4.5 out of 5
Purr!

Purrr....

  • Uta
  • Musical
  • Special appearances

Hisss!

  • Drawn-out climax
  • Non-One Piece viewers won’t experience the same level

Studio
Toei Animation
Director
Gorô Taniguchi
Genre
Action, Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Rated
PG-13
Theatrical Release Date (NA)
Nov 4, 2022
Film Length
1hr 55min
Purchase From


Filed Under

One Piece is a popular anime that many haven’t tried watching because of its overwhelming number of episodes (over 1,000) and fifteen movies. With the manga still going, expect to continue to hear the anime pop-up for a few more years. Its latest movie, One Piece Film: Red, is one of the best from the series and fans will definitely want to watch it.

Shanks’ Family

One Piece Film: Red - Screenshot

One of the biggest features of One Piece Film: Red is more screen time and backstory for Shanks and his pirate crew. Shanks is a well-known pirate in the One Piece world who influenced Luffy, the protagonist of the series, to become a pirate. For 25 years, fans of One Piece have waited patiently to see Shanks in action. Fans will get to see that eventually, but unfortunately, he’s not the main character in this film—his daughter Uta is the main attraction.

For those who aren’t familiar with One Piece, Uta is a new character created by series creator Eiichiro Oda. The film cleverly makes it feel like she’s always been a character in the series instead of a newcomer.

Like Luffy, Uta ate a devil fruit that gave her special abilities. Luffy’s power is that his body is made of rubber. As for Uta, her singing can cause special effects for her and everyone around her. For example, she can tie people up on a music score or use hypnosis. It’s quite powerful and deadly. The music she sings is in Japanese for both the subtitled and dubbed versions of the film. (Sorry, dubbed fans.) Regardless, the music is very upbeat and catchy.

At first, Uta wished to be a musician in Shanks’ pirate crew, but she then had a change of heart. With access to multiple video communicators, she overheard people worldwide talking about their problems with pirates and the navy. Uta began broadcasting her singing to calm those with a weary heart, and after finding great success, she decided to invite everyone to watch her sing in person. However, things are not what they seem.

While the story isn’t entirely about Shanks, there is some history about him with Uta that carries through the film. Following the story of Uta and the connection she has with Luffy and Shanks makes it worth watching. One Piece’s creator, Eiichiro Oda, wrote the film’s story and he has a knack for creating character backstories. The film feels like it could be a canon storyline to the series as its own arc.

For those who haven’t experienced One Piece, the film uses synopsis clips to help tell the One Piece story. Still, it may not be enough to get the full experience.

Hello Again

One Piece Film: Red - Screenshot

Those who are reading or watching One Piece will recognize many faces in the film. From Koby to Trafalgar Law, they all make an appearance at Uta’s live concert. Theyalso have a piece of the action and storyline. One Piece fans should be overjoyed to see some familiar faces make a return. At the same time, unlike previous films, Luffy’s crewmates, the Straw Hat Pirates, don’t get as much focus.

Many anime films based on the television series don’t necessarily have a spot in the series’ timeline. However, the One Piece anime does a good job introducing some of the film’s characters in a few episodes. For Film: Red, episodes starting at 1029 introduce Uta to help promote the film.

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

One Piece Film: Red - Screenshot

Film: Red’s animation is executed well and smoothly. However, it sometimes gets a little too wild during the climax of the film. Running for about 30 minutes straight, fans will witness many characters tag-team and go all out against the villain. For a Shonen-style series, it’s typical to showcase drawn-out fights. That said, between the film introducing many vocal tracks and Uta’s dancing scenes, it feels more like a musical than a typical shonen experience.

Close-ups and poses are framed great as well. Uta’s transformation and musical powers shine throughout with their animation and vibrant colors. The film will occasionally throw in 3D animated bits of Uta’s stage and at times Uta herself. Her movements as a 3D model don’t look as fluid compared to her 2D one, though.

Play That Funky Music

One Piece Film: Red - Screenshot

The film’s soundtrack is one of the best for anime films. Uta’s music, sung by Japanese singer Ado, has had at least five tracks in the top 100 Billboard in Japan since the film’s release in early August. The vocal tracks are great, upbeat, and energetic. The music is catchy, and while it may resonate over in Japan, it’s value decreases overseas because the audience has to read the lyrics to understand them. Still, if you enjoy pop-culture music from Japan, you’ll enjoy the film.

Ending on a High Note

One Piece Film: Red is a fun, musical ride from beginning to end. While it may not deliver on the Shanks experience fans have been clamoring for, they should still sing its praises as one of the best One Piece films out there. Long live Uta!

An early screening provided for this review.

One Piece Film Red | OFFICIAL TRAILER

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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