Blu-ray Review: One Piece – Strong World

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It’s time to set sail for new seas in High Definition, as we see what Manga Entertainment UK’s Blu-ray release of One Piece: Strong World has to offer, so what were our thoughts of the film and its release? Find out in our Review.

Synopsis:

When the Straw Hats catch wind of trouble in the peaceful waters of the East Blue, they quickly set a course for home! But before they reach their destination, fate leads them into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki. This gravity-defying madman needs a navigator, and he wants Nami! Shiki scatters the Straw Hats across the far corners of a floating island filled with ferocious, genetically-mutated monsters, and issues Nami and ultimatum: join his crew – or her friends die!

Big mistake. Luffy kicks his attack mode into Third Gear and begins a brutal rampage across the beast-ridden island. It’s all hands on deck in Monkey vs. Lion. Winner gets the navigator!

Our View:

The tenth One Piece film, Strong World, has often been referred to as the best film in the One Piece franchise, not mostly because It’s production was overseen by the manga’s creator, Eiichiro Oda, but because it features its own complete story with new perils and lovable characters. For us the film was a 2 hour adventure ride that never wanted to stop, there were good points and there were bad points, but overall it left us feeling satisfied with what we had seen.

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The films story revolves around Shiki the golden lion, a notorious pirate captain who uses his devil fruit powers to forge his own paradise in the sky, however after hearing of Nami’s unique navigating talent he kidnaps her and sends the remaining Straw Hat Crew plummeting to the various islands he created in the sky. Angered by Shiki’s sudden act of deceit, and alone on the Sky Islands, Luffy attempts to re-join with the rest of his crew so that a plan can be formulated to rescue Nami, but this is easier said than done as each island is occupied by giant creatures – each one of which have been created by Shiki.

This is the general plot for the first half of the moive, whereby after a quick introduction (and recap to past events within the movie) the Straw Hat crew attempt to locate each other so that they can head-up to Shiki and rescue Nami as a team. This plan soon changes at around the half-way point, as when Shiki learns that the Straw Hat crew survived he sends minions out in order to defeat them. At first you assume it’s just a simple ploy to add some ‘fights’ to the film, but its actually a way for the film to be extended into it’s second hour with another storyline.

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This ‘second arc’ of the film sees the Straw Hat pirates learn that Shiki is planning to invade the East Blue and destroy it, a feat manageable by him not only using the monsters on the island but the endless hordes of Pirates and Pirate Captains that Shiki has invited to his mansion. When the Straw Hat Pirates discover this fact they storm the mansion for one final showdown, not only to rescue Nami but so that the East Blue can be saved from total destruction.

Whether it’s the films length or the rather ‘going-nowhere’ approach to the storyline we won’t be watching One Piece: Strong World again anytime soon, don’t get me wrong the film is entertaining and has a fair few comical banters, but once the credits are rolling you won’t be in a rush to watch it again straight after. I don’t want to sound cliché but it just doesn’t have that ‘X-FACTOR’ but at the end of the day this could all be down to personal taste, and it’s not because I don’t like One Piece either, because quite frankly I love it!

Extras:

While the overall film left us feeling hit and miss the extra features on the other hand were a clear disappointment, even though some thought had been taken into consideration. The only extra features you’ll find is ‘english’ produced bonus materials, such as the inclusion of a Behind The Scenes featurette and Trailers for various anime.

I say the additional content is disappointing because there is no Japanese related content or even an English Cast Audio Commentary, two things which (on movies at least) tend to be a common occurrence, but on the other hand at least we get a Behind the scenes featurette. This “Behind The Scenes of One Piece” segment is a 20-miunte long featurette which sees One Piece cosplayers asked about the One Piece franchise as well as the FUNimation One Piece: Strong World cast sharing their experience with casting Brook and introducing him.

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It’s an interesting extra feature as it shows what FUNimation were trying to achieve when casting the English Dub voice for Brook as well as their own opinions about the show and film. While this extra feature is called “Introducing Brook” it does contain ‘a lot’ of spoilers from the film, mostly scenes that involve Brook, so if you’ve yet to see the film then I would’nt exactly recommend watching this before it. That’s not the only drawback either as during the segments which sees fans asked about one piece there is some minor visual errors (jagged lines), errors that suggest an encoding problem occurred during production of this particular piece of content.

The final ‘additional’ pieces of content on the disc are the original FUNimation trailer for the One Piece: Strong World, which is also available on Manga UK’s YouTube channel, and two trailers for K-ON, one of which suffers from visual errors due to being a Standard Definition video on a HD product.

Specs:

Media: BD 50
Region: B
Running Time: 1:59:21
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby True HD 5.1 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

One Piece: Strong World provides two hours worth of brand new indepedant storytelling, whereby the Straw Hat Crew find themselves chasing after a new opponent in hopes of saving their friend, but along the way a darker plot is a foot and so they must work together as a team to put a stop to it. As you’d expect from One Piece there is plenty of comical banter, drama and emotion (especially when it comes to Nami leaving an audio message for the Straw Hat crew) but unfortunately despite it’s 2 hour runtime there isn’t many ‘explosive’ fights or ‘memorable’ scenes. Don’t get me wrong the film does feature the occasional fight, but disappointingly as soon as it starts going it’s over, which the same can’t be said for the film itself, as when you think it’s about to end it keeps on going.

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While the overall film left me unimpressed, it was fun to watch, furthermore the Blu-ray quality of this film is worth mentioning. All of the one piece characters, including characters that have yet to be introduced in UK releases, have been re-drawn and animated, not to mention thanks to the inclusion of High Definition technology the whole film is insanely detailed and sharp.

When compared against the TV series it makes it look like a completely different anime, but I guess that’s the age (and budget) difference talking. When it comes to the audio options however that’s a different matter, as while both are 5.1 HD Surround audio tracks the voices are lower than the surrounding noises, and as such it can be difficult to hear what’s being said. This problem only occurs through home cinema kits, so it shouldn’t effect most viewers. Speaking of the films Audio due to licensing agreements the ‘original’ Japanese ending song “Fanfare” by Mr Children has been replaced with an alternate ending song. This issue effects every release outside of Japan, fortunately it doesn’t effect the films overall performance (as the song does not play until the credits appear), but it’s worth mentioning for those who enjoyed that particular song. Speaking of end credits don’t forget to stick around ‘after’ the credits for a special end of credits scene.

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Overall One Piece: Strong World is an independent story within the One Piece franchise, and as such doesn’t rely on information from the TV Series. This means that as long as you are familiar with the main straw hat crew you’ll easily be able to understand what’s taking place, as during the films runtime the plot (or Shiki’s plan) is eventually laid out and made clear. As a whole I found the film to be entertaining but it seemed to miss something ; however in terms of this Blu-ray release the film may be visually stunning but the lack of bonus content is disappointing. In hindsight if you are a One Piece fan than owning Strong World is a no brainer, but if you have interest in One Piece then this film might be worth checking out – as it features everything one piece has to offer in a single feature-length film.

Score: review-stars-3

One Piece – Strong World will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack from the 30th June 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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