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Let me begin by saying that One Piece is one of my favourite manga (Japanese comic book, for people who don't know.) of all time. I only got into the manga after this movie was released so I can't exactly say I was "hyped as hell" but if I had gotten into it earlier then there would be no doubt I'd be foaming out the mouth in anticipation.
So what makes this one One Piece movie stand out from the rest? One simple reason. The script was written by series creator, Eiichiro Oda, to coincide with the manga's 10th anniversary and as such it is the only One Piece movie so far to be official canon.
Anyway, onto the movie itself. The plot takes place sometime after the Straw Hats pirate crew left Thriller Bark but before arriving at Sabaody Archipelgo just so you get an idea of when is the best time to watch this movie if you're reading the manga. The crew meet Shiki, a former rival to the King of the Pirates and has the ability to make anything float and manipulate them with the exception of living things other than himself. Impressed with Nami's navigation skills, he kidnaps her to become part of his crew and sends the rest of the crew separated in his floating kingdom. The crew need to get back together, rescue Nami and show Shiki just what happens when you mess with the Straw Hats.
The first thing anyone will notice is how the film looks and let me tell you that it looks fantastic. And I'm not even talking about just the animation. Shiki's kingdom is just pure eye candy. All the different islands have unique looks and locations to them, some of which we only see for a few brief minutes. The attention to detail is stunning. I could talk about the jungle ruins or the frozen wasteland or Shiki's palace and all the little things in them for a while. In addition to that, Oda designed several amazing fantasy creatures like the eel shark, the snake necked giraffe, the long armed wrestling bear and so on. Much like of the locations, many of them just have brief appearances usually in the background. It all goes to show just what a creative mind Oda has.
If I was to talk about the characters, well, I would have to talk about the manga which I'm not going to. If you have the read the manga and are familiar with the main characters then you'll be pleased to hear they and their wild personalities have all been carried over perfectly and they each get piece of the action and if you have not read the manga, then what is wrong with you? Go read it. Now. As for the characters made just for the movie, they are what you would expect from typical One Piece villains. Goofy and hammy but still legitimate threats and, hey, that's why I like them. Shiki has his share of silly and cool moments and his two main henchmen, Indigo the mad clown scientist and Scarlet the perverted gorilla, are just so over-the-top that it's hard not to laugh.
However, like all movies, it has some faults. Namely that I thought certain crew members like Franky, Brook and Robin do not get enough action as though the rest of the crew's scenes were all thought out and the rest were quickly put together just so everyone gets at least a little bit of screen time which really sucks for me since Franky and Brook are my two favourite characters but this is just a minor complaint. They still do stuff important to the plot, get some funny lines in here and there and them having a few minutes of fighting is better than no fighting at all.
Overall, if you're a fan of One Piece then you owe it to yourself to see this movie. Even if you're not, I feel as though some non-fans could get a kick out of it. A perfect blend of action, comedy and drama.
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