“One Piece Film: Red” is one piece of film to avoid

The disappointing film let fans down.


Review: One Piece Film: Red

“One Piece Film: RED” was a film many wanted for years. Announced on November 21, 2021 in celebration of “One Piece’s” 1,000th episode, people went wild when they saw those three signature slash marks on the title, revealing that it was going to be a movie about Shanks, one of the series’ most mysterious characters.

When this film was released in Japan on August 6 of this year, it was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews as well as the occasional negative ones which I mostly ignored. When the film rolled around to the U.S. on November 4, I watched it and was surprisingly disappointed. While the soundtrack, visuals, and overall animation were amazing as usual thanks to Toei Animation, the studio behind the anime and movie itself, the story itself was somewhat lacking, and the poor pacing didn’t help much with that. 

SPOILERS DOWN BELOW (including manga spoilers)

What I liked –

As mentioned above, the visuals, animation, and soundtrack were phenomenal. J-Pop artist Ado was cast as the singing voice for Uta, the main villain of the movie, and she does an amazing job at it. Every song she sings is filled with emotion and it’s clear she put a lot of effort into her role.

What kind of “One Piece” movie would it be without good fight scenes? Thankfully the studio didn’t disappoint. Every fight is amazing to watch, seeing the dedication put into the animation is truly remarkable.

Speaking of fights, the final fight was amazing. The inclusion of Yasopp and Usopp (father and son) ‘meeting’ each other again was a nice touch, even if it wasn’t in person. Katakuri arriving to help fight Tot Musica to save his sister was also good as fans have been wanting to see more of him after his introduction in Whole Cake Island. Seeing Luffy team up with Shanks to fight Musica was a nice touch too. Watching him come so far, from being a man in a barrel in the ocean, to keeping up with and fighting alongside Red-Hair Shanks, one of the four emperors of the sea, one of the strongest people in the world, made me feel giddy, especially after seeing Luffy transform into his Gear 5th form for the first time on a screen, let alone the big screen.

What I didn’t like – 

While I praise the singing parts of the movie and I understand it’s very important to the character of Uta, it feels very overused after a few songs, especially when used during big fight scenes. Uta’s singing comes into play with her powers as well thanks to abilities given to her by the Sing Sing fruit. When she sings, she transports anyone who hears her into the song world, an alternate dimension created when the user of the Sing Sing fruit uses their powers. However, they’re not actually transported there. They get put to sleep and their consciousness is transported. This leads to some tension being broken during the film because whatever happens in the dream world doesn’t affect the real world.

The pacing in this movie is also really bad. Flashbacks are overused and there is exposition in every single crack of the movie, making it feel very slow when it doesn’t need to be. 

Another big problem for me is the choices some characters make. Early in the movie the characters and the audience are told that the Red-Hair Pirates raid and destroy the Island of Elgia, killing anyone who stood in their way, abandoning Uta and leaving her for dead on the island. This leads to her hating the Red-Hair Pirates, especially the captain of the crew, Shanks, as well as all pirates around the world. However, it is revealed later on that it was actually Uta herself that destroyed the island after being possessed by a music demon (I’ll get into this later). Shanks told the king of Elgia that he should tell her his crew did this to the island and the people, not wanting her to feel the burden of all those lives. In the final act, it’s revealed that Uta knew all along that she was the one who destroyed the village, meaning this entire film could have been avoided in the first place.

One of the weirdest parts for me in this movie was the final boss. It didn’t really fit into the “One Piece” world. A musical demon, Tot Musica has its influence and power spread by Uta’s music all around the world. However, the thought of a demon doesn’t really fit in the “One Piece” world. It’s odd considering that the main power source in all of the world are known as Devil Fruits, that when eaten give you the powers of whichever fruit you eat while also putting a ‘devil’ into your body. In a world where fish have evolved to become humanlike, where angel-like beings live on a sky island, where someones powers are to turn their boogers into bombs, the idea of a biblical like demon being in this world is offputting and irks me, especially since there’s not really any supernatural beings or creatures in “One Piece”.


And finally, the one thing most people disliked about this movie.

Shanks was barely in it.

Advertised as a movie about Shanks, one of the fan’s most beloved character who they wanted to see more of and know more about. The movie title even has Shanks’ iconic scarring on his left eye on the D in Red. He was unfortunately in it for a total of 15 minutes out of the 155 minutes in the film. Fans were expectedly disappointed with his lack of presence in the film, including me.

Unfortunately, all the bad outweighs the good and it just makes it a somewhat poor watching experience compared to the other films we got from this series. Overall I’d rate it a 5/10. It’s watchable but it’s just not a movie for me.