a.k.a. One Piece: Movie VI
a.k.a. One Piece: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima
During a typical sail, the Straw Hats find an advertisement for a vacation island on the Grand Line. Taking this as an opportunity to kick back and relax, Luffy and the others arrive at the exotic island of the eccentric Baron Omatsuri. But other than the Baron’s crew, they’re the only ones there! So now, in order to obtain their long-sought relaxation, the Baron gives them a series of challenges they have to conquer first. What’s up with this island? The answer may just wind up destroying the Straw Hats.
summary by Ender
Highs: Weird, wacky animation; gets the essence of the series while still being original
Lows: A lot left unexplained
Director Hosoda Mamoru (who was apparently first in line to direct Howl’s Moving Castle before this movie) is a pretty interesting cat. His limited works include Digimon: the Movie and TokiKake–two movies that, needless to say, are very different from one another. So what happens when this guy lends his directing chops to the world of One Piece? Quite possibly the best movie of the bunch so far.
Hosoda’s manic animation style and wild camera work–somewhere between a Kon Satoshi film and a Gainax OVA–breathe a new life into the somewhat redundant animation style that normally haunts franchise films. Rather than culminate the TV series animation with a bigger budget, the movie keeps the basics of Oda Eichiro’s characters but runs the animation on a different, frenzied rate; in short, the aesthetics are there but the implementation has changed. Although this change maybe jarring at first, when put into the zany antics that the characters come across (catching a giant goldfish, speedboat racing through city canals, etc.) the style adapts well and just adds to the bizarreness of the situations and story.
In fact, this is one of the few One Piece movies where all the characters seem to get some share of screen time. The absence of one-on-one fights, and the emphasis on the multi-character situations and mysteries is a breath of fresh air. The overall adventure is underlined with a quasi-fairytale motif filled with ideas and imagery that ranges from the wondrous to the disturbing.
In spite of the fairy tale atmosphere, there were several moments where I found myself lost in the grand scheme. The Baron’s motivation is somewhat clear, but his implementation is muddy; and core reasoning is often tossed away with one-line explanations that are anything but. For example, a character explains their paranormal ability to hear silent cries by saying in dead-seriousness, I’ve always had good hearing, I guess. This happens a number of times during crucial events, which leads the viewer away from the story and towards cumbersome questions.
In spite of its flaws, Baron Omatsuri is a fine piece of entertainment and a welcome addition to the One Piece franchise. If anything, I am all that more interested to see what Hosoda Mamoru does next.
Baron Omatsuri can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.