Anime: One Piece Film - Gold
Released By: FUNimation
Released: January 10 - 17, 2017
When it comes to long-running anime franchises, One Piece may be one of the most notorious. Going on for nearly 800 episodes and spawning several films, the otherworldly dynamic of the treasure hunters has become a staple to anime fans; even those who don’t necessarily enjoy it have some experience with One Piece at some point. The original source material began back in 1997 with published manga that has since been ongoing, even setting a Guinness World Record for such successful publication history. With so much back story, development, and direction, the One Piece world creates enough to supply fans with a stretched out series and unique or special feature length films.
For those of you who aren’t aware (which would mean you must have been on a time-consuming quest of your own), One Piece focuses on the pirate Monkey D. Luffy, who has ingested something known as a devil fruit -- granting the young man the ability to give his body elasticity when necessary. Even though it can sound sometimes bizarre, this attribute proves to be a major help to Luffy and the crew he has gathered over the run of the anime franchise. The point seems to center on finding “One Piece” -- this ultimate prize of untold fortunes that has shrouded the series with mystery along the way. This film (One Piece Film: Gold) takes a step away from that specific fortune and places the band of misfits in a new place with seemingly endless opportunities abound.
In the film, the Straw Hats (Luffy’s crew of pirates) arrive to Gran Tesoro, a larger independent country with minimal government involvement and happens to be include one of the largest entertainment-based cities in the world -- only to be enjoyed by people seeking “sanctuary” from government ruling. Behind the country stands Gild Tesoro, a man who pulls strings with those people he shelters to accommodate his ideas and protect the riches he has come to receive. From the moment they arrive to Gran Tesoro, they are covered in gold dust and lights, leaving them with an exciting appeal to further explore. In typical One Piece fashion, they are attacked for what they have, but the crew is surely prepared for a fight (as always). They may overpower foes to begin with, but the events of the film only have more conflict prepared for the Straw Hats.
Things are never as they seem with a place to claim such perfection, and Gran Tesoro becomes a major point of contention in the film. The setting in Gold does feel more cinematic, so they take advantage of the larger platform for One Piece fans and non-fans of the franchise, with higher stakes involving riches and battles -- two things that play a pivotal role in One Piece’s already established world. The villain is one who is used to manipulation and has that presence reminiscent of a larger overarching villain, but pulls it off in this contained film with ease. I wouldn’t exactly say that One Piece Film: Gold has major changes for any characters, but seeing how some of them react to a sliver of hope gives you an idea of what the Straw Hats hope to find in the quest for One Piece.
With the plot consistent and fitting for the film (as opposed to the series/manga), I would conclude that One Piece has crafted a film that fans will easily be fulfilled by and could branch out into gaining new fans as well. The animation in the film feels bigger, better and brighter -- once again trying to signify that they won’t use the film idea as simply a money-making tactic -- but wants to ensure it’s solid for the One Piece franchise. The dub cast all returns to their previous roles with what makes each character unique -- and there's a lot of uniqueness going on with the central characters. One Piece has never been an anime that I’ve been able to immerse myself in entirely, but I will credit it by saying they did their best to make One Piece Film: Gold something worthy of the title, so, One Piece fans, make sure to check it out while it’s in theatres, and look for the home release from FUNimation sometimes this year!
Overall Score: 6.8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- One Piece takes note on financial discrepancies with the wealthy and hard working class.
- The setting of the film was a nice transition from the norm of One Piece.
- I would say this has an edge on the general One Piece narrative; fans will be pleased.
- The animation really tried to do more than they usually could with the parameters of the anime.