a.k.a. One Piece: Norowareta Seiken
a.k.a. One Piece Movie V
On the island of Asuka, there is a legend of a sacred seven-star sword. Hungry for treasure, the Straw Hats set sail to find this mystical (and expensive) artifact. However, all is not well when it is discovered that the sword is evil, and corrupts those who use it, in this case, a one-time heroic swordsman named Saga. Unfortunately, the unlucky wielder of this demonic sword shares a past with one of the Straw Hats… Roronoa Zoro!
summary by Ender
Highs: Action-packed; spotlight on Zoro
Lows: Lame story; too much meaningless action
One of the things I have always enjoyed about One Piece was the wild and varied cast of characters; a wonderful crew of misfits with their own agendas but familiar bonds. They choose to stick together, but could probably do well in their own series. So then, what happens when a feature-length movie shifts the spotlight to the uber-cool swordsman Roronoa Zoro? As Curse of the Sacred Sword underlines, these guys would be better off if they didn’t journey too far from the group dynamic.
The whole movie seems like a gigantic sword fight, and when it’s not a sword fight, it”s a sword fight waiting to happen. Fans of slice-and-dice flicks will no doubt enjoy this–there are probably more dead bodies in this One Piece adventure than the first four combined–but there are only so many times one can watch the “draw-slice-pose-and-sheath” routine in a 90-minute feature. Though I have to admit, the fighting (no matter how trite) was at least entertaining. The benefits of action scenes in movies are that they can end in relative minutes or seconds compared to the episode-drawn fights of shounen action series.
The story does not seem up-to-snuff when compared with the series or previous movies. Saga is yet another uninspired filler-villain (fillain?), he lacks the charisma and sheer diabolical mannerisms most One Piece villains tend to revel in. No matter what kind of backstory the writers gave him, he just came off as another swordsman for Zoro to eventually defeat: good for fans of Zoro, but it leaves the rest of the crew with very little to do. Most of the characters find themselves in constant run-ins with/run-aways from danger; there is no actual confrontation, comedy, drama, or anything else that the Strawhats are known for. And given the tradition of “grand romantic adventure” that One Piece lives by, this is a big disappointment. How can anything be adventurous when there is practically no adventure?
Though I never turn down a chance to see Luffy and his crew go at it for another adventure, I found this movie completely lacking. It’s the kind of movie that would appeal to a single group of fans (in this case, Roronoa Zoro fans) but will leave everyone else clock-watching.
Curse of the Sacred Sword can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.
(Includes Take Aim! The Pirate Baseball King Special.)