Luffy vs Apoo



This is a tribute to Film: Z. While Luffy may have been getting wrecked in most of the fights here at least he kept on getting up over and over again. I’ll give him points for persistence. It’s what should have happened instead of him getting completely wrecked by Apoo. Definitely one of Luffy’s worst moments in recent history. That being said, I suppose Apoo is reasonably strong in his own rights and sound related abilities are tough to deal with. Luffy’s sheer speed and overwhelming power will ultimately be enough to keep him going though. Power will outweigh sonic waves here. You just can’t stop this guy. Luffy wins.

One Piece Film: Z Review


It’s time to look at the most well known DBZ One Piece film out there. Film Z always got a ton of hype due to the fact that it had the DBZ type battles. I was certainly eager to check this one out and it turned out to be a lot of fun as expected. I would even give it the slight edge over Stampede. Mainly my only issue with that one was since it was all of the hype characters fighting each other almost none of the battles even had an ending. Here there is a winner or loser in each match which I think was important. It’s always good to finish things and the battles are a blast. More on that in a minute but this is definitely a film you should check out.

The movie starts by introducing us to Z. He is attacking a large island and Kiazaru shows up to try and stop him. It’s a pretty good fight but Z manages to blow up the island anyway. We then fast forward to where Luffy and friends are sailing as normal. They help Z out of the water and nurse him back to health but since they are pirates and his mission is to destroy them all, he ends up attacking and easily defeats the Strawhats. The team will now have to try and mount a comeback tour. Can Luffy really defeat this immensely powerful Z character?

Right away the first scene of the film started things off on a high note. The battle with Z vs the Marines are definitely solid. Kizaru has always been pretty much untouchable in the One Piece series so it was nice to see someone make him sweat a bit. That said, Kizaru was definitely going to win that round if it had kept going. As strong as Z is, he’s just not ready to take down Kizaru. Part of the issue here is that Kizaru’s ability to turn into light itself makes him extremely fast and also extremely hard to injure. How can you stop a guy who can just zip away at light speed? Z’s sea prism arm helps to negate that but at the same time he isn’t fast enough to actually grab Kizaru so at most it just helps him bypass the light and actually deal some damage at ties. Every step counts though so I suppose we take those.

There are a lot of action scenes throughout and they’re all quite solid. One of the best fights is definitely the opening skirmish with Z. It’s always fun to see the Strawhats actually team up against an opponent. It feels like they haven’t actually done that since Aokiji so it was nice to see here. I like to think that the big 3 should have done a little better against Z but as they said later on, their guards were down at the time. The film also uses a lot of 3D views during the fight which is nice. They tend to work pretty well for stylizing the fights. RWBY’s been adding some more of that in lately as well. It helps you really see the full attacks which works out quite nicely. The battles here definitely aren’t playing around and the animation is great as you would expect.

Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is solid although I don’t care for the pirate’s song. It plays near the beginning and near the end of the film but both times I didn’t really feel like it meshed all that well with what was going on. I dunno, it just had no real energy or life to it. You can do soft songs that are still pretty epic but this was not one of them. Beyond that, the rest of the songs were pretty solid though which is good. One Piece is all about being high energy so we wouldn’t want to lose that.

Film: Z goes by very quickly so the pacing is solid. There are a lot of action scenes but there’s also a lot of downtime so fortunately those scenes work out well enough. The writing is on point and this feels like a classic One Piece adventure. My only real fault with the film is that it can definitely be a bit obnoxious with the fanservice for Nami and Robin. Fortunately Nami gets taken out of the picture for a while since she gets turned into a kid but before that the film really seems to make fanservice her main role. It’s nothing crazy compared to other films and shows, but it’s definitely there and quite direct about it.

As for the new characters, there were really 3 main ones. The first is Z and he makes for a solid villain. He’s had enough of pirates messing up the world so why not just end everything right? If he destroys the new World then that’s it. I do question how he believes this would destroy all pirates though. The only way is if the entire planet does literally blow up which seems like a possibility I guess but at the same time they seem to act like it’ll destroy a lot of people but not everyone. No matter how you slice it, the pirates would be the last survivors if anyone was to live so the humans would need to watch out. Some Devil Fruit Users can fly as well so a flood wouldn’t be the end. It would be time to fly up to Skypiea.

Z’s motive here is really about revenge so it’s a compelling mission. He’s certainly made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point. He’s also quite determined in his goal to take out the pirates and doesn’t waver. From all of the big film antagonists he would have to be the best one so far. Then you have his right hand lady Ain. Her ability to de age a person by 10 years every time she makes contact with them is quite impressive. It’s definitely a very useful ability that won’t steer you wrong. How do you hope to fight an ability like that right? Her battles with Zoro were quite impressive and her ability has to be one of the most dangerous ones in the series. Especially if she hides the true effect until it’s too late.

