SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Film: Red. If you have not yet seen the movie, proceed at your own risk!
When it comes to anime films, I’m personally well versed – from the classics produced by Studio Ghibli, to smaller, independent titles that have only gotten popular over time, such as Your Name. But as a fan who also watches TV series that are based on manga, something I’ve always loved are movies from anime show, and that includes One Piece Film: Red.
As a long-time One Piece fan – one of the longest anime you could start to watch – I was pleased with how the new movie turned out, but there are also some things that don't sit well. Here are three things I loved about One Piece Film: Red, and three things I didn’t.
Loved: The Addition Of Uta In One Piece Film: Red
Here’s the thing with One Piece: there are so many fascinating characters in the world, and there’s seemingly no stopping the creator of the manga (who inspired the anime) when they want to come up with something new. For this reason, it was exciting to first learn about Uta in One Piece Film: Red and how she would fit into the story.
Thankfully, her addition in the film is a positive. While there is already a good dynamic between the characters we have in the One Piece universe, I liked her character on the whole because she added a certain kind of personality to the movie that has been lacking: a sweetness that needed to counteract the craziness of the Straw Hat Pirates, despite circumstances.
Didn’t Love: Uta’s Underwhelming Story
While Uta makes a positive addition to the ensemble of characters, I wasn’t the biggest fan of what they did with her story in One Piece Film: Red. When it comes to anime movies, the story should really build on the previous information that we were given in the show. A great example of a film that does this is Jujutsu Kaisen 0, an effective prequel that not only adds character growth but more story.
Uta's part of the story in One Piece Film: Red , however, is underwhelming. Her powers of song are barely explained, and her reasoning as to why she wants to trap all the pirates doesn't feel adequate enough to warrant a whole entire plot around it. I understand her past decisions because of what happened to her specifically and why she believes in it, but that doesn't mean all pirates are bad. Her story ddoesn't stand out . That being said, I does end well, with Uta and her father reconciling.
Loved: Expanding On Shanks Backstory In One Piece Film: Red
While Uta’s story is lacking in One Piece Film: Red, what the movie does well is expand on Shanks’ backstory. In discussion of the feature's effective use of character and trying to expand on previous popular character’s stories, Shanks is the best example.
In One Piece (the anime), we barely get any real detail on Shanks’ past life, but in One Piece Film: Red, we are effectively delivered adequate information on who he was and what he could have done before all of the series – including certain decisions he made that impacted this entire story. Not only that, but it really makes his character in particular grow and lets the audience see a side of him we have never seen before.
Didn’t Love: One Piece Film: Red’s Pacing
One Piece Film: Red packs a whole lot of plot into an hour-and-a half, and at a certain point, it’s almost too much story to ask for. Granted, when it comes to the world of One Piece, fans expect super big stories that are there to blow your mind and fill you with wonder. The movie is, after all, a film featuring pirates, and filled with swashbuckling adventure mixed in with some fantasy aspects. But there are some points of this film where it drags.
For how much plot is in this movie, there are moments that inspire the urge to fast-forward, including both dialogue-heavy scenes to some battle sequences... and then, there are moments where the action scenes and impressive moments happen all too fast. The pacing could have been done better.
Loved: One Piece Film: Red’s Impressive Animation
In anime, it’s always fun to see how different animation studios do their style. For example, the wholesome anime Spy x Family is made by Wit Studio, and Attack on Titan Season 4 is made by MAPPA. One Piece has always been animated by Toei Animation, an anime company that has done such iconic anime as Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and more.
Style from the television show is something that doesn’t always translate well over to the big screen when it comes to anime, but they did an exceptional job in One Piece Film: Red, creating spectacular animated sequences that feel out of this world and deserving of the big screen. The animation successfully captivates from the moment the film begins.
Didn’t Love: The Musical Aspects Of One Piece Film: Red
I’ll be completely transparent – I’m a huge fan of musicals. I love ‘em with my whole heart. Will listen to the soundtracks on a daily basis. But One Piece Film: Red as a musical didn’t do it for me.
It’s not a musical in the most traditional sense, but I'm specifically not a fan of Uta’s music. For someone who is supposed to have the best voice in all the land of One Piece, Uta's songs feel disenchanting and flat – which is sort of the opposite of what you would want from that aspect of the movie.
One Piece Film: Red is certainly one of the best One Piece features in its expansive library, but like any movie, there are always things that could have been improved upon and expanded a little better. However, it's still a fun time, and adds a lot to Shanks as a character. If there were One Piece fans I was with who wanted to watch it, I would check it out again.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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