One Piece needs no introduction. It’s one of those franchises that everyone’s heard of, even people who don’t watch anime. It’s also one I haven’t seen a whole lot of. I stopped watching after about a dozen episodes because it didn’t interest me and Mr. Fantastic’s brain dead son was absolutely unbearable as a character. I might have watched more if he hadn’t been the main protagonist. Why am I bringing this up? Because I received a request to review one of the movies. You might ask how I can review it when I haven’t watched most of the series, but it’s pretty simple. It’s a movie. It’s not an episode, it’s a movie. Here’s the thing about movies, they have to be able to stand alone. Even most film trilogy parts can stand by themselves and still make sense. So, if it’s even halfway decently written, I should have no trouble figuring out what’s going on or reviewing it. I may have trouble dealing with Stretch Armstrong’s imbecilic cousin, but that’s a completely different matter. So, let’s take a look at One Piece: Strong World and hope that that stretchy moron dies a painful death.
We open with ships floating in the sky. We cut to a pirate who causes them to fall on a group of government ships. We then cut to silly putty brain and his crew wandering around on a floating island. Why? Well the film quickly moves into a flashback to show a pirate named Shiki, the same guy who made the boats float, trick elongated man’s paint chip eating roommate and his crew into crashing on the island so he can kidnap Nami. What’s the point of showing the events out of order? I have no idea, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no story reason for this structure nor does it create tension. Anyway, Shiki wants Nami to join his crew because he needs a good navigator so that he can take over the world. Okay, so the story is pretty cliche. How’s the execution? Well, the first issue is that Shiki isn’t even remotely threatening. He has sword legs which just look stupid and shouldn’t be functional. Swords, they don’t work that way. He also looks like the love child of Jay Leno and Kraven the hunter, making him very difficult to take seriously. Then there’s his crew, which consists of a clown who wears shoes that make fart sounds, a pink gorilla and a bunch of nameless henchmen. I’ve seen more menacing villains in the Care Bears. Maybe they’re trying to be funny, but there’s not a lot of humour here. There were all of two funny scenes. Another thing that really bugs me is that they use the term “Evolution” when what they mean is mutation. Science, how does it work?
The characters are pretty one-dimensional. Let’s be generous and say that they’re relying on us knowing them from the show. But those characters who I remember from what little I’ve seen of the show haven’t changed, except for their outfits. Rousai’s disappointing grandson is still an obnoxious moron and the rest of the cast is pretty under-developed and bland.
The art… I don’t even know where to start. I have to admit that I hate the art in One Piece. The mostly lidless and blank eyes, the mouths that always seem to have their teeth showing for no reason, the bizarre proportions, the random things that replace various body parts. I will give the film credit though, most of the fight scenes do look pretty cool.
The voice acting is okay. I really can’t stand Tanaka Mayumi’s performance, although I don’t really blame her since I know she can act. It’s probably the direction. The rest of the voice actors do a decent job albeit exaggerated a times. The strongest performances are probably from Cho and Okamura Akemi. The music is pretty underwhelming and forgettable.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There isn’t any in this.
So, how does Strong World fare? It’s not that bad. The story is pretty stupid, Elastic girl’s brain damaged admirer is the worst aspect and the weak antagonists don’t help matters. To the film’s credit, the fight scenes are pretty good and a lot of it does fall into the “so stupid it’s funny category.” So, I’m going to give it a 4/10.
First of all, I decided to write a review for this movie because it left a strong impression on me, and not a pleasant one I might add. I am a big fan of One Piece and I especially like where and how the story is going in the manga and the anime series and that's why I was really anxious to watch this movie too, only to be wondering why have I even bothered after seeing as much as half of it. I really had high expectations from this one, especially with all the hype around it and all, even though the past movies weren't anything special.
I don't wish to ruin anyone's enjoyment, that's why I will try to be as objective as possible and give all the arguments necessary for my score decisions.
