Hello. Justin here, welcome to the Otaku Mind and welcome to another edition Memories of One Piece. With a new One Piece film set to come out this August, I thought it be fun to talk about the One Piece film collection. Over the years, One Piece has had a number of movies all of which have been good with their self-contained stories and some even being specials that cover past arcs to bring newcomers up to speed on the series. Everyone has their favorite film but the one film that everyone loves to talk about is movie 6, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island. While not the one I consider the best nor is it my favorite, it is one that I did like watching and the one film that both fans and non-fans seem to talk about the most. When it first came out it received a lot of mixed reviews but over the years it’s gained a following as being ranked one of the best. Why is that? What makes this film stand out from the other One Piece films/specials that have come before and after it? Let’s look into this shall we.
The film starts with the Strawhats receiving an invitation to an island resort run by the mysterious Baron Omatsuri who will only allow them to enjoy the resort after they complete ‘The Trials of Hell’. They win the first trial but Omatsuri keeps challenging them to more trials and for each trial a rift starts to come between the crew. It eventually gets revealed that Omatsuri plans to feed the Strawhats to a dangerous flower known as the Lily Carnation a plant that can reincarnate people. Omatsuri wants to feed the crew to the plant in order to revive his dead crewmates that he lost years ago.
The Director and Animation
The one thing that really stands out about this film is who they got to direct it, Mamoru Hosoda, the same guy who directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the Digimon movies, Summer Wars, and The Boy and The Beast. The film came out in 2005 which was when Mamoru had shortly returned to Toei after leaving Ghibli due to creative differences. You see originally, Mamoru was supposed to direct Howl’s Moving Castle but the bosses at Ghibli wanted him to make the film similar to how Miyazaki would have made it which didn’t sit well with Mamoru who wanted to make the film his way. After failing to come up with a concept acceptable by Ghibli’s bosses, Mamoru left the studio in the early productions of the film, and returned to Toei where he worked on a few projects which caught the eye of Madhouse who hired him in 2005 so this film was the last film he did for Toei before leaving. Since Mamoru was directing this film, he bought that unique animation style you see in all his films that was different from the other films and anime. In fact, later episodes of the anime would actually go on to adapt a similar art style to this film. Because of this the film had a lot more frames to work with allowing for more motion and facial expressions from the characters and the background art was more detailed and realistic. On top of that it also went well with the dark atmosphere the film would go on to create which I’ll talk about in the next section. Anyway, this animation style was impressive for the series at the time and really showed One Piece in a new light that we didn’t know existent.
This movie is dark
The second thing that really stands out about this film is, it’s dark. Seriously, out of all the One Piece films this is by far the darkest of the bunch and goes against the nature of the series. Unlike the other films which were carefree, high strung, and stayed true to the nature of the series, this film was dark and a little scary. Omatsuri’s plan throughout the whole film is to feed the Strawhats to a plant just so he can reincarnate his dead crew. That is some FMA shit right there and he actually succeeds in getting everyone except Luffy and it’s a pretty gruesome scene as the plant absorbs the crew and Luffy is forced to watch despite his best efforts to save them. While Luffy would go on to save them, for a short while the Strawhat crew was dead.
Another dark moment in this film is that this was the first time we’ve even seen the Strawhats have a legit fight with each other. Yeah, they’ve had disagreements in the past and Zoro and Sanji constantly fight each other but those were mostly played for comedic effects and not to be taken all that seriously. It’s like you and a friend arguing over which animes to watch first when you know that at in the end, you’re gonna end up watching them all. Here, it’s not played for comedic affects, the crew is literally being torn apart by Omatsuri’s tricks and it’s very heartbreaking to see this crew who enjoy the company of each other and gave us so many laughs fight amongst themselves. However, it’s also a very effective way to take down the Strawhats. Everyone usually tries to overwhelm the Strawhats with brute force while a few have tried to outsmart the crew only to fail, so seeing someone try the break the crew emotionally and make them not trust each other is actually pretty smart and something we’ve never seen before in the series until Water 7 where we see just how emotionally painful everyone feels when a member of their crew leaves.
Omatsuri is sympathetic
Despite Omatsuri being the main villain for this film he’s actually a sympathetic character in the end. Unlike the other villains of One Piece who are looking to cease power or money, Omatsuri is just trying to revive his crewmates. While his methods are wrong, I can’t help but feel a little sad for him. To Omatsuri his crew meant everything to him and when they died, he was all alone with no one to rely on or talk to. While we don’t get to see much of the past with his crewmates just the lengths, he’s willing to go to get them back and the artificial crewmates that were created based off his memories you can tell this was a closely-knit crew. I would honestly make the argument that their relationship was similar to that of the Strawhats. They weren’t just comrades sailing the sea together they were more than that, something stronger. I daresay they were, nakama. They clearly enjoyed the company of each other and shared the same goals of traveling the world together. Whether they were after riches, power, or fame is anyone’s guess but as long as they were together, they were enjoying life to the fullest. I can’t help but think that if the circumstances were different, the Strawhats and Omatsuri’s crew might have been friends with each other.
Like I said before I don’t consider this to be the best One Piece film nor do I see it as my favorite but it is the one that the stands out the most of the films and gave something different. It showed us that One Piece could be dark and left a lasting impression on us than the other films before it and some after it. I don’t know if One Piece will ever go this dark again but if it does Mamoru has showed us that it can work and it if doesn’t, then this film will always be the one that stands out the most among the films for fans and non-fans. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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