Thursday, May 29, 2014

One Piece Z movie review and the promise we made to that small kid

I am not a fanboy of the insanely popular One piece manga franchise, that being said I do consider it to be one of the greatest artistic achievements of all times and possibly the greatest story ever told.
The world that Oda has has created is just too awesomely fantastic and so full of imagination that English language is yet to come up with a word to describe it, though I suspect that German might have a word for it (they have words for everything).

Anime movies are usually not of good quality, however every once in a while we get a movie that just knocks it out of the park. One Piece Z is one of those movies.


The movie is set in the fictional world of One Piece that is very easy to grasp. But for those unfamiliar with the One Piece Universe, the movie will create no problems as the story is self contained and there are few if any references to the parent manga.

The movie starts with a song which is a ballad to all the comrades one loses in the course of life. The song is just beyond excellent and the music leaves you with a sense of melancholy. The movie then cuts to a fight scene with the title character Z attacking a marine base.
Z is a former marine admiral who left the navy to start his own neo-Navy due to a mixture of personal tragedies, sense of betrayal and circumstances. His aim is to destroy all pirates and he plans to do this by destroying the entire new world.

The movie has probably the greatest last stand ever filmed and one of the  most melancholic endings ever. 

I will not get much into the plot as this post is about my thoughts on the movie, also I highly recommend you to check out the movie. You can watch the movie here.

The promise we made to that kid

I was that boy's hero

I did not know what to expect from the movie as this was the first and only One Piece movie I have watched. The action scenes are great, the story powerful and the animation fantastic, however this movie affected me in a way few works of art have due to other reasons.

The Lead character Z is an old  man who has always had a dream of being a hero since childhood. As anyone who is familiar with Oda's work can tell, the central theme of it is the pursuit of one's dreams no matter how outrageous the dream may be.

As I grew up I understood that most of the things I thought or was told were not true, as children we have a sense of wonder which is lost as we grow up. This phenomenon might have accelerated in the internet age where Internet essentially demystifies everything. From a woman's body to the creation of seemingly complex things, internet has demystified everything for us very early.

The sense of wonder that drove Columbus to the New world 500 years back on a glorified boat is no longer there even among teenagers anymore. As information comes, we lose our dreams and imaginations.
I do not intend to tell people to not be realistic or harbor delusions. Far from it, it is much better to be realistic about life and take decisions than harbor delusional thoughts.

However I think the problems we have stem from our confusing brainwashing propaganda with genuine dreams, hopes and aspirations. There are too many lies fed into our brains, too much programming done with us by the culture that we believe that our dreams are same as what the propaganda tells.

The movie character Z dreamt of being a hero since childhood, in a way it was a promise made by his older self to his younger self. I can relate to that, when I was a kid I had a vivid imagination and anytime I saw a strong adult or awesome adult I thought to myself that my older self will be better than that. All my dreams and aspirations were pinned on my older self, I was the Superman for that kid.

As I grew up I realized that world is not all that I imagined it was, it is essentially a brutal place where being stupid is  not an option. However, this movie reminded me of that kid who thought that his older self would be the most awesome man in the world, he did not dream about working in a soul-sucking cubicle or being struck in a shitty relationships. The movie reminded me that all the hopes and aspirations of that kid started and ended with me. 

In life we often lose our sense of wonder, we become realistic due to nothing but sheer need. I do not have any problem with that, however we also break the heart of that kid who thought that we were Superman. One by one we prove to that kid that we are not the brave, gutsy, awesome person he imagined us to be, One by one we break every dream of that kid, one by one we give up on our dreams. And as that kid realizes that he did not grow up to be what he imagined, he dies a slow and painful death.

No matter what happened that boy always imagined me to be awesome.

This movie reminded me about that kid and reminded me of the promise I made to that kid  and for that I will eternally be grateful to it.