Then you have Binz who is just as loyal as Ain but doesn’t stand out as much. His ability is that he can dance to summon up plants. It’s a pretty useful ability for sure, but not nearly as flashy. I would also make the case that he should have lost a lot sooner but at least his speed does help to compensate for his ability not being very offensive in nature. His battle with Sanji is also pretty solid. As for the main cast, they’re all pretty true to form. Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji are still the heavy hitters here dealing with the enemies. Usopp and Brook can never focus long enough to actually be of help and just limit the crew for the most part. Nami and Robin get the job done when they appear even though they aren’t core fighters. The group is pretty big at this point so it’s always hard to find a villain group big enough to deal with all of them.

One last thing I have to mention though is that the government’s plan was pretty terrible here. So, from their point of view if Z destroys all 4 end points then the world might end. After he destroys two of them they have a big meeting about protecting the last 2 points with every available marine. So they should be around for the final 2 islands right? Wrong! On the final islands they’re basically just messing around the whole time and show up too late. They have some flunkies protecting the points but that’s it. Shouldn’t they have had the Admirals there or something? If Luffy hadn’t shown up then all 4 islands would have been destroyed for sure and the Marines wouldn’t have done a single thing. So no matter how you slice it, they failed here and owe their lives to a pirate. I don’t know what they were thinking.

Overall, One Piece Film: Z is a pretty fun ride. There was a good amount of detail put into the villains here so you should remember them. The story is strong and it’s always nice to see someone giving Luffy a good fight. It may be a little unsatisfying to some that Luffy doesn’t put up a bit of a better fight here but Z’s not someone you can really mess with. Zoro and Sanji put their opponents down pretty quick though so at least they brought their A game. If you like action films or just want a good adventure then this is definitely a solid film to check out. The One Piece films always do a good job of making sure you can understand what is going on whether you’ve already seen the series or not. Of course, you’ll understand the cameos and easter eggs more if you’re a fan of the series.

Overall 8/10

Luffy vs Akainu



Akainu is a powerful One Piece villain and I think he has a real chance to be Luffy’s final opponent in the series. It’ll likely be between him and Blackbeard at the very least. While he was definitely shown to be more powerful than Luffy back in part 1, I would say that Luffy has surpassed him. Armament Haki means that Luffy can now deal solid blows and he was always faster than Akainu in the past. The lava just won’t be enough to keep Akainu on top. I have no doubt that he has improved as well, but to Luffy’s level? I don’t think so. Luffy wins.

One Piece Strong World Review


This has definitely been a movie that’s been on the backburner for quite a while. Strong World is known as one of the better One Piece films or at least when it came out it was known as such. After that we got some heavy hitters like Z and Gold which have also forged a name for themselves. Strong World is definitely a fun film but definitely a step under Gold and I get the feeling that Z will win. It’s a good all around adventure, but does have some issues.

The film starts off with the Strawhats scattered once again amidst a bunch of flying islands. We then see that Nami has been captured by the pirate known as Shiki, the strongest man in the world. Luffy and friends will have to hurry if they want to save her and after this we also learn how she was captured in the first place. Shiki has amassed a large pirate army and many other crews have also gathered to help him wipe out the East Blue. The stakes are high and continue to escalate as the terror approaches the home of the Strawhats.

Shiki is definitely established as a powerful villain here since he is untouchable for most of the heroes and even Luffy has to play defense for most of their encounters. The film makes it very clear that Shiki is stronger than Luffy. In a straight fight the hero just has no shot to win here. While not unheard of, it is still rare to see Luffy losing like this. He takes quite a lot of hits throughout the film. Shiki’s ability is to manipulate gravity and that helps him enhance his speed and power as well. Shiki is definitely a powerful enemy, but I can’t say that I cared for him.

He’s super quirky to the point where it is hard to keep thinking of him as a threat. He panics with his subordinates quite a bit after all and has a very short memory span. Nami manages to escape from him several times as well so you do have to doubt his security measures. Being good in a fight is not enough to make you a great enemy. His two lieutenants also aren’t all that good. One is basically King Kong and the other one is decent with a sword, but too busy trying to keep up charades to actually remain as a threat.

As expected the animation is quite good. Surprisingly the film doesn’t lead off with the big high budget scene. Typically the films love to show the environment and the animation in the first shots like in all of the Pokemon films. For the One Piece film it starts off with a Shiki scene first and then cuts away to Luffy which is where the animation goes way up. The visuals for the jungles are definitely quite solid and the whole thing is very smooth. This is one area where it can definitely hold its own against the newer titles.

