Strong World: Part 5
Having been treated with the Daft Green antidote, Nami regains consciousness on Chopper's back as he and Usopp rush back towards the Sunny. When Usopp tells her that everyone's come to save her she starts crying and manages to get out a thank you, but quickly recomposes herself when she senses something in the air and tells the two that they need to get back to the palace, for a storm is nearby.
Meanwhile, Luffy and Shiki fight a fierce battle in mid air, Luffy riding on Billy's back in order to match Shiki's flight powers. Shiki declares that it's time to settle their match, and uses his prosthetic sword-legs to slice through the water spilling over Merveille's edge and entrap both Luffy and Billy inside the levitated water. He then recieves a call on his telesnail from his navigation team, who tells him to move the islands east to avoid the coming storm. Shiki does so, but unbeknownst to him, it's false information that Nami, with a little help from Usopp and Chopper, forced the operator to give. With this deed done, Shiki turns back to watch Luffy drowning and taunts him with the deaths of both East Blue and Nami before attacking him with a volley of air-slashes, sending him crashing to the island below.
With Merveille sailing right into the storm, the winds gather great strength, and the remains of Shiki's men prepare to escape to the sea, while Chopper and Robin set up dynamite in order to destroy Shiki's stock of SIQ.
Billy and Luffy recover and head back up to the sky, this time heading for the clouds, where lightning flashes ominously. Shiki spots them but gets distracted by Nami calling out to him from the roof of his palace. Still sickly but defiant, Nami shouts that his plan is finished, as the planted dynamite will destroy everything of his left on the island. Shiki rages at the prospect of a group of kids foiling his twenty years of work and hurls a huge chunk of earth at her, but Luffy has Billy save her at the last second. Shiki curses, but Luffy shouts out that he's his opponent. Activating Gear Third, Luffy shouts that he won't let Shiki go to East Blue as he enlarges his foot and sticks it into the thundercloud above, where the electricity strikes and energizes it. Shiki laughs at Luffy's recklessness. but soon sings a different tune as Luffy screams that he'll never let Shiki harm his crew or his sea before bringing down his electrified limb for his final attack: Gigant Thor Axe
. Shiki's eyes go wipe as he cannot believe a man from East Blue has managed to defeat him not once, but twice, and he screams out Roger's name.
With everyone else safely on board and the ground crumbling from the force of Luffy's attack, Franky yells for everyone to hold on tight and activates the Sunny's Coup de Vent function, launching the ship safely into the air, whereupon the ship uses Shiki's own massive jolly roger as a parachute to drift safely through the air. As the crew watches the massive smoke plume with apprehension, a voice calls out and Billy bursts out of the smoke, with a shrunken Luffy on his back. As the crew expresses their relief at the safety of both Luffy and East Blue, Zoro remarks that he can never take Luffy seriously when he's shrunken like that, and Nami, eyes now filled with tears of relief, agrees.
But he's not the only one to come out of the cloud. With Shiki defeated, his power over the islands break, and they fall back to the sea where they properly belong. The islanders manage to pull through as well, having discovered that their forearm feathers allow them to fly like birds after all. A fleet of Navy battleships mops up the remainder of Shiki's men while contending with the high waves caused by the islands' descent. Vice-Admiral Onigumo recognizes the Sunny floating in the distance and orders his men to open fire, but the Straw Hats are already safely out of range.
In his office within Marineford, Sengoku receives the report on the incident and the Straw Hats' role in it. "So, we were useless then." he begrudges.
Some time later the Thousand Sunny is sailing the seas as life has returned to normal for the crew. Nami steps outside and Chopper announces that Nami has fully recovered from her poisoning, much to everyone's great relief. Well, everyone except Luffy, who glares at her with a sour expression from his fishing spot on the deck railing. He marches over to her brandishing the Tone Dial, angrily demanding what she meant by her message, by her claims that he couldn't do anything against Shiki or to save her. It's like she doesn't have any faith, even after everything that they've gone through.
Of course, the others are puzzled at his behavior. It turns out that there was one last part to the message that Luffy never got around to hearing thanks to his shouting and storming off earlier, despite the fact that, according to Nami, she made sure he would be able to understand it, since the message was directed towards him, after all. Franky suggests that he simply replay it. As Luffy starts doing so, Nami gets embarrassed at the prospect of him playing it in front of everyone, and tries to snatch it away. Usopp joins in, not wanting Nami to throw away a valuable Dial, and as the three struggle for control over it, it gets knocked out of Luffy's hands and into the sea. But as the Dial spins through the air, the last part of Nami's message, the part Luffy never got to hear, rings out:
But please, help me.
And there we have it, Oda's first One Piece film. I feel that, ultimately, like with so many other things, the hype for this film was so great that it was impossible for it to fully meet the expectations placed upon. That's not to say it's a bad movie, but you can see things starting to unravel towards the very end.
Shiki, while still being very entertaining to watch, doesn't really come across as as big of a legend as he's been made out to be. His plan ultimately is not very original, and much of the motivation is lost to an audience who hasn't read the backstory in chapter 0. Apparently Oda's orginal draft of the script, the one that was initially teased to audiences as "The Crystal Log", had much more intensity to it, but Oda thought that he was trying too hard to write a tearjerker or such, and threw the whole thing out aside from soem base elements (Shiki, floating islands, Nami leaving the crew), so I am deeply curious as to what that final product would have looked like and how justified his fears were. Movie 6 showed that a little intensity isn't bad for the series at all, after all.
I felt that the fight with Shiki was ultimately a big letdown. Luffy's gone up against some pretty tough customers, but never someone who fought with Gold Roger himself, so you'd expect a huge fight right? Nope, Luffy punches him a few times, they clash for maybe about thirty seconds or so, and then Luffy goes on to win simply because Shiki doesn't move out of the way. I guess yeah, you could argue that he was in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown
, but it doesn't help the fact that Shiki was hardly touched by Luffy before then, and had barely used is powers, which had before been shown to be immense. As I said some time before, it's the common trap of having to dumb the enemy down so that the hero can stand a chance. I was also waiting for the moment where Shiki compared Luffy to Roger, like nearly everyone else of that generation has, but he never did, unless you squint a bit at the ending.
But with all that being said, the pros of this movie still do outweigh the cons in the end. The scene at the end put a big smile on my face. It was cute and made sense considering Luffy and Nami's relationship and how they act around each other. Luffy (indirectly) says it himself, it's their trust in the other that makes the whole thing work.
Aside from that couple I have to give a shout out to Usopp for being the MVP of the film. He was the one who tried to stop Nami from leaving, he helped save Nami, he helped set up Luffy's final attack. Sure, Luffy was the hero and Nami the damsel, but Usopp proved to be invaluable in getting things to work.
Despite the disappointing payoff, this is definitely one of the better One Piece films, and a welcome breath of fresh air after the previous two remakes. One who hasn't been exposed to all of the hype will no doubt enjoy this greatly, as it encapsulates a little bit of all the things that make this series what it is: memorable characters, cool displays of power, quirky humor, fantastical settings, and beautiful visuals. I recommend this as something to show to people who are either new to series or have never read it before as a good gauge to see if they like it, though viewers who have been with the series for a while and are familiar with the character relations like myself will probably get a bit more out of it.
And that's a wrap! Next we shall be returning to the Marineford arc. Until then.