Yamato will be Luffy’s strongest Strawhat if she joins


The saga of One Piece to Clover to One Piece editorials is now at an end with this one at least on the One Piece side. Get ready for one more Black Clover piece and after that I don’t know which editorials will come up next but I’ll think of something. At least once I get the reviews a bit lower. So Yamato is a brand new One Piece character. I suppose the term should be used loosely since she’s probably been in the story for about a year or two at this point but she has only just had her first serious fight where she was on the losing side. Yamato has been stomping everyone with the exception of Luffy prior to this.

So is the title clickbait? No, I’d say Yamato has firmly placed herself as being more powerful than Zoro and Sanji. I don’t doubt that they will catch her by the end of the series but right now she is considerably more powerful and the strongest Strawhat next to Luffy. She isn’t quite as powerful as he is but that man’s the future pirate king so it makes sense. It goes without saying that this editorial will feature content from the current saga in Wano so proceed with caution. I won’t be spoiling specific battle outcomes or anything like that, just attack damage so I don’t consider this one to be a big spoiler like my other editorials but it’s still a fair warning in case you want to enter Wano completely unawares.

So right now I see many say that Yamato is still weaker than Sanji and Zoro as well as this being necessary since the “Monster Trio” as they are referred to has been a concept since the beginning of One Piece. Among the Strawhats , Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji have always been the strongest and in that order. It’s never been the case that this order could be shattered. One thing fans point to in order to show that Oda conscientiously keeps this balance is how Jinbei was introduced to the crew early on but decided not to join for another arc or two. 

This way by the time he had joined, there was enough time for Sanji to surpass him. (I would argue Zoro was already ahead) So in this way the Monster Trio was untouched when Jinbei joined. He came in as the 4th strongest fighter and will sink to 5th if Yamato joins. The reason why this is important is because if Yamato joins it will certainly be at the end of the arc which is seemingly already in the climax. There isn’t time for Sanji and Zoro to surpass her or at the very least it is incredibly unlikely given how well she has performed thus far. While her joining then crew isn’t a certainty, there are a lot of things pointing to it like upcoming promotional images showing her as a Strawhat, toys where she is with the crew, her appearing in the big 1000 anniversary special as a featured character with the other Strawhats, etc. 

Now, maybe Carrot will be the one to join…..but probably not. So if we all assume that Yamato has been joining, then a lot of people are saying that she absolutely has to be weaker. I disagree both on the count of her being weaker but also that it would be bad to destroy the monster trio. The trio was in existence for 100+ volumes. That’s an incredible run and I don’t think that it is bad they were surpassed. Surely it had to happen at some point so why not now right? I don’t think the trio is something I’ve even thought about as a concept almost at all while reading the series to be honest.

Now usually I am in the camp where I’d say that Yamato joined the series way too late. I’d be saying how she would ruin the dynamic and all but this time I’m not on that side. Why? Because she’s a much better character than most of the Strawhats. I’ve never liked Brook after all. I find Franky to be a little boring and while Jinbei isn’t bad, I feel like there isn’t much to him. Chopper isn’t really my style and Sanji would be really great if not for how he is always flirting and getting wrecked by every villainess he fights. Yamato is automatically the best Strawhat aside from Luffy and Zoro. The rest just don’t compete so instead of ruining the dynamic she may end up enhancing it. Her whole Oden gimmick should be interesting with how the other characters bounce off of it although in don’t see that surviving past this arc anyway so it may not matter.

Now let me get into why I believe Yamato is stronger than Sanji and Zoro. Sanji is a lot easier so let’s go with him. In Wano he got to fight Page One, seemingly one of the weakest fighters on the island. Sanji did really well and styled on him so points there. Then he fought a girl and you know how those fights go since Sanji refuses to fight back. Sanji didn’t even get invited to the famous Roof Piece event to fight with Kaido and has been stuck on the sidelines fighting the lower ranked King and Queen, not doing so well until Zoro showed up. Sanji hasn’t shown me anything to suggest that he would last more than a moment against Kaido before being promptly steamrolled.

Then you have Zoro. While he is more powerful than Sanji which makes it tougher to surpass him in that sense, he has fought against Kaido which makes for a great direct comparison. Skipping through the details to the end, Zoro was able to land one really good slash on Kaido and almost landed another blow but it missed. Zoro has the raw strength needed to injure Kaido which is extremely impressive. If he has some allies around to buy time and distract Kaido then he really has a decent shot at pulling out the win here at any time. The issue is that one on one he isn’t going to be seeing those openings.

Zoro won’t have time to charge up some kind of super attack, he will need to get in there up close in order to secure the victory. So we don’t see anything that says he could fight Kaido one on one. It’s just not happening. Now let’s talk about Yamato. Keep in mind that she was chained up for years prior to the start of this arc and so she has seemingly never gotten to fight with her devil fruit before. She has to learn as she goes and will keep getting stronger. We are not talking about potential here but raw ability so let’s shift gears for a minute. Yamato took down one of Kaido’s top warriors with a single blow but you could make the case that as a sneak attack it didn’t count. Yamato was stalemating Luffy when he was trying to defeat her and she was not fighting back. 

Well, Luffy may have been tired and he was definitely not going out right? That’s fair so then let’s just jump to the Kaido stuff because that’s the only thing that will give us the clear answer here. Well, Yamato was stalemating 1 on 1 a Hybrid mode Kaido. So this is something to really keep in mind here. Those Zoro feats? We were talking regular Kaido at that point. Yamato is performing better against a Kaido who is in a much more powerful form. As far as I’m concerned that’s pretty much a game over moment for any chance or Yamato being weaker. Sure, she was ultimately getting overpowered but unless you think Zoro would have beaten Kaido one on one then that’s moot anyway. The strongest case for Zoro being more powerful than Yamato is if he’s just that much faster and given that Yamato speed blitzed Ulti, I think that would be a very difficult case to make. While the anime tends to drag things out for dramatic effect, you can see the speed in the clip below. Even by the end of the fight larer on with Kaido Yamato was able to use a new special move and didn’t even lose before the fight was interrupted.

So that rests my case or at least what I would consider to be the mainly spoiler free version. I could go into more detail with using specific scenes but I encourage you to check out the manga battles first hand. This is a bit of a smaller editorial than some of my others but that’s because this is really just to answer a quick question.

