REVIEW: ‘One Piece Film: Red’ Is A Musical Masterpiece

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As someone who has seen many One Piece movies, One Piece Film: Red is different. The films bring something refreshing to the franchise and the shonen genre overall. One Piece Film: Red is a Japanese fantasy action-adventure anime film produced by Toei Animation, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, co-written by screenplay by  and Eiichiro Oda as executive producer and character designer. The Japanese voice cast for the film consists of Mayumi Tanaka as Monkey D. Luffy, Shūichi Ikeda as Red-Haired Shanks, Kaori Nazuka as Uta’s speaking voice, and J-Pop star Ado performs as Uta’s singing voice. One Piece Film: Red marks the 15th installment in the One Piece cinematic franchise.

The plot of One Piece Film: Red,  is very similar to Dragon Ball Super: Super HeroThe film used expansive lore and established main characters to support and introduce a new character, Uta, with an original story centered on her. Uta is the most beloved singer in the world and possesses an “otherworldly” voice. Uta is known for concealing her own identity when performing.

Now, for the first time, she will reveal herself to the world at a live concert. With the Navy watching closely, the venue fills with Uta’s fans, including excited pirates and the Straw Hats led by Monkey D. Luffy, who came to enjoy her sonorous performance. They all eagerly await the voice that the whole world has been waiting for. The story begins with the shocking revelation that she is the daughter of the enigmatic pirate, “Red Haired” Shanks.

Typically, in most One Piece films, the plot centers on Luffy and his friends exploring a new island, hunting for a legendary secret treasure, or taking down a formidable big bad guy. Some could say having the plot centered on Uta might feel like too much divergence or forced since she is a new character. However, it works tremendously well, and it is a refreshing point of view to tell an original story for the franchise. Although this is Uta’s first appearance, Taniguchi and Oda do a fantastic job of making it feel like Uta has always been a part of the series from the beginning, especially when it comes to showing Luffy and Uta’s strong bond. 

One Piece Film: Red also offers an entryway to new fans. Newcomers are usually intimidated by the one-thousand-plus episodes in the One Piece anime. An original story centered on a new character means new fans do not necessarily have to be caught up or overly familiar with the franchise. That is not to say that new fans won’t have some questions about certain things in the film, like pre-existing characters and the power system. But there are various elements in the movie, such as the music, animation, and characters, that may interest them in exploring One Piece more. 

Uta is by far one of the most compelling and complex characters in this film. On top of being a world-famous singer, she is the daughter of one of the most powerful pirates in the world. In the movie, she parallels Luffy’s character in specific ways. They ultimately share the same goals and similar beliefs, but they have different ways of going about obtaining those goals. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that Uta will grab fans’ attention in this film. 

This movie, the first musical feature in the One Piece franchise, does fantastic things with music and visuals in every performance sequence. The music in One Piece Film: Red is amazing. Uta’s songs, of which there is seven total, are packed with high energy, rhythmic beats, and uplifting lyrics. Each song’s performance, paired with stunning visuals, draws you into the vibe of being at a phenomenal concert. 

One Piece Film Red - But Why Tho

One Piece Film: Red brings it when it comes to animation and stunning visuals. The film does a pretty great job of blending the 2D and 3D CGI animations for the most part. However, some moments with the 3D CGI were not the best and fell short. For example, in one scene, Uta is animated in CGI, and her movements look clunkier than when she was in 2D animation. However, the moment is brief and over before it becomes too annoying, so it does not affect the show’s overall quality. 

One Piece Film: Red pushes the boundaries of what shonen storytelling can do. When it comes to shonen films, most people assume that the story will be heavily action-focused. That is not to say One Piece Film: Red does not have action. Instead, I would say the action in this movie is secondary. In contrast, emotions play a more impactful and primary role in the film’s plot, especially when it comes to the music.

One Piece Film: Red is a fantastic new addition to the franchise and does justice as the first musical feature. The plot brings something fresh and different to the One Piece franchise and pushes the shonen genre’s boundaries. Long-time fans and newcomers alike can find something to enjoy in this film. From the remarkable story and stunning animation to the high-energy music and more, One Piece Film: Red is a fantastic watch that no anime fan will want to miss. 

One Piece Film: Red premieres in U.S. theaters on November 4.


One Piece Film: Red
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

One Piece Film: Red is a fantastic new addition to the franchise and does justice as the first musical feature. The plot brings something fresh and different to the One Piece franchise and pushes the shonen genre’s boundaries.

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