What They Say:
The world’s boldest buccaneers set sail for the great Pirate Festival, where the Straw Hats join a mad-dash race to find Gol D. Roger’s treasure. There’s just one little problem. An old member of Roger’s crew has a sinister score to settle. All bets are off when the most iconic pirates of One Piece history band together for a swashbuckling showdown, the likes of which have never been seen!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track and the English language dub, both of which are in 5.1 and encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The film is one that works some really big sequences along the way and the lossless mix really does a great job of bringing it to life across all quadrants. The festival with all of the music, sounds, and the general action of the film as it moves at a pretty good pace definitely gives it a lot of life. The quiet moments have the right feeling to them and dialogue is well placed throughout with some fun moments of depth as well. The mix is one that works the best of the series in theatrical form and just has so much fun with it that you can easily get caught up in it. Both tracks come across very well here and are free of problems, resulting in an enjoyable experience.
Originally released in 2019, the transfer for the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The films in the One Piece series have been pretty good overall, though you can see the arc in quality of production from the early ones to where we are now, and this is a very slick and glossy high end production that still retains the style and tone of the TV series itself. While this film doesn’t shine quite as much in the same way as the Gold film for obvious reasons, there’s a lot to love here with the overall quality of it and the animation design. There’s a lot of detail and fluidity to the film in its high-motion scenes and it has a really good sense of spatial design that comes across well. It’s a high end production with a crisp and clean encoding that really brings all of the detail out while handling the strong color design in the best way possible. Fans of the film will simply love what we get here with the high fluidity scenes and more.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The set also comes with a cardboard o-card that replicates the cover art but with a foil enhancement to it that gives the logo and aspects of the background some really good pop. Even the embossed elements are really nice, not overdone and it has a good feel to it. It’s a very vibrant piece and you can definitely see the difference in the two covers in a big way as it uses the great key visual, even if it is a busy one. The back cover works a mostly white-ish background with no character artwork to be had, which is surprising. We do get an oversized quote and a small selection of shows along with the usual production credits and format breakdown. We do get artwork on the reverse side of the cover which is the sideways two-panel spread showing the main cast tightly together against the grey backdrop..
The extras for this release are limited to just one thing and it’s a totally geeky piece to be sure. Clocking in at about fifteen minutes minutes, we get the main round voice actors talking about getting back into playing with the characters since we haven’t had any new dubbed TV episodes for a while now. There’s a lot of joy in seeing them reconnect with their characters and how a film like this is an ideal way to do it since it is joyful in its own way.
After the One Piece: Gold film back in 2016, the plans were put into motion for the next film with it set to be tied to the 20 th-anniversary of the anime itself. We don’t often see a lot of anniversary-related elements out of Japan when you get down to it so it was a welcome recognition and one that got Eiichiro Oda to come in and work with them for the concept and story. With Takashi Otsuka directing and working from the finalized screenplay by both him and Atsuhiro Tomioka, the 2019 film landed in the summer of that year and benefited from some good overseas interest in anime films. It did just under $95 million worldwide, $51 million of which came from Japan itself. That’s certainly raising the interest in those that want to make a bit more coin on their films with international distribution. For fans of the franchise, the film was an easy one to get into with it being another largely standalone piece of fun.
The premise of the film is straightforward in a way that certainly attracts Luffy and others of the Straw Hats. An invite to Delay Island for the Pirate Festival is a draw as it involves some of Gol D. Roger’s weath with it. The idea of a festival alone would be enough to draw Luffy but mention Roger and he’s all in no matter what. Even Robin is intrigued by it and it kind of leaves Nami as the one not quite feeling it, especially since a Pose was sent with it to make sure people get there easily enough. The general idea with the festival is that it turns into a treasure hunt where it’s been set up by the master pirate Buena Festa. The problem is that Festa was supposedly dead for quite a few years so there’s some uncertainty with that – something that Law ends up stumbling into as a way to include him in the adventure even if briefly by contrast.
The hunt itself is definitely fun as you get a good range of pirate crews from the past that are still operating and some of the ones that have been more in the anime over the years, such as the Buggy Pirates – a crew I’ve come to not hate as much as I did at first, and others like the Foxy Pirates and more. The potential for a big win here has everyone all-in but since we know it’s part of a bigger trap the real fun is in watching that get sprung. Festa is actually working with a pirate known as Douglas Bullet who has his own agenda with this scavenger hunt. And it’s one that feels like it’s definitely a big one once you see people like Smoker getting involved here. The idea of putting in a Buster Call on the island with all these pirate groups here just smacks of going against the pirate code but it fits with what we see of Bullet as the film introduces us to him more.
The film is a lot of action as it moves through the various stages of the scavenger hunt at first and then as it shifts gears to deal with the Buster Call that’s making its way there. It’s always fun with a good sized battle with the marines and getting the range of pirates here from familiar groups that some may not have seen for years is always a delight. I’m still amused by how much I like Buggy himself after initially hating him for years. But the reality is that they just keep upping the ante here with he pirates involved and the fight itself, which is what you kind of expect for a 20th-anniversary piece. I wasn’t expecting a deep or rich story but rather a kind of a greatest hits thing. And it is that in the sense that it calls back a lot of the familiar and gives them a chance to be on the big screen, even if briefly, and throw down with either each other or the marines before it all draws to a cataclysmic close.
I’ll admit that in a way I don’t expect a lot from One Piece films, or most films based on an ongoing series. They have to deal with particular storytelling restrictions and in the minds of those looking for things that only “count,” well, anime films tend to be forgotten stepchildren to the main product. One Piece films are a really great diversion, however, with a good budget, quality animation, and a great sense of fun about them. One’s like this one where it’s an anniversary project are even more fun because it’s about reconnecting with old friends and just having a good time within the context of the story itself. Stampede has a good concept behind it with what Bullet is up to and the fight sequences that we get while also presenting Luffy with a way to shortcut his way to the top of everything. It’s no surprise how it goes there but just watching it all come together is a delight. Funimation has mastered One Piece films with other recent releases and with the specials so we get a solid entry with this one as well that will make fans happy.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Behind the Scenes with the Cast
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 17th, 2020
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.