One Piece Lore and Stampede’s Structure
One Piece is full of so many things. Lots of great characters, lots of adventurous locations, a lot of comedy, and a full on dedication to finding the One Piece. Stampede is a lot of those things. When does it take place in the middle of a situation or idea? Doesn’t matter. It is a lot like Gold in that way where the lore doesn’t matter, but the characters in the situation too. All the Straw Hats at that time are there (Luffy, Robin, Franky, Ussop, Nami, Chopper, Sanji, Zoro, but unfortunately no Jinbe) show up with the Thousand Sunny in a crazy situation that is a festival.
The idea being this film is clearly a celebration. A loving celebration of everything that is one Piece and that is what makes it so phenomenal by having it all at once place. It is a very busy film because of that and possibly a little ADHD, but each moment is great. I like that a big celebration can be so much fun and work so well. Especially even if it does follow the basic story pattern of a lot of the One Piece movies structures, that wasn’t the point for any of it. It’s to indulge in the air of all that One Piece is and what the goals of it are for as well. This film really is locking all of One Piece in a room and seeing what happens because of that and it just works. Just soak into One Piece.
Festival, Festival, Festival
Stampede supposedly takes place in a festival of pirates. A massive pirate fest at Delta Island. What is the goal of this festival or why are pirates going? To supposedly go after a treasure belonging to Gold D. Roger himself. Of course pirates are going to go after it. Of course there is a hidden secret behind it all. The one leading the Festival, Buena Festa, is working with Douglas Bullet, who escaped from Impel Down’s worst floor two years ago, planning on just destroying all the pirates in one fell swoop. Law Uncovers this and escapes onto the Thousand Sunny to spill the beans.
In general, the film starts off as that festival and fun, but ends up with literally every pirate ,besides the Emperors and Warlords of the Sea, against Douglas Bullet. So that involves The Worst Generation against Douglas Butler, Usopp against Douglas, and inevitably Luffy (and some friends) against Douglas Butler himself. Plus the navy rolling in. Once again, the story is not why you are watching Stampede. You are doing it because you love One Piece and you want to see One Piece be One Piece and it is exceptionally good at that. Seeing a lot of good favorites on some level from all of One Piece do something great for you.
An Examination of Luffy
Even with 99% of One Piece available in this film, it really does come down to examining everything about Luffy. From his size difference to his power to all of his dedication for it too. Douglas Bullet is a person that has pushed away all of his crew and has taken on a lot of his duty of finding the One Piece and being the King of the Pirates by himself. Luffy is the exact opposite of that. He wants to find the One Piece and be King of the Pirates with the support of his Straw Hat pirates. So obviously, there is a clash with Luffy building himself against this impossibly strong, imposing threat.
Then there is everything about finding the clue of what would lead him to the One Piece. The Eternal Post log is there to directly take anyone to that treasure and Luffy destroys it because he wants the adventure to be long and fun. Luffy will get there and will take all of his friends with him. He really is the ultimate shonen protagonist because of those things. That is why we are here to watch One Piece anyway. Not to take the easy place around, but to enjoy the Earth shattering collision that comes from Luffy just existing and breaking everything in his life there too.
The Importance of Teamwork
This plays into the last section a lot, but this film would not work if it was only Luffy taking on Douglas himself. It wouldn’t be a film at all. There are so many interesting bits of team work throughout this film that I have to comment on it. The whole film would not work without Law jumping onto the Thousand Sunny to tell the Straw Hats and us what was going on. Then there was the match up against The Worst Generation. Or what about later on in the film with the desperate teamwork with Crocodile, Boa Hancock, Sabo, Smoker, and Luffy leading the charge. Everyone played an important part and it wasn’t just Luffy using Gear 4 that won out on the day.
What is the best thing is that each character acted exactly how you expected them too. Everyone have their small motivations for why they should work together or just building a decent amount of chemistry together despite their anger. Luffy did lead the charge, as you would expect from a shonen battle protagonist, but only because Luffy appealed to something in them to somehow fight it out and it worked. Everything worked against the lone Douglas Bullet who built his own strength in order to not rely on anyone. It really sucks and there is no fun to be had there either. I’m so thankful that so many people in One Piece’s cast showed up to work together in this film.
Some Concluding Thoughts on Stampede
This is definitely the best looking One Piece film. Everything has so many dramatic consequences on the scenery or all the backgrounds. It works because the land where the fights happen is broken apart and soon to just be attacked by a Navy’s buster call. Also some cool and exceptional bits of character designs and animation all over the place too. The pretty standard sort of person you would expect to be King of the Pirates in Douglas very Luffy who is the definitive short king. I do think that there was some noticeable cg in this film that stood out, but the fights just have so many cool moments of animation all over the place. Once again, it’s a good looking film.
As I stated in the beginning, this is a film for people who love One Piece and want to watch a film that has all of it in it. Or at least as much of One Piece as there could be in a two hour film. It is a simple yet complex sort of bit of One Piece there too. Some cool and well placed elements on good levels too. But a person walking into One Piece for the first time wouldn’t understand anything that is going on here. Maybe sad, but that is the truth of it all. But fans already know they will enjoy the festival that is One Piece Stampede. That is all I have to say about this film which I really don’t think I said much at all. I really liked this one even if its not my favorite.