Funimation blessed us with 60 days of One Piece Stampede, the 2019 anime film that brings Luffy and the Straw Hat crew to a festival by and for pirates. What they find is every one-off character the pirate world has to offer. Nick attempts to guide the uninitiated Steve through the barrage of references, let's see how it turns out.
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Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our film review of One Piece Stampede here.
Well Steve, it's finally time. After staying quiet for months while we planned this, we can finally start our exhaustive, episode-by-episode breakdown of ALL OF ONE PIECE
That's right folks, get ready for the longest TWIA in history as we cover all 930 episodes of this show AT ONCE.
It's just One Piece, Nick. How long could it take?
Considering I've been following the manga for literally half my life?
And the anime has apparently been going for about two-thirds of mine, because we just had a 20th anniversary movie event that Funimation happens to be streaming at the moment. Actually, for the sake of both our limited lifetimes, how about we focus on that one for now and put a pin in the rest of the anime for later?
Alright, if you really want to be a coward.
Look this works out for the best, because it's also been untenably long since our last featured anime with an observable Clown Coefficient, so we can get that out of the way as well.
Really though, there are 2 ways I think are best to experience One Piece Stampede
. The first is to have read/watched all of One Piece
and have an unconditional affection for its enormous extended cast.
The other is to know as little as possible about One Piece
and let 900+ chapters of characters, esoteric superpowers, and lore pour over your head like you're meditating underneath a waterfall.
There's a third option too! So to briefly part the veil, our original plan was for me to play the part of One Piece buffoon here and go in blind. BUT, I figured what the heck, I've been meaning to read the manga for ages, why not use this as an excuse to get started? So I've gotten as far as the first ~150 chapters, and the end result was going into this movie with JUST enough background information to be EVEN MORE disoriented than I would have been going in with nothing.
Oh god it's gotta be so weird to go from Drum Island where you're just meeting the anthropomorphic reindeer child, and then jump 700 chapters ahead to where the Straw Hats now also have a cyborg carpenter, a talking skeleton musician, and a Mom.
The Mom at least looks familiar (and not just because Oda can only draw one female character face), but otherwise, I'm with Zoro here.
Yeah even for a Shonen Jump
gives out very few life rafts for those who aren't already longtime fans with deep memories. Unless you can name 90% of the people on these wanted posters you're probably gonna have a hard time following along.
On the other hand, tho, if you're gonna celebrate 20 freaking contiguous years of animated One Piece, you might as well get as esoteric as possible. So I respect that with my heart even if my brain is a little fried.
Granted, the actual story of Stampede
is pretty simple: Movie-original villains stage a big Pirate Party as a trap to destroy the rising generation of young guns, then proceed to have an 80 minute long fight against roughly 60% of the named characters in the franchise.
The villains do hit a nice balance between the literally-cigar-smoking connivance of Buena Festa and the "drawn by @sattou0" energy of Dougie here.
And here I had thought that 150 chapters of weirdos was a lot of weirdos. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Oh trust me you've barely scratched the surface. This isn't even counting all the characters from that arc where the Straw Hats put wings on their boat, fly to heaven, and attack and dethrone God.
It does kinda work for me specifically as a decontextualized preview of things to come, and I can see there's a lot on the Grand Line's horizon. For instance, can't wait to meet Bonney!
Or this Rose of Versailles
And I can't wait for you to meet Hancock.
How dare you besmirch the Clown Prince of Piracy!
Him briefly transforming into an actual buggy in the manga is one of the most vile things I've ever seen. Despicable.
Believe me, you'll love him once you get to the part where he becomes Moses.
Really though, that's the entire premise of Stampede
: here's a ton of characters that somebody in the audience presumably loves to death, and they all get to show off their powers like Being a Dinosaur or Being Daddy.
Yeah even for me, it was kinda fun to see in quick succession all the ways that the weird shonen dream logic of One Piece
has escalated over the decades.
Yes that's a cyborg man piloting a robot shaped like himself, why do you ask?
For the sake of this column's relative brevity, I'm very intentionally not asking!
Otherwise I'm just going to spiral about how Luffy at some point gains buff inflation powers, and I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready to grapple with all the implications of that right now.
I mean, he's made of rubber (how did that happen?) so you had to have expected some balloon physics eventually. Plus you gotta love the cartoony power of just inflating his fist to make it bigger.
That is pretty great, so long as I put aside the fact that he looks like a drawing of Vegeta from a very niche part of DeviantArt.