I also really liked the soundtrack. The tunes are a lot more fun than what is in the actual show. It’s going for a very “nature-esque” array of themes which makes sense since Luffy is in the jungle the whole time. It’s all very fast paced and high energy. The film definitely went all in on a technical level.

So where does the film falter? Well, it does have a fanservice issue. To an extent we can always expect that with One Piece with Nami around, but Gold for example did a good job of restraining itself. Maybe a tiny moment here and there, but Strong World just keeps it coming for quite a bit. It’s enough where it is noticeable. As mentioned, the villains are also a little on the weak side. The ones in Gold had a lot more character. Brook also still exists and so naturally most of his dialogue is terrible.

It is also a bit iffy to see Luffy and the others get wrecked so badly, but that I can roll with since you can’t ask for the strongest villain to fight and then be upset when he clobbers the heroes. At least Luffy and the others put up a fight although Luffy should have gone into Gear 2 as soon as Shiki went after Nami. There’s no real reason to hold back when lives are at stake right? Zoro and Sanji are definitely shown to be out of their league this time, but they do get to contribute a little at least. The scene of the whole team trying to fight Shiki was cool because they almost never get to fight an enemy like that. The only time I can think of off the top of my head is when they all fought Aokji. I love group fights like that and for One Piece I feel like that may never happen again, but the series has a ways to go so hopefully they do get to do that. In the meanwhile the movies help with this since it’s a lot easier to have the whole group assemble here.

A standout character was actually a thunder bird named Billy. At first you expect he’ll just be a fun animal mascot to aid Nami, but the guy can fight. He takes out a ton of giant monsters and without him Luffy wouldn’t have stood a chance against Shiki. Billy’s the kind of movie character you want to have. He doesn’t steal moments from the main cast, but does assist a lot so he doesn’t feel like a filler character either. The guy just wants to help his friends out and you can’t go wrong there.

One key part that the film does right is keeping the adventure very fast paced like all good fantasy films should. There’s rarely a time where the film really slows down so there is a lot of replay value. I may not call this film great, but I did have a fun time and there’s a lot to like here. It’s just a good popcorn fun adventure where you get to see all of the characters unleash their signature abilities and take down some villains. It’s a little contrived that both Sanji and Zoro’s opponents escaped only to have to fight them again though. I’m thinking they wanted to include their second intros, but you do have to wonder how the villains would have escaped in the first place.

Overall, Strong World is definitely a fun film that I’d recommend. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not you’ll definitely enjoy it. There are enough recap nods and such to ensure that even people unfamiliar with the series can get into it. I thought the opening showing off all the members of the crew was handled really well. They all get the name bumpers and a quick scene so you can see what they can do. Nami is the last to be shown, but I think you’ll still be able to tell that Luffy is the main character since his segment is the longest and he just feels like your classic Shonen lead. I’ve always loved character intros like this so One Piece really nailed it here. I look forward to seeing what the next film is like.

Overall 7/10

Shiki vs Luffy



This is a tribute to One Piece Strong World. While Luffy definitely took a lot of losses here, I would still make the case that he looked good as a character. He went all in to try and save Nami from Shiki and just kept getting up until it happened. While Shiki was definitely stronger than Luffy here, if they were to have a rematch right now there would be no contest. He just wouldn’t be able to keep up with Luffy’s speed or haki abilities. It would be game over for him. Luffy wins.

Luffy vs Cthulhu


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Suggested by iKnowledge It’s time for the mythical Cthulhu to take center stage. He gets a lot of hype in the mythos, but I’ve never been too impressed with the monster. I like the design and all, but is he really a match against someone like Luffy? Luffy has unlocked the second Gear and with that he can easily speed blitz just about any foe. I don’t think Cthulhu will be able to keep up with him nor will be able to endure Luffy’s punishing attacks. Luffy wins.

Zanya Kisaragi vs Luffy


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This is a tribute to One Piece Film: Gold. Luffy may not have looked all that tough this time around, but he scored the win when it counted and was as determined as ever. Zanya could use some of that determination as he’s all but quit Buddyfight lately. He really needs to put in the work if he wants to continue to get stronger as a duelist and he’ll need to get much stronger to take Luffy down. Right now, Zanya would lose almost as soon as the match has begun and none of his cards are strong enough to take this rubber man down. Luffy wins.

One Piece Film Gold Review


It’s time to look at my first ever One Piece film! I got to see this one in theaters the other day and it feels good to finally join the One Piece community. I’ve seen around 3-400 episodes of the anime and am caught with the manga plus I’ve played several of the games, but checking out a movie seals the deal. Now I just need to work on getting back to One Piece Z, which shouldn’t be too hard. I forgot that it has a DVD release. Gold is definitely a fun film and one that is certainly amplified in the theater. While it is certainly not ready to compete with Naruto or DBZ, it’s a film that stays consistent with the high energy nature of One Piece throughout.

