Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Gold, it’s what everyone strives to get. For years people have been rewarded with gold. Athletes get gold trophies and metals for their victory, you were rewarded with gold coins in ancient times, and even in video games, gold is of high value. Also, it’s name of the latest One Piece film. Released in 2016 and even being shown in select US theatres in 2017, Gold is the latest film in the One Piece library. This is a movie I’ve been wanting to review for quite sometime but since my priority was on other projects, this film kept getting pushed back until today. I’m caught up on all my projects and I finally have a free week in the schedule. So what’s there to say about the Gold film? For starters, it’s awesome. It’s One Piece, so of course it’s gonna be good. The movie was produced by Toei Animation (DBZ and One Piece) and did quite good at the box offices in Japan. Oda, for the most part, really didn’t have much involvement with the movie outside of getting one of his favorite bands Glim Spanky to perform the movie’s theme song and designing the clothes of the characters but according to him, out of all the One Piece films, this is his favorite. Let’s raise our sails and check out the glory that is One Piece Gold.
So the film opens on the island (or ship) of Gran Tesoro the largest entertainment island in the world (basically this world’s version of Las Vegas except cooler and a lot cleaner). We get treated to a song number (with a big band and everything. It’s like something out of a Lupin III movie) which introduces us to the big baddy of the movie Gild Tesoro aka the Gold Emperor voiced by Kazuhiro Yamaji (Bang from One Punch Man) the man in charge of Gran Tesoro and a man who likes to entertain his guest. While he’s doing a concert in front of a live audience and pirates the Straw Hat crew arrives and enters the island where it literally rains gold (that can’t be healthy. Scene here: https://youtu.be/myrW29nECjs). Yeah, you’ll quickly see that everything on this island is gold (hence the name of the movie) and apparently Gild can control it thanks to his devil fruit power. The Straw Hats land in the middle of his concert where a group of pirates who lost all their money in the casinos attacks them trying to get their gold (jokes on you, they don’t have any gold. If they do than Nami’s hiding it). This leads to a fight scene where the movie is kind enough to introduce us to the members of the crew as well as give us their bounties (which should be obvious if you’ve been keeping up with this series. If you haven’t read up to the timeskip yet than this is a movie I wouldn’t recommend to newcomers to the series). We get a good fight scene as everyone gets a chance to show off their skills and Gild finishes off the one-shot pirates by turning them into gold (scene here: https://youtu.be/j1NzdC8a23U). After the title drop they arrive at the port where they meet the lovely Baccarat who says they’re VIPs. They get their own turtle powered car (that’s so weird and yet so cool at the same time) and get a grand tour of Gran Tesoro (which honestly, I would love to visit. Scenes here: https://youtu.be/PoEV1usfnJ0?t=5s and https://youtu.be/TTTXU_gnVFs?t=5s).
Before going into the casino (and dressed to kill) a group of kids come begging them to buy their roses which are worth 5,000 berries (5,000! That’s like 50 Choppers! Get out of here) but Baccarat shoos them away and we cut to Gild who is planning something devious for the Straw Hat crew (take it from me, let them have their fun and watch them leave. Try to cross them and you will regret it. Just asks the World Government). When in the casino, Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper join a turtle race where the winner wins 100,000 berries. Once again, it’s a short scene (not even 5 minutes) but there was a lot of effort put into it. The characters are only one-shot but they got a lot of personality, the race is fun and exciting, and we get a first person perspective on the race where they actually imitate a short free fall, that’s not easy to pull off. In the end Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper win (scene here: https://youtu.be/Npva8zHvaaM) and from there the crew keeps winning earning 300,000 berries. Baccarat invites them to the VIP room where they can participate in a special gamble where the winners become billionaires and they accept. They go to the VIP room where they meet Tanaka (???: The granter of your desires. (Nitsuj): No not him) head of security and eater of the Phase Phase fruit which allows him to pass through anything (and I mean anything). Once inside they see that the main game is dice (you remember that dice game from Samurai Champloo? Same concept only instead we use big dice because of reasons. Scene here: https://youtu.be/uuzukm-aSdQ?t=5s). Luffy bets and manages to win (let it ride) but Gild comes in and challenges him to a bet where if he wins Gild will pay 10 times his earning (that’s like a drop in a bucket of water for Gild). Luffy takes him up on that bet where he loses thanks to Baccarat who has the ability to steal the luck from people thanks to her devil fruit. Before the bet she touched Luffy and gave him bad luck. By losing the bet the Straw Hats are now in debt and refuse to pay back the money they owe thus they’re forced to work on the island just like everyone else (man this place is Vegas fully realized). They try to fight back but that fails and just before Zoro can get completely turned into a gold statue (strike a pose Zoro. Yeah, when they entered the island gold rained down on them. That was Gild’s gold, it’s stuck to them and he can control it) Nami caves in and says they’ll pay him back and he gives them until 8pm tomorrow to give him his money or he’ll execute Zoro in front of a live audience.
