Clockwork Island Adventure (ねじまき島の冒険 Nejimaki-jima no Bōken?) is a theatrical feature, originally released on March 3, 2001. Its story stands separate from the canon, though its status quo somewhat fits the period between the East Blue Saga and the Arabasta Saga. In both its theatrical and home releases, it is bundled with the otherwise-unrelated short Jango's Dance Carnival.
Like most of Toei's early movies, Clockwork Island Adventure was never dubbed into English. Its only 'official' English-language release remains a 2014 Manga Entertainment box-set compiling the first three movies with optional subtitles.
In pursuit of a stolen Going Merry, the Straw Hat Pirates join forces with the Thief Brothers, a pair of mismatched rogues with designs on the wondrous - but deadly - Clockwork Island. Soon, an all-out war erupts between them and Clockwork Island's reigning pirate clan, whose tyrannical captain Bear King schemes to not only conquer the seas with a fearsome superweapon, but take Nami as his bride by any means necessary.
Having found a sunny, peaceful island in the midst of their voyage, the Straw Hat Pirates - Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji - disembark and relax on the beach together. To the others' annoyance, Luffy soon begins clamoring over a toy windmill washed ashore by the surf; the annoyance becomes horror, however, when Luffy sees a full-sailed Going Merry. Too late, the Straw Hats realize their ship has been stolen, along with their clothes, equipment, and weapons.
Forced to rent a crude paddleboat (and fresh clothes) from a nearby wedding shop, the Straw Hats give chase, only to come across a small boy flailing in the water. Stopping to help, they are suddenly trapped by a giant fishing net; the boy, Akisu, was actually trying to lure victims to an older outlaw named Borodo. After determining the Straw Hats have nothing worth looting, the pair proudly introduce themselves as the Thief Brothers, and announce their dream of stealing Clockwork Island's crown jewel, the legendary Diamond Clock.
When asked, Borodo reports the Going Merry had been stolen by the Trump Pirates, who terrorize the region from a stronghold atop Clockwork Island. These playing card-themed pirates, commanded by the fearsome Bear King and his lieutenants Honey Queen, Boo Jack, Skunk One, and Pin Joker, boast a massive fleet - a portion of which, led by Honey Queen and Boo Jack, soon corners the Thief Brothers' small boat. While Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji eagerly fight back and wreak havoc, Boo Jack's spiked armor threatens to capsize them all; panicked, Usopp singlehandedly rows the boat away.
Inadvertently, Usopp's wild rowing jostles a small music-box from Akisu's jacket; as the box falls into the sea, an upset Akisu forces Usopp to stop so Borodo can retrieve the box. This, unfortunately, allows Honey Queen and Boo Jack to catch up and bomb the Thief Brothers' boat to splinters. In the resulting chaos, the two Trump lieutenants kidnap Nami, proclaiming her "the perfect bride" for Bear King.
Afterward, the Thief Brothers and the remaining Straw Hats salvage enough of the boat to use as a raft, with Borodo improvising a sail from a spare parachute. As they advance on Clockwork Island, the Straw Hats mull over the music-box; grimly, Borodo explains that he had found Akisu as an infant castaway, accompanied by the music-box and nothing else. Ever since, Akisu has treasured it as his only tie to his homeland - a sentiment that Borodo unflinchingly respects, as his brother in all but blood.
While the Straw Hats consider this (Luffy in particular recalling his own bond with Shanks), Borodo calls their attention to a small, barren rock in the sea. Atop this rock stands a huge spiral staircase, stretching far beyond the clouds - and atop this staircase stands the "true" Clockwork Island, a hill town full of scientists and engineers. The hill is topped by a great castle, which houses the delicate engine keeping the island stable; for seven years, Bear King has commandeered it as his base, Trump Castle.
Their very existence held hostage, most of the island's populace have been coerced into building the King Cannon, a superweapon meant to execute Bear King's ambitions of becoming Pirate King. As this weapon nears completion, its chief engineers try to deter Bear King, but are easily rebuffed; afterward, Bear King finds his lieutenants proffering Nami, and immediately falls for her. When Nami tries to stall for time, he swears to "court" her by defeating her crew, and use Luffy's bounty to fund their wedding.
