Like most of Toei's early movies, One Piece: The Movie 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.
After a chance encounter with a trio of thieves, the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves at odds with El Drago, a ruthless pirate empowered by a fearsome Devil Fruit and obsessed with gold like few others. El Drago's ultimate goal: a myth-shrouded isle where the legendary Captain Woonan was said to have hoarded gold beyond imagining.
With the help of an old vendor and his grandson - perhaps the last living links to Woonan - the Straw Hats must overcome El Drago and his crew, and discover the secret of Woonan's greatest treasure for themselves.
Many years ago, a great pirate captain named Woonan was said to have plundered a third of all the gold in the world. Though his time eventually came to an end, his legend did not, and pirates around the world continued to pursue the map leading to his fabled hoard. In time, this map was captured by the brutal El Drago, who immediately set sail for the so-called Isle of Gold.
Elsewhere on the sea, the Straw Hat Pirates - Luffy, Zoro, Nami, and Usopp - find themselves once again starving, Luffy having squandered the month's provisions. Their troubles are soon compounded by a troop of burglars under El Drago's command, who quietly raid the Going Merry for all its valuables. While initially grateful to the burglars for "paying" him in riceballs, Luffy quickly retaliates when they try to shoot him; in the process, he finds the burglars' own boat being helmed by a small boy named Tobio.
Moments later, El Drago himself arrives and unleashes his Devil Fruit powers, condensing a simple scream into a beam of pure destruction that splinters the burglars' boat and capsizes the Merry. While Nami and Usopp are swept away, Zoro dives into the sea and manages to save Luffy and Tobio. As they settle themselves on a piece of driftwood, Tobio tries to explain his own ambitions for the Isle of Gold, but is ignored by Luffy and Zoro, who begin rowing after the sudden smell of food.
The smell leads the trio to a floating oden shop - the home and proprietary of Tobio's grandfather Ganzo, who has devoted his life to cooking and serving the stew. Tobio, who scorns these humble goals and idolizes Woonan, constantly runs away from this shop in hopes of joining Woonan's crew. Though somewhat interested in Woonan's legend, Luffy and Zoro mostly focus on gorging themselves, until Ganzo demands payment; when neither Straw Hat can offer a single coin, they are promptly chained together as punishment.
Meanwhile, El Drago and his crew reach the Isle of Gold, unaware that Nami has manged to stow away on their ship. In contrast, Usopp is (along with the Merry) quickly captured; on pain of death from El Drago's lieutenant Golass, he rashly offers to decipher Woonan's map. Under Usopp's guidance, the group finds a valley holding a massive castle, where Nami intercepts and (with Usopp's help) tries to stall them by claiming the gold is buried several days deep. This backfires, however, as El Drago simply begins using his powers to level the area.
The impact of El Drago's beams quickly draws the still-chained Luffy and Zoro, as well as Tobio, who swears to protect Woonan's treasure by himself. Amused, El Drago easily overpowers Tobio; Luffy and Zoro prove more formidable, but remain hobbled by their chains, with only Zoro's mouth free to wield his swords. Eventually, Luffy makes a misstep that rockets the two of them - and Tobio - off to a distant hill. While El Drago and his crew look on in confusion, Nami and Usopp quietly slip away as well.
As the four Straw Hats regroup on the hill, Nami picks the lock on Luffy and Zoro's chains, and reveals that she has stolen Woonan's map as well. She then tries to "scorch" the map for hidden messages - only for it to burn to a cinder. Nevertheless, Usopp remembers a pivotal (and initially misinterpreted) clue from the map that leads them to the island's most prominent feature: a long, steep plateau.
Despite concerns from the Straw Hats, Tobio insists on following, to prove himself worthy of Woonan; together, they scale half the plateau, before finding a cave to rest inside. To their shock, they find Ganzo resting in this cave as well. Dolefully, Ganzo admits that Woonan had been his childhood friend, one who constantly scorned their humble village life - especially Ganzo's oden - and yearned for gold and glory. To this, Ganzo had retorted:
These quarrels came to a head when Woonan resolved to be a pirate, furnished a flag, and held a clifftop pact for Ganzo's loyalty. When Ganzo refused, they began brawling, and ultimately tumbled over the cliff. Though Woonan managed to catch his flag on a stray branch, Ganzo realized it was not strong enough to support them both, and let go so Woonan could save himself. Miraculously, he survived the resulting fall - but in the time he took to recover, Woonan left the village, never to return.
