ONE PIECE MOVIE 8: THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 8, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“Another exciting adventure for the Straw Hat Pirates as they go to battle against the Baroque Works Gang. The film on Blu-ray features intense battles, vibrant colors and pretty good audio quality! Sure, it’s a 90-minute film based on 37 episodes arc from the ‘ONE PIECE’ animated television series but overall, the film is an enjoyable, action-packed, ‘One Piece’ animated movie worth checking out!”
© FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: ONE PIECE MOVIE 8: THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta
DURATION: 90 minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080P High Definition, 16×9, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1, Dolby Digital English 2.0 and Japanesese 2.0
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RATED: TV PG-13 (Violence and Some Sexual Content)
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Director: Takahiro Imamura
Screenplay: Hirohiko Uesaka
Music: Kouhei Tanaka
Character Design/Animation Director: Eisaku Inoue
Ard Director: Ryuuji Yoshiike
Theme Song by Ai Kawashima
Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy
Misa Watanabe/Caitlin Glass as Vivi Nefertari
Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami
Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji
Ikue Ohtani/Brian Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper
Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp
Kazuki Yao/Barry Yandell as Mr. 2 Bon Clay
Kazuya Nakai/Christopher R. Sabat as Roronoa Zoro
Ryuzaburo Otomo/John Swasey as Sir Crocodile/Mr. O
Yuriko Yamaguchi as Nico Robin/Miss All-Sunday
SIX PIRATES MAY BE ALL THAT STAND BETWEEN SALVATION AND TOTAL DESTRUCTION!
The Straw Hat Pirates are on a quest to save the desert kingdom of Alabasta. A civil war brews there among the sands, one started and stirred by the hand of none other than Crocodile and his corrupted Baraoque Works gang. The stakes run ever higher as Princess Vivi’s homeland threatens to tear itself apart. More than lives are on the line…
Join Luffy and crew in The Desert and the Pirates, Adventures in Alabasta, a One Piece Movie
When it comes to animated films, especially for a long running manga and anime series, they’re typically stand-alone and filled with mindless action and simple plot. But with the eighth “ONE PIECE” film titled “THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta”, the film focuses on intense battles and dramatic sequences that make this one of the better “ONE PIECE” films in years.
The film continues the adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates which consists of:
Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “One Piece” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts but always believes and fights for his friends.
Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.
Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great.
Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.
Tony Tony Chopper – The doctor who is a reindeer who gained superhuman properties by eating devil fruit. Able to transform to a blue nosed reindeer, a human child with antlers and hooves and a huge, beast with incredible strength.
Vivi Nefertari – The Princess of Alabasta and trying to infilitrate Baroque Works and find out who the leader is. She and her duck Carue are part of the Straw Hat Pirates.
The film starts off with the Straw Hat Pirates in the sea, they discover an object or person who needs help and eventually they save the person.
The person happens to be Mr. 2 Bon Clay, a transvestite and a member of Sir Crocodile’s organization, Baroque Works. He has the ability to change to anyone he touches (face and whole body). He takes all their identities (when demonstrating his abilities) and eventually leaves the group. This causes great concern to Vivi as she notices that one of the people he changed to was her father and must mean that there is trouble
This leads the whole crew to Vivi’s desert homeland in which she finds out that Alabasta is in turmoil with a civil war ongoing (courtesy of Crocodile’s evil plans). As the crew, investigate the desert area, Vivi learns from one of her father’s assistants that a civil war has turned the country upside down and that Crocodile was using Mr. 2 Bon Clay to impersonate her father with his evil plans. Thus, the crew are now off to stop Crocodile.
Unbeknownst to the pirates, Crocodile and his gang have been observing them. This leads to the first battle between Crocodile and Luffy which looks as if Luffy has been killed.
With the Straw Hat Pirates in mourning, they want nothing but to revenge their fallen leader and get their revenge against Crocodile and his gang. Meanwhile, Vivi tries to think of a way to stop this civil war and bring peace back to Alabasta.
The film is a retelling of episodes 93-130. So, when you try to condense 37 episodes into a 90 minute film, there are a lot of things that you lose. But this has been numerous times with plenty of anime series and it’s either win or lose depending on the viewer. But also if there is anything new introduced in the film.
If anything “THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” focuses on action sequences and a few dramatic situations from the story arc but the biggest difference is production quality. Animated films are usually better than their television counterparts and on Blu-ray, this film just looks beautiful.
VIDEO AND AUDIO:
The picture quality of “THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” is absolute beautiful. Many scenes use the amber and blues but most of all, since this film is quite recent (2008), the animation is quite vibrant in colors via 1080p High Definition.
As for audio quality, both English and Japanese dialogue tracks are in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. This is very important because many animated films on Blu-ray would feature only the English dub track in Dolby TrueHD and the Japanese track in 2.0 stereo. So, it was great to watch both films in Japanese and English and I was impressed by the FUNimation dub work as opposed to what was on television several years ago.
I definitely enjoyed the use of special effects in the rear channels for this film. With this film full of action, I’m glad the speaker channels were well utilized.
Also, for those who don’t have Dolby TrueHD receivers, you can watch the film in Dolby Digital 2.0 as well.
There are no special features but you can watch various FUNimation Entertainment trailers.
The eighth “ONE PIECE MOVIE 8: THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” film features a significant part from the Alabasta storyline from the television series because it introduces several characters such as Nico Robin and Mr. 2 Bon Clay who have a major part to play in animated series of “ONE PIECE” and also, it features a major member of the Straw Hat Pirate gang leaving the group.
Unlike many animated films based on a manga or anime series which are storylines simply not-related to the series and sometimes non-canon, one can see “THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” as an abridged Alabasta storyline which was part of the anime. Whereas, for the anime television series which had 37 episodes dedicated to the Alabasta storyline, you lose a lot of the plot but yet, the film manages to focus on the overall theme of “ONE PIECE” which is friendship, loyalty, sacrifice and all out battles.
But because the film is a condensed version of so many episodes, there are hardcore fans who are going to be upset by the fact that an awesome storyline can’t be condensed for a 90 minute film but then you have the other side of the fandom who is used to seeing anime films done this way and looking forward to any new footage or anything special that the film can bring.
Of course, with it being a film, the production values are much better. But is it worth watching if you already invested in the television series? If you are a hardcore fan, you’re probably going to buy it anyway to make sure your collection is not missing any film and if you never watched “ONE PIECE” ever, then you’re going to be treated to a film that is full of action, cool characters and hard hitting battles.
“THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” is more of an ode to those who enjoyed the Alabasta storyline and then giving them something new and fun to enjoy. And for those who have never seen “ONE PIECE” but have a mild familiarity of its characters, certain parts may not make sense to the viewer but overall, the film becomes an action anime film about friendship and loyalty and can still be enjoyed it on its own. It’s not that difficult to follow.
Again, it’s great to have a “ONE PIECE” film make its way to Blu-ray, the picture quality brings out the colors of this film and the audio quality has good use of special effects on both front and rear speakers. I wish there were some sort of special features even if it was just the trailer for the film or a textless ending theme in Japanese and English.
Overall, “ONE PIECE MOVIE 8: THE DESERT PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES – Adventures in Alabasta” is a fun, action-packed film and one of the lower priced anime films out there. Check it out!
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