For their part, the remaining Straw Hats rush up the staircase at the first opportunity, despite the Thief Brothers' warnings of traps. To their dismay, the stairs quickly flatten into a slide, flood with water, and unleash a clump of boulders; hastily, Luffy braces the others with his rubber body, while Sanji kicks the boulders apart and Zoro stems the flood by uprooting the floor with his bare hands. Though exhausted, they climb the rest of the staircase without further incident, and soon pinpoint Trump Castle.
Though Borodo easily finds the Going Merry - and the Diamond Clock - atop the castle, the Straw Hats decide to first explore the surrounding town for food and more practical clothes. In time, they encounter the island's chief engineers, who explain the island's plight and the tyranny of the Trump Pirates; even the Diamond Clock, once the island's beloved masterwork, has become nothing but a painful reminder. The engineers then beg the group to leave for their own safety, to which Luffy replies:
Together, the group assembles a parasail for an air assault on Trump Castle. The flight proceeds smoothly, Akisu even taking time to fix Luffy's toy windmill - until Honey Queen and Boo Jack attack. In the ensuing battle, Sanji is tricked into kicking one of Boo Jack's spiked weapons; soon after, Honey Queen unleashes the powers of the Toro Toro no Mi, a Logia-type Devil Fruit that converts her body into a wave of airtight fluid. Their parasail quickly flooded, the group is forced to fend for themselves while Sanji plunges to the landmine-ridden hill below.
In moments, the mines completely incapacitate Sanji, allowing the Trump lieutenants to capture him as well. While Sanji is taken to an elated Bear King (and a horrified Nami), Borodo brings the parasail to a crash landing at the gates of Trump Castle. There, stung by their reversal of fortunes, Akisu and Usopp begin accusing each other of cowardice; once again reminded of Shanks, Luffy takes charge and curbs Akisu's insecurities with a well-placed taunt, before smashing the gates.
Met by hundreds of the Trump Pirates' foot-soldiers, Luffy, Zoro, and Borodo readily attack, Usopp and Akisu following in their wake. Atop the castle, meanwhile, Bear King proudly presents a finished King Cannon to his lieutenants and the captive Straw Hats; unimpressed, Sanji begins recounting his more "intimate" experiences with Nami, enraging Bear King. Despite Nami's pleas, Sanji is promptly crucified on one of the castle spires, awaiting execution.
The remaining Straw Hats soon find themselves in similar jeopardy when the wily Skunk One joins the fray, spraying a noxious "devil-gas" that begins to paralyze them. As the only Straw Hat not immediately afflicted, Usopp takes a desperate gamble and hurls himself onto Skunk One's gas nozzle, blocking it with his own body. This, while leaving him at the mercy of Skunk One - who quickly has him crucified beside Sanji - gives the others enough of an opening to enter Trump Castle.
Spurred by Usopp's sacrifice, Luffy, Zoro, Borodo and Akisu boldly charge through the castle. On an upper floor, however, Akisu is waylaid by a foot-soldier; seconds later, the floor springs a pressure-trap that threatens to crush them against the ceiling. Luffy and Zoro desperately try to hold the trap back, only for Borodo to slip away, taking himself - and Akisu - to safety. As the Straw Hats look on in shock, Borodo coldly deems them unfit to fight the Trump Pirates - the reason he had stolen their ship and sailed it to Clockwork Island in the first place.
Laying the unconscious Akisu on a nearby stair, Borodo explains - against Zoro's accusations - that his goal had never been the Diamond Clock, but the liberation of Clockwork Island, which he has long suspected to be Akisu's homeland. With all the Straw Hats now incapacitated, he resolves to stake his life on a brighter future for Akisu, and challenge the Trump Pirates by himself.
As Borodo moves on, the trapped Luffy and Zoro are accosted by the last Trump lieutenant, the vendetta-minded Pin Joker. Already taxed from holding the pressure-trap at bay, Zoro bluntly dismisses Pin Joker's claims of a past defeat (and accompanying scar); outraged, Pin Joker unleashes a flurry of darts carrying traces of Skunk One's devil-gas. To Luffy's horror, Zoro throws himself into these darts head-on, shielding Luffy's body at the cost of his own.
Soon after, the paralyzed Zoro is taken to Bear King, and crucified alongside Usopp and Sanji. Once assured that Luffy has been crushed by the pressure-trap, Bear King gleefully claims victory, declaring Nami his betrothed - and the three crucified Straw Hats his first test subjects for the King Cannon. No longer able to stall, Nami lashes out at Bear King, and proclaims she would rather die with her own than marry him. Furious, Bear King "indulges" her and trains the King Cannon on all four Straw Hats.
