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by Grant Jones,

One Piece: Strong World

One Piece: Strong World

One Piece: Strong World pits Luffy and the Straw Hat pirates against a dangerous new foe. Shiki, a legendary pirate, attacks a Marine fleet and defeats it handily. Soon he encounters the Straw Hat pirates and is amazed with Nami's skills. Shiki kidnaps her to add to his own crew, sending Luffy and the gang on a quest to free her from his clutches. They journey to his floating island to save Nami, meeting new allies, monstrous creatures, and powerful enemies along the way.

One Piece: Strong World is the tenth film for the One Piece franchise. It is written by Eiichiro Oda and directed by Munehisa Sakai. It is produced by Toei Animation, and the new theatrical release of the dubbed version in the U.S. is through Fathom Events.


My feelings on One Piece: Strong World have evolved alongside my own strange, twisting journey through the One Piece fandom.

For a while, One Piece: Strong World had been an aspirational landmark in that journey. I started One Piece in 2018, a full nine years after the film's release. As I read, I was frequently being recommended films to watch, but only once I reached X point in the manga so I wouldn't be spoiled. Strong World and Film Z tended to be the top recommendations, and of the two I decided that Strong World would be my first watch.

In the summer of 2019 I finally got to see One Piece: Strong World. My friends and I reviewed it on our podcast (I promise this isn't a shameless plug) and in short, I loved it. I had been patient in working my way to that point, and was bubbling with excitement. My anticipation was only further heightened by the then-pending release of One Piece Stampede. I was not caught up enough on the source material to give Stampede a fair shot, but being plugged into the community meant I was catching a lot of second-hand hype from all my friends eager to see the newest film. I channeled my own excitement into seeing Strong World and watched it three (!) times that summer, twice subbed and once dubbed.

It was not only because of my excitement though—One Piece: Strong World is a genuinely great film. The animation is strong throughout, the fights are exciting, and Shiki is a terrifically potent threat to the Straw Hats. There are adorable sidekick animals, hapless civilians in need of rescuing, and brand new movie-specific outfits. The Japanese and English voice casts both deliver wonderful performances, the former being iconic in their own time and the latter fresh takes on old favorites. The fact that the story is penned by Oda himself lends a layer of canonical weight to the events that is lacking in most shōnen action-adventure films of this variety. It checks every possible box—what more could you ask for?

Rewatching the film this fourth time did not change my opinion…but time has altered my perspective.

One Piece: Strong World is an odd beast because it now exists in a post-Stampede, post-Wano world. It's not that controversial to say that over One Piece's long and illustrious near-1000-episode run there have been episodes—perhaps even entire arcs—where the animation quality was, shall we say, quite indicative of a weekly production. Much like other long-running action-adventure series like Dragon Ball, Naruto, and the like, these film outings typically served up better-than-average animation quality in a condensed, exciting package. In fact, I know of a number of people who read the manga and watch the movies but not the weekly anime—that's an approach that gets you the full story and the exciting lavishly animated cinema without having to slog through dozens of episodes with variable quality. Having your (whole) cake (island) and eating it too, so to speak.

But that was all before Stampede and Wano blew the doors off in terms of visual spectacle and fan service. Stampede is less a film and more a celebration of the series. You get to see all your favorite characters show up and do a cool thing or three in the highest visual fidelity, all the while fighting a big bad who just has to be pummeled by everyone who's ever set foot on Usopp's green earth. It's bombast and excitement and joy in celluloid form, but not particularly deep or impactful.

And the anime adaptation of Wano is all that and then some. It's no secret that the Toei team has been pulling out all the stops with this adaptation, and this is no small endeavor. Wano is gorgeous, Wano is long, and Wano is massive. Lore, characters, set pieces, battles, powers, revelations—each and every week, again and again, the anime adaptation continues to tackle Oda's larger arc with aplomb. Shockingly, many of Wano's episodes look better than this film— better than Stampede, even. That is not a knock against the quality of those entries, but rather a testament to how much work has gone into making the anime adaptation of Wano something special.

So rewatching it for this fourth viewing, I was struck by how it did not measure up as the visual feast I once took it for. You can often see better animation in the weekly adaptation of Wano than you will in Strong World, off weeks aside. Is Strong World still worth the effort of seeing, in that light?

I would say yes—but not for the same reasons I once felt.

Whereas Strong World used to be the big spectacle that served as a break from the burdens of weekly production, I now find it enjoyable for its succinctness. Like I said, Wano is beautiful, but it is also gargantuan—the arc in the manga is going on 3+ years of publishing, and the anime adaptation is over 100 episodes alone at this point. That is a metric ton of content to watch and digest, and it only represents one arc from the series. Literal years' worth of anime episodes all for a single arc, with dozens of characters and callbacks and connections—even for someone who is plugged in, it can be a struggle to keep everything straight and maintain excitement week to week.

What I find so wonderful about One Piece: Strong World now in 2021 is how it satisfies my nostalgia. I will never begrudge One Piece for being long and complex—as I have often said, the length is the strength—but I certainly find myself missing the early arcs. Back when things were smaller in scope, when the lore connections were less dense, when things were wrapped up in a few chapters. Strong World is almost an antidote to Wano, in that you get the full One Piece arc experience in under two hours. I get to see all my favorite characters meet and defeat a villain in one sitting—it's a nice change of pace!

So I do think you should go out (safely) and give One Piece: Strong World a watch in theaters. It may not be the grand spectacle that it once was, but that's precisely why I love it.

Overall : A-
Overall (dub) : B+
Story : A
Animation : B-
Music : B+

+ A good distillation of the One Piece experience in a compact package, great vocal performances, written by Oda himself
Might look aged compared to newer anime entries

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Production Info:
Director: Munehisa Sakai
Script: Hirohiko Uesaka
Tetsuya Endo
Naoyuki Itou
Munehisa Sakai
Naotoshi Shida
Kenji Yokoyama
Story: Eiichiro Oda
Shiroh Hamaguchi
Yasuharu Konishi
Kouhei Tanaka
Original creator: Eiichiro Oda
Character Design: Masayuki Sato
Art Director: Takeshi Waki
Animation Director: Masayuki Sato
Art design: Masahiro Satō
Cgi Director: Kazuhiro Nishikawa
Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada
Licensed by: FUNimation Entertainment

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One Piece Film Strong World (movie 10)

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