So… do we have to talk about ‘that’ Sanji scene? I’d really rather not. Don’t care what you tell me, Sanji creeping on kid Nami is one billion percent not okay. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.
Of the One Piece movies I’ve watched so far (which isn’t all that many, being honest), Z is probably my favorite. It’s got a solid villain, some fantastic visuals, and it adds some interesting layers to characters from the main series. It’s a solid film that I enjoyed from start to finish.
Zephyr, former Marine Admiral turned violent vigilante, steals the highly explosive Dyna Stones from the Navy. His goal: to destroy the three End Points, volcanic islands that would wipe out all life in the New World should they go off. But who cares about that?! During a meeting with the Straw Hats, he damages the Sunny, one of his crewmates makes Nami, Chopper, and Robin younger, and he spits on Luffy’s dream! To get payback and prove himself, Luffy and the crew must defeat the mad marine once and for all!
As our main antagonist, Zephyr is absolutely fantastic! He’s such an excellent character; a Navy Admiral turned to vigilantism and terrorism in order to get revenge on pirates, ultimately becoming that which he despises most of all. It’s a fascinating, compelling character arc that drives the film forward very well. Plus, the dude is badass; he’s got a giant mechanical arm and he messes shit up with it!
I love how the Straw Hats react to him. They don’t care that he’s trying to blow up the New World; they’re pirates, not superheroes. Zephyr wronged them, so they’re out for payback. Simple as that. It’s classic One Piece to a T.
Unfortunately, the rest of Zephyr’s crew aren’t all that memorable. Two of them had names and Devil Fruits, but I genuinely forgot they existed. They do have some depth to them, but in the end, they’re just fodder for Zoro and Sanji to defeat.
Hell, the Navy Admirals have a stronger connection to Zephyr than his own crew! Speaking of which, I love how Zephyr was integrated into the backstory of Aokiji, Kizaru, and the other Admirals as their teacher. It lets the writers integrate those characters into the plot in an interesting, important way. They don’t just pop up for fanservice, they actually have a good reason to be involved in this story!
Presentation-wise, this movie is incredibly strong. It doesn’t just have excellent animation; said animation is complimented by some really dynamic and visually appealing cinematography! The entire sequence of the volcano destroying the spa town is downright jaw-dropping!
In terms of music, however, this movie is kinda forgettable. Strong World had a killer soundtrack, a lot of which was later reused for the TV anime. But if you put a gun to my head and told me to name a track from Z, I’d shrug and tell you to shoot me, because I can’t. It isn’t bad; at no point does the score actively hurt the movie. It just isn’t particularly memorable.
Except for the one song the characters sing. Every scene that song pops up in is a highlight.
As a whole, Z is a fairly strong movie. If you’re a One Piece fan, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It adds some cool lore to the series (even if the events themselves are non-canon, because these movies are kinda confusing) and it’s got a badass villain. Plus, it has all the fun and delight that you’d expect from this series.
Okay, legit though, what were the writers thinking with that Sanji scene? Did no one think that was a bad idea?