Luffy and the gang finished beating up Doflamingo in what was an incredibly difficult situation so they figured it was time to relax a little. The crew heads to Gran Tesoro, the fictional equivalent of Las Vegas. The entire country lies on a boat which is owned by Tesoro and he puts on a big show for the rest of the world. Beneath the luxery hotels and gambling sites, the place has a dark underside. Luffy and friends manage to gamble away all of their winnings as they underestimated Baccarat’s luck abilities. They try to fight their way out, but Zoro is captured. The crew must now recognize him and stop Tesoro’s plot before it’s too late. Raw strength won’t win the day this time so the Strawhats have to get to action with some stealth.

For a minute there, I actually thought that the film was going to be subbed because of the Japanese credits with no translation. I’m not saying that this would have been a bad thing since I’ve seen many films subbed and it’s always fun, but the Dub really does make a difference. It’s night and day comparing the two versions and it’s fun to hear all of the old voices since I’m still watching One Piece every week on Toonami. The film starts off nice and strong with a quick fight scene as the full crew of the Strawhats get to use their signature attacks against a group of overconfident pirates. I’m always game for an opening action scene and moreover, I think all films should have a start like that. You need to do something that grabs people’s attention and nothing does that better than a fight. The animators also had fun experimenting with the animation during this phase.

Most of the Strawhats didn’t get to do all that much so I’ll quickly gloss over the least important members here. Tony Tony Chopper’s bounty is still significantly lower than the rest and he isn’t all that strong anymore, but he has heart. He helps the team get past some lasers and the whole crew does help in some challenge or another, but that’s about the extent of it for him. Brook also doesn’t do much, but he does have his hardcore moment in the intro where he takes out three pirates. He even borrows the legendary saying “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” as he one shots them. It’s a shame that Brook can’t keep this up forever as he would actually be a great character if not for one trope. Luckily, that one is not present in the film so as far as this movie is concerned, Brook is actually a good character. Sanji’s mostly just around as well and he doesn’t even get his own 1 on 1 fight during the climax. He looks pretty bad for most of the film when it comes to power, but gts to show up some of the guards.

Usopp is pivotal in stopping one of the last villains so that was a good way for him to wrap things up. I expected him to play things up a little more while at Gran Tesoro, but I guess it wasn’t worth the risk. Robin questions things as per usual and is a little more sharp than the others, but with a Captain like Luffy, this ultimately doesn’t help stop the crew from doing whatever they want. Franky’s role isn’t quite as big as the main three, but he helps a lot on the spying part. I’m wondering why he didn’t use his Robot Mode until the end, but maybe it wouldn’t have helped that much anyway given who they were fighting.

Zoro’s role is smaller than the other two since he is captured for most of the film. I wasn’t really disappointed with how he looked though as his battle plan was sound and he did a good job of stopping Dice in the end. The fight was a little closer than you’d expect and I do miss the days when he was portrayed to be around equal to Luffy, but those days are long gone. I still think he was a better character before Impel Down, but in this film he acted a lot like his old self and ended up being the best character in the film.

Nami plays a rather large role here as well. She was pretty misleading when she said that Carina betrayed her in the past, but ultimately we found out the truth by the end. She’s still a good thief as always and she does get her chance to fight in this movie. As the brains behind the Strawhat crew, she’s definitely a member who will always be needed on the team. She’s a charismatic character and her banter with Carina was solid.

Finally, Luffy is the leader of the gang and he is very determined as always. He can’t usually back up his tough talk here as he spends most of the film getting beat up and tricked by the villains, but at least it never deters him. He makes a lot of good speeches by the end and he is certainly the heavy hitter of the team. While he’s certainly no Goku, Luffy’s a good main character. His comic relief moments can sometimes be a bit much as he doesn’t take their plight seriously enough, but he fights when necessary.

Tesoro is the main villain of the film. His gold abilities make him a very deadly adversary and he is very confident from start to finish. This is his world after all and he is used to getting everything that he wants. He gets a sob story by the end and it is pretty drastic. It makes you wonder why he never used his newfound riches to get revenge or see what happened to his friend. Usually, the flashback would have ended with that kind of moment as Tesoro takes out the villains before becoming the villain, but not this time. Of course, Tesoro ended up going off the deep end and becoming a big villain himself so it went just about full circle. It’s hard to sympathize with him when he has made a paradise island for the same villains who stole his friend though. It makes the whole thing rather sketchy.