Is Yamato the strongest Strawhat comrade if she were to join? Well the answer is yes, none of Luffy’s teammates can hope to defeat her at this point in the story. They are going to need some kind of power up in a future arc in order to close the gap. Yamato is not unbeatable, there’s a really good chance hat she will be surpassed by the end but make no mistake, the others will have to surpass her. They aren’t on the level right now.

Is Mihawk the strongest Swordsman in One Piece?


As the title suggests, this editorial is going to discuss if Mihawk is really the greatest Swordsman in the One Piece verse. Now that is a very big title so we definitely want to go into depth here and see if this is really the case. There are a lot of sword fighters in the series after all so we are going to need to qualify this a bit. First I think it’s important that we set straight what the definition of a swordsman is at least on this site.

A swordsman is someone who primarily fights with a sword. That’s the basis of the character and when you think of this individual, a sword should always come to mind as well. So what I’m saying here is that just using a sword is not enough. Put it this way, Goku with a sword could easily beat Trunks but that doesn’t make him a swordsman. Superman could use a sword to beat Katana but that’s because his actual abilities are so much greater. So that’s not what we’re really talking about here. Otherwise just about anyone can use a sword and there have been fighters who have wields a sword once or twice like Goku. It’s not the same thing though so they would have to be ruled out.

That means Luffy doesn’t count as he only used a sword twice. Weapons that are similar to swords won’t be counted either. Now if it’s got a blade like a Katana or something that is effectively a sword then that’s quite all right. Kaido’s Thunder Bagua for example is definitely not the kind of weapon I would consider to be a sword. This is very fortunate for Mihawk I should say since it’s hard to see him tangling with Kaido.

So now that we’ve defined what it is to be a swordsman let’s look at Mihawk’s competition. As mentioned, Kaido is ruled out so that’s one less rival. Big Mom has her legendary fire sword but nobody actually considers her to be a sword fighter. She uses hand to hand combat primarily and the sword is just something she whips out on occasion. Is she close to counting? I’d say yes, if she just were to use the sword a little more often then I would say that is a wrap.

Another fighter we can’t count here is Oden. The title of the strongest is a current one after all and Oden is not around right now. The same goes for Whitebeard and King Roger. If you’re not around anymore then of course you can’t have a claim to being the strongest so that absolutely makes a lot of sense and I would stand by that. This is a title for characters who are alive or at least still moving around.

For primary sword fighters the main rivals then would be Zoro, Shanks, King, Fujitora, Law, and Brook. I can barely say the last name with a straight face though. He is directly weaker than Zoro so we will remove him right now.

Now let’s talk about Law. He is a talented swordfighter in large part because he has his room abilities but he also may have the single best sword feat in all of One Piece when he destroyed an entire mountain range with a single swing. Even characters like Luffy and Kaido have never been able to match that kind of destructive power. I would say it’s fair to count that as an outlier though given that it was so far above what is usually seen as possible in the series. Or if not, you can just scale the other above him anyway.

Additionally Law has taken several Ls since then and generally hasn’t been as impressive. Mix in the fact that his Haki is not developed enough to even damage Kaido and I would say he loses his claim to being the strongest. King is the next challenger and we haven’t seen a ton from him yet so maybe he has some secret abilities lying in wait. At the moment though he appears to be weaker than Zoro so that would rule him out as well.

Fujitora is an interesting figure because we just haven’t seen a whole lot of him relative to the others. He’s an admiral which is very impressive but even then we don’t really know how they stack up only that they are weaker than Yonkou’s individually. Zoro was able to briefly stalemate him in one of the films which is really the best comparison we’ve got. Ultimately I don’t see any possible path for Fujitora being stronger than Zoro or Mihawk, both of whom have far more impressive moments.

So we’re down to the big 3, Mihawk, Zoro, and Shanks as the world’s greatest swordsman. So now let’s drill even further down into the definition of the phrase “greatest swordsman” as it will start to become more relevant here. Does the term greatest refer to the most powerful such as who would win in a fight counting Haki abilities and such or who has the most skill in a true blade battle?

If it’s the former then Shanks will likely carry this title. The man has done little to nothing in the 1000+ chapters of One Piece but at the same time he is a Yonkou. Moreover, he is the only one not to fight yet and by Shonen Jump/Any media standard that implies that he will end up being the strongest. Although Oda has put himself in a very sticky situation here because if Shanks actually does lose his first ever fight off screen to Blackbeard as many suspect, that would be a truly awful payoff to everyone who was looking forward to him getting some action.

So from a feats standpoint Shanks is lacking but in a lore sense the odds of him being more powerful than Mihawk is quite considerable. Just consider the parallel between Zoro and Mihawk vs Luffy and Shanks. It would make sense that the latter combo is stronger than the former even if Mihawk will be more skilled than Shanks.

Then we cut (See what I did there?? Heh) to Zoro. Well, it’s clear that Zoro was a lot weaker than Mihawk pre time skip and then had to get trained by the main for almost 3 years. At this point we can say that Zoro was still weaker. After that though, Zoro got the legendary Enma, the ability to cut through fire, and improved enough to block a combined Yonkou attack. Zoro also awakened the Conqueror’s Haki which is something we don’t even know if Mihawk has. Most likely he will end up having it since he may become irrelevant in the fights otherwise but these are a lot of of points in Zoro’s favor.

Right now I would have to put Zoro ahead of Mihawk both in skill and power. There’s certainly a decent chance that Mihawk can prove me wrong since in a lore perspective it would make sense for him to be incredibly strong like Shanks but until we see it, I can’t give him the title.

So there we go, if we’re talking about lore or pure ability then Shanks is the most powerful swordsman in the world. If we are talking about feats or overall skill with a blade then Zoro takes this. Either way I’m afraid that Mihawk will need to relinquish his title effective immediately. He cannot be considered the world’s strongest swordsman. Not right now. If you have any doubts at all after reading this, just check out this final clip of his reaction to Shanks entering the battlefield at Marineford.