On the floor below, Akisu regains consciousness and finds Luffy still struggling against the pressure-trap. Despite Luffy's protests, Akisu immediately runs after Borodo - who has already donned several belts of dynamite for a suicide attack on Bear King. Borodo's arrival surprises the Trump lieutenants, and even forces Bear King to step away from the King Cannon; at the same time, however, Bear King smugly notes that any explosion will almost certainly damage the castle's engine and endanger the entire island.
As Borodo hesitates, Bear King attacks, scattering the dynamite while savagely beating Borodo. Already resigned to his fate, Borodo reacts with grim humor - until he finds Akisu trying to challenge the Trump lieutenants, and unceremoniously swatted aside. This, inadvertently, dislodges the toy windmill Akisu had fixed for Luffy, which bounces to the lower floors and shatters at the still-trapped Luffy's feet. Reminded of the Thief Brothers' integrity, Luffy finds the resolve to shove straight through the ceiling, and every floor above.
Luffy's escape leaves the Trump Pirates speechless, the Thief Brothers ecstatic, and the captured Straw Hats dryly relieved. To their combined horror, however, Luffy's first instinct on reaching the castle's top floor is to "play" with Borodo's scattered dynamite, triggering a massive explosion. Miraculously, the explosion damages only one area of the castle: the crosses holding Sanji, Usopp, and Zoro.
The freed Straw Hats rally quickly, Zoro confronting Pin Joker and Sanji shielding Nami from Boo Jack while Usopp - with Skunk One in pursuit - races to the castle harbor and boards the Going Merry, recovering Sanji's shoes, Zoro's swords, and his own slingshot. Now properly equipped, Zoro rends Pin Joker's defenses, Usopp ignites Skunk One's gas nozzle, and Sanji mercilessly kicks Boo Jack's spiked armor apart. Panicked, Honey Queen liquefies and flees into a pipe, only to be poured into a well-taped jar by a vengeful Nami.
Luffy's battle against Bear King, however, proves far more desperate; having eaten the Kachi Kachi no Mi, Bear King can not only resist blows with a rock-hard constitution, but generate a searing heat in his fists that easily bypasses Luffy's rubber defenses. Realizing Luffy's situation, Borodo mounts the King Cannon and turns it on Bear King, unleashing a corkscrewing shell of unmatched size and power. Unfortunately, Bear King handily dodges the shell and retaliates with a pistol, forcing Akisu to leap in the way and shield Borodo with his own body.
Flung to the castle's edge by the bullet, Akisu weakly - but proudly - proclaims himself a man, and crumples. As Borodo rushes to his brother's side, screaming in grief, Bear King gloats and belittles the pair. This enrages Luffy, who renews his attack, withstanding his foe's red-hot skin by sheer force of will; soon, Bear King finds himself thrown across the floor, whereupon he re-secures the King Cannon and turns it on Luffy.
Unflinchingly, Luffy uses his rubber limbs to catch the shell in mid-flight, and improvises a new attack - the Gomu Gomu no Screw - that drives the shell back into Bear King. The impact sends both Bear King and the King Cannon through the floors below, all the way into the castle's engine chamber, where an explosion consumes them - along with Clockwork Island's only means of survival.
As the island begins to sway, the chief engineers and their fellow islanders gather in the hill town below, every man, woman, and child having readied a supply-pack and parachute for just such a contingency. A short distance away, a relieved Borodo discovers that Akisu - having hidden a plate of scrap-iron under his shirt - survived Bear King's bullet after all. As the brothers comfort one another, they hear a song from the crumbling castle: the Diamond Clock, at last freed to the open air, has begun to chime.
Together, the Thief Brothers realize the clock shares its song with Akisu's beloved music-box - a music-box built by none other than the chief engineers. Realizing the engineers were his parents all along, Akisu slowly approaches the pair, who tearfully confess that seven years ago, they had indeed sent their infant son adrift to spare him the Trump Pirates' tyranny. For all his atypical upbringing, Akisu has more than fulfilled these hopes, and thrived on the open sea.
Suddenly, the Diamond Clock falls silent, signalling the island's complete collapse. In tandem, the islanders, the Thief Brothers, and the Straw Hats (having equipped the Going Merry with an extra-sized canvas) parachute to the waters below, where they find the few remaining Trump foot-soldiers trying to flee in their own ships. In no time, these ships are overrun and seized by the vengeful islanders, no longer the cowed, outgunned hostages they had once been.
