‘One Piece: Stampede’ Review: This Ain’t a Treasure Hunt, It’s a Treasure FIGHT

     October 24, 2019

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One Piece fans, you should already have your tickets in hand and plans to head to the theater for the limited release of this 20th anniversary film. If you haven’t secured them yet, now’s the time! This standalone film promises an all-out pirate battle, an epic milestone in the global search for Gol D. Roger’s treasure, and more characters (and surprise cameos) than you can possibly keep track of in one sitting. I’m happy to say it delivers on all counts and then some.

Funimation Films brings One Piece: Stampede to U.S. and Canadian theaters in both subtitled and English dub starting tonight. One Piece: Stampede brings anime’s favorite pirates, Marines, and revolutionaries back to the big screen in a unique story that blends action, humor, and heart. Under the creative supervision of original series creator Eiichiro Oda, the film reunites many of the series’ most beloved characters as Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat pirate crew compete for treasure at the Pirate Festival. It’s an absolute blast tailor-made for fans of the acclaimed series.

The Limited North American theatrical release kicks off tonight and continues as follows:

  • U.S.: Oct 24, 29 & 31 (Subtitled); October 26 & 30 (English Dub)
  • Canada: Oct 25 & Nov 5 (Subtitled); Oct 28 & Nov 8 (English Dub)

One Piece: Stampede plays in over 550 theater locations across the U.S. and Canada. Click here to find a theater near you; my review follows below:

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Image via Funimation

The only weakness of One Piece: Stampede is that it’s going to be too dense, insane, and overwhelmingly full of lore for the casual viewer. If someone just happens to wander into a screening, good lord, I can’t even imagine what their experience will be like. Sure, it’ll still be an over-the-top action flick that keeps upping its own stakes while giving a massive cast of characters time to shine, and sure, the emotional character beats will still ring true whether you have spent years with them or not, but One Piece: Stampede is infinitely more rewarding for the fans.

And yet, it’s a standalone story, meaning anything that happens here doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the greater arcs of One Piece. Somehow that doesn’t prevent the narrative from having quite the powerful punch, whether it’s from lead heroes like Luffy flinging himself into glorious battle against impossible odds or supporting characters like Usopp getting into the mix in his own special way. Many of your favorites from over the years–some of whom may surprise you–pop up, even if it’s just for a moment, while newcomers like the main antagonist Douglas Bullet the Demon Heir make one hell of an impression. (Literally.) And they’re all gathered together for one reason: To beat each other to a pulp in the hopes of getting their hands on a piece of Gol D. Rogers’ ultimate treasure.

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Image via Funimation

But it’s not long before a grave threat arises to put an end to all the fun, fisticuffs, and frivolity. Luckily the Straw Hat pirates and their allies are up to the task of taking on Bullet, who’s quite imposing even without the aid of his Devil Fruit powers. And while the usual team-ups get shaken up a little bit–leading to some crazy temporary partnerships you won’t see coming–in the end, the victory will come down to Luffy’s innate ability to form friendships rather than his Conqueror’s Haki or Gum-Gum techniques. There’s still quite a lot of fighting put on display during nearly every minute of the 1-hour-and-41-minute runtime, but the story’s a worthy one as well.

Be sure to stick around after the battle’s over and the smoke(r) clears because there are not only some awesome scenes during the credits but a post-credits scene, too. It clarifies some of the decisions made by Luffy during the course of the movie and, if you haven’t been paying attention to the manga or the anime, reveals some close-knit relationships in the process. It also nicely wraps up the events of Stampede and allows the pirates, Marines, and revolutionaries spread all over the world’s oceans to continue their adventures unfettered. In short, it’s a perfect place of refuge on the vast sea that is the 20+-year story of Oda’s One Piece, one that absolutely must be seen on the big screen.

Rating: B+

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