Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack (also known as Defeat the Pirate Ganzack!) was the first animated adaptation of One Piece, an original video animation (OVA) produced by Production I.G. It was originally released in summer of 1998, with a limited screening across Japanese theaters.
As it predates the "official" Toei anime, this OVA features markedly different animation and voice actors. It also does not adapt or reference any specific story from the manga, though its status quo vaguely fits the period between the Orange Town Arc and the Syrup Village Arc.
Adrift in a small dinghy on a sunny, windless day, Luffy, Nami, and Zoro sit paralyzed with hunger. As Nami berates the two men for squandering the month's provisions, a Plesiosaur suddenly attacks, snapping their dinghy in half. Overjoyed at this new source of meat, Luffy and Zoro prepare to counterattack, but are quickly overpowered and swept away in the tide; while a panicking Luffy drags Zoro deeper and deeper down, the monster carries Nami off.
Some time later, a half-drowned Luffy washes up on an island. Here, two pirates prepare to loot his body, only to be challenged by Medaka, a small, heavily armored girl who demands they return her father. Though unimpressed, the pirates are annoyed enough to give chase, and inadvertently trample Luffy enough times to force all the water from his lungs. Awakening in a rage, Luffy beats the two pirates senseless, and promptly collapses from hunger.
Awed, Medaka brings Luffy - and a hastily found Zoro - into the local village, where an elder named Skid offers them food. While Luffy and Zoro eat (and speculate on Nami's fate), Skid warns them of Ganzack, a vicious pirate whose crew has enslaved the whole island. While the women, children, and elders have been left in the village as hostages, all the able-bodied men - including Medaka's father Herring - have been put to work in the Devil's Tower, a massive structure on the far side of the island.
These accounts are interrupted by a tremor from the Devil's Tower, which spills Luffy's meal. Grimly, Medaka explains that the village has given the last of its food to Luffy and Zoro; only the tower, she adds, might contain more. On hearing this, Luffy immediately rushes off to the tower with Medaka, an exasperated Zoro following in their wake.
Infiltrating the tower, the trio find it contains an armory, with Ganzack's men forcing the villagers to build guns and cannons; the tremors had come from artillery tests, fired from the tower's mouth. Heedless of the dangers, Medaka cries out to her father as soon as she finds him, alerting dozens of hostile pirates. Unfazed, Luffy and Zoro eagerly meet the challenge - until a masked figure suddenly swoops in and kidnaps Medaka.
While Zoro holds off Ganzack's men, Luffy chases Medaka's kidnapper out of the tower and down to the shore, only for the kidnapper to reveal herself as Nami. At first puzzled, Luffy is shocked when the Plesiosaur reemerges with a pirate in crab-like armor atop it; this pirate is none other than Ganzack, and Nami has already thrown her allegiance to him.
Defiant, Luffy proves an even match for both Ganzack and the Plesiosaur, but eventually falls when Ganzack's armor sprays a powerful foam that binds his entire body. Shortly after, Ganzack's men force Zoro's surrender by threatening to fire on the slaves; as Zoro is taken away in chains, Herring quietly reassures his fellow slaves, and shows that he has smuggled some dynamite out of the pirates' munitions.
Soon, Luffy, Zoro, and Medaka find themselves shackled to a wall, forced to watch the Ganzack Pirates - and a disinterested Nami - feast and party. When Luffy continues to defy him, an annoyed Ganzack seizes Luffy's hat and stomps on it. Enraged, Luffy shouts that the hat is a treasure entrusted to him by Shanks, and - to Medaka's shock - proudly proclaims himself a pirate. Moments later, an explosion rocks the tower, as Herring leads the other villagers out in open rebellion.
While the Ganzack Pirates rush outside to quell the villagers, Nami cheerfully approaches the shackled trio, returns Luffy's hat, and flashes the keys to their shackles; all along, she had meant to double-cross Ganzack. As soon as Medaka is freed, however, she runs off by herself, now considering Luffy and his friends no better than the Ganzack Pirates.