Baccarat’s the public face of the villains as she scouts out the opponents and uses her luck abilities to ensure that they fall into Tesoro’s trap. His plans wouldn’t work quite as smoothly without her. She’s a good villain and her luck powers are certainly convenient for combat. It’s the kind of power that can be tough to deal with, but luckily Usopp was on the case. She probably wishes that she had toyed with the heroes a little less and gone straight for the win.

Dice was a good villain because of his abilities and how powerful he was, but his personality wasn’t that great. He enjoyed fighting in the wrong way and that gimmick was a little distracting from how good he would have been otherwise. I didn’t expect him to be as physically strong as he was and he was certainly the most intimidating member of the villains. It’s safe to say that only Sanji, Luffy, and Zoro could hope to defeat this guy.

Tanaka’s not as much of a fighter and he prefers to do recon and give intel to Tesoro. He leaves the actual combat to the others, but his ability to phase through things does allow him to fight when necessary. It’s hard to get a bead on the guy because of how quick he is. He held his own well enough and rounded out Tesoro’s trio.

Carina is one of the main heroines in this film and she spends a lot of it switching from side to side. You never know who she will be helping out as she may not even suspect herself. She’s not really a fighter unfortunately, but she has survived for quite a while on the island so she certainly has a talent for living and being sneaky. You can’t help but feel that her task would have been doomed from the start though. There’s no way she could possibly steal a bunch of gold and get away with it on such a big island where Tesoro sees all. She may have been a little too confident there, but she’s a nice addition to the cast and even helped Nami out back in the day. Whether Nami wants to see the truth or not, she would have been in quite the pickle without Carina.

The film also gives us some quick guest star appearances from CP0’s Lucci and Sabo. They show up as a little treat to the fans and get into a quick skirmish, but nothing really comes out of it. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if they just had Sabo win that fight since I think he should certainly have the edge, but maybe Lucci is stronger than I thought. Either way, the situation won’t make the government look all that good, but when are they ever all that heroic in One Piece? It was also cool to see the Magma guy as I can definitely see him being one of the final bosses in the One Piece manga as well. The scenes may not lead to much and you’ll know this beforehand, but they’re still pretty hype.

The main positive of the film is its incredibly high budget. It’s certainly some of the best One Piece animation that you’ll see. The first fight scene gets very flashy as the camera moves around a lot and everyone uses exaggerated attacks. The rest hold up as well with nice effects and consistently good animation. I think the animation will continue to hold up well for quite some time and this is the kind of animation that I’d expect from a 2016 film. Forget CGI, Flash, Stop Motion, Lego, Live Action, and any other techniques you can think of. Classic anime style graphics are all you need. There really wasn’t much of an epic soundtrack to be found here, but the tunes weren’t bad either.

Film Gold is also just fun from start to finish. There’s always something happening and the pacing is nice and quick. It’s the kind of film where you can just sit back and enjoy the show. It does its best to be a complete story filled with a lot of side characters and hintings at their past and then the main plot. There’s no time to fully get into these other character backstories, but I wouldn’t have wanted the film to do that anyway.

That being said, there are some things that keep this from being a great film. For one thing, while there is a lot of action, I wouldn’t say that there are a lot of fight scenes. We’ve got the fight at the beginning and then that’s basically it until the very end when the Strawhats take on the main 4. The final fights are naturally a lot of fun and Luffy’s as well as Zoro’s are played seriously. The group against Baccarat’s was more of a comedy fight, but it was enjoyable as well. The climax was mostly solid on that end.

I did have one main problem with it though and that’s the fact that Luffy’s fight is mainly against Tesoro in his giant form. As a result, it becomes a battle of giant fighters so there isn’t much moving or hand to hand action. Luffy even uses Gear 4 and that’s more of the same since he basically becomes the Hulk. I still think that form was a big mistake as Gear 2 is still the most impressive by far. Even when you see Luffy moving in Gear 4, you’ll wonder how nobody just swats him out of the sky.

This film can also be a little on the fanservicey side at time. Since this takes place in part 2 of One Piece, Nami and Robin are always in a swimsuit and while the film gives them new attire for the Casino part, it’s not much of an improvement for Robin. Nami’s new costume is okay though. Since this is a parody of Las Vegas, you shouldn’t expect the attire to be much different for all of the other characters who show up. Carina also has to use this to her advantage to distract some guards. It’s not all that egregious, but still rather noticeable. Even the racing scene can’t avoid it as the camera angles decide to get a little tricky.

