This is the eleventh One Piece movie, theoretically taking place after the Fishman Island arc. It is not dedicated to any particular crew member since by now the plot is so slow it will be years before another one joins in. Just like all movies, it is a filler mission with a good budget and a simplistic plot.
The story is about an ex Navy admiral planning to destroy all the pirates in the New World by erupting volcanoes in certain islands. As usual, the Strawhats just happen to accidentally bump into him and march to stop him before he kills not only them but also all the civilian population in the New World.
As it usually happens with filler movies, they nerf a lot of superpowers of the canon storyline and even contradict a few in-laws for the sake of entertainment. So don’t go asking how the devil does the Navy control weapons that rival the ancient doomsday devises but doesn’t use them all this time. Or why isn’t Luffy spamming his Haki everywhere he goes and rather fights minion soldiers that are simply not worth fighting. Or why is he on par in strength with a guy who is basically above all admirals. Sure, he has Haki now but still is nowhere near ready to fight an admiral; much less his super teacher.
Unlike most movies, Zephyr, the main villain in this one is rather sympathetic. With constant flashbacks this maniac who wants to kill tens of millions shows how he lost everything he ever loved and now cares about nothing but revenge, regardless of how many will die in the process. He even goes as far as to present himself as someone who lives to achieve his dreams, just like Luffy and any other ambitious pirate aims in the show; so as crazy as it feels he is fitting in with the ideals the anime is oozing with.
Sadly the rule of cool is overshadowing his drama, since the movie is more about flashy battles and fan service than trying to have solid characterization. One of the villains’ underlings has the power to make anyone she touches younger. Yeah, ok, we already have another female pirate with the same power; don’t try to make sense of it. So she manages to affect half the crew and they turn to much younger versions of themselves. Specifically, Nami turns to a moe loli and Robin turns to a hot 18 year old. And they spend of the story being cute and playful like this is K-On. Seriously; you end up looking at all the pandering instead of giving a damn about the world being at the brink of destruction. And let’s not forget the fujoshi service when the guys are naked in the bath.
Furthermore the second underling has the power to control plants and you would normally expect Usopp to fight him since he is the specialist in that field. But no, he is so nerfed in this movie he is just a useless comic relief. In fact, besides Luffy who is there to unavoidably fight the main villain, everybody else is excess baggage. The girls are just there for softporn, and the rest are dressed as if this is a circus. I mean, pink afros??? That role belongs to Buggy’s crew! And don’t think I missed the tribute to Dragonball when Luffy goes Kaio Ken (ok, Gear Third, but it’s the same damn thing) and yells ZEEEEDOOO! I understand it is a movie and they had to throw in something extra but this is ridiculous. Even guilty pleasure needs to be a bit subtle from a point on.
The same major problem I had with the previous movie, Strong World, exists here as well. Although all the admirals are aware of the threat, for the most part they don’t do shit and let the Strawhats to do all the work THEY should be doing. Ok, they appear at a couple of scenes but only to take out whatever the good guys left in their path and NOT to protect the world or something like that. Furthermore I wasn’t even getting why they are so concerned to save the New World in the first place. So what if so many innocents die; they will get rid of all the major pirates and finally bring order to the world. It’s not like they weren’t willing to break a few eggs to do that; the whole of CP9 arc was after all about the navy’s dark justice. They are willing to blow up entire islands that happen to stumble upon a few notes from the forbidden history and massacre millions in order to keep it secret but now all of a sudden they care for justice? What, dark justice has its limits? Isn’t it all about the end justifies the means anymore? THIS MAKES NO BLOODY SENSE!
Anyways, despite the attempts at having a dramatic story, it is still weak as hell and despite trying to pass as super epic and world-shaking, it only ends up being a silly stroll of the Strawhats through a damn circus. I mean at one point they need to gather money for provisions and have the moe girls of the crew working in a way that I could only describe as whoring themselves. And the scene where their bodies switch sizes and ages is hotter that the final showdown near an active volcano. Talk about priorities!
Baron Omatsuri is still the only worthy One Piece movie, even if it’s dated and has far less flashy battles and fan service.