One Piece: Vivi’s Adventure Review


One Piece has been getting quite a lot of different one shots and specials to celebrate the 1000th episode coming up. It’s definitely fun to see a series get so much content and last for so long. One Piece has lived through many powerful Jump titles and continues to tell its tale. I thought it slowed down quite a bit after the timeskip because you can’t really compare masterpiece arcs like Water 7 and Marineford to Punk Hazard or Fishman Island. I thought Whole Cake Island was fun though and while Wano started out slow, we’re definitely in the payoff part now. So things are on the up and up all around. This special chapter rewrites Vivi’s iconic farewell with a new art style. It’s a fun revisit although personally I would have picked more of an action chapter here.

Since this is just one chapter stretched out to more of a monthly sized one, there isn’t a whole lot that happens. The chapter opens up with Vivi being forced to make a tough call. She can ride out with the Strawhats and officially become one of them or she can stay home and rule her land as a Princess. Her land would be devastated without her, but on the other hand if she doesn’t join now then she may never see the Strawhats again. What is the right decision? She only has 8 hours to decide at which point Luffy and the gang have to skip town.

Vivi was a fun character back in the day and everyone thought she had a fairly strong chance to join the crew. Ultimately she did not but perhaps one day when she reappears she will still be considered as one of Luffy’s mega crew. Sort of an extension of the main crewmates at least. Vivi’s still in the arc that is happening off screen so everyone’s looking forward to seeing how that plays out. Vivi would have made a good addition to the crew as she has a nice personality that would bounce off of the others pretty well. I would definitely take her over Franky or Brook in a heartbeat after all. She would need to learn a few more fighting moves though. Ultimately if I were her I would have chosen to leave but I won’t fault her for deciding to stay home.

As for Luffy and the gang, it definitely feels weird to see them being overwhelmed by normal enemies. Random marines with iron spears are absolutely decimating the ship and there’s just nothing the heroes can do about it. Effectively it is the weakness of not being able to fight much at sea. The gang of pirates are always at their best when fighting on land which can be ironic but that’s just the way it is. Zoro and Sanji at least don’t have devil fruits so they would be able to swim around and fight but it’s still hard to out maneuver whole ships in the meantime.

There are some pretty strong friendship messages in this chapter like Luffy and the gang arguing with Mr. 2 but as soon as they explain they are staying here for a friend he is quick to jump on their side. After all, risking your life for a friend is definitely fair game. Luffy and the others also take it pretty well when Vivi decides to stay. There wasn’t a lot of yelling for her to come aboard or anything, they just rolled with it and hoped for the best and had the iconic X pose.

It’s a very self contained chapter so it works really well as a one shot. Of course, I would like to have added a final scene at the end showing modern Vivi or something like that as a stinger into the future. Maybe show her entering the Reverie or something. It would be a pretty good way to build hype if you ask me, but I’m definitely ready to see what’s next on the One Piece spinoff list. This one as drawn by the artist of Nisekoi and it was impressive since I wouldn’t have otherwise recognized the art style if I didn’t already know about it. Granted, I haven’t read Nisekoi in a little while which probably would have helped a bit.

Overall, Vivi’s Adventure is a pretty good story. The good thing about choosing this chapter is that it works very well even if you don’t know much about One Piece. You can still understand what is going on with the story. The large scale context doesn’t matter much as the main story is really just about the emotional choice between friends and your family duty. In that sense you can immediately understand the stakes and what is going on here. So definitely give this one a read and as it’s only 1 chapter long you’ll have it completed really quickly.

Overall 7/10

What are the Top 20 best Manga Series?


Originally this was just going to be a Top 10 list but there are so many great titles that I ended up expanding this to 20. Sure, you could just keep expanding it until it’s a Top 100 but that’s a lot tougher to pull off although it would make for a fun article. In this list I’m really just thinking about series so you have to be at least 2 volumes long. One Shots don’t count although I doubt I would have any this far up either way.

I’ve read close to 500 different manga titles but of course hidden among those are a bunch of one shots. In terms of series I’m not sure how many I have read although I expect it should be around 300 or so. My favorite manga genre tends to be action, but I’ll enjoy a great sport or mystery title as well. There’s usually something to be enjoyed in most titles. Most being the key word of course because when you have a series called Go Go Monster that bores you to tears then you have a problem….

Before getting into the Top 20 titles I’m going to give out some honorary mentions.

Best Harem: Nisekoi They say there is a gem in every genre and I suppose that is true. The very concept of a Harem usually leads to disaster so I wouldn’t say there’s a great track record here but Nisekoi pulled it off. In part I would say this is due to the fact that the main character actually has a backbone and isn’t just playing the field the whole time. Ultimately he has to make a choice and does this without any fake outs or cop outs. The art is really solid and I would say almost every character got a satisfying resolution.

Start of the Road: Dragon Drive

This is here simply for being one of the very first manga titles I ever read. I would say it was the first long running title I read for a series I was unfamiliar with. In a lot of ways you could say this is the title that really got me into manga as a medium so it will always be a very fun manga title to read. It’s nowhere close to the top 20 to be honest but still worth putting some respect on its name.

Best Mystery: Detective Conan

Spiral is right up there though and if you count Death Note then that is technically above Conan but I consider it to be more of a thriller since we know who the villain is. Conan’s had a very impressive run over the years as it’s even longer than One Piece. While it would be nice if the plot could move forward a bit quicker, each mystery is always a blast so you can’t really fault it. This one couldn’t crack the top 20 but as King of its genre it’s definitely worth a mention.

Generally strong titles that missed out
Kuroko’s Basketball
Beelzebub
Medaka Box
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan


These three don’t own their categories or anything but they were the 3 titles left over when I was constructing my Top 20. I guess that’s not to say they are necessarily numbers 21-24 but at least they were top of mind. Kuroko’s Basketball brought a new intensity to the sport genre that was only previously seen in Prince of Tennis. The story arcs were excellent and if anything it’s just a shame that it couldn’t be longer. From all of the sport titles it probably has the most complete cast on a team. Yes, that’s even including Prince of Tennis.

Beelzebub is one of those titles that had a very shaky beginning but only kept getting better and better as it went on. I could have done without some of the crude humor with the baby and that’s really what keeps it from being a little higher. Still, it was a tremendous action series that had a very impressive run. Nothing can ever take that away from it.

