“The Sea carries us carefully, through the dark of night and light of day, to a world that’s just and peaceful, so we never lose our way.”
From the grand and disturbing vision of the great Eiichiro Oda comes One Piece Film: Z, an expansive adventure set in the New World. Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine and released in Japan in 2012, the film has now been given the Funimation treatment and is being released in the UK dubbed into English (Japanese with subtitles is also available).
If you follow the story using the UK releases do be aware that One Piece Film: Z is seven years ahead of where we are currently up to in the storyline. However, it is a standalone and doesn’t really give too much away!
It’s cherry blossom season and the Straw Hats Pirates are celebrating aboard the Thousand Sunny with a party. But the festivities are soon interrupted when volcanic ash begins to fall from the sky.
The Marines have dropped the ball and allowed the Dyna Stones (powerful artifacts capable of creating massive explosions when exposed to oxygen) to be taken from a heavily guarded base. Master Z (Jeremy Schwartz – Ghost In The Shell: Arise, OAV) has used them to destroy the first End Point. If the other two are also destroyed, it will mean the end of all life.
Unaware for now of their predicament, the Straw Hats decide to set sail, unwisely but at their captain’s orders, towards the source of the disturbance. When they spot a sailor cast adrift, they pick him up and offer medical treatment at Chopper’s insistence. Unfortunately, their guest is none other than Master Z (or Admiral Zephyr as he used to be known), who has a fist made of Sea Prism stone and a pathological dislike of both Pirates and the One Piece.
When his ship and crew turn up to collect him, the Straw Hats find themselves in all kinds of trouble as Ain (Lauren Landa) and Binz (Matthew Mercer) display their fiendish devil fruit powers to devastating effect.
Now it seems that ex Admiral Aokiji (Jason Douglas – Jormungand) and a somewhat decimated crew of Straw Hats may be all that stands between the world and total destruction.
As you would expect from a One Piece film, this is none stop action from start to finish, with lots of awesome moves being showcased by all concerned. There is also a considerable upgrade in the quality of animation from the series, with the whole thing being glossy, colourful and quite magnificent.
There is also a great soundtrack, with an ongoing theme running through, written by Yasutaka Nakata and the end credits provided by Avril Lavigne.
This is clearly a must own for all fans of One Piece, but would still be enjoyable to the casual observer, a brilliantly good fun film that you will want to watch again and again.
“We violent, conspicuous types can hit up the hot-springs before our next fight.”
One Piece Film: Z is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from “25th May 2015.