Combustible Celluloid Review - One Piece Film: Red (2022), Tsutomu Kuroiwa, Goro Taniguchi, Kaori Nazuka, Amanda Lee, Mayumi Tanaka, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Shuichi Ikeda, Brandon Potter (voices)
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With: Kaori Nazuka, Amanda Lee, Mayumi Tanaka, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Shuichi Ikeda, Brandon Potter (voices)
Written by: Tsutomu Kuroiwa
Directed by: Goro Taniguchi
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, suggestive material and language
Language: English/Japanese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 115
Date: 11/04/2022

One Piece Film: Red (2022)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Drawn Songs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It certainly helps to be a One Piece fan, but even newcomers can find much to enjoy about One Piece Film: Red, the fifteenth feature in the long-running series; it's gorgeous, funny, exciting, and even has great songs! Fans have the option to choose either the original Japanese version with English subtitles, or an English dub.

As it begins, the people of the world are hungry and suffering. A beloved pop singer, Uta (voiced by Kaori Nazuka and Amanda Lee), announces a never-ending concert, and promises a new world, New Genesis, in which there is no more starvation, there is peace, and everyone has everything that they could ever want.

Luffy (voiced by Mayumi Tanaka and Colleen Clinkenbeard) and his Straw Hat pirates attend the show, and Luffy soon realizes that Uta is actually his childhood friend. She spies Luffy's prized straw hat and recognizes it as once belonging to pirate king Red-Haired Shanks (voiced by Shuichi Ikeda and Brandon Potter), Luffy's hero. She warns him that Shanks isn't as heroic as he may seem, telling a painful story of her past. Then Luffy learns the true nature of the concert and that it could cause far more harm than good.

The Uta character in One Piece Film: Red is new, and this story is more or less self-contained, so it's not hard to get a handle on things. It's crisply told, with various surprises tucked away, and even though it seems as if there's a lot going on, it all clicks into place. The animation is also top-notch, with a consistently dazzling use of colors and space, especially during Uta's cute, super-catchy songs, and during the spectacular final battle.

One Piece Film: Red does a fine job of balancing its exposition with plenty of playful and funny dialogue. The characters interact like family members, constantly ribbing each other, and it feels organic. The movie does objectify many of its supporting and background female characters, depicting them as buxom and wearing skimpy outfits. But otherwise, there's great teamwork here, with characters of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

The Japanese version is arguably slightly better than the English dub, with fewer four-letter words, although the songs are presented in their original Japanese — and performed by J-pop star Ado — in both versions (the dub includes subtitles for the lyrics).

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