As they leave the ruins of Clockwork Island, the islanders pledge to seize the future that the Thief Brothers and the Straw Hats staked their lives for, and build a new homeland elsewhere on the sea. Hearing this, and seeing Akisu and his mother tearfully embrace, the Straw Hats and Borodo quietly sail their separate ways; despite the Straw Hats' questions, Borodo insists - through his own tears - that he and Akisu belong to worlds apart.
Without warning, however, Akisu boards Borodo's boat, proclaiming that not even his blood family can erase what he truly is: a man of the sea, and Borodo's brother in all things. As the Thief Brothers celebrate their reunion with an argument over loot, the amused Straw Hats cast off for their next adventure.
Release and Reception
Clockwork Island Adventure was released as a double feature with Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon at Toei's 2001 Spring Anime Fair. It noticeably outperformed its predecessor, placing second in its opening weekend and eventually - within the period of March 17 to 25 - ranking first at the Japanese box office. Ultimately, the film provided a ¥3 billion gross, a record among One Piece films that would remain unbroken until Strong World nearly a decade later.
Promotional materials for the film included several exclusive cards for the Carddass collectible card game, as well as a novelization and a soundtrack CD.
Translation and Dub Issues
- For its UK release, the film was titled 'Adventure Of Spiral Island' on the marketing, the DVD/disc covers and the DVD menu, but the film's subtitles translate the on-screen title as 'Adventures On Clockwork Island'.
- Additionally, the UK DVD release translates the 'Trump Kyouddai' as the 'Card Brothers', despite one member being a woman; The DVD's back cover translates their name as the 'Trump Siblings'.
- Clockwork Island Adventure aligns with canon - and the TV anime - somewhat more nebulously than the preceding film. While making no mention of the Straw Hats' approach of the Grand Line (or the concurrently-set Warship Island Arc), it strongly suggests a setting just before the Reverse Mountain Arc:
- Zoro and Usopp are depicted (respectively) with the Meito and goggles acquired in Loguetown.
- Once the Straw Hats have recovered the Going Merry and changed back into their 'standard' clothes, Nami is seen in the crisscross top she wore from Warship Island to Reverse Mountain.
- The film's initial release fell between the airings of Episode 60 and Episode 61, which marked the Warship Island Arc's transition into the Reverse Mountain Arc.
- This film also contains a number of teasers for the Arabasta Saga, such as the placement of a Baroque Works ship in Trump Castle's harbor. The bulk of these teasers (several of which depict details inconsistent with the actual TV anime) are used during the end credits, among them:
- The Going Merry entering the Grand Line.
- Miss Wednesday speaking to her fellow agents at Whisky Peak, unaware that Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine have been sent after her.
- Dorry and Brogy dueling atop Little Garden.
- Mr. 3 and Miss Goldenweek relaxing at Kyuka Island.
- Dalton grimly patrolling the recently-sacked Drum Island.
- Wapol and his crew accosting another ship.
- Tony Tony Chopper working inside Drum Castle as Dr. Kureha looks on.
- Smoker calling Tashigi to attention.
- Portgas D. Ace roaming the seas in his skiff.
- Miss All-Sunday lounging beside a Bananawani in the comfort of Rain Dinners, a shadowy figure just visible behind her.
- Finally, this film reuses the preceding film's Hyena Three, even referencing their tenure under Eldoraggo - the first instance of internal continuity between One Piece films.
- Pandaman can be seen among the many Trump foot-soldiers trying to stop the Straw Hats' assault on Trump Castle.
- Corresponding to the use of "Believe" as the ending song, the end credits begin with a montage of past enemies (Krieg, Morgan, Kuro, Buggy, Arlong, and Eldoraggo) and other figures important to the Straw Hats (Bell-mère, Dragon, Mihawk, Kaya, Zeff, and Shanks) modeled off the second TV opening.
- Despite its success, this is the only One Piece film that Eiichiro Oda has not mentioned watching, or commented on in an issue of Shonen Jump.
- This is the only movie where the Straw Hats' battle against another group has Sanji fighting an enemy with a bounty lower than those of Usopp's and Nami's enemies. However, it cannot be stated if Sanji's enemy, Boo Jack, is or is not the third strongest (as it happens normally, except in the Thriller Bark arc), as bounty does not always means fighting power.
- Most notably Miss Wednesday's top - which retains its circular pattern from the manga - and Ace's color scheme.