dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
[personal profile] dancing_moon
I've seen this movie like three times now, and I still haven't managed to review it. Wellp, I only bought the DVD once, so let's blather a bit about pirates in honor of my first fullprice anime purchase for years!

When it comes to One Piece, I have a very back-and-forth relationship to the manga (don't really watch the anime). First I read some eight volumes, and found it silly. Then [personal profile] lanjelin began rawing about it and after quite a while, I gave in and decided to give it another chance. When I could borrow the whole bunch from A-chan and A-kun (~50 books at the time) I discovered that I did actually like it, and that it took off and became much better after a while.

But there were still too many fighting fillers (god save me from One Miniboss vs. One Strawhat fights) and at times the story just drags. I'm also getting increasingly annoyed with Oda's designs for female characters, which have decidedly not been improving lately.

Very telling is how I've felt about the latest chapters. I found the Fishman Island Arc a bit meh, honestly, at least until we started to get all that nice backstory and explanation of previously alluded events. Too much chaotic fighting and the detail-high artwork really doesn't come out right when reading scanlations. If anything, I think this might be a colorful bit almost worth watching in the anime, once they got so far.

And then we had the latest pages, where the Strawhat Crew sails into the New World and I just went 'awwwwwwwwwwww' and, because if it's one thing Oda does right it's the joy of discovery.
It's not a long sequence, but it's absolutely lovely and like that it made me interested in keeping up with this insanely long shonen fighting series... idek, man, I think I'm just a sucker for Epicness.

Epicness being something that the sixth One Piece movie, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island does pretty well, though it doesn't reach the heights of the best manga chapters. Would be hard to, considering how those often build upon a long and ardorous journey.
This movie also has some really with funky animation - really, it looks nothing like anything else One Piece, but still captures the feel of the characters quite well - and a healthy dose of horror. You thought Thriller Bark was bad, you ain't seen nothing!

I've seen the tenth movie too and Youtubed a bit of one of the other ones, but honestly, they mostly feel like extra-long filler eps or summaries of previous arcs. This movie starts out a bit like that, as the Strawhats (just before Water Seven, I'd say) pick up spam a message in a bottle, advertizing a luxurious pirate resort on Omatsuri Island. Once they get there, however, they're challenged to a series of pirate tests.
Ho-hum, been there, done that and it was one of the most boring non-filler parts too... but hang, why does such a big resort (and it's huge and lushly animated, managing to look pretty good even six years later) have no other guests? And how come an island, marked with a flower on the sea chart, not contain one single blooming plant?

This is one part of where the movie does a good job, imo, as it let's the more naturally inquisitive characters discover things in a very organic fashion. We in the audience always know a bit more of what is going on than the Strawhats, but never more than that we realize that something is deeply off with the friendly Omatsuri island.

Not until the end, which I totally nominate as Grade A nightmare fuel. It's great, though! Beside the fact that they manage to make a really show Ruffy's emotions and the bonds between the crew come out very well, it all gets SO FUCKING CREEPY OMG THAT FLOWER GET IT AWAY FROM ME AAAHGHH!!!

Some people apparantly doesn't like this, feeling that it breaks with the One Piece style and whatnot - but hey, after Impel Down and other harrowing experiences, I mostly feel that this movie went there a bit ahead of things. There's always been darkness in the world of the Strawhats, we only rarely see it animated in a nearly Utena-like pierced by a thousand arrows nightmare. There are also plant zombies, something that looks like a carnivorous liquorice tube (which, despite how it sounds, is one of the best One Piece 'villains' so far) and some really cute little pirate crews. I mean, come on, how can you not love the pirate family? =)

An extra bonus: If you wear your slash-goggles, you get some nice tidbits. If you don't, there's lovely nakama-bonding moments.

The music didn't impress me that much; I've seen it mentioned positively in some reviews, but except for the memorable carnival piece played whenever Omatsuri reveals more of his Epic Resort, I honestly never noticed it. Which is perhaps a good thing in it's own way, because it certainly helped building the mood?

The cutting of the movie also impressed me. It's made like a collage of moments, where we switch POV's several times (thus breaking up the fight scenes huzzah), so that scenes layer over each other in a very thought-out way, that I'm certainly not used from TV animation. The director has also made Summer Wars (not seen) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - the latter makes me think he should stick to material with a bit more oomph in it, because while TGWLTT also had a lot of fancy cutting, it felt a bit dull tbh.

So. That concludes my somewhat rambling (sorry) review. If you want to see this movie legally and do not speak German, though shit, cuz it's not released in the US, the UK or Sweden. Don't ask me why, it works as a One Piece film and it's actually a decent stand-alone anime movie too.

By the by, I listened to the very first scene with the German dub just for the lulz, and I can again conclude that German's dub anime miles better than Americans. Even if Ruffy's voice felt a bit off and Zoro's was too high-pitched, the acting part of VA just felt much more natural. Lovely packaging too, with slip-cover and a poster. Just wish they could've squeezed some extra material on the actual DVD. Oh well.

Like One Piece? Like scary anime? Like flat-style animation? See this movie ^_^

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May 2012

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