How the Very First One Piece Movie Holds Up 22 Years Later

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Since his manga was first released in 1997, the legendary and long-running A play mesmerized audiences while branching out into anime, video games, and theatrical films. There have been 14 A play movies released so far, with the 15 – One Piece Movie: Red — should be released later this year.

Released on screens in March 2000, the very first film in the franchise, One Piece: the moviewas released as part of the Spring 2000 Toei Anime Fair. It was technically the second feature film release of A play, as Production IG had released the OVA One Piece – Beat It! The Pirate Ganzak in 1998. This OVA had a limited theatrical release but, since it predates the anime, it is very different from what would come later and is not considered canon by most fans. So how did the first official A play does the film hold up 22 years later?

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One Piece: the movie sees the Straw Hat Pirates (Luffy, Zoro, Nami, and Usopp) encounter the pirate Eldoraggo, the Goe Goe no Mi user Devil Fruit who is on a quest for legendary treasure. Many years before, a pirate named Woonan stole a third of the world’s gold and hid it on an island. He left a map showing his location, causing the myth of the Golden Isle to carry over into the pirate story. Now Eldoraggo sets out to claim the treasure for himself – but the Straw Hat Pirates and a few new friends are keen to beat him to the riches.

One of the most fascinating aspects of One Piece: the movie that’s how small-scale it feels, especially compared to later films and anime arcs. The plot is also fairly straightforward, being a traditional pirate story without a lot of twists or massive changes to the formula. Even Woonan’s story looks delightfully quaint compared to the stories of legendary characters introduced in the anime’s later sagas. In fact, the film feels less like a theatrical release and more like an extended filler episode.

Fans watching One Piece: the movie after recent anime episodes will no doubt find the animation a little rough, as it had a lower budget than the following ones A play film projects. While it’s not terrible at any point, it’s clear how far the series has come in terms of animation quality and overall aesthetics over time.

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However, that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t good. In fact, it’s fun and charming. The story, while simple, has a strong emotional core and each part fits together well, striking the perfect balance between comedy, action and drama. This movie is a fantastic example of why people fell in love with A play, as viewers can’t help but be wowed by the characters.

Unfortunately, One Piece: the movie is often overlooked due to its odd publication history. Like most first A play movies, it never received an English dub, although it did get a release with English subtitles as part of a three-movie set. This pack also includes Clockwork Island Adventure and Chopper’s Kingdom on Strange Beast Island but was primarily only available in Europe, meaning it was overlooked by many North American fans.

One Piece: the movie is a fascinating look at a franchise trying to find its feet. This film clearly existed to gauge interest in the idea of A play as a theatrical franchise and therefore kept things simple. However, those looking for the film will be treated to a fun, light-hearted adventure that’s more than worth the price of admission. Whereas One Piece Movie: Red will be a larger production, One Piece: the movie proves that the franchise has always known how to have a good time.

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