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. As such, this is going to be an outsider’s perspective on it. Besides, a film should be able to stand by itself even without being super familiar with the series so I should have no trouble talking about 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. I found out after reviewing the film that it isn’t even canon. So it doesn’t even matter that my familiarity with the actual canon is sketchy at best.
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 a non-linear 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. Any complaints about that mental image should be addressed to Ultrazero@hotmail.com. Where any response you get will likely be pretending not to know who you are or what you’re talking about but don’t let that stop you. I don’t know whos e-mail that actually is, I just put it in to poke fun at a friend of mine who uses UltraZero as his online handle. Then there’s his crew, which consists of a clown who wears shoes that make fart sounds, because farts are funny when you’re five, 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 intentionally funny scenes. Another thing that really bugs me is that they use the term “Evolution” when what they mean is “Macguffin induced 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 but a change of clothes does not constitute character development. Rousai’s disappointing grandson is still an obnoxious moron and the rest of the cast is pretty under-developed and bland. Now, let’s be generous again and assume the characters have developed and the film is bad at illustrating that fact. If that’s the case, good for the anime. It’s still a major fault with the film.
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.