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One Piece: Strong World

aa-onepiecemov10-1
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Toei Animation
Format: 1 movie
Dates: 12/12/2009

20 years ago, legendary pirate Shiki the Golden Lion escaped from Impel down. Since then he has been planning the downfall of the World Government. The time has come to carry out his scheme, but as luck would have it he had a chance encounter with the Straw Hat Pirates, and was so impressed by their navigator’s skill that he decided to take her for his own. Naturally, the rest of the Straw Hats do not approve. But separated from each other on Shiki’s floating islands full of monstrously strong creatures and bizarre plant life, will they even be able to survive, let alone rescue their kidnapped nakama?

summary by Illjwamh

 

Reviewed: 04/26/2011 by
Grade: 90% av-Illjwamh

I love One Piece. That’s not really a secret, and anyone who knows me at all is aware that I just severely understated my feelings for the series. That being said, I typically hate tie-in movies – for any long-running series – as a rule. They’re always written purely by the anime staff (who can never write as well as the creator), they can’t by definition have anything to do with the main story so they’re always just filler, and almost without exception they always follow the exact same poorly-executed formula.

Strong World is, quite frankly, the exact opposite of all those things. Written by Eiichiro Oda himself, we are not only guaranteed a superbly written story, but it’s not even filler! The events of this film are considered part of the greater One Piece canon, and actually help to fill out the history of the world in a way even the manga has yet to do. Also, being One Piece, everything is completely over-the-top in every possible way. This may turn some people away, though I can’t imagine why.

What’s more, since it’s in movie format, the production staff doesn’t have to pad it for length to draw out each episode as much as possible. What we are left with then is a filler-free, fully realized story arc finely distilled and condensed into an hour and fifty minutes of pure awesome. And again, thanks to lack of time limits on production (and an increased budget), they are able to do things that would be impossible to accomplish on a weekly television series. The animation quality is the best I’ve ever seen for a tie-in movie and actually rivals most big-budget productions.

What sets One Piece apart from its shounen brethren are the complex characters and their motivations. The action and fighting that takes place is a result of their emotional attachment to each other, and their amazingly generous and charitable nature in regard to just about everyone they ever meet. I might watch Dragonball or Bleach to see some cool and imaginative fights. I watch One Piece because I love the Straw Hat Pirates; the cool fights are just gravy.

Strong World is an action-adventure movie at its core, so if you’re not a fan of that genre, or for some reason just don’t like One Piece in general (or haven’t seen any of it), you probably won’t enjoy it nearly as much. But honestly, even then it is an exciting, well-executed adventure in a fascinating world with characters who are easy to care about and a resolution that should satisfy just about anyone.

So yeah, I love One Piece. But even if I didn’t, or I’d never seen it before, I’d seriously be reconsidering my stance after watching this.

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