I also think that Film: Gold is one of those titles that probably wouldn’t hold up quite as well in a rewatch. Similar to Battle of Gods which got a 9 immediately after watching it, but dropped to a 7 afterwards, I think Gold would have a bit of a drop as well. Part of what makes it so grand and special isn’t just the animation, but the sound effects as well. They were all quite loud in the theaters and you could really feel all of the impacts. It’s hard to get the same effect at home unless you have a really good sound system. It’ll be a little more noticeable when you’re in the wait between fight scenes.

One plot in particular that will drag on is Luffy’s adventure through the gold sandy wasteland. Nothing really happens there for a little while. I also didn’t care much for the cafe plot as Luffy and friends just watch as someone is beaten up for a while. It’s unfortunately something that the cast is consistent with doing, but most main characters wouldn’t just sit back and watch this go down. It’s probably one of the reasons why the cast has always lagged back a little. They aren’t heroes as they’re just pirates who happen to save the day and it becomes readily apparent at times like this. With the government also being corrupt, it’s rough for the every day citizens. I did say that the pacing was pretty good though and these plots don’t take too long but are the most uneventful parts of the film. I also have to point out that Nami’s big plan at the end of the film doesn’t make too much sense. It revolves around a ton of little events that had to happen just right in order for the plan to work and there was no way that the team could have prepared for such an eventuality.

Finally, I have to say that the Strawhats just looked very weak. They talk a good game a lot of the time and even make some of the right moves, but it doesn’t matter if they’re just going to get overwhelmed. Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy put up such a terrible fight against Tesoro. I don’t think that they should have lost so easily. Zoro I can understand since he was already turning into gold, but Luffy and Sanji had no such excuse. They were simply outsped and that’s just hard to believe since they are so fast by this point. This guy isn’t exactly Doflamingo, they should be able to handle him. I do like his ability to manipulate gold though, I always liked elemental type powers like that.
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Overall, One Piece Film Gold was a fun film. It’s basically a summer blockbuster film and is certainly a technical masterpiece. It may have had its share of issues, but I could easily watch it again. It was really close to scoring that 8, but just missed it. There’s a lot of action and excitement throughout plus I’m always up for a good anime film. It’s a good way to be introduced to the One Piece films and I’m sure that big fans will enjoy the movie even more. One Piece as a franchise has always been below the other big titles for me as the humor and characters just never caught up to the others. As such, it makes sense that the film would have the same problems for me. One thing that would help the other One Piece films would be to have a better final fight and to ignore Gear 4 and mostly just focus on 2. Nevertheless, I’d say that it’s one of the best films in 2016 as a 7 for anime can still take on a 9 for live action. If you haven’t checked this film out yet, then I’d definitely recommend that you do. Now I just have to wait and see how this compares to other upcoming films like Sword Art Online and Yugioh. I am assuming that the other two will likely win, but it could end up being a close fight with Sword Art Online. You can never tell with that series.

Overall 7/10

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Review

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I’ve had this game for quite a few months now and I finally managed to beat it! The game wasn’t that hard, but it was just tricky to make time to play it. This is definitely the definitive One Piece game at the moment and I even found it more fun to play than the Unlimited Red title. That one was also excellent though, even if the story mode wasn’t absolutely amazing like this one. Pirate Warriors 3 just had that epic feel about it and can hold its own against Ultimate Ninja Storm, Raging Blast, and Soul Resurrection.

This game covers the entire One Piece series up to the latest arc. There’s a fake ending here as the arc hadn’t ended at the time, but that’s fine since it still works as a solid ending and some of the big enemies of Luffy’s past (Blackbeard) get to show up as well. I’m pretty sure that the game’s writers liked Kizaru as his role in this game was certainly beefed up. If you don’t know the plot of the One Piece franchise, it takes place back in the golden age of pirates. The legendary Gold D Roger left some treasure and a kid named Luffy wants to find it. He assembles a crew and sets sail. Naturally, the pirates are outlaws so Luffy has to deal with the government as well as many evil groups of pirates who would stand in his way.

There’s a lot to do in this title and that’s always a good thing. Naturally, story mode will take up the bulk of your time and it’s decently long. There are 22 levels and they all range from 30-60 minutes. You’re certainly getting your money’s worth there and you can choose to replay the levels at different difficulties to try and fill in a treasure map on each chapter by completing various challenges. Each character can be leveled up as well and the coins that you get through the levels can be used to unlock super attacks or just increase some stats. If you want to play as a different character during the levels then there is also a free mode that you can get into.

As is becoming the fashion with these big beat em up games, there is also a mission mode adventure where you play through abridged versions of the story mode levels. There will be secret bosses here that you don’t run into in the normal story like Shanks. This mode is a lot longer than the story mode and likely more difficult although it’s hard to say for sure. If you’ve got the time, this mode is definitely worth checking out.

