One Piece TV SP 3: Save! The Last Big Stage (2003) [REVIEW]

Director: Junji Shimizu

Writer: Junki Takegami

Runtime: 46 Minutes

While it’s not One Piece’s doing a community theather version of Rigoletto…. yeah, it’s not that, years and years later Toei they eventually tried to do some musical style episodes, but of course the most the Straw Hats could actually do is the circus, with or without amish clowns.

And before you ask, no, they didn’t stoop as low as having Buggy/Bagy involved.

It’s a pretty typical circus story, with the Randolph troupe being in town and holding a special farewell show to mark their leader’s retirement. But guess what, when 3 of the troupe’s actors quit just 30 minutes before the show starts, the Straw Hats offer to take their place, specifically Robin, Usop and Luffy do, but they each overdo or stray from the part, turning the first act into a farce.

Randolph manages to deliver a speech in order to take control of the situation, but he’s arrested by the Marines for selling weapons to pirates, and while boarding his ship to prove his innocence, he sees he has been set up by the corrupt Marine commander Governor (yeah, that’s his actual name), a former subordinate of Randolph while the latter he was serving in the Marine, that planned to take revenge for accusing him and stalling his rise in the ranks.

Luffy now has to fight Governor, protect the ship and show Randolph that not all pirates are blood-thirsty savages and brutes. Same old, same old.

As you can guess from the synopsis, the actual part of the play involving the Straw Hats is relatively short, and it’s kinda for the best, as the gags aren’t that funny, kinda lame, but on the other hand Randolph and his backstory make for a little decent story, at least for “non-quite filler” material like these TV specials end up feeling.

The villain, Governor, is a bit… sloppy, very sloppy, again, i don’t expect much for material like these, but his whole reason for being a dick is that when Randolph was his superior in the Marine he accused him of stealing weapons and selling them to pirates, and other sleazy machinations, even if he didn’t had proof. He was right, but since Governor left no proof, he was found not guilty by the Marine tribunal, and it just meant that it took more for him to cheat his way through the ranks.

So it didn’t actually stop him, but Governor still wants revenge…. because we need a villain, i guess. Even a petty one will do.

On the upside, this time there’s a bit more action on display, which i like.. but on the downside the animation and drawings look a bit worse. And by that i mean it could easily look better, the previous TV special did look better overall, but this one is a bit less derivative, so it evens out.

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