Outside, having easily crushed the rebellion, Ganzack prepares to execute Herring as an example to the other villagers. As Herring braces himself, Medaka jumps in the way, her armor deflecting Ganzack's bullet. Unimpressed, Ganzack unsheathes the bladed pincers on his own armor, ready to kill both father and daughter - until Luffy, Zoro, and Nami join the fray.
The Straw Hats' arrival inspires the villagers to challenge the Ganzack Pirates anew, spurring Ganzack to reveal his ultimate weapon: the Devil's Tower itself. At his signal, the Plesiosaur tows the tower - along with him and his crew - apart from the rest of the island, revealing it to be the main cannon on a massive warship. To the villagers' horror, a single shot from this cannon sinks a good part of the island - and Ganzack means to keep shooting until he sinks it all.
As Luffy and Zoro prepare to engage, Herring desperately tries to hold Medaka back; though touched by her father's concern, Medaka refuses to stay behind, and grabs on as Luffy rockets himself and Zoro onto the ship. Onboard, Zoro engages Ganzack's men, while Luffy confronts Ganzack himself atop the mainmast. Now prepared for the projectiles in Ganzack's armor, Luffy presses his advantage, until Ganzack binds him in a long, powerful chain.
Gloating, Ganzack swings his pincers in for a killing blow, only for Medaka to once again block him - and fall, her armor unable to withstand the razor-sharp blades. Shocked by her sacrifice, an enraged Luffy shatters his chains and forces Ganzack into melee, quickly overpowering him and his armor with a Gomu Gomu no Tsuchi. Moments later, Luffy finds himself being applauded by Medaka, who cheerfully reveals that Ganzack had only sliced off the top half of her helmet.
Meanwhile, Zoro finishes off the last of Ganzack's men, and prepares to confront the Plesiosaur, but is beaten to it by a small fleet comprised of Nami, Herring, and the rest of the villagers. Together, they send a small fireship - filled with the Ganzack Pirates' spare dynamite - against the Plesiosaur, sinking both it and Ganzack's warship.
Refusing to admit defeat, Ganzack clambers to his cannon and fires one last shot at the island, all the while proclaiming himself the future Pirate King. In response, Luffy scornfully punches him into the sky, on a collision course with his own shell. As Ganzack is swallowed by a huge explosion, Medaka helps Luffy off the sinking warship, and back to the island.
Some time later, the Straw Hats prepare to depart, the grateful villagers having supplied them a new boat and plenty of food (though Nami remains disappointed over Ganzack's lack of valuables). To Luffy's surprise, Medaka runs up with a gift of her own: a life preserver. As she gently teases Luffy about his "hammer" status, Nami and Zoro quietly smile at the "thank you" scrawled on the gift's underside.
With Medaka's encouragement, the Straw Hats sail off into the sunset, hopes aimed for the Grand Line.
|Monkey D. Luffy||Urara Takano|
|Roronoa Zoro||Wataru Takagi|
Release and Reception
Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack was originally released during the 1998 Jump Super Anime Tour, an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of Shonen Jump (which also screened pilot OVAs for fellow Jump properties Seikimatsu Leader den Takeshi! and Hunter x Hunter).
Eiichiro Oda took considerable interest in the OVA, even sitting in on several sessions with the cast. After seeing the final product, he heavily praised it in a Shonen Jump blurb, and later included several follow-up comments in Volume 5:
The "Jump Super Anime Tour '98" is a really fun tour where three Jump series are going to be turned into movies, and shown in theaters all over the country.
And therefore, One Piece was made into a short, original anime movie.
In anime, a lot of different professionals come together to produce a single show. Directors, writers, character designers, storyboard artists, art directors, colorists, cinematographers, editors, developers, sound artists, musicians, quality control, sound recorders, workers, producers, animators, voice actors, etc. It's amazing. It makes me want to cry.
The final product is fantastic! Luffy and friends' voices, movements and sounds are even better than I had imagined them!!
- Three of the voice actors in this OVA would later participate in the Toei anime: