The longevity of the One Piece series is impressive, and it continues to raise the crowds, 22 years after the launch of the manga. It is therefore logical that the announcement of a new animated film is attracting interest. Announced in August 2018, One Piece Stampede is the 14th film of the animated franchise (or 13th if we do not take into account the medium-length One Piece 3D: In pursuit of the straw hat, reserved for exceptional events).
It was released on August 9, 2019 in Japanese cinemas and logically did not take long to point the tip of his nose at home. Previews have been offered in many cities.
Once is not custom, since it is the case since Strong World, Eiichiro Oda has an important role to play in the production of the film. We owe him the plot of the feature film as well as the new characters, an always welcome implication so that the result remains coherent with respect to the universe and the will of the author. His involvement allows us to weave a synopsis related to the main story.
This time, pirates from around the world are invited to the Pirates Festival, a huge party organized in the biggest secret by the enigmatic Buena Festa. While Luffy and his crew dock on the island where the event takes place and is delighted to participate in the great treasure hunt that promises an artifact of Gol D. Roger reward, a dark plot seems to wander. Trafalgar Law discovers its nature, and all this scheme seems to involve Douglas Bullett, a former member of the crew of the late King of Pirates.
A real festival for fans of One Piece
The title of this 14th feature film alone reflects all the intentions of Eiichiro Oda through this new story. Because Stampede is a real cavalcade, a deluge of action in the form of a treasure hunt as a real war on nearly 1h40, without taking the time to pause. The action almost never slows down in the movie that starts on the run, and will end soon after the final confrontation, without taking the time to develop a real epilogue. Is it a bad thing? Not at all, this desire being fully assumed, and Stampede seeking to offer fans of Straw Hat explosive entertainment from start to finish.
A real action festival … but also fan-service. Before you watch the movie, be aware that Eichiro Oda, in his plot, seems to have wanted to reward loyal fans for more than 90 volumes. Stampede then brings in a lot of key characters from the main adventure, makes unlikely alliances, and plays on all kinds of charismatic performances, with the main objective of making the spectator waggle on his seat.
And it is not a bad thing: If it is obviously impossible to give a role to everyone and that many appearances take place only in order to satisfy the fan, the festival side of the feature film works. Obviously, Stampede will lose all its flavor for those who know very little manga, many effects based on the relationship between the fan and the universe of Oda.
An agreed scenario?
However, it needed a plot to justify all this binge. The one proposed by Oda is totally honest for this kind of footage, because it plays on an antagonist linked to the main story against a backdrop of a plot with strong stakes. Because these stakes, they are growing throughout the adventure, and rest largely on a macguffin rather well found, even if we guess its purpose as soon as its nature is truly revealed. This is the limit of this kind of film: It is impossible for Stampede to truly advance the central adventure, because this is the role of the manga Eiichiro Oda.
Nevertheless, all the links tied to the crew of Gol D. Roger are well oiled, and constitute an honest argument to follow this confrontation against Douglas Bullett, a rather archetypal character that will only interest the viewer for what he has to say about the late King of the Pirates. Again, it’s inevitable for this kind of feature film, but that’s enough to allow 1h40 deluge action, although it’s not so much for his scenario that Stampede manages to captivate us.
Never mind, the agreed-upon aspect of the scenario never prevents the effectiveness of many scenes, be it the appearances of charismatic characters or the brave moments of the crew of Luffy. Essential ingredients to the saga that still work, and perhaps even more in this feature film that appeals to the emotion of the viewer.
Big show and explosive realization
The feature film is directed by Takashi Otsuka, a director who contributed little to One Piece, since he only owes a participation on Episode of east Blue and Gold, the previous film. The role entrusted to him was therefore welcome, and promised perhaps a little bit of nine-sidedness.
As such, Stampede does not disappoint at any time. Well aware of the rhythm of the feature film and Eiichiro Oda’s desire to make the film a festival for fans, Takashi Otsuka offers us a particularly nervous and dynamic staging, which relies punctually on very beautiful moments animation.
As such, all the climax of the film (although it is difficult to delimit it since a large part of the film consists of an immense confrontation against Douglas Bullett) is a great retinal pleasure. The image of the powers now disproportionate characters is particularly convincing, but also immersive! It must be said that the style of Masayuki Sato, the character-designer, on the film approaches a sleek side conducive to breathtaking battles, much like what Naohiro Shintani allowed in his paw with Dragon Ball Super Broly.
In this sense, discovering One Piece Stampede in cinema makes sense. The film lends itself totally to an experience in the best possible conditions, and the effectiveness of the show will work much better in a dark room. This is what once again expresses the ambition of this 14th film: To provide fans with 1h40 of pure entertainment based on incessant action … a real One Piece festival in the cinema, in short.
It is obvious that One Piece Stampede is a film that is primarily aimed at fans of the Eiichiro Oda manga, and readers updated on the release. Because it relies on a lot of characters and the emotional attachments of the viewer, the newcomer would benefit only extremely little of the effectiveness of entertainment. The result is a festival of action and fan-service, totally assumed and served by a careful realization that panics at times conducive, requiring everyone to hold his breath at certain times. We do not ask more for a feature film like this, which is why Stampede is an ultra-efficient entertainment that works well on fans.