Anime Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: One Piece Film: Strong World

One Piece Film: Strong World is the tenth anime film in the One Piece franchise. It was releases to Japanese theaters on December 12, 2009.

One Piece Film: Strong World
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: November 19, 2013

One Piece Film: Strong World is set before the timeskip, and it seems to set between the Thriller Bark and Sabaody Archipelago arcs. The main antagonist is Shiki the Golden Lion, the only prisoner to ever escape from Impel Down, the prison that houses the worst criminals in the Grand Line.

The Straw Hats learn that attacks are happening in the East Blue, and Luffy vows to protect the sea that he came from. They have a run-in with Shiki and his crew, which involves Nami warning them of a coming storm and saving them. Shiki asks Nami to join his crew as a navigator, and when she refuses, Shiki kidnaps her. Shiki uses his ability to make any inanimate object he touches float to make the Thousand Sunny fall. This leads to the Straw Hats being separated and having different adventures before reuniting at a village that is going to become part of Shiki’s plan.

Nami, of course, finds a way to escape, but she’s put to the test when Shiki finds her. 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.

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.

When it comes to the Blu-ray in this release, it has 1080p High Definition 16×9 video. The audio includes Dolby True HD: English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1. However, the bonus features on the Blu-ray have Dolby True HD: English 2.0 and Dolby True HD: Japanese 2.0 for the audio. The DVD has English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

The main bonus feature included in the set is “Behind the Scenes of One Piece: Introducing Brook.” This roughly 20-minute feature combines footage of cosplayers at a convention talking about Brook’s character, and interview clips of Ian Sinclair (the English voice of Brook), Mike McFarland (the director of the English dub), and Brina Palencia (the English voice of Tony Tony Chopper). Ian and Mike also talk a little but about the audition process for Brook. Personally, I didn’t think the inclusion of the cosplayers truly added anything to the bonus feature, and I think intercutting them with the interviews made the feature feel a little choppy. And I’m also wondering why Brina was included as part of this feature, since the whole idea of it is to introduce Brook to North American viewers. I would have expected this feature to have appeared as a bonus feature on one of the episode sets after Brook joins the Straw Hats, but I believe this would have been the first thing FUNimation released that included Brook in it. If that’s correct, then that would explain why Brook got a bonus feature on this release. There is also the U.S. trailer for One Piece Film: Strong World, as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

If you’re a fan of One Piece Film: Strong World or are a One Piece fan who wants to own every episode and film that’s been released for the franchise, then you’ll want to pick up this Blu-ray/DVD combo release of the film.

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