[One Piece Film Retrospective] #11: Straw Hat Chase 3D (2011)

Strong World was such a step up in terms of One Piece movies, such a big deal that in 2010 they didn’t release any new One Piece film, but that can be – partially – attributed to the fact Strong World was delayed to December 2009 from its original spring release windom that same year.

Clearly it was a bit too good or too much, as for the next installment Toei basically went back to the roots so hard it did a 360°, heck, arguably even more, since this is the shortest One Piece released so far (and probably will forever hold that distinction), just 30 minutes, to the point one would struggle to even consider it as such, despite being included in many One Piece films collection.

Even the first 3 movies were each longer than this, still films, but we’re basically back to that type of dealio, complete with the fact it was a double bill screening, so you would see this and Toriko 3D Kaimaku! Gourmet Adventure, which also marked the first movie for that series, but not the last time One Piece and Toriko would crossover with each other, and some space ape warriors too…

Though one could probably explain the “half an hour” runtime as it was done entirely with computer animation and meant to be seen in 3D with the dedicated glasses, and honestly that’s the best way to approach the movie, since it’s basically a fancy way to have Toei animators do a One Piece completely in CG that feels like an amusement park ride, as the story it’s a mere, flimsy pretense for action to unwhirl, for spectacle to unfold and not much else in terms of narrative substance.

So it’s fitting that Toei later used the same style of CG for the One Piece featurette shown in various acquatic parks, One Piece 3D: Trap Coaster!

In earnest, there’s really not much to say about this entry, due to its lenght and the fact the story is basically there to enable the action and adventure, like i already said just a flimsy excuse to get things going. A dog (which ate a Zoan type Devil Fruit making him an eagle-dog) steals Luffy’s Straw Hat, so this forces the crew to chase the animal, leading them to crash into a Marine base.

That’s it. Yes, the dog was tasked to do this from his human friend Scheiner, ordering the animal to not come back until he got Monkey D. Luffy’s hat, only because he didn’t want the dog (named Bazz) to see him die of old age and sickness. Cute, but still flimsy, and not very tragic, since it’s reveal the old man was dying because he accidentally ate a fork that kept piercing his stomatch.

“Almost death by spaghet”, it’s One Piece levels of dumbassery through and through. XD

Then again, it’s clear the plot was an aftertought here, so i’m not gonna criticize the film too much for that, since its priorities lie in showing off what Toei could do with a fully 3D CG style animation, and honestly it looks pretty good, with the designs and style of One Piece making the transiction pretty much unscathed.

Even if you don’t like the style too much (or at all), it’s undeniably very well produced and all that usually entangles, like very good animation.

My only nitpick is the tears, here they don’t blend with the CG models very well, they stand out a bit too much, a bit odd because this isn’t the case for the water, but again, it’s a very petty nitpick.

One noticeable choice is the music, since this one of the few One Piece films to NOT have the series’s iconic composer, with the score provided by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, an interesting “out of left field” choice that pays off and fits the chase theme.

For a 30 minute short film made to show off that Toei could do an entire big budget animated movie in CG and with 3D effects… it’s fun, since it does perfectly fulfill its purpose of a short divertissment more than “light on plot” and heavy on action, it wouldn’t necessarily have been better if it was longer.

For something more proper and “meaty”, we only had to wait until the following year…

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