Then you have Medaka Box. It’s only issue is that the fanservice could be a bit excessive at times, otherwise this would be a lock for the Top 20. It had a very colorful cast of characters and strategies in the fights that could even match Hunter X Hunter. The power scaling of the series was also very unique with how it would go up and down with the gifted and the unlucky. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s a shame that it never got a full anime version.


Nura was really impressive when reading it. The main character’s journey is similar to Yugi/Tsuna’s in many respects and he also has to deal with living in a demon gang. There’s a lot of great action here and all of the super forms are really done right. The fact that you have 3 generations of Nura fighting out here made for a great climax so this was a really high ranking action title.

Now these are honorary mentions for titles that are still going and could realistically make the Top 20. After all, as long as you live you have a shot right? That said, some are more realistic than others. Take Black Butler for example.

The only top ranking this horrific series has a chance of reaching is the title of worst manga of all time and Black Bird would have a lot to say on that. Birds of a feather flock together and all that right? Ah man, those titles are so bad….

sooooo…baaaaaadddddddd-Anyway lets go on to the ongoings that are quite solid and should have a bright future ahead of them.

Dragon Ball Super

The original Dragon Ball Z made it to the top 20 so there is already a precident for this. Ultimately since the manga would fall behind the show at times, Super hasn’t been as consistent as it could have been with arcs like the Tournament of Power being abridged. That said, the Moro arc was quite solid and the Granola arc is off to a great start. If this one can just keep going on a consistent level it’s certainly possible for it to achieve such a high status. I don’t see it ending anytime soon either so it will have a lot of opportunities.

Boruto

I wouldn’t say Boruto’s chances are as good as Dragon Ball Super’s since it will need a little more time and has more ground to cover. That said, when we do have action scenes they have held up quite well. Bortuo is starting to get quite high tier with the power scaling so we definitely can’t count it out. What would really be nice is if Sasuke and Naruto could de age or something but even without that there is a lot that the series can do.

Twin Star Exorcist

I hesitated about putting this one in because the series seems to be in its final arc. If so, there is really no time to jump high enough to make it to the top 20. I would say what it has going for it is that it might be one of the very closest to make it to the top. The artwork is one of the best for any ongoing series right now and I continue to be impressed at those fight scenes. If it can survive for another arc it could really pull this off but unfortunately I do see the end goal in sight.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is the next big Shounen Jump title. As this point it is quickly gaining ground on its seniors within the magazine and you could say as soon as one of the Big 3 end, (Black Clover, My Hero Academia, and One Piece) that it will automatically assume the vacant spot. It’s a lot newer than the others though so it’s really just a matter of time for this one to start climbing up the ranks. This series shouldn’t be anywhere near its end so there’s no rush.

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is certainly a big title and it’s just entered a critical arc. Right now the forest arc is still my favorite in the series but this one is hitting the right notes. I am certainly on board with Deku’s character arc as I would say he is easily at the best he has ever been. While there are theories that this could be the final arc of the series I’m going to bank on this being the end of “Part 1” as the next part follows Deku as the world’s number 1 Hero. There’s a lot of ways this can go though so we just have to watch out.

One Piece

I know this one’s a long shot but the fact that One Piece is so long just means you really need to put it here. After all, I would say on average One Piece is a very good series that has had its moments of greatness. It was never able to be as consistent as Naruto or Bleach but it is still going which is a feat in itself. Additionally, if it’s true that we’ve barely just passed the halfway point of Wano then it doesn’t matter that the series may only have 1-2 arcs left because it’ll still be on going for years.

With the honorary mentions out of the way it’s finally time to stop and take a look at the Top 20. These are the cream of the crop. The ultimate titles that reign atop the food chain of the entire manga Kingdom. Out of the 20 on the list, 6 are still ongoing so who knows how much higher they can rise. Or of course they can do the unthinkable and crash but that’s fairly rare. Most series I would say end on a high note or at the very least even if it’s not the best arc, it’s one that is comparable to the rest. So lets dive in!

20. Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya is a manga as old as time and you can tell that to an extent. The art has an old look to it and the arcs tend to have the same story beats over and over like a classic superhero comic. (Check out the ole JL Archives and you’ll see how each story has them split up into 5 teams to beat their enemies and return) Saint Seiya doesn’t change things up a whole lot but it doesn’t really need to. The core premise is exceptional and the fights never hold back. Why change something if it isn’t broken right? That’s Saint Seiya’s methodology and it works.
19. Hunter X Hunter

It’s always crazy to think that without hiatuses Hunter X Hunter could be around One Piece’s length right now. Well, no time for What Ifs, when the manga exited we were in the middle of a great arc. The boat trip could even become the best arc in the series due to how almost literally every big character has found their way onto it. Hopefully this series returns someday because things were going really well.
18. Naruto

Naruto is one of those series where I mostly remember Part 1 through the anime as I didn’t get serious on the manga until Part 2. It’s a very nostalgic series and one that really brought the hear ton the Big 3. (One Piece had the popularity, Bleach had the skill, and Naruto brought the emotional punch) It’s just a very solid all around series that makes for a great first recommendation to any manga fan.
17. Death Note

Now this series takes me back. Light was easily one of the most ambitious main characters of all time. A mass murderer psychopath as the main character? It was very interesting and made you ask a lot of tough questions. It was the first big battle of wits manga that I read and it holds up extremely well. Light’s battle against L had to be one of the most impactful moments across just about any series.
16. Rurouni Kenshin

Kenshin made for a fairly unique main character as he was already older when the series first starts. He doesn’t take a lot of joy in fighting the way that most characters do and really does it out of necessity. The art here was top notch and while I usually do not care for the past as a time setting, this series pulled it off.
15. Prince of Tennis

Okay so the image is from the sequel but it was too cool not to pick. Prince of Tennis is the definitive sports title across all of manga and has never relinquished the throne. Part of why I got into Tennis is likely due to this manga’s influence. It’s a shame that the sequel hasn’t gotten big in America yet but this is a title I could easily recommend to anyone.
14. Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Kaguya-Sama may look out of place next to the others here since it’s a psychological romantic comedy. It’s quite unique and I still recall thinking it was a series about vampires after seeing the iconic volume 1 cover. Still, it’s ended up being one of the ultimate manga titles out there and has continued to rise. It’s one of only 3 series that have ever caused me to binge into the wee hours of the night when I would usually be asleep. (Tower of God and RWBY the animated series are the only other two) What really makes this title stand apart is the fantastic writing and its unique look into the power dynamics of a romance.
13. Beet