In the years since, Woonan fulfilled his dreams, becoming a pirate of unimaginable wealth; meanwhile, Ganzo realized his own dream of a travelling oden shop, allowing him to to feed people around the world. Now, having found the Isle of Gold, he has prepared his most heartfelt pot of oden, seeking only to share it with an older, wiser Woonan.
Touched by this story, the Straw Hats and Tobio help Ganzo to the top of the plateau, where they find a lonely hut concealing an underground tunnel. Before they can enter, however, they are attacked by El Drago and his men (who had worked out the same reasoning as Usopp). As Ganzo tries to shield his grandson, he is struck down by El Drago, who mockingly spills and stomps on his oden - only to be punched aside by Luffy, who defiantly scoops up the stew and eats it with compliments.
As Ganzo and Tobio look on in wonder, the Straw Hats begin their counterattack, Zoro defeating Golass in a swift duel while Luffy unleashes a hail of blows that eventually shatter El Drago's prized golden armor. Enraged, El Drago unleashes one more beam, only for Luffy to bounce it back with his rubber body, and subsequently hurl El Drago off the island with a Gomu Gomu no Bazooka. This instantly terrifies the rest of El Drago's men, who gather the fallen Golass and flee.
Victorious, the Straw Hats take a grateful Ganzo and Tobio back to Woonan's tunnel, which they follow to an underground chamber. Inside, they find a dusty skeleton in half-rotted captain's regalia - all that remains of Woonan. As Tobio collapses in tears, the Straw Hats notice writing on the chamber walls, and recognize it as Woonan's deathbed letter.
In the letter, Woonan confesses that in his old age, he came to realize how unfulfilling gold in itself truly was; what his childhood self had longed for was the journey, the adventure to winning it. With a lifetime of such adventures behind him, he surrendered all his gold to its rightful owners, keeping only one memento for himself: the torn flag that marked the last day he ever shared with Ganzo. It was this flag that buoyed his spirit throughout all his voyages, as a reminder of the one man he truly respected.
Overwhelmed by what his grandfather meant to Woonan, Tobio tearfully apologizes for all his scorn. In turn, Ganzo reaffirms his love for his grandson, and proclaims he will be proud of whatever dream Tobio chooses to pursue. Together, they resolve to give Woonan a proper burial - but not before seeing the Straw Hats off.
Above ground, having "compensated" their journey by looting El Drago's ship, the Straw Hats offer to pay for Ganzo's oden, only to be refused. Rather, Ganzo declares their debt a promise to reunite once they have fulfilled their own dreams - a promise the Straw Hats heartily accept, as they cast off for their next adventure.
|Mayumi Tanaka||Monkey D. Luffy|
|Kazuya Nakai||Roronoa Zoro|
|Taiki Matsuno||Ganzo (young)|
|Takeshi Kusao||Woonan (young)|
|Kenji Utsumi||El Drago|
Release and ReceptionEdit
One Piece: The Movie was released as a double feature with Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! at Toei Animation's 2000 Spring Anime Fair. Together, they grossed approximately ¥2.16 billion, earning a joint "Silver Excellence" commendation at the 18th Golden Gross Awards.
Promotional materials the festival supplied for the film included a bandanna emblazoned with Luffy's jolly Roger, and two exclusive cards for the Carddass collectible card game. The film's plot was also loosely adapted into a bonus level for One Piece's first licensed video game Become the Pirate King!, featuring El Drago, Golass, Danny, Denny, and Donny as playable enemies.
- Among Toei's One Piece films, One Piece: The Movie is possibly the most conciliatory with both canon material from the manga and the contemporary TV anime, its elements aligning with the transitory period between the Syrup Village Arc and the Baratie Arc (which contains no urgent or ongoing events):
- The Straw Hat Pirates are depicted with four members - Luffy, Zoro, Nami, and Usopp - and the Going Merry with its Jolly Roger already fashioned.
- The driftwood Luffy and Zoro cling to after being capsized appears to be the prow of the Bezan Black.
- After (accidentally) destroying Woonan's map, Nami sheepishly suggests the Straw Hats sail for the Grand Line, indicating they have not yet reached it.
- During their final battle, Luffy uses what seems to be a rudimentary (and unnamed) form of his Gomu Gomu no Ozuchi attack on El Drago, possibly foreshadowing the future defeat of Don Krieg.
- Finally, the film's initial release period coincided with the TV anime's airings of Episode 17 (the last of the Syrup Village Arc) through Episode 20 (the introduction of the Baratie and Sanji).
- Apart from the Baratie teaser, the end credits reproduce (and in some cases, modify) cover art from the following:
- This was Toei's first - and only - One Piece production with hand-drawn cel animation; the TV anime, and all subsequent films, were produced with digital techniques.