As they walk the streets they meet up with a girl named Carina a thief from the East Blue who Nami used to team up with until she betrayed Nami and left her in the hands of pirates who were going to kill her and she stole all of Nami’s gold one time (and they call Nami a bitch). She’s working undercover as Gild’s lackey to steal his treasure which is a grand total of 500 billion berries (I could buy a small nation and make it my own). She has the key to the safe but she needs help getting the treasure so the group agrees to teammate up with her and get the money (so we’re going Ocean’s 11 and Lupin III up on this island? I approve). We then cut to Gild relaxing in a tub (of gold. This guy is making Scrooge McDuck look normal) while meeting with a member of CP0 who’s come to collect the money for the Celestial Dragons and who is this member you ask. . . Spandam, the same Spandam we met during the Enies Lobby arc and it’s not just him, Rob Lucci is on the way, and Sabo and Koala are also on the island on some mission (always good to see old faces). The next night they set their plan to steal Gild’s treasure into action. The treasure is located inside a dome in a tower. The dome is coated in Gild’s gold so he’ll notice right away if anyone tries to steal it. The only way to infiltrate the dome is through a spiral staircase but it’s crawling with security snails so they’ll need to take out those snails. Luffy and Franky (Team A) will climb the tower from the outside, infiltrate the control room and take control of the main snail to freeze the cameras. Team B (which is everyone else) will use the casino’s elevator to get to the VIP room, sneak past Tanaka and security, make their way to the dome, steal the gold, and use the backdoor to escape while carrying the gold out in laundry carts (and then meet back at the hotel for wine and meat).
Luffy and Franky climb the tower where they have a few close calls of almost falling off but manage to get into the clock (we even get a cameo appearance from Absalom. Starting to think I should put up a cameo counter. We’ve already got 6). Team B manages to make it pass Tanaka by hiding in one of the big cups and we get a funny scene where Brook almost gets caught by security but thanks to him being dead he’s alright (scene here: https://youtu.be/YafUAS1oMJ8). Team B reaches the spiral staircase just as Luffy and Franky reach the transmitter snail where they get discovered and Luffy has a fight with Gild where he gets beaten (scene here: https://youtu.be/vGYM8VnLvDI). With the plan screwed team B makes a run for it where they wind up in the Hyper Suite reserved for the Celestial Dragons. While that’s going on Luffy and Franky get tossed down into the Gold Prison where there’s no food or water just gold and lots of it (well this is ironic. They’re surrounded by what they wanted but they don’t have what they need). While in the prison they meet a few other prisoners such as Raise Max a famous gambler who is now a part of the Revolutionary Army. The prisoners say the only way to get the gold dust off their body is to wash it with seawater and the only way to get to the sea is to travel down a pipe which is guarded by golden bats. Back with Team B they pose as Celestial Dragons (with Usopp killing it) to trick guards and scare them away (scene here: https://youtu.be/RmeEjViYA14, what is up with Brook dressing as a woman? You still have time to put in Bon Clay. I’d love to see what he’s been up to).