Beet is in a similar boat to Hunter X Hunter where it would be even bigger if not for the hiatuses. The artwork was stunning and the series was preparing for a DBZ type adventure. I would still consider it an elite but due to how abruptly it stopped I can see why a lot of people would avoid it. Hopefully the continuation gets big soon so everyone can really relive the adventure.
12. Black Cat

Black Cat was at one point in my literal #1 position for all of manga. Of course I read it a long time ago before most of the other titles so it was natural that others would show up. Still, Black Cat is still notable for having one of the best romances in the entire medium as well as having a top tier main character. Train Heartnet has a lot of style and the manga did a good job of always ramping up the stakes.
11. Yu Yu Hakusho

This one was very close to making the top 10. It was a tough fight but it just barely loses out to the next one. Yu Yu Hakusho has a ton of amazing action and characters. It ended up getting an anime that was so amazing that even the manga couldn’t keep up. Hakusho will always be known as a top tier contender regardless though and if any series above it end up slipping this one will be right there to take their spot.
10. Gamaran

Gamaran was never formally licensed in America so it was unable to get as popular as it should. Think of it like Kenshin only with whole schools of swordsmen fighting each other. The fights are crazy and while the abilities are mainly grounded the manga isn’t afraid to give them superhuman feats all the time. It has a certain intensity that very few titles can match.
9. Black Clover

At this point it’s easy to see why a lot of people call it GOAT Clover. Black Clover is just amazing in that it burst out of the gate as an amazing series. A lot of titles need some time to pick up but this one was superb from Volume 1. A good amount of credit for that goes to Asta as he is such a likable guy. Part of what makes him shine is the fact that he never gave up on working out and training his body even though he didn’t get magic. He didn’t let the unfairness of the world drag him down and just kept on fighting until he became a member of the Black Bulls. Hopefully this title doesn’t end any time soon.
8. Liar Game

I had to debate with myself a while on if this should really be ahead of Black Clover. It’s close but I would give it the slight edge. Mainly what helps it win out is that I just love analytical series like this. Each game causes you to think a lot on what the right strategy is. The best part is that the series never cheats. You can really get the answers yourself but it is incredibly difficult. The writing here is phenomenal so you will be sucked in to each event.
7. Reborn!

Reborn probably has some of the best fight scenes in all of manga. That’s a good part of why the series is ranked so highly. It’s also versatile as the manga initially started out as a full comedy which was very humorous and then seamlessly turned into a battle manga. This showed that the author was able to handle each genre which is very impressive. This is a series you do not want to forget.
6. Dragon Ball Z

The original Shounen Jump legend! Dragon Ball Z is one of those huge franchises that everyone knows about and that’s because it is just so good. The series has no weaknesses and the art style is simple but extremely effective. The fights are easy to follow and the story is a lot of fun. It really came into its own during the Android Saga and never looked back. The series also has a ton of replay value since it’s so easy to read.
5. Bleach

Bleach is one of the most intense action series I’ve ever read. While a lot of people didn’t like the final arc I was definitely on board with it. The series just kept escalating everything higher and higher until it just ended. Now I will say that parts of the ending are a little on the rushed side but there was definitely a lot to wrap up. All in all I would say it did a fantastic job and Ichigo is such an awesome main character. The experience wouldn’t be the same without him.
4. Yugioh Duelist

Out of all the Yugioh titles this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Battle City Arc is iconic because it brought in the best duelists in the world and made for a lot of great duels. Kaiba and Yami’s rivalry can hold its own with any other pairing out there. Both of them will never surrender or give up. Mix that in with the sheer enjoyment of Duel Monsters as well as the excellent art and you have a top contender.
3. Tower of God

Yeah technically this is a Manhua but that’s close enough. Besides which I haven’t read enough of those for it to be a different category. Now this was fun to marathon though as there are around 500 chapters in the series and each one is monthly sized. If it ever got a physical release I wonder how many volumes that would be. Seems to be like it would possibly even reach 100 already. Everything about this title is just absolutely top tier. The artwork is amazing and the cast of characters is next level. You’ll be sucked into the various story lines and the general lore that surrounds it. I just couldn’t put this down and just kept going from chapter to chapter. If you like action and adventure then this is an absolute must read.
2. One Punch Man

One Punch Man has hands down the greatest artwork of all time. It’s incredible how realistic everything looks and not in an overly detailed/gritty kind of vibe. I’m talking in a detailed approach where it still feels like DBZ but with a ton of extra elements. Each page you can pause and use as a background because of how HD it is. Every 2 weeks you really look forward to seeing what the next update will bring.
1. Megaman NT Warrior

Now we’re at the ultimate manga. The appearance of Bass EXE, the greatest character of all time. It’s no secret how incredible I’d say this guy is. The series has top tier art as well with all of the fights and the author had a clear understanding of what makes for a good action series. Each story arc kept on getting more and more interesting with all of the characters mixing things up and getting in on the action. If you think Megaman is for kids or isn’t a strong verse then you definitely need to check this one out.

And there you have it, that’s my Top 20 manga of all time! With so many ongoing series and tons of completed ones I have yet to read, I’m sure the list will remain rather dynamic. Some more than others of course as the Top 10 likely wouldn’t change much but titles beyond that would probably move a lot more. Nothing beats the feeling of discovering a new manga title that is top tier after all. We’ll see which is the next one to break out! Who knows, maybe it’ll be that Kaiju No. 8 everyone’s talking about.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 32/40
Gallery Completion 87%

Stage Ranks

Level 1 A
Level 2 S
Level 3 S
Level 4 A
Level 5 S
Level 6 A
Level 7 B
Level 8 S
Level 9 S
Level 10 S
Level 11 A
Level 12 S
Level 13 B
Level 14 A
Level 15 A
Level 16 B
Level 17 A
Level 18 A
Level 19 A
Level 20 S
Level 21 A
Level 22 A
Level 23 A
Level 24 S
Level 25 B
Level 26 S
Level 27 A
Level 28 S
Level 29 S
Level 30 S
Level 31 S
Level 32 S
Level 33 S
Level 34 S
Level 35 S

One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 Review


After playing through Dynasty Warriors I knew that it was time to get more classic beat em up games from Kemco. One Piece was the perfect follow up. It’s a terrific game through and through with extremely tight gameplay. Every aspect of the game is just flat out amazing with a top tier soundtrack, amazing graphics, etc. There’s just nothing to dislike about this game. It really delivers and is an excellent tribute to the series. I would highly recommend checking it out whether you’re just a big One Piece fan or like the gameplay in general. It’s quite polished and I definitely look forward to the day they make a 5th installment.

