FUNimation is setting One Piece: Gold loose January 10th in select cities in North America, and if there’s a pirate nearby, Captain Jack Sparrow seeking the Mysterious Cities of Gold is not it. Instead, it’s a floating city, known as the Gran Tesoro and Monkey D. Luffy, leader of Straw Hat Pirates, happens to chance upon it, and almost gets enamoured by it. However, there’s a more sinister plot. This latest cinematic product has shades of the King Midas myth written all over it, and if the Knights Templar were nearby, I’m sure they would want to challenge Gild, the antagonist of this story, and change the world order according to their image instead of this guy.
However, watching this film only makes me pine for more Lupin III material than Luffy. The only reason is that I’m more of a fan of this character more than the other. The Lupin series by Monkey Punch has been around since the late 60’s and One Piece by creator/illustrator, Eiichiro Oda, was first serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1997. Both are popular in their own right, and who can’t love a gang of pirates having some pretty crazy, whacked out adventures?
After a lengthy intro (with title sequences) which shows how opulent the Gran Tesoro is and how dastardly Gild (the mayor) has the Midas touch, the group does not find themselves in hot water yet. They haven’t sailed into port. Although showered with gold dust, this tease is nothing but an invitation to trouble. Luffy and pals make unabated bets, and when they lose nearly all their money, the only way they can get out of debt is to work it off.
But no story set in Las Vegas can ever have a simple solution. There are enough analogies to Ocean’s 11 and Casino Royale (both are available to purchase on Amazon) to make it a long-winded heist film. My favourite take is from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s episode, “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang.” In an episodic series, keeping the tale lean is better over making it very bloated as this movie did.
I also would have preferred this latest entry to add something new to this oddball world that is basically occupied by super-powered mutants and powered by steampunk. Although the quest to find the One Piece will never end, someone must know where to find the clues to lead to Plummer’s Treasure (the real-life unsolved mystery that may have inspired the series).
3 Arrs out of 5
Ed Sum is a freelance arts & entertainment writer with works published in Victoria, BC based Absolute Underground Magazine, and with his own two blogs, otakunoculture.com and twohungryblokes.com. He is also on Twitter as @edohotep