[EXPRESSO] Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (2022) | Red Ribbon State

Gotta love the redundant title.

After debutting this summer in Japanese theathers, it finally received screenings here too, and i feel kinda sympathetic for this one, as it had to follow up on the new Broly movie with 3D CG style animation.

But “following up” isn’t quite the right way to put it, as Super Hero was actually written by Akira Toriyama himself, also curating the character design and came up with the story idea, so he’s surprisingly quite involved, instead of just approving concepts and little else.

So it makes sense for him to opt for a smaller story, to bring back the Red Ribbon army, as in a new faction that carries on their will and creates two new androids, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, calling themselves super heroes and then attacking Piccolo and Gohan….

to my surprise, the 3D CG styled animation it’s up to snuff, you know, being a theathrical full lenght release from Toei Animation and being a frigging Dragon Ball movie, it’s pretty good and i warmed up very quickly to the style chosen here, despite having some doubts from the early trailers.

The main issue is that while it deliberately focuses on a smaller scale story and brings backs a lot of old enemies, playing for nostalgic throwbacks and actually gets Gohan (whipped back into action by a really troubled Piccolo) involved into it…. i just wish they spent the screentime dedicated in remembering the audience this is canon to the Super anime series, well, developing better the new characters or the “superhero” angle that ultimately it’s just a – mostly – meatless hook leading to a bit more reharsh of old material than needed/necessary.

There are some pretty funny scenes, though, and overall it’s a decent movie, quite enjoyable, very entertaining indeed.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #12: Film Z (2012)

After the very brief and very odd interlude of Straw Hat Chase, Toei “came to their senses” and the next year released another proper One Piece film, surely having learned that these movies are at their most successful when you have extra side-corn to market them, as in OVA and small filler arcs for the TV series, alongside the eventual promotion with retailers and shit.

So yeah, this had a tie-in filler arc in the TV anime, and an OVA set slightly before the events of the movie, Glorious Island Z, aka Nami and her big floaties taking more screentime (and “choice angles”) than Luffy eats meat during any meal of the day.

Fitting title, though.

Even if viewership can be spotty as some people got bored or tired of the TV series’ pacing (especially if they already know what’s gonna happen from reading the manga), you can bet chances of these people taking a look at the trailer for a new shiny One Piece film, even more if you market it by saying that this will pit the Straw Hats against one of their most powerful enemies ever.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #12: Film Z (2012)”

[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…

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #11: Straw Hat Chase 3D (2011)”

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #6: Baron Omatsuri and The Secret Island (2005)

Oh yes, this one, you’re in for something absolutely special and one hell of a treat.

And i mean “special”, because it sound absolutely absurd in retrospect that Mamoru Hosoda directed an One Piece film early in its career, but did so with a script written by Masahiro Ito of Silent Hill fame. Heck, i can imagine it sounded like a bonkers proposal even back in 2005, and time here ages everything in Baron Omatsuri and The Secret Island like fine wine.

Most of these movies based off long-running shonen series are fairly formulaic, it’s just how it is and it often is, for a gaggle of various & obvious reasons that most of my readers won’t really need explained, so you don’t need much to make yourself stand out.

In other words, this movie didn’t need to go as hard as it did, but i’m so glad for it.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #6: Baron Omatsuri and The Secret Island (2005)”

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #1: One Piece The Movie

Using the cover of the Japanese Blu-Ray release because the movie itself doesn’t even have a title card or a proper title. Just the default “One Piece” title card the TV series used at the times.

After the One Piece TV series started airing and proved to be successful, a movie was bound to be made sooner or later.

And this is… sure it’s called a movie, and i’m willing to call it as such, but it was clearly early in the series’ history, as Toei’s anime adaptation only started airing in 1999 (an year after Production IG’s One Piece OVA: Defeat The Pirate Ganzack), so i guess they figured out it was better to not go all the way immediatly, and made this medium-lenght, so it could be released alongside the even shorter Digimon film “Digimon Adventure: Our War Game” during the 2000’s Toei Anime fair.

Those are a lot of words to say that Toei kinda cheaped out and compromised, and honestly i can’t really say that’s unfair, as this movie feels less like a movie and more like two episodes of the TV series superglued together.

And not interesting episodes either, but first, the plot.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #1: One Piece The Movie”

This Summer: One Piece Films Retrospective

In love with this design, holy shit!

As you might now, the new One Piece film, titled One Piece Film: Red, was announced in November 2012 set for a summer 2022 release. Which isn’t really “new” as from One Piece Film Gold in 2016 Toei makes a new movie every 3 years, but i’m finally ready to review all One Piece films… again.

As in – like i previosly told – i previously reviewed them to accompany the release of One Piece Stampede back in 2019 on the original italian version of the blog, so in the previous years i’ve reviewed the One Piece OVAs and the TV Specials, as i wanted to make some time pass, as i’m rewatching them all and writing the reviews from scratch, instead of translating, reworking, polishing the old ones.

Who knows, in time i might have changed my opinions on some…. and i mean “some”, there’s one in particular than i might have even harsher words for, but we’ll see.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #10: Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds/Legends Of The Dinosaurs (1977)

We previously spotlighted the delights of live action tokutatsu monster and superhero anime hybrid with the Dinosaur War Izenborg 4 episodes-to-compilation film “Attack Of The Super Monsters” by Tsuburaya Productions, so let’s talk about an even more obscure kaiju film, this time by Toei, with Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds, also known as Legend Of The Dinosaurs.

Interestingly, this was a japanese kaiju movie spurred by the international success of Spielberg’s Jaws (release in 1976 in Japan) and a coincidental resurgence of reports of Nessie in Loch Ness, so Toho settled to make it about a geologist who start investing strange reports of fossilized eggs and odd events surrounding the Saiko Lake (one of the Five Fuji Lakes) community, including a headless horse carcass and mysterious disappearances of people in the lake area.

Eventually Takashi puts the clues together and surmises it must be a Plesiosaur doing this, which turns out to be true, as it attacks the lakeside attendants during an event (hi, Jaws parallel), but in japanese monster movie tradition, the creature it’s bound to fight with another monster, a “Rhamphorhynchus” (basically a type of pterosaur like the pteranodon), emerging from a hidden cave in the Aokigahara region (aka the tragically famous “Sea Of Trees”, subject of a very crap Gus Van Sant movie to make things even worse), as accidentally discovered by a young girl.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #10: Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds/Legends Of The Dinosaurs (1977)”

One Piece TV SP 13: Episode Of Skypiea (2018) [REVIEW]

Director: Tetsuya Endo

Writer: Tomohiro Nakamaya

Runtime: 105 minutes

So, by the fact that Episode Of East Blue wasn’t followed up by a special with an original story later in 2017, you can tell Toei quietly just kinda ditched the promised output of One Piece TV specials with original stories following new adaptations of old material.

It wasn’t until a year (a year and one day, to be pedantic) after that we got another special in the summer of 2018, with Episode Of Skypiea, another abridged remake of a story arc from earlier in One Piece’s storyline. BUT i find that this one makes a bit more sense, as Skypiea is such an unfairly hated story arc for many fans (which often made a lot of videogame adaptations of One Piece just completely skip it over it, while keeping a lot of minor story arcs)…. because someone shunned it entirely due to Ener’s ability being basically doomed to begin with against Luffy’s. But Amazon Lily’s arc that features Luffy making women marvel at his golden balls is perfect.

It makes even more sense to give Skypiea the “Episode Of” treament since we didn’t get any tangental piece of re-animated material from this arc in any of the specials before.

Continua a leggere “One Piece TV SP 13: Episode Of Skypiea (2018) [REVIEW]”

One Piece TV SP 5: Episode of Nami – Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends (2012) [REVIEW]

Director: Katsumi Tokoro

Writer: Hirohiko Kamisaka

Runtime: 106 Minutes

Like with the One Piece movies, eventually Toei went for the “lazy” route and decided to occasionaly not even bother writing some new material for these TV specials.

This is not to rag on the Toei animators, writers and such, but i’m sorry, these “recap movies/specials” are lazy from a creative standpoint, they are, and it’s not like they serve much purpose as seeing the same scenes and parts of the story you already saw done with a slightly better animation and production values, all repackaged in an abridged fashion running over 90 minutes.

Continua a leggere “One Piece TV SP 5: Episode of Nami – Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends (2012) [REVIEW]”

One Piece TV SP 1: Luffy’s Adventure at the Bottom of the Ocean (2000) [REVIEW]

Director: Yukio Kaizawa

Writer: Hashimoto Hiroshi, Junki Takegami

Runtime: 50 minutes

We start your journey through the One Piece anime’s TV specials with one most fans known, and a fairly long one, even if it’s actually on the shorter side for runtime among the TV specials.

Continua a leggere “One Piece TV SP 1: Luffy’s Adventure at the Bottom of the Ocean (2000) [REVIEW]”