The game adapts 6 of the story arcs from the manga. Naturally there’s no way you could hope to adapt everything from the series so there are a number of big jumps and such as you go through the campaign. They do manage to tackle all of the big stories though such as Marineford and Wano. For the arcs that are skipped the game gives you a quick recap so you know what went on through a set of cutscenes. The campaign is a pretty solid length so there is a lot of detail here. If you list any influential One Piece scene off the top of your head, odds are that it is in this game.

Naturally the gameplay here is your typical 3D hack n slash/beat em up. You pick a character and take down hundreds of enemies as you accomplish the goals of the level which range from defeating enemies to capturing territories. To capture a territory you must beat a large number of enemies in that zone and then take out the leader. This prevents further reinforcements from that area which is a pretty great help in these battles. I always prioritize taking over the area whenever possible. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and specials. There is also a very detailed power up system where you amp your moves up. I really focused on getting Luffy and Sanji to max as their battle styles were already really good so with the extra boost to their abilities it was like cake going through the levels.

The game likely anticipated this though so throughout the game you will be forced to play as many different characters. Then you have the tricky decision of using some of your resources to power them up even though you may never play them again or try to squeak by with level 1 stats. It can be a pretty hard decision. Also one thing to keep in mind when playing as Sanji is that he can’t do much against female opponents. The game even gives you a warning message if you try to play him in a level where they show up. I ignored the warning the first time and it got tricky. Effectively you can only offer a single strike and then Sanji immediately recoils. So you can imagine that defeating an opponent will take forever when you can only land a single move like that. Without the special abilities I would have been there all day so after that I was careful when to pick him.

The power up system also allows you to learn a bunch of new moves which are handy since a lot of them are better than your starters. You can also use transformations like with Luffy activating Gear 4. It’s a really handy move to have here. In terms of pure gameplay this has to be one of the smoothest that I’ve played in a long time. I would put it even above Dynasty Warriors 9 and Hyrule Warriors 2. Both of which tried adding some new mechanics which were fun enough but Pirate Warriors 4 is going back to basics. Just take enemies down right away. I would beat up to 2500 enemies in some levels. The best attack in my opinion is Conqueror’s Haki. Using that causes many enemies to instantly die and it also ignores any shields the enemy may have up. What can beat that?

Then you’ve also got an amazing soundtrack in this game. Pretty much every tune is amazing. I’ve been listening to the tunes online after playing through the game quite a lot. There may not be a ton of different tracks as I only see around 15 online but they are all just pretty amazing. You can feel the energy in each one of them and they really make you want to jump in and get on the action. You’ve got suitably emotional tracks as well. This has to be one of the most complete soundtracks I’ve heard in a minute. Naturally the graphics for the game are also quite good. The characters are striking and same for the various landscapes which are all unique and pretty accurate to the manga/show.

In terms of replay value there is definitely a whole lot to get through here. Aside from the main story you can also play a lot of stand alone adventures in the Treasure log and experiment with all of the characters. Obtaining the Platinum Trophy will also take a very long time. Right now you can get this game for under 30 so it’s definitely a steal. You won’t run out of things to do in this game for a very long time. The main campaign alone would justify the purchase so with all of that extra content you’re definitely good to go.

Overall, The only thing I could say that isn’t positive about the game is that for their original ending to the Wano arc it was pretty uninspired. I wasn’t a big fan since it felt like more of a cop out than anything. Otherwise everything about this game is just incredible. You’ve got a top tier soundtrack, graphics, gameplay, and story. You would struggle to find another game in this genre with smoother gameplay than Pirate Warriors 4. It’s all just so clean and polished that you can’t help but get sucked in to the adventure. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this one. I intend to play some more beat em up games like this in the very near future so definitely be on the lookout for that. It’s going to be a blast!

Overall 9/10

Positive Trope: An Even Stronger Villain Appears


One of the things I really enjoy about anime and manga is seeing how the arc after a big power up starts. This is something that can appear in any medium to be fair, but I feel like it is especially prevalent in anime/manga. The title’s a bit vague so let me get more specific on what I mean. This is the trope where the hero has just gone through a lot of great ordeals and unlocked a new level of power which was enough to stop the villain. Then the next arc starts and all of a sudden the hero is managing to get wrecked by the new opponent. That’s always one of the most hype kind of moments for me because it means the heroes are going to have to train up yet again. It’s particularly effective when the main character was considered to be absolutely crazy in terms of strength. I will be using examples from Yu Yu Hakusho’s Sensui arc, Dragon Ball Z’s Android Saga, Bleach’s Arrancar arc, and for a reverse look at a villain scenario, Fate Stay Night’s Unlimited Blade Works’ Grail War. So it goes without saying that there will be mild spoilers for each of these titles. The spoilers only encompass the beginnings of these arcs and for Fate, the beginning of the second act of the series. If you have not yet read/watched these titles I’d advise you to do so as they all are perfect examples of this. Other instances that are references through images include Luffy vs Kaido, (One Piece) Yami Yugi vs Rafael, (Yugioh) and Estarossa vs Meliodas. (Seven Deadly Sins)

This kind of plot can happen in a few different ways. The image I showed above is one of the great fakeouts from Hitman Reborn where after the heroes finally dealt with the Funeral Wreaths it turned out they were actually fighting some weak imposters. The real ones were significantly tougher. Medaka Box did this as well. It’s a slightly different variation from what I’m talking about since that affected the whole group and really a specific villain appearing. More like a group of them, but in a way that makes things even more dangerous for the heroes. The examples below are of a specific villain showing up.