There’s also a shop where you can spend your money. Typically it would be a huge grind to buy everything, but this is surprisingly not the case in this game. You earn a lot of money in Story Mode just by completing the levels and this increases exponentially when you get S ranks in any chapter. I managed to buy all of the soundtrack themes, costumes, and bought most of the movies. I nearly cleaned out the shop and that’s without just about any grinding. (I did grind for a little while, but mostly spent the cash on level ups for other characters) You don’t want to forget about earning those PS4 trophies while you’re at it either. They seem pretty fair for the most part, but very, very time consuming. I don’t see myself getting the Platinum here anytime soon, but you never know.

That’s enough about the replay value and features. You get the jist of it. This game will capture your attention for quite a while. Next up, let’s talk a little about the gameplay. That’s the most important part for any video game and it is excellent here. I’ve never met a beat em up that I didn’t like and this can hold its own with any other. You have your standard attacks and power moves that you can link up into many different combos. Every character has a special attack and four special variations of normal moves. Then you’ve got double special attacks and final smash techniques. Every time you use a final smash with one of your teammates, they’ll stick around for the next one. If you play your cards right, this means that you can do a final smash technique with your whole crew by the end. Granted, you’ll never actually need to do this (Except for a trophy) but it’s cool to look at.

The gameplay is nice and fast paced. I’ll admit that I do miss the combos from the younger days though and I wonder how that works in Free Mode. The final few levels force you to play as the older Strawhats and while their attacks are ridiculously OP at times, I just loved how smooth the classic ones were. You’ll certainly be able to pick out a favorite character in terms of gameplay by the end and then you can focus on mowing down the enemies. If you defeat a lot of them in one hit, you’ll get a lot of ! bonuses, which are helpful for S ranks.

I liked the soundtrack a lot although it is very limited. It’s not nearly as engaging as the themes that you will hear in something like Transformers Devastation, but one theme can always make a difference. That’s what happened here as I love the “tense” music theme that plays whenever a villain appears. You know that things are about to get serious and the other themes aren’t bad either. The graphics are also pretty solid. It’s not quite Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or the streamlined style of Mario, but the Cell shading still looks decently good for the cutscenes. I’ll admit that it looks better for the gameplay though, but I’d love it if One Piece could borrow the flashier look of Dynasty Warriors Gundam or something like that. I dunno, something about the graphics just kept it a solid spot under most of the big titles that we get nowadays like Super Smash or Gundam, but they’re still not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Overall, with the solid array of bonus content to keep you busy, this is a must have that is worth the high price. If you have not gotten into One Piece yet, this game is a great starting point as you can instantly get near the end of the franchise as you will almost be caught up. The gameplay is great and the game succeeds on the technical levels as well. It’s decently easy even when on hard mode, but that’s just because it’s hard to find that right balance of making it hard without being impossible. You still have to fight tactically on hard mode and grinding will have to be done to clear the game on that level. I look forward to seeing what the game does for the next installment. Hopefully they add a multiplayer option to the game though. Even if it’s not a vs mode, a co-op mode is always a nice option for the gamers. When you really dip deep into why this game is so good, it’s because Pirate Warriors 3 is just a lot of fun. Defeating the enemies by the dozens never gets old and you can easily lose yourself for a few hours at a time here.

Overall 9/10

J-Stars Victory Vs+ Review

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This is a game that was definitely unlikely to come to America when it first came out. If this had arrived just a few years earlier, I’m confident that it never would have made the trip to the USA. Luckily, we’re starting to get better with licensing anime fighters like this one thanks to the power of leaving their voices in Japanese. It’s a trade off that I’m definitely willing to make and I’m sure that many anime fans actually prefer it this way. The crossover is as great as you could expect!

There actually is a Story Mode in this game. Essentially, all of the various Shonen Jump manga series actually take place on an incredibly large planet called Jump World. Before you start the story, you can choose to play as Luffy, Toriko, Naruto, or Ichigo. Depending on who you pick will determine which characters you meet along your quest to enter the legendary tournament and prove your superiority to the rest of the cast. Along the way, you can help other characters through quests and recruit some strong fighters to your team. Once you complete the tournament, the real villains appear and they aren’t here to have tea!

I mentioned that this was a crossover already, but I should explain a little more about how extensive it is. Just like how Super Smash Bros crossovered characters from the many Nintendo franchises, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale did the same for Sony’s fighters, Marvel vs Capcom brought together characters from their companies, and Justice League vs Mortal Kombat did a nice mixup, J-Stars Victory Vs did the same thing. There are 39 playable characters from 24 different series. Coincidentally…or not, Super Smash Bros for Wii U also represents 24 different series thanks to the inclusion of Ryu from Street Fighter. Super Smash Bros does have over 10 extra characters to J-Stars, but this is just the beginning for the J-Stars franchise and we can look forward to more sequels at some point. Video Game Crossovers are always a lot of fun and as I’m a fairly huge Shonen Jump fan who has read several of the series, I can definitely appreciate the interactions. I’ve read 12 of the 24 series that are in J-Stars so I definitely know a lot about more of the characters.

