One Piece TV SP 12: Episode of East Blue – Luffy and His Four Friends’ Great Adventure (2017) [REVIEW]

Director: Takashi Otsuka

Writer: Tomohiro Nakayama

Runtime: 106 minutes

Remember how i touched upon that plan Toei had about putting out One Piece TV specials in summer and winter, with abridged retellings and original stories?

Well, since we got two original stories back to back with the two previous TV specials, guessing it was yet again time for abridged remakes of older One Piece material was a safe bet to make.

Indeed it was, heck, and “safe” it’s also the perfect way to describe the choice made here.

Or stale and creatively lazy, as one would preferably talk of it, because we already had an East Blue story arcs abridged recap to be found in various bits of other “remake recap specials”, we didn’t really need to make another one of these so we could insert some previously not redone parts of the story. And even that comes off as a compromise on top of a compromise, since it’s only covers the origin or main arc of Luffy and his first four crewmember, Zoro, Sanji, Usop and Nami.

I understand it couldn’t be a 3 hours (or more) dealio due to schedules and broadcast “rules”, so they would had to stop somewhere anyway, but this feels utterly pointless to do AGAIN for a TV special. Seriously, this again?

It feels like most did at the turn of the decade, seeing another Spider-Man film series come out in a space of few years, and groanin in frustration at the idea they will have to see Uncle Ben deader than a doorknob AGAIN so soon.

Stop playing with corpses, you’re not Rob from Nekromantik.

Seriously, you couldn’t do one of these about the other Straw Hats that didn’t even one of those “movie recap compilation”, like Nico Robin, Franky or Brook? Sure, we’ll get to still see some scenes get reanimated once again because they are pivotal for the story and can’t really be cut, but we could also give this “abridged remake overhaul” treatment to scenes that didn’t get it before.

There’s a kind of excuse as the special just outright tells you it’s made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the manga series, but still, this is playing it a bit too much “safe”.

The narration frames this by starting with the Straw Hats being about to cross the Grand Line through Reverse Montain (and consequently meet Crocus and Laboon) and pledging to achieve their dreams by shouting them out loud and putting their over a barrel than they break together, starting with the retelling of Luffy’s first encounter with Shanks as a kid until he himself goes out to see, then Zoro’s from him being held hostage by Axehand Morgan until his defeat against Mihawk , Usop dealing with the pirate Kuro attacking his village, meeting Sanji on the Baratie restaurant and fighting Don Krieg, and ending with Luffy defeating Arlong and Arlong Park with him.

Leaving all THAT aside, i really don’t have really anything to say about it, but i feel a bit sorry for the animators having to redo from scratch the same sequences they’ve probably already dealt with it, and i can’t even really complain of the stories being done and pretty much directed the same way again because there’s really so much they can even do with the requested work, especially when each characters gets a 20i-sh minutes episode due to these special being almost 110 minutes long.

It is what it says on the tin, it’s well animated and drawn as expected from these specials by now, and you might enjoy it more if you want this specific recap from one of these specials, but i think most people won’t, as there just so many times we can see the fat guy in Shanks’ crew (he has a name, Lucky Roux, but nobody remembers that, let’s be honest) shot a bandit right in the head to remind people they’re pirates and all, to name one random moment already re-remade in previous occasions, and the recaps themselves might feel a bit too abridged, almost an animated digest.

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