First up, I’m going to start with Yu Yu Hakusho’s example as it’s a little different since it actually plays up the defeat with a bit of a mystery angle to it. So this takes place after Yusuke had just survived the Dark Tournament. He finally gained complete mastery over his spirit power and is feeling pretty invincible. He literally was able to defeat some people while tied up and unable to move so you get a feel of just how powerful he was. The Sensui arc starts with some mysterious teenagers showing up asking to pick a fight with Yusuke. Yusuke obliges them since he’s always ready for a good fight and then from there he vanishes which kicks off the arc. Somehow or another they were actually able to take Yusuke down . Part of what makes this really work is because Yusuke was built up as being pretty unstoppable. No demon could handle him so how could a bunch of human teenagers bring him down? It was a great moment for sure.

Next up we have the famous Goku vs Android 19 fight. I don’t even need to go into great detail here since everyone knows this example. Goku just took down the mighty Frieza with new Super Saiyan form. Goku’s also gotten stronger since then and handled Trunks with ease. Additionally Goku had some time to train before the Androids showed up. Yet, when they did, Goku was powerless to stop 19. He might as well not have even been fighting back because Android 19 gave him the work. To date this is one of my favorite fights in all of DBZ because of how 19 just stepped in and handled business. I like how nonchalant the whole thing was and 19 is heavily underrated. It’s easily one of the most shocking fights in the series because at this point Super Saiyan was still seen as invincible. It’s probably one of the earliest example I can think of with this trope appearing in full force and it was handled masterfully! I know people bring up valid points about how an Android should not have been able to be that powerful and I agree with that, but at the same time the scene was so hype I don’t even mind.

Bleach is no stranger to power creep so it makes sense that it would have a great example. It’s got quite a few to be honest but the best one I’d say is coming into the Arrancar arc. Ichigo just got done taking down a Captain and being acknowledged as one of the greatest Soul Reapers of all time. He takes out one of the random Arrancars and is feeling pretty good about himself. That’s when he is confronted by Grimmjow who turns out to be more than a match for the Hero. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Grimmjow is *only* ranked as number 6th among his group so he isn’t even the strongest. Ichigo is unable to do anything against Grimmjow and is completely crushed during this fight. This was a massive jump in power the likes of which we hadn’t seen. Not only did it establish Grimmjow as a serious threat (Who would go on to be my favorite character in the series) but it also showed that Ichigo and the other heroes were in deep trouble. They were definitely not ready to handle this.

Finally as mentioned lets look at a villain version of this example. It’s time for Gilgamesh vs Berserker. Part of why this one works is because Berserker is introduced as a servant so powerful that he could destroy the other 6 combined. At least in terms of pure mana output he beats the rest with ease. Now Fate does have a habit of throwing a little too much hype at everyone so they don’t live up to it (coughSaberalwayslosescough) and I’ve got an editorial coming up which will reference a fighter there but this is the whole lore behind Berserker. It’s very rare to see him be defeated in a straight fight. That’s all well and good until a new Servant decides to throw his hat in the ring. The King of Heroes, Gilgamesh. Want to talk about upping the stakes and hype? Gilgamesh is said to be the strongest Fate character in the whole Nasuverse. Granted, there are certain limitations to that quote. I believe it only applied to the base characters, once you reach into the spinoffs (Particularly the mobile game) there are some characters who could take him down. That being said, his abilities are in a world of their own. This fight shows that clear as day. It’s just about impossible for any hero to take him down because Gilgamesh has limitless Noble Phantasms. Additionally should anyone try to counter him with a world of their own, he has a weapon that perfectly nullifies it.

Gilgamesh’s only real weakness is that he tends to be overconfident so he doesn’t tend to try until he’s losing. That said, it makes his power that much more intimidating as he humiliates Berserker without even trying. Without a hostage Berserker would have done better although I don’t believe he would win. So there you have it, those are 4 examples of solid moments where this came into play. This definitely happens to villains quite a lot to be honest although in a slightly different context as it tends to happen within the same arc as opposed to the next one. The true leader tends to not show his hand until the main one is defeated. A good villain always waits until the perfect moment to strike.

I know what you’re thinking. No examples from Black Clover or Sword Art Online this time? I know I use those constantly, but I wouldn’t really say they’ve had an example like this. Certainly not Sword Art Online although Clover has some in the most recent arc from the manga. It definitely could have made the list but I figured I’d keep this editorial pretty short. Just a few examples and explaining why I enjoy this element so much. It really just a great way to take the show/manga to the next level. I always think the next villains should continue to get stronger and stronger. You will run into some issues if the power creep doesn’t stop after a while but the easiest way is to just have the strongest villain show up first to mess up the heroes and after that you have the weaker ones appear to let the heroes gradually improve to take them all down one after another. I feel like any good action series should throw this in at least once. It doesn’t have to be this directly, but in some way or another.

I’ve got more editorials like this coming up at some point with things I like to see in anime or character traits that I want in a hero. It’ll probably be a little while though as I try to balance this along with the reviews and fights on the site. Right now I’ve been doing 1 editorial a month at least. Stay tuned for July’s editorial as I talk about what makes for a good villain. Specifically I’ll be talking about what I like to see in a villain and not so much what I don’t want to see although I may reference those points. As with any character, there are a lot of factors in making a good villain. Just because I list around 10 traits or so, doesn’t mean a villain needs all of them. Of course if the villain does have them all, that’ll likely turn out pretty great for me.

One Piece: Stampede Review


Time to look at the latest One Piece film. This one was definitely getting a lot of hype before it came out because it was bringing together a ton of One Piece characters. Pretty much every big pirate who is currently alive in the series is returning for this film. Naturally since the film is under 2 hours you can’t expect all 60+ of these guys to get a big role, but the movie does a good job of at least allowing them all to get their special attacks in. Then you’ve got the second wave of characters who are big enough to get their own fights. It’s definitely an amazing One Piece experience for fans and anyone who enjoys a good action film is sure to have a blast as well.