Also, you heard me right. There are actually a lot of interactions and a fairly deep plot in story mode. This is something that quite a few of the other crossovers that I mentioned lack like the new Super Smash Bros and MVC3. It was great that the game added the story mode as it adds more enjoyment to any title. I completed Luffy’s Story Mode and aim to do the other 3 at some point in the near future. I decided to do one story mode, then complete another game, and rinse/repeat the process until all 4 are done.

Aside from Story Mode, there are quite a lot of other things to do here. There’s an Arcade Mode that you can play to test your skills. Completing it doesn’t seem to actually unlock anything as far as I know, but it’s a great way to earn money and may be even more effective than Story Mode at that. There’s also a mode titled Victory Road, which is basically an Arcade Mode that is more mission based. There seem to be quite a few levels to complete here, but an incentive is that you will get 3 trophies as you complete it. That’s not a bad deal!

Those 3 modes alone should already take you many hours to complete. This is no short game by any stretch of the imagination. The replay value is essentially limitless as the gameplay is a lot of fun so you can enjoy many matches in local multiplayer or through online. Trying to nab the Platinum will also extend the journey a little. It’s not too much of a grind though and it’s not unreasonable either. It will force you to really experience the Story Mode as you will have to complete several extra quests and fight more ships than you would have otherwise. You will also need to complete all Victory Road battles along the way. The Platinum is worth the effort though since it’s the ultimate bragging right as far as the PS3 trophies are concerned.

Now, it’s about time that I talk about the actual gameplay right? It’s a 3D brawler and you have to defeat your opponent a certain amount of times in order to win the match. You can do a 1 on 1 battle or go up to 4 on 4 at a time. 1 on 1 is probably the most direct, but 4 on 4 can be quite epic since so many things are happening at once. You have standard attacks as well as power ones and special abilities. You can use the R1 button to block or mix it with the other attacks for even more techniques. You really have a lot of attack options, but you will most likely find yourself sticking to one or two favorite combos after a while. I’ve been playing as Luffy a lot so I go with his rapid fist option all of the time.

Once your team has gotten enough encouragement, they will be ready to go into their Victory Modes. At that point, you can use your Final Smash to attack the opponents. Even if you are a team of 4, you will only control 1 character. The other 2 will be helping out as A.I. allies and one character can be used as a support fighter like in Marvel vs Capcom 3. I felt like a lot of effort went into the gameplay because each character feels like he/she did in their own games. I can really only speak for Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, because I haven’t really played modern games for most of the other franchises. Naruto’s combos feel like they did in Ninja Storm, while Goku’s combos seem to be straight from the BT series. Even Ichigo’s attacks feel like they did in Soul Resurrection. This way, you know what you are doing with your favorite character right off the bat if you had already played that character’s game earlier.

The soundtrack is naturally very good as it uses music from all of the various SJ titles. You can even choose which music theme you want to play for when you activate your Victory Burst. The large variety of themes is a lot of fun and most of the series get their own stage as well. My favorite is probably the Athena one with my least favorite being the Bleach stage. It’s unfortunate, but there are just too many walls to navigate around if you ask me. The graphics are solid and you can easily tell who’s who. The manga effect isn’t quite as smooth as it is for the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, but it’s still good and effective at evoking that manga effect that the game is going for. Nothing beats looking at the Kamehameha wave..unless it’s being tossed at you!

Now, we have to compare the game to Super Smash Bros for a minute here. Super Smash Bros does win the battle in terms of soundtrack, graphics, gameplay, and replay value, but J-Stars takes it down when it comes to the story mode aspect since Super Smash Bros surrendered that. Taking one win against the ultimate video game is still some good bragging rights though and I look forward to seeing what J-Stars has up its sleeve for the sequel.

Overall, J-Stars Victory Vs+ was a lot of fun. It’s still amazing that the game actually managed to come out in America. This is certainly worth purchasing and there’s enough content to last you here for quite a while. I’m still working on getting the Platinum on the side so you can expect an update for this game at some point. As a big Shonen Jump fan, I can do no less! I eagerly await a sequel for this game and wonder which other characters will be added to the fray. Hopefully we can get around 60 playable characters next time so each franchise can have more reps. This is easily one of the best PS3 games on the block so you need to purchase it as soon as possible!

Overall 9/10