enhanced insects, and they stumble upon Shiki’s plan. Nami also makes her escape with the help an evolved bird called Billy. Everyone comes together at Xiao’s village, but Shiki finds them and battles the Straw Hats. This leads to an exciting climax, which includes using a dial to get the action of the climax going. I enjoy seeing the dials continue to be used every once in a while after the Straw Hats left the Sky Island. I find it to be a nice throwback to one of the earlier arcs of One Piece.

Nami is definitely the focus of the film, but I think that Brook got some of the best moments. I’m guessing that Brook got the attention that he did because this is the first One Piece anime film that he appears in. I was also a little surprised by Robin’s appearance because those glasses are throwing me off. I don’t recall seeing her wearing glasses in the anime series, so I’m baffled as to why she’s suddenly wearing them throughout this film. If she has worn the glasses in the anime series, it obviously wasn’t very memorable for me.

From what I’ve read, Eiichiro Oda wrote the story for this film in honor of the tenth anniversary of One Piece. I have to say that while the story was interesting, I wasn’t sure that it was truly necessary. It didn’t help that this film has the same kind of ending that many films for shonen anime properties have: there’s an exciting and climactic story being told, but at the end of it, everything “resets to zero,” and any changes or twists that appear in the film are wiped out somehow so the television anime can continue on its merry way. And now that I’ve seen this film, I can say that while the four episodes in the television anime leading up to this film provide some important context for the film, I think the film would have been just as enjoyable for an audience who never saw those episodes of the anime.

One Piece Film: Strong World isn’t a bad film, and in fact it’s quite enjoyable. However, it’s not a film that is a crucial part of the franchise. I see it in much the same way I see most of the feature films released for various shonen franchises. They’re interesting to watch, but I know that in the end, everything will reset to the way it was at the beginning of the film. But if you want to claim you’ve seen every episode and every film in the One Piece franchise, then you’ll want to see One Piece Film: Strong World in order to achieve that goal.

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