One Piece Talk
Time to discuss some One Piece again. Yay! This time, in a much more animated form. As in, this is the first time I’m watching One Piece animated. Which is interesting considering that this is the 10th anniversary film of One Piece. One apparently more penned than usual by Oda himself. The man, the myth, the legend. Apparently this film is canon? Then again, almost everything in One Piece could be canon because there are so many different islands on the grand line and different villains that can appear whenever they want to. One Piece feels like one of those times where films don’t have to be canon to feel like they are canon and I dig that for this film and every other film I’ve watched.
Story-line wise, this film takes place between Thriller Bark and Sabaody Archipelago. That means a lot of things regarding the crew, where people’s powers presently are, and what current state the world is in. Brooke is a new member of the Straw Hats at this point, Luffy can only use his abilities up to Gear 3, and the bounties/power levels of the characters are not as high as after the time skip. But the straw hats are still the goofy and lovable straw hats that I really like. In some ways, they are like the modern Lupin kind of crew where they are simple characters. Still very well founded characters that the viewer knows how they are going to react in different situations, goofy or otherwise. That is what makes One Piece so good to me.
The Story and Structure of Strong World
I wasn’t sure at first when watching it, but I like the structure of how Strong World is laid out. There is a lot of purpose to every decision being made. This one, for instance, is stranding the Straw Hats on an island we don’t know about dealing with conflicts and animals they haven’t seen before. So basically, it’s character gold. Of course Luffy and other strong characters are going to fight against the large creatures that are juiced up by who knows what. It naturally puts us in a place that unveils some secrets that help the world feel natural in how unnatural it is. You know, if that sentence makes sense. It probably doesn’t, but that’s ok. It’s One Piece.
Then the cut back into what led up to this point is just a lot of fun. Luffy and his gang were traveling somewhere with Nami guiding them. Of course this happened after the great villain Shiki escaped from the pirate prison Impel Down. So Shiki and his flying ship meetup with Luffy and his ship, The Thousand Sunny. Luffy takes the chance to share Nami’s knowledge to Shiki that there is a storm coming and they should go another way. That leads to Shiki not only stealing Nami from the Straw Hats, but throwing the Thousand Sunny and the rest of its crew over a gigantic island of giant, angry beasts. That is until the crew gets together to rescue Nami and defeat Shiki and his minions.
So yeah, pretty standard shonen jump movie sort of formula put into a lot of interesting twists. The crew is defeated at the halfway point, but come together to overwhelm the enemy in a tough as nails fight. The difference being that Shiki and his crew are aiming to attack East Blue with more pirates. So Shiki is basically much more interesting and silly then a James Bond villain but the guy is actually a threat because he has power and goals that go beyond being elite and wanting even more money. The guy just wants to conquer the world. Our characters are mostly from East Blue, so they actively help to protect their homeland too. A lot of good emotional cores, as usual, help this goofy crew to save the One Piece world once again.
The Balance of Comedy and Drama
This is a One Piece thing in general and why I like it, but that balance of comedy and drama is so well realized in Strong World that it’s just great. One Piece is part comedy anime and you see those aspects in the right moments. In a moment of really good comedy, the enemies are harboring IQ plants to drive the usual animals on the island they are on insane. It is such a funny name that also tells you about what the plant is about too. Same with the fact that Shiki has a second in command, Dr. Indigo, who is literally a clown whose shoes make fart noises. The guy only appears at moments that don’t have as much drama to add in comedy where it is needed. I really like that when it’s balanced with silly moments that help characterize everyone a little more.
Then there is the drama of those situations too. For instance, there is a town on the island that is a massive testing bed for Shiki’s plans on destroying the East Blue. Luffy and his cast meet up with some people from it. They are that group of people that don’t know anything about Shiki and say some bad things regarding the East Blue because it doesn’t concern that as far as they know. So that is the emotional core of the film. Not only saving the East Blue from destruction, but fighting for these people’s right to exist there too. Or what about the right of the creatures living on the island to not be controlled. To live freely. One Piece films interrogate at least one thing from the One Piece world in it and that is what this film does for these concepts.
Nami, the Herione in Distress?
So yeah, Nami was captured by Shiki in the beginning of the series. We see her swimming in Shiki’s swimming pool in the beginning. We also think she might have betrayed the Straw hats. But I’m glad this show does a bit more with her then that. The beginning elements of Nami knowing about a storm coming plays into the final battle. Especially when the storm powers up Luffy’s punch to defeat Shiki. It really shows the relationship between Nami and Luffy that was supposedly strained when they separated. The two really do play off each other very well and I’m glad that it came together in really cool ways.
I also like the fact that Nami had a plan on taking out Shiki by herself. It failed, but she still planned on taking out the barrier keeping the powerful beasts from his castle. The same one that blocked the beasts from attacking the small town later. So obviously, it was Nami’s plan to destroy those but she was caught. Still, it was a great idea and I’m glad she did something other than being in a locked room waiting for Luffy and the gang to save her. Oda gave her a lot of agency in the role she was given and that’s great. More heroines should at least be like her and try to escape if they can.
Concluding This Post
Strong World looks really good. I’m honestly astonished about all the things it was able to do and the places we got to see. There are so many cool environments that are just what One Piece is about. Very colorful and vibrant worlds that have an internal logic that makes sense AND you can see yourself living into. Some great action scenes. Every character got to wear cool clothing and fight battles that fit their power sets. The introduction of a lot of pirates ready to attack East Blue and then Shiki with his gang have some cool devil fruit powers that give hard opponents for each of them to fight. Really great film on all levels.
So yeah, I really liked Strong World. I wish I could have saved it towards later because this was one my favorite One Piece films of the four that I watched. I think the early period of One Piece was a bit looser in what it did and that is why it works so well. The other films have a lot more elements from the world that tie into their stories. This one hasn’t made it there yet, so it’s just a simple adventure for the crew with a bad guy all of them had to defeat. It works really well and I want to just soak into this film as long as I can. So yeah, a really solid film. Can’t recommend enough if you are a One Piece fan. Possibly even if you aren’t. Though, you probably watched it before I did at this point.