Back with Luffy, with the help of everyone they manage to reach the pipelines which connect to the sea (anybody up for a swim in the ocean?) while Team B use their disguises to reach the safe and open it only to discover they’ve been tricked by Carina and Gild has been watching them this whole time (it was rigged from the beginning just like McDonald’s monopoly). The safe leads them to the sky stage where they’ll have a front row seat to Zoro’s execution. But Gild isn’t done yet, he traps Luffy and the others in the room with the pipes where Luffy let’s in the seawater and now they’re trap with no way out and are slowly drowning (man he’s devious). Just when it seems like Gild has won the lights go out and seawater just starts raining down on the city (they pulled an Ocean’s 11). Carina’s little betrayal was just an act. Their plan all along was to get Luffy and Franky thrown into the gold prison so Franky could switch the pipelines up and make it rain seawater on the city thus making Gild’s rules obsolete and making the playing field even (scene here: https://youtu.be/KFVEtGJ838U). As Zoro rubs it in Gild’s face that he got played, Gild gets pissed and we see his past where we see he had a pretty tragic life (as does every One Piece character but you don’t see them complaining about it). As a kid, he loved to sing and dreamed of one day being a star. However, the circumstances of his life wouldn’t let him. He was raised in a poor home, his dad died from illness, his mom was an alcoholic (I think they got the rolls reversed), he was betrayed by his friends, was beating up because he was in debt, lost the woman he loved to a celestial dragon, and even he himself was sold into slavery where he was laughed at and forbidden to smile. This leads to the climax of the movie where for the last 20 minutes (around there) all we get is straight up action, viewpoints of life, close calls, and laughs (it’s like everything you enjoy in One Piece is jammed packed into these last 20 minutes and it’s great). Gild uses all the gold to create a giant version of himself to fight Luffy, Zoro takes on Dice who seems to be enjoying this fight way more than he should, Sanji and Robin take on Tanaka, and Usopp, Brook, and Chopper test their luck against Baccarat. Hell, we even get a short fight scene between Rob Lucci and Sabo (that fight sounds awesome), and even Spandam gets his ass handed to him by Luffy (scene here: https://youtu.be/g9ZDn8kvkjk). In the end the Straw Hats hit the jackpot and take out Gild along with his executives (scenes here: https://youtu.be/dR2vqWIjsdc, https://youtu.be/kKPzcWQRoNw, https://youtu.be/vheISGijdHg, and potjack https://youtu.be/hAo_LnZWwJ4). As the count down for the island’s destruction begins, Carina steers it away while everyone evacuates. Once the counter reaches zero the island doesn’t explode but instead fireworks go off. Carina tricked them all and now has the island and treasure all for herself (a thief to the end).
So that was One Piece Gold and it’s awesome. I mean it, I can understand why Oda considers this to be his favorite of all the movies. It’s exciting, fun, hilarious, creative, and just a joy to watch. The Straw Hat crew is great from beginning to end and will keep you laughing with their antics and personalities. I especially love all of their costumes. Oda did a fantastic job on them like always. Once he gets done with One Piece he should consider a career change into clothing and start designing cosplay outfits or clothes in general. The island of Gran Tesoro is so cool. Like I said, it’s like Las Vegas fully realized or what would happen if Casinopolis from Sonic the Hedgehog got moved to the world of One Piece. I really do wish this place was canon in the One Piece series or at least there’s an island similar to Gran Tesoro down the line. The animation is sharp and great. There’s so much detail that went into everything. Most of the characters in this film are only one-shot characters but they have so much personality, character, and unique designs that you want them to stick around and get to know them. The snails being used as security cameras, owls being used as an infrared security system, and turtles being used as the power source for cars is brilliant and a clever way to get past the technology barrier without being so convoluted or messing up the flow of the original series. But the best thing by far in this movie is the soundtrack. No joke, this is the best soundtrack I’ve heard from any of the One Piece films so far. Everybody in the sound team just goes all out here and delivers with each music piece. The fight scenes were great as well. While they all take place near the final minutes of the film, they make those minutes count as each fight feels different and everyone uses their skills and powers perfectly. I think my favorite fight had to be the Baccarat fight just for how funny and clever it is. I love how such a simple devil fruit that doesn’t seem very battle-oriented can be so devastating when used correctly and I love how in the end Baccarat isn’t defeated by strength, but instead by her own cockiness and Usopp outsmarting her which fits with his character. Usopp isn’t about power (we have Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, and Franky for that), he’s about taking a beating, outlasting his opponent, and then outsmarting them to earn the victory because he’s smarter than them (he’s a guy who always has the odds stacked up against him but always finds a way to pull through).
If I had to name my complaints it would come down to 2 things. The first is Gild. While he’s not a bad character and a creative one at that, he’s pretty forgettable. He doesn’t leave that much of an impact on me as say Shiki or Z. His backstory is tragic and sad but it feels like a watered-down version of Doflamingo’s past. I would have liked to learn more about his past such as how he got his devil fruit, established his crew, amassed his fortune, and came up with the idea of Gran Tesoro. My other complaint is the movie isn’t really open to newcomers. This film assumes you’ve read One Piece and are caught up on all of the events happening in the manga so if you haven’t read past the Dressrosa arc I highly recommend you hold off on watching this film.
The final score for the Gold film is an impressive 8.5/10. Despite it’s slight flaws, this film has definitely proven to be the best One Piece film out there. I really enjoyed watching it and if your fan of One Piece and like movies like Ocean’s 11 you’ll enjoy this film a lot. No doubt about it, One Piece Gold is pure 24k gold. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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