The film starts by taking us back to the famous Blackbeard prison breakout from a while back. It turns out that there was one pirate who was far too powerful for Blackbeard to let him join. This guy’s name is Bullet and he once served aboard the Pirate King’s crew. Well, now he is back in a big pirate festival. Festa has organized this thing in order to bring together the Marines, Pirates, and Revolutionaries so they can all be destroyed in one fell swoop. He doesn’t really care who wins so long as everyone gets crushed in the end. Strawhat Luffy and friends have arrived here as well even though they figure it’s probably a trap. That’s because the prize is a treasure from the Pirate King and nobody can resist such a tempting offer. Can Luffy protect his crew and secure the prize before Bullet destroys them all? It’ll be a hard battle for sure.

Right away you have to acknowledge that Bullet is going to be an incredibly powerful villain. He has to be in order to take on pretty much the whole cast of One Piece. The film does not disappoint with his abilities. The guy is pretty much on the level of the 4 empires with how easily he is able to dispatch his opponents. The best fight in the film for me is definitely when he takes on “The worst Generation” (Which is basically a bunch of the hype characters) and defeats them all with ease. They can barely land any decent shots on him which shows just how unbelievable he is. Bullet’s speed and power are off the charts to the point where it’s like seeing All Might bump off the League of Villain lackeys back in season 1. Luffy and the gang are completely outmatched.

Bullet’s also just a fun villain. His goal is to be the strongest and stop the Buster Call. A Buster Call is when the army sends in their admirals and a fleet of ships to sink an island. To date nobody has ever really been able to stop a buster call on their own. Sure, a bunch of characters escaped in Marineford but that wasn’t technically a buster call and they did manage to stop the main threats the government wanted to end. For Bullet to defeat such a thing would be very impressive. He also likes a good fight and seems to have a reasonable honor code. He’s defeating his opponents at the top of their game and doesn’t use any cheap tricks.

Festa is the only other important new character and he’s a fun enough villain. The guy definitely holds onto his grudges and really wants to wreck havoc on the world. It’s for a surprisingly petty reason though. The guy has a great seat but you do have to wonder how nobody noticed him the whole time. I guess he’s so weak that the heroes don’t need to bother prioritizing him. They’d probably just finish him off afterwards which works well enough.

The animation is definitely top notch. It’s all very smooth and vibrant which is great. The fight I mentioned from earlier is very impressive and like something out of DBZ. There are also a bunch of other fights throughout that have great cuts as well like Zoro vs Fujitora and pretty much any scene with Sabo. It’s all very consistent for the duration of the film. We also get some CGI which looks good enough. I think CG is at the point where it should always look good so long as you splash it in a lot of colors. That’s where CGI is at its best. It may not be enough to make giant things exciting, but it tries its best. As for the soundtrack you’ll recognize some tunes from the show. The main new theme was Bullet’s theme and it’s the best piece of music in the whole film. Whenever it appears you know that things are going to get tricky for the heroes. It’s just great all around.

This film also completely avoids the occasional fanservice issue that the series has at times and even Brook doesn’t have time to do anything iffy. The film managed to avoid having any real issues and that’s the first step to being a great film. The next step is to actually have great moments and this move has them in spades. There are a ton of homages and nice little scenes for fans. All of the characters get quick moments where they look good and they all get a ton of hype. That being said, keeping up everyone’s hype does come at a bit of a price.

Pretty much every fight in the film is a tie. That’s something that tends to happen when you bring in a bunch of old characters who still have a lot of fans and Stampede wasn’t able to get around it. Unlike some titles like DBZ where there are big power gaps between everyone, a lot of characters in One Piece are still very close. There are characters from the opening arcs who can hold their own against the current villains. That’s because the characters get stronger very gradually and the old characters keep training as well. The matches are still hype, but this does dampen the excitement for them a little since you know that the battles can’t end. This happens over and over as everyone gets a skirmish and then backs down. Unless you’re fighting Bullet then your battle won’t end.

This film is trying to be Marineford 2.0 with how every character is around and that arc also had the same issue at times. Naturally nobody can die this time around, but all things considered the film did do a good job of keeping that same energy throughout. Once the action starts near the beginning of the film is really never dies down. That’s always important for a big movie like this one since it helps for replay value. Stampede definitely has a lot of that at its disposal.

Then the only other part of the film that could have been improved was Bullet’s final form. When he started to transform I admit that it was a little disappointing. That’s because he went from being an awesome DBZ villain to suddenly being a skyscraper who can barely move. Naturally this is where the CGI starts to come into play. No matter how neat a design the giant form might be, it’s just not going to be able to make for really fun fights the way that his first round was. When one fighter can’t fight back then it’s no longer a real fight. Since Bullet’s giant form can’t do much it just barely counts as an actual match. Bullet does manage to bring back his human form near the end of the film for a quick fight as well though so we did get a true climax.

Luffy is definitely at his best here. He may not look too good against Bullet for a while, but not being strong enough to win isn’t a bad thing in itself. The important thing is that he was trying to win right from the start and was quick to try and help Usopp. Helping his crew out has always been Luffy’s main objective and it’s good to see that hold true here. The rest of the gang aside from Brook look good as well. Zoro and Sanji definitely contribute the most, but Franky and Nami are also very useful. Then for the other pirates it was nice to see Sabo since it’s always rare to see his adult form. It’s a little surprising how calmly Luffy and Sabo exchanged a casual greeting here and then just didn’t talk again. I guess it wasn’t really the time or place to really have a long dialogue but a team up would have been good.

Stampede did a good job of choosing the all star team at the end. Hancock is one of Luffy’s most dependable allies at this point while Law is practically a strawhat now. Smoker may not always be able to compete against some of these guys but his ability is really neat and he has been improving quite a lot. The fact that he can still give these guys a fun for their money is pretty good. Mihawk also shows up to flex real quick and the heroes are lucky that he didn’t stick around since the guy still appears to be way out of their league. He’s definitely Emperor level or at least that’s the way he appears to me.

Overall, Stampede is definitely a great film. I like this new trend of the fight starting early on and then continuing for basically the entire film. Dragon Ball Broly did that to great success and now the same is true for Stampede. I definitely preferred it to Gold and Strong World. I haven’t seen the rest so I can’t comment on that, but that would put this as the best One Piece film right now. There are really no serious complaints I had with it and the movie definitely has a ton of replay value. Naturally as a fan you will get extra enjoyment out of it since it’s a reunion type film, but I dare say that casuals who haven’t seen the series before will enjoy it as well. There’s something here for everyone.

Overall 8/10

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