One Piece Movie: Red Movie Review


One of the oldest and most iconic manga/anime franchises in the world, A play, created by Eiichiro Oda, has been running for over 1,000 episodes and counting. In testimony of A playenduring popularity, the franchise released its 15th animated film, One Piece Movie: Red, in commemoration of the anime series reaching its historic episode count. However, although for a long time A play fans will find a lot to love about this new film, Red may leave new viewers behind with its overlong runtime and myriad intrusive musical sequences.

The movie obviously taking place some time after the “Wano Country” story arc in the manga and anime series, Red a Monkey D. Luffy, the leader of the Straw Hat Pirates, reuniting with his long-lost childhood friend, Uta. Now an accomplished pop star with an adoring fanbase, Uta hosts a music festival on the devastated island of Elegia, hoping to unite rival factions under a sonic banner of peace and harmony. This gig quickly turns sour as Luffy and his friends uncover a surreal plot that could reshape their world forever as familiar friends and foes resurface for the star-studded event.

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Where One Piece Movie: Red succeeds is that its fan-favorite characters reunite for another grand adventure and the resulting kinetic action plays. Red take full advantage of the reunion of the Straw Hat Pirates and their allies, the Red Hair Pirates, for an epic team that will bend the laws of space as they scramble to save the day. With breathtaking lush backgrounds and captivating combat sequences, A play always knows how to deliver a thrilling reversal, and those sets are easily the highlight of the whole movie.

Where One Piece Movie: Red fails is its decision to include an extremely high number of musical sequences, to the point where the film looks more like a musical which happens to have A play characters in it. Performed by true Japanese pop star Ado, there are certainly several catchy songs in the film’s soundtrack, including its opening number, “New Genesis.” However, with eight songs included in the film in total, these sequences disturb the rhythm of the story and tend to mix.

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What makes this error more noticeable is that the song and dance numbers inflate the film’s runtime to almost two hours and often serve as clumsy punctuation for drama and action scenes. This brings any sense of narrative momentum to a screeching halt as Uta launches into another extended bubblegum pop-infused setting. There are moments of brilliance and genuinely emotional character gains throughout. Redbut they’re overshadowed by the rattle and buzz of the film’s ubiquitous soundtrack and the tendency to lean into too articulate exposition to catch up with audiences between songs.

With Uta and her connection to the Red Hair Pirates playing a major role in the film, One Piece Movie: Red can inform how the future of the anime series unfolds accordingly. In the meantime, there’s little need to watch the film for more casual fans or viewers curious about the franchise. A mixed bag that obscures its assets with oversaturated pop music and blinding lights, Red offers fans some great backdrops if they can resist the musical barrage. For those looking for an accessible point to catch A play to his favorite, Redsadly, underutilizes the usual anime strengths.

Directed by Gorô Taniguchi, One Piece Film: Red opens in select North American theaters on November 4.


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