BUT LET ME WARN YOU, THIS IS A NEGATIVE REVIEW AND IT MAY CONTAIN SOME SMALL SPOILERS, SO DON'T READ IT IF YOU KNOW IT MAY AFFECT YOUR VIEWING EXPERIENCE!
STORY: The story is nonexistent. There is absolutely nothing in this that could be considered a story. The crew just beats the crap out of the bad guy saving the damsel in distress in the process and all for some cheap reason. When I say that the reason is not worthy to mention is because the viewer just doesn't seem to relate to the seriousness of the situation, mainly because we only HEAR about what the bad guy (Shiki) is going to do. There is almost NO VISUAL REPRESENTATION of the tragic that such a situation would represent, so the viewer remains unfazed emotionally most of the time. My score for the story is 3, yes you read it right, 3. All the hype about Eiichiro Oda being the one to write the script for this film I think it was mainly done for publicity reasons, as there is little substance to the actual story.
CHARACTERS: The characters that we all love and adore are full of clicheistic behaviour and unnatural reactions. But let me elaborate a bit on what I mean. The Straw Hat crew seem to behave throughout the story mostly in repetitive ways from past series' episodes. Now, this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if done with care and moderation, but here we just see this many behaviour patterns brought together from several different arcs from the anime series and mixed to form this "thing" that lacks substance. On the other side of the barricade, the bad guys are... well... just silly. I mean, Shiki is one bad dude, his power is awesome, I can't deny that. I was really surprised by it, but his personality is just demeaning for the "legend" that he is supposed to represent and his actions and his master plan are just at a kindergarten level. His crew is stupid, and I mean stupid... There is no way such a crew could ever pose any threat to anyone, especially Gol D. Roger. They're not scary, they're not smart, they're not powerful and they're not even funny... especially funny. The jokes are terrible. And not only their jokes, but the jokes throughout the hole movie. They're really D grade material. The only thing that really stands out about the characters is the clothes they wear. Now, I don't dislike them, they're pretty cool, but I think this is mainly for the fanservice and the publicity and don't really fit well with the adventurous atmosphere that the One Piece world should have. So... for the characters I think a score of 4 is just about right. There are some good points but too few to make a difference. The not so good points just seem to overwhelm everything...
ANIMATION: The animation, at first really blowed me away, but slowly started to seem less and less attractive. The opening and the first part of the anime has astonishing graphics, wonderful views with top notch computer finishes. The battles are also very beautifully animated and really give a sense of awesomeness. But... yes... there is a but here too... There are some sequences where the animation just seems rushed and others where it seems plain. Not many I might add, but it still adds this feeling of inconsistency throughout the movie. Talking about inconsistency, the pace is very uneven. Either a fast pace is invoked or a slow one and they don't really transition smoothly between one to another. So, for the animation, I think an 8 is appropriate, and yes, I don't think I'm being generous. This is probably a fair score.
SOUND: Now... here you will find a problem. One of the first thing you may notice is that there is NO SOUND... yes, you heard me correctly... NO SOUND. And when I say this I mean there is no music through much of the film. The music is the most important thing when one wants to create an atmosphere suitable for the different situations that arise. And this movie lacks everything when it comes to atmosphere, and mainly because of the music. I was really disappointed by this. The characters' voices are pretty decent... the ones' everyone's already familiar with, so no problem here, although there isn't really much dialogue to be found. So for the sound, another 3, and now I'm being generous...
ENJOYMENT: I was really flustered about my expectations from this movie and it's real value. So, while I can't say I didn't enjoy it I can't say I felt any kind of satisfaction either. More like dissatisfaction. So... for the enjoyment, let's say... 4 will do.
RECOMMENDATION: If you're a One Piece fan, watch it. Also, if you're age is not greater than 12 you'll probably find it cool. Otherwise don't waste your time with it.
OVERALL my score is 4. Now, I don't know, maybe I was in a bad mood when I watched it and it deserves more, so don't go screaming your eyes out at me. If you disagree with me then I'm really happy for you, because the time you spent watching this film was enjoyable and it probably became a happy memorable experience for you.