One Piece Film Z
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What can I say? There have been many movies for long-running shonen manga this year and there are still a few left. At the very least, One Piece's latest film is the best of the bunch so far - no surprises there.
Much like any one of the other shonen anime have a set formula for their movies, so does One Piece. However the difference between One Piece's films and say Naruto's is how they're handled. For one, this franchise knows how to deliver a good quality movie and keep the audience's interest right until the end. Far from perfect in terms of content and structure but out of all the long-running series, it does it the best.
Film Z is a bit like Strong World. For one it takes place in a grey area of the main timeline, all the while making sense. What this movie did that we didn't get in Strong World was bring back an unexpected character, and what's more give that character a significant role in the movie; it also helped with said character being former Navy Admiral Aokiji. This by itself gives a little more enjoyment to the movie, though you'd have to be up-to-date with either the manga or the anime. I won't say anything if you aren't, but I will say that it gives the fans something in the meanwhile and that has merit. Of course the downside is if you aren't up-to-date and hence, you don't get the full reasoning for bringing in Aokiji.
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Whilst including the former Admiral was a nice touch, it was only a small part of the story. The overall story was what we've seen before - guy tries to take over/destroy the world - so there's not all that much originality there. Of course what makes it work is that this movie is set in the New World, as such making a similar plot to the previous movie acceptable. Where it differed mostly was the structure and progression of the story, which at times felt a little flat. A considerable part of that also had to do with the timing and general execution of the fight scenes, which towards the end were not as exciting or of notable impact.
Speaking of the ending, that was one part I found myself really enjoying. Different from the previous movie - the biggest noticeable difference - it ended things on a bitter-sweet yet touching way that we've seen before in One Piece. It held a certain charm familiar to the original franchise, that still works as an ending to those not overly familiar with it.
Overall, a fine movie from the franchise. Definitely the best of the long-running shonen's we've seen so far and it'll probably remain that way. At least this franchise can keep its fans happy while others come up short.
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One Piece - Z's Ambition Arc
As I said, One Piece does things a little differently from the rest. Just like Strong World got a loosely relevant arc promoting the movie, so did Z. Based on what I've read - not since long ago do I keep up with the anime - it has Aina as the main character, so it might be worth checking out.