Monday, September 16, 2013

One Piece: Film Z


I'll be honest, I didn't expect myself to be seeing this film as early as I did, though part of me wishes that I hadn't due to the downright shitty video quality, but I'll get on that in a bit. Really the big questions are these: Is Film Z a good movie and does it Surpass Strong World?

The answer: Yes and Yes...though neither are probably in the way you were hoping.

I'd like to assume that most people reading this have seen the movie already, and at least have a good understanding of the series, but for those who haven't: stop reading this and/or go do so. If you're still here out of stubbornness(or actually have seen the film making this section pointless towards you) here's the plot in a nutshell: Z's a bad mother fucker, he pissed off Luffy and the two fight a lot.

As simplified as I make it, there actually is quite a bit of back story and development for Z himself through-out in this film. Things one would already know about his back story, that he was an ex-marine admiral his arm fatally injured and got tuned into a big ass mech arm, the works. However, there is a bet of melancholy to his tale as Zepher isn't some villan who wants to take over the world just to be a dick, he was a genuine believer of Justice. Of course if you know one piece then you know the marines and world government aren't exactly the most righteous group around, and their nature pretty much screwed Z over on many levels to a point where he just quits. Of course something must have happened to his head during that time as well as his ultimate plan to 'end the pirate era' is so bombastic even the corrupt government thinks he's insane, of course that could be his personal way to say 'fuck you' to the navy...

As an antagonist, he one of the better ones to come out of the One Piece films as you can legitimately understand where he's coming from and that he does have some layers to him. Despite his goal being so over the top, it doesn't seem to lessen his character and he still manages to come off as a credible threat to both Luffy and his crew. It's a shame I can't say the same for his allies, heck I can't even remember what their names were! They were just sort of there to provide extra obstacles for ours heroes to go through and slightly to bring a little more fanservice (more on that in a bit). We know they're loyal because Z trained them but otherwise, that's it, all they do is just ride on his coat tails.

Speaking of our heroes, the straw-hats themselves were pretty on point personality wise. One of the many things a fan would say about one piece is that even in non canon material they don'tdiverge off character to much, and its kind of hard to do so when their personalities are a lot more larger than life compared to other characters who require subtlety. They're interaction with each other is really good here too, you're really shown how these guys have each others backs and respect the crew itself as well as their captain Luffy, for as much of a dumb-ass as he can be. Speaking of the captain, his struggle with Z is mostly the same as would expect for Luffy to act towards any big bad, however because Z has outclassed Luffy before, when he decided to make it personal it really works. There is even a scene somewhere in the middle which has Luffy in a face where he honestly looks defeated. It's not angst mind you, he doesn't say a word but the face he has speaks volumes. It was because he crew was there with him reassuring him and ready to back him up that he decided to pick himself back up and go at Z again, which really is a staple of the series.

If there's anything negative to say about the crew it's that because there's 9 total, it's hard to give them a bunch of good scenes to themselves. Some members of the crew will appear more important than the other even though they're supposed to make up one whole group, and really even the series itself has that problem from time to time. There are even a few added on gimmicks for them such as Nami being turned into a loli, Robin being turned into a 18 year old and Chopper becoming more of a chibi than he already was. This even happens to brook to, but the result is a lot more hilarious than the others. As I mentioned there is fanservice, which is caused by the female member of Z's crew but as is usually the case with this series, its not in the way we usually Identify it. Yes Nami's been turned into a loli and Robin's curves are showed off a lot more, that's really it. You're not going to get To love-ru type material here.

The story itself is, as I said, simple, it's the Strawhats vs. Z and his "neo marines". It has quite a number of great moments but there isn't anything really groundbreaking going on here. It's more character based, riding on Z's character and Luffy's conflict with him. There are some cameos from marine admirals Akainu and Kizaru, and Aoikiji's presence in the film is a very interesting one. By that, I mean most of the time, these sorts of films have nothing to do with the main story's canon, however as one piece fans will notice, this film is really the first time we truly see Aoikiji since his mentioned fight with Akainu and departure from the Navy, seeing hat scars he's recived and getting a few hints as to what his next actions may be towards the future. As interesting as that is, within the context of the film, he's just the wild card that also knows Z.

Action's OK. As a shonen jump action property one would be expecting really off the wall action scenes and while the animation itself is good what actually happens in the fights isn't exactly eye-popping, especially if you've been a fan of the series for a while now. The majority of Luffy's crew gets to fight the mooks that make up the Neo navy which while fun to look at due to their odd set of abilities, it's still a fight against a bunch of mooks. Zoro and Sanji's fights are the ones that have a lot of great animation pushed into them, but neither of them amaze as to what actually goes on. One piece fans have come to expect these two to be able to cut and kick their way through almost anything, so seeing them cut bullets or kick through super powered plant life really isn't going to surprise us. The angles and dynamic animation of the fights are pretty much wasted since their opponents aren't really a challenge to them, which is another discredit to Z's main allies. The best action scenes are mostly when Z himself is involved, one would think he's be a sloppy fighter with that giant metal arm he has, but he puts that thing to good use. He was able to stand up against Kizaru and almost utterly treat Luffy like a child, even making a GUN work against him. While part of this may be due to the series "rock beats scissors" like structure of world building, Z himself is a pretty damn good fighter in his own right which brings to some of the movie's best fight scenes.

In the animation and music department, it's handled as well as you would expect a insanely popular property like One Piece(In Japan) would be handled. The animation is really nice with a great color palette and works with rotating angles a lot, often making sequences where there are almost no cuts and sort of follow the characters in one long shot. It's really the sort to thing that needs to be seen in HD to be appreciated. Music wise it has some nice pieces as well, one being , which brings a really somber, yet honorable feel to the listener. There are a lot of orchestral pieces that match well with the series's setting and only a few rock and techno pieces are used (which are pretty good as well). Of course one can't talk about the music of this film's music without noting the songs done by Avril Lavine. Look people, I don't really pay attention to a lot of singers or celebrities here so this is going to be my honest opinion of these songs: I don't mind 'How yo remind me of you' as it sounds like just about any song some teenage kid would use in their AMV to make it sound "cooler" but I don't really care for "Bad reputation".

Overall I thought Film Z was a good film, not as good as it hyped itself to be or as much as people hoped but it holds up decently well. As far as om comparison to other OP films, I dons't beat film 6 but it's definitely up there, achieving it's goal in topping Strong world in both antagonist and action.

Lastly, for those of you utterly disgusted by the fact I talked about a shonen series, especially one that you feel is "overrated" as One Piece, there are other blogs,
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