If we're gonna kinkshame anybody in One Piece it should be Sanji, but you're not ready for that conversation yet. For real though, I wish I could have been in the room while you watched this just to see you try to make sense of Law's powers because it took like 200 chapters for fandom to figure it out.
I got as far as "has a funny hat," not that this really distinguishes him from 90% of the extended cast. Honestly I tried not to focus too much on whose Devil Fruit was doing what and instead tried to soothe my brain by holding in my mind this very good picture of Chopper with Bugles on his hooves.
Ah yes, this is probably your first introduction to Round Chopper since he's yet to go through his metamorphosis where you're at in the manga.
All Chopper shapes are good Chopper shapes.
Personally not a fan of Buff Chopper but it's cool.
Chopper is shaped like a friend, and that's all.
Yeah it's kinda funny that the opening act spends all this time setting up this big colorful Pirate Party with a floating island and secret treasure, and then the last act is just "who can punch Night on Bald Mountain the hardest?"
Look they gotta save all the actually creative powers for the canon villains, so this guy gets to be a Final Fantasy boss before getting stomped by The Pirate Rangers.
It's corny as heck but I do love me a climax with a ragtag team of heroes and villains joining forces to defeat a common enemy, especially when said enemy says as much himself.
I'm always appreciative of more Boa Hancock content and Stampede fed me well.
Oh yeah it's very good-looking film, both in the sense of its sakuga highlights and in the sense that it includes Boa Hancock.
The OP anime is known for being uh, let's say inconsistent. Its quality is largely dependent on however well the lead director at the time is at managing a schedule, but when it needs to the series can look spectacular. And this anniversary movie is basically all the veteran staff flexing.
Structure-wise it's a simple movie, but as an animation highlight reel, there's some meaty style and complexity to sink your teeth into. Even though I might have been lost at sea in regards to the large cast of characters, I could certainly still appreciate the pageantry.
And while it's pretty light on story or theme compared to the series proper, I do like that it gives some important moments to some of the Straw Hats. Like hell yeah, Usopp gets a friendship speech.
Even Usopp deserves to look cool sometimes.
Oh believe me man, you aren't prepared for how cool Usopp's going to look down the line.
I don't doubt it! And I do wish Nami, for instance, got to do a bit more than stay on the ship for most of the runtime, but I can also understand that balancing the whole Straw Hat crew has gotta be an impossible task at this point.
The movie would need to be 8 hours long to let every single character get their due with a cool moment, but yeah a good half of Luffy's crew get sidelined because there's 40 other fan favorites who need to show off their powers. Like this guy, who's probably going to confuse you even more when you get back to the manga.
I just have to trust that the steampunk Luffy brother will make sense at some point that is most certainly not now.
It'll make sense before Fox News Big Bird at least.
I will say I'm very glad that I got far enough in the manga to understand what Log Poses are, because I can't imagine trying to suss that purely from the subtext of a 100 minute film.
Oh right, that macguffin that everyone's fighting over the whole time. Lemme tell you, the REAL fight was the brawl the OP fandom went through from the words written on this stupid little compass.
That hour-glass looking bastard was the spark to reignite a 20-year feud over translation that rages to this day.
Sounds like a real "laugh tale" to me!
But yeah, I'm very glad Luffy just shatters that gift shop clearance shelf decoration. May we never speak of it again.
Macguffins? Luffy doesn't need no stinkin' macguffins. Also lol what do you expect One Piece to do, end? I don't think so.
Instead Luffy does what he does with every movie villain. Punch the color out of them and remind them that this is HIS show.
Yep, everything goes down pretty much the way you'd expect things to go down, and that's pretty much the point. It's a shameless pat on the back for both the anime and its fans, but at over 900 episodes, I think they've earned it.
isn't my favorite OP
movie - there are a number of them with better pacing, stories, and a few with even more stylized and unique animation - but as a lengthy victory lap it does its job very well. Plus, again, it has Hancock, and thus had me making this face every time she was onscreen.
And it was, unsurprisingly, a strange experience for me, but in a pleasantly disorienting way. I'm definitely more excited about checking out some of the other films in the future (especially Mamoru Hosoda
's), but I'll always remember this assignment as the candle under my proverbial behind that got me to start reading the darn manga already. Because I really like it!
And for that alone I'm glad we decided to check this out (and Funimation
decided to stream it!). Have fun Steve, you've got a vast ocean ahead of you.
Thanks! Here's hoping I don't get seasick.