It’s testament to the cultural moment the franchise finds itself in the Blu-ray release of Movie One Piece: Red attracted many fans of the series. Between the upcoming Netflix live-action series and the premiere of the One Piece anime with Gear 5 Luffy breaking the internet, the world’s most popular pirate anime/manga franchise has never received more public attention. Luckily, fans have a home release of One Piece Film: Red to help get them through as they wait for the next manga chapter or anime episode.
Originally released in theaters in 2022, One Piece Film: Red was released on Blu-ray in July by Crunchyroll. The film follows the Straw Hats as they visit an old friend of Luffy’s, pop idol Uta. Although Uta is Shanks’ adopted daughter and an old friend of Luffy’s, she hates pirates to the point of turning her back on Luffy as soon as she learns that he leads her own pirate crew. This, combined with the reality-transforming danger of her Sing-Sing fruit, leads to a three-way clash between Uta, the pirates, and the World Government. More than just another villain, Uta is a much more personal villain than most other threats Luffy has faced.
One Piece Film: Red’s Uta ranks among the franchise’s best villains
From a production standpoint, Red is a gorgeous movie. The animations are smooth, the character designs show a lot of personality, and the sound design conveys every attack with just the right amount of impact. The animation isn’t afraid to be weird and surreal in its final battle either, with Uta’s final form more closely resembling a witch from Madoka Magica than a One Piece villain. Tying everything together is the soundtrack. Special praise should be given to all the songs that Uta sings. Japanese singer Ado nailed all of Uta’s songs, conveying an impressive range of emotions to the singer-turned-villain. While it’s a shame that Uta’s English voice actress Amanda Lee (an incredible singer in her own right) doesn’t perform Uta’s songs in the dub, there’s no denying that Ado’s songs captured Uta perfectly.
While production is going smoothly, the story is that Red has the highest highs and the lowest lows. Not only is Uta one of the most compelling villains in the One Piece movie, she ranks among the best villains of the entire franchise era. Her fresh perspective on pirates and her personal relationship with Luffy make her the sort of threat that the Straw Hat Captain rarely has to deal with. There is also a large amount of social commentary about the tensions of Idol culture within her character, with the pressure to provide an outlet for her fans pushing her increasingly. further into the dark path. Unfortunately, problems started to pile up considering her relationship with Shanks. Without revealing too much, her plot provided an opportunity to complicate Shanks, which was resolved in an unsatisfying manner. The reveal of what really happened to Uta’s backstory ends up being like an escape that isn’t as exciting as it could be.
Leaving aside some missed potential, however, One Piece Film: Red contains everything fans love about the series. All the members of the Straw Hats have their shining moments, their action-packed moments, and the villain is an absolute charmer. Longtime viewers will definitely want a Blu-ray to stop the movie so they can catch all the Easter eggs and little embellishments to the film. Movie One Pice: Red One of the best One Piece movies to date, and with a bigger franchise than ever, it’s a must-see.
Movie One Piece: Red Now available on Blu-ray from Crunchyroll!