The island kingdom of Alabasta is about to erupt in civil war – a war engineered by Crocodile, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and his criminal organization Baroque Works. Monkey D. Luffy, his Straw Hat pirates and Princess Vivi race to the island, where the strongest warriors of Baroque Works wait to stop them. Can Vivi and her friends stop an entire war? And how can Luffy fight Crocodile, when Crocodile can turn into sand?
(This review will have spoilers unless you already seen Alabasta Arc. I will also try minimize the spoilers in the best of my ability.)
Once upon a time, way before FUNimation, One Piece was dubbed by the company 4Kids Entertainment in 2004 and broadcasted into public television in Saturday mornings. It even spread out to Saturday evenings at Cartoon Network’s Toonami. However, since it was licensed by 4Kids, the anime went through a lot edits and censorship because of it’s content compared to the original anime in Japan. This includes, replacing guns with squirt guns, changing race like black to tan, stereotyping characters based on appearances (Shanks gets a Scottish accent and Nico Robin sounds like Southern woman) and even name changes (Ace was changed to Trace because apparently it reference an alcohol drink). Later around 2007-08, One Piece was bought by FUNimation and later redubbed the whole anime with a better cast and uncut (some of characters you know can be recognized in this anime such DBZ characters). Along with the anime, FUNi also did the English Dub to the 8th One Piece movie, One Piece Movie 8: The Desert Princess and the Pirates – Adventures in Alabasta. In this review, I will discuss on if this movie is worth it and what makes it different compared to the anime TV version.
Like the description says, the movie is an abridged version of the Alabasta arc of the One Piece series. According to the One Piece Wiki, the Alabasta Arc starts from episode 92-130; 39 episodes long. This movie takes all that and squeezes in for an approximate of an hour. The movie starts off with Vivi remembering her childhood and spending time with one of the royal guards named Pell, a man who ate the Tweet-Tweet Fruit, Falcon Model. The flashback is then cut and then we hear about Vivi’s warning to her father about a mysterious man. After waking up from the dream, the Straw Hat (consisting up to Chopper) meet the mysterious and weird man named Bon Clay, aka Mr. 2. Bon Clay entertains the crew with his Devil Fruit power the Clone-Clone Fruit; a fruit that allows a user to copy a person’s appearance with a tough of a right hand, whether it is man or a woman Bon Clay can copy anyone. Out of the faces he shows off, Vivi finds out that he also copied her father’s face and Straw Hat finds out that he is part of Sir Crocodile’s minions. As the Straw Hat arrive to Alabasta, it’s up to them to help Princess stop a war and defeat the dangerous Warlord, Sir Crocodile
As a One Piece fan, I will admit, even though there were parts that were removed that made the arc special, I still enjoyed. I feel like this film wanted to focus on the Straw Hats and them reaching their main goal: defeating Crocodile and bringing peace to Alabasta. For an abridged movie, it did a decent job on pacing. They focused on main key elements of the arc and then also removed anything that was unnecessary that used prolong an episode.
On the negative note, this movie also left out some essential parts and gave us questions. One of the most obvious would be the beginning where Luffy and his friends arrive in Alabasta. I felt like the story just took a “huge jump” without explaining what happened when they arrived and how did they get there. The fight scenes were also rushed and major notable changes was the parts where the Straw Hat crew fought each of Crocodile’s servants. I didn’t get to enjoy each battle like the manga but instead I got was the intro to the fights and then the climax. Also a side note, Luffy’s fight with Crocodile is shortened to two fight moments instead of three unlike the original version.
Overall, the film makes jumps around and takes us to the main parts of the anime but also it leaves out the filler that made each moment memorable.
I won’t go into much details because I really enjoyed the characters. I like the English Dub cast and my feelings to them are the same as now. However, I will point some characters that that could affect a fan’s taste.
First of all, we don’t see Luffy’s brother Ace in this movie, neither as Smoker, the marine soldier who once tried to capture Luffy and Loguetown; this includes his partner Tashigi. The marines doesn’t even show up until the end of the movie but it’s only for a second. Another character not mentioned is Igaram, a friend and servant to Vivi who also helped her gain information Crocodile (he doesn’t show up but his wife does). Once again, in order to focus on the plot, the movie wanted the audience to pay attention on the Straw Hat Crew, Crocodile’s team (The Baroque Works) the Royal Kingdom, and the Rebellion. So no Ace or no marines got involved.
The movie’s art compared to the anime is much darker with a little more shade and bright colors. Personally, it felt like the art and character designed is much more mature as the same style as the Water Seven Arc. You can see the sweat and shine on the characters and they also appear more serious. The movie also plays around with 3D animation. For example, Crocodile’s sand powers and the desert sand is designed to appear in motion to give it the “realistic” feel.
One Piece Movie 8, is a film that captures the major essence of the Alabasta arc and displays it in a limited time length. The film does a good job on English Dub and capturing the memorable moments from the anime such as fight scenes. However, this film does leave out other important details from the original story such as characters and a rushed plot.
Would I recommend this movie? That depends. As a One Piece fan, I enjoyed this film because it was fast and simple. Since I already knew the original story, I just jumped into this film and got the main gist of the arc. However, if you don’t like a rushed plot with limited screen time with the characters, I wouldn’t recommend. I also wouldn’t watch if you are a beginner One Piece fan. If you still want to watch the movie, read the manga first or watch the original anime and then watch this.
What do you think of the movie? Comment below on your thoughts.