Wednesday, 14 September 2011

One Piece Movie 6: オマツリ男爵と秘密の島 / Omatsuri-danshaku to Himitsu no Shima / Baron Festival and the Secret Island

The sixth One Piece movie was rather different from what I had been expecting. It had a weird, weird art style, which put me in mind of the episodes of Naruto where the art gets really sloppy so that the animation can be exceptionally fluid. Despite the parallel, though, and despite the movie budget here, the visual effect actually wasn’t so impressive and Oda’s exaggerated expressions really didn’t look right in the style – a problem compounded by them being held far too long. While it’s respectable to try something different, I was not very keen on the aesthetic, and ended up suspecting too much of the budget went on the impressive CG – because most of the One Piece movies have superior animation and art.

On the other hand, the plot grew from something really unimaginative (The Davy Back Fight – the movie!) into something very dark, with some genuinely nightmarish visuals. Some of the decisions made towards the end were quite brave…but it’s still probably been the One Piece movie I’ve enjoyed least.

Only later did I discover that this was the first feature film directed by Hosoda Mamoru, who only a year later would make the beautifully-told and very nice-looking Toki-o Kakeru Shoujo and then the stunning Summer Wars. He had previously only worked on episodes of Ojamajo Doremi and Digimon, as well as the first two half-hour Digimon films. Despite the latter two plus a third from another director being truncated into ‘Digimon The Movie’ for the West, this was his first feature-length work as a director.

Well, I can’t say I’m not pleased he got the chance. He’s a big star now. I just wish I’d liked his One Piece film more.

(Expanded from impressions, 29.5.07)

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