One Piece Film: Red

To say that One Piece is a great franchise is an understatement. The Japanese manga has been around since 1997, and over the course of a whopping 25 years, its creator, Eiichiro Oda, has drawn and written no fewer than 104 tankobon (manga books) about Monkey D. Luffy and his crew in their quest to Become the King of the Pirates. With more than 516 million copies of the manga sold worldwide, an anime series with more than 1,000 episodes, and a franchise with a total revenue of more than 14 billion dollars, it is undoubtedly one of the largest franchises in story entertainment. What is most impressive, however, is how the series continues to hold such a high standard and continues to amaze and entertain, even 25 years after its humble beginnings.

An outfit reminiscent of a skinned Teletubby may still be thought of by many Europeans when they hear the words One Piece, but more and more are seeing the light of day as interest in manga and anime continues to rise in this part of the world. . As a result, more anime films not associated with the renowned Studio Ghibli are released in our theaters, such as ‘Your Name’, ‘Time With You’, ‘Demon Slayer: Infinity Train’ and ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’. Now One Piece joins the list with his latest film, ‘One Piece Film: Red’, the fifteenth of this format starring Luffy in one of his adventures along the Grand Line.

This time Luffy and his entourage have traveled to the island of Elegia, where they have received tickets for the first live concert with the latest pop sensation, Uta, the singer who has taken the world by storm for the past two years. With a spectacular staging, intense rhythms and unmatched charisma, everything is set for the greatest musical performance of all time, but the situation does not take long to change. When Uta’s abilities and background are exposed, Luffy must ally with old friends and enemies alike to salvage the situation.

Given that the film’s new lead is a music diva, it’s no surprise that the film puts a lot of focus on her. What is surprising, though, is how much music there is, not to mention how well-done the production is, with a surprisingly wide range of genres and styles. Some typical Japanese pop melodies are common, but there are also songs that are much darker and heavier than what one expects from this type of franchise-related film. The audiovisual production is, without a doubt, the main weapon of the film, and the magnificent soundtrack adapts very well to the visual effects. This latest aspect doesn’t break any new barriers for the anime, but it’s a step up for the One Piece movies, and many of the scenes are filled with visual effects that show that the production team has gone all-in on this movie.

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That is why it is a pity that, although the film tries to leave the viewer speechless, the final result does not have any explosive force. The main reason is the story, which ends up being cacophonous nonsense without consistency or substance. One Piece is a series known for its long story arcs, which of course makes creating a story limited to just 115 minutes quite a challenge. However, this story would have been better served as a longer feature film or even as a filler arc in the anime, because here we are thrown from one plot line to the next without the necessary transitions or logical connections between scenes. The film thus loses the impact it could have had, for which One Piece is so well known and loved.

One Piece Film: Red

The biggest mistake of the film continues to be leaning so much on the cast of characters. One Piece is famous for its huge roster of characters, big and small, and the directors have decided to include as many characters from the entire series as possible. You have to know all the characters and their powers well to know what’s going on, which makes this movie inaccessible to newcomers. Throwing so many characters on screen at once limits their time in the spotlight, as well as the ability to make any lasting impression. We know that this problem can be avoided in movies with a huge cast if the projection time is longer and the script is tight, as it happens in ‘Avengers: Endgame’.

To make matters even worse, the movie throws in new characters all the time. One Piece has never had a problem with the use of deus ex machina as a narrative tool, but here it is used so much that the impact and value of it decreases each time, causing inflation even worse than what we are seeing in our current society. The result is cheeky fan service that will draw applause when certain fan-favorite characters show up and do something cool (even yours truly had a couple of “Ohh!” moments during the screening), but they’re just trying to cover up the lack of substance and basic quality of the film.

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One Piece Film: RedOne Piece Film: Red

‘One Piece Film: Red’ has a couple of scenes and appearances that will give fans something to smile about, and the musical production alone almost makes it worth going to the theater to experience on a great sound system. Even so, it’s not enough to save the film as a whole. The story is too messy with its unstructured chaos, and having a gigantic cast thrown in almost on a whim throughout the film only ends up making it even more messy. We can appreciate the fact that a One Piece movie is finally being released in our lands, but the content itself is certainly disappointing.