Tom Smith sails through Luffy’s first three films
With One Piece currently racking in at 150+ episodes so far released in the UK (and nearly 650 in Japan!), it can be daunting getting immersed into its world of stretchy treasure seekers, talking reindeer and hordes of bearded boat farers fighting to become the King of Pirates.
There’s an alternative, which fans who are fully up-to-date and casual viewers and newcomers alike can enjoy; the One Piece movies! Each is entirely self-contained, with entirely new plots not found in Eiichiro Oda’s original manga, but are every bit as enjoyable.
The first three of these movies are about to hit DVD for the first time in the UK, available in one swanky boxset from Manga Entertainment. In Japan, it’s become a tradition for a One Piece film to hit cinemas just in time for the spring break, usually played as part of an anime double-bill screening – what a great way to spend the school holidays!
Don’t let the fact that they were double-bills make you think that they are any less of a movie. Collectively, those first three films managed to secure the equivalent of an impressive £41.5 million at the box office, even topping box office charts on some weeks.
The very first of the One Piece movies is very simple titled One Piece. If you’re new to the universe, all you need to know is up until now Luffy and his crew of Straw Hat Pirates have been busy going about a pirates life on empty stomachs – they had forgotten to employ the most important crew member of all, the cook! While drifting, with bellies rumbling, they cross paths with a dastardly bunch of crooks under the helm of a Captain El Drago who are seeking the lost legend of Great Gold Pirate Woonan’s… great… gold. Plenty of treasure map based shenanigans ensue!
Movie number two comes with the subheading Clockwork Island Adventure, and was the biggest box office hit of the three. Here, the Straw Hat Pirates are forced into wearing fetching rental wedding gear and to venture forth in a one-person paddle boat following the theft of their ship as the crew were distracted by warm weather. But, as they seek out their lost belongings, they also unwittingly find out about the fabled Diamond Clock from Clockwork Island, and suddenly their belongings become the last things on their mind…
Last, but by no means least, is the third One Piece movie; Chopper’s Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals. As regulars may have guessed, this adventure focuses on talking-reindeer Chopper, as he mistakenly gets confused for a legendary figure in the folklore of an island almost entirely inhabited by strange animals. These films write themselves!
One Piece Movie Collection One is out 28 July on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.