This is the first One Piece movie, theoretically taking place after Usopp joins the crew and before Sanji is introduced. Just like all movies, it is a filler mission with a good budget and a simplistic plot. And indeed, the story is just about the Strawhat Pirates trying to find a great treasure before an evil pirate crew does. Why? Well, the adventure sounds like fun and there is a kid asking for their help, so how can their shounen hearts say no?
As simple as it all sounds though, I must say the premise is quite far fetched for the point in the storyline it was thrown in. The treasure is supposed to be around 1/3rd of the world’s riches and the main villain has weird Dragonball super powers. It just doesn’t feel like that sort of grand-scale premise fits into the weakest and calmest of the world’s seas. This is something one would normally expect after the CP9 are introduced. Hell, why is there even a character called El Drago, when the main series already has Dragon? But hey, since when do filler movies try to be consistent? Anyways, a notice must be given to how the real form of the pirate treasure may as well be the real One Piece of the main series. Since Oda takes ideas even from these movies into the canon story later on, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is so. In a way the first movie may be spoiling one of the greatest mysteries of the show.
As epic as it sounds though, the overall plot is as I said quite simple and unimpressive, and has the usual kid asking the heroes to help out fuss. So you will just watch this for the action scenes, which are not bad at all. They are definitely longer and more elaborate than those of the earlier Ganzack OVA and there is even a mini-boss for Zoro to fight and show off his powers properly. If there is something I didn’t like is how final boss El Drago was being defeated constantly with his own power turned against him and he didn’t just stick to using cutting attacks. I also didn’t understand how Luffy could block or deflect energy beams but then again I am overthinking in a shounen filler movie. Let’s just say I didn’t like how Luffy didn’t really use any actual strategy in battle other than having infinite stamina and using the attacks against the bad guy. Cheap!
In all, it is quite the passable movie. The story is too simple and even out of sync with the point it’s supposed to take place, while the action, as flashy as it may be, lacks any real excitement once you realize the protagonist has plot armour.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 2/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 1/2
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 1/4
The first One Piece movie takes place after the Syrup Village Arc and is another middling affair that gives fans a concise little story arc to enjoy, though doesn't really go above and beyond to provide anything more than a forgettable experience.
The pirate Wooman spent his life collecting all the gold he had and hid it on an island. Of course, this catches the attention of the Going Merry but also the evil captain El Drago. The two crews face off and El Drago reveals he has a devil fruit power allowing him to shoot soundwave beams from his mouth. Luffy and Zoro get separated from Nami and Usopp and everyone meets on the island where Wooman buried his treasure.
This is all pretty basic and works as a one-shot adventure in the context of One Piece. The problem is, it's following the generic One Piece formula that pervades the early arcs. Bad pirates on an island, a child who has some hope or dream and learns a valuable lesson through the journey, there's an old man who wants to feed his oden to Wooman, who was his childhood friend. Lots of melodrama for what is a pretty weak and generic plot.
With One Piece if the plot is lacking or drags, you can usually depend on a bad guy or some character to keep you engaged. In the Syrup Village Arc, I hated Usopp and I was uninterested in a lot of what was happening but Kuro was devious and cool and so I enjoyed watching the crew fight him even if the circumstances weren't engaging. This film fails to establish a good villain and I think that's what sinks the ship. El Drago is not given any development, he's not really interesting in design, and his devil fruit power is generic as well. The final battle, the culmination of our story, also doesn't impress just because El Drago sucks and there is no emotional reason to invest yourself.
As far as entertainment goes, this is a watchable film but not one that really pulled me in. It's just kind of average, an adventure that fans of One Piece will enjoy but won't sell the series to people who dislike it or are just starting out.
Overall, meh. I think you may be better off skipping this and going straight to the excellent Baratie arc.
Better then the OVA but it's just a longer episode, which is fine imho. A nice boss with a good lieutenant for Zoro, Nami and Usopp are there. Like 40+ servings of Oden for 11. This time we follow the crew on the finding of a litteral mountian of gold only to find a skeleton and a note saying he's Robin Hood.
Pros: New abilities i don't think[as of eps ~500] we have seen a sonic or voice activated devil fuit/fruit user=good boss, interesting story-line.
Cons: Regular OP child running around unsupervised being forced into slavery/servitude=make a child wish come true Santa Luffy.
Base-line charaters, new abilities/enimies, good story with some feels, basic music[again].