We all know that Monkey D. Luffy is the star of One Piece, but One Piece: Strong World gives another character her day in the limelight. Namely: a certain red-headed navigator.

One Piece: Strong World key art.
Really, Nami should be in the front here.

One Piece: Strong World is the 10th feature-length anime film for the One Piece franchise by Eiichiro Oda, out of a grand total of 14 so far. Strong World itself actually released in Japan back in 2009, and it’s only now that US audiences can see the film in theaters for the first time in both English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. Officially, at least. I don’t know how many of you decided to watch a bootlegged version precisely because it took so long, and I’m not going to ask.

But anyways, One Piece: Strong World features an original story by Eiichiro Oda himself. The anime film also has Munehisa Sakai (Sailor Moon Crystal, Zombie Land Saga) as the director. Kazuhiro Yamada is responsible for cinematography, with Masahiro Gotō doing the editing. Kohei Tanaka and Shirō Hamaguchi are the composers for the film. Oh, and lastly, Toei Animation produced this film, with Toei Company distributing.

One Piece: Strong World will show in theaters on November 7, 2021 and November 9, 2021 as part of a 2-night theatrical event celebrating the 1000th episode of One Piece. The former date will show the English dub version, and the latter will show the version with Japanese audio with English subtitles. You can watch this screening specifically in select US theaters from Fathom Events. Unfortunately, we don’t have a release date for any home media releases. Amazon is selling the film as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, but it’s unavailable as of this writing. Tune in later to see if this changes.

Warning: spoilers for One Piece: Strong World below. If you want to see Nami kick ass for yourself, stop here, and come back once you’ve escaped from the giant mutant animals.

One Piece: Strong World ~ Plot Summary

Well, it’s about time.

One Piece: Strong World starts us off by throwing us into the middle of the action, in media res-style. We first see the big bad of the film, Shiki the Golden Lion, toss around some Navy ships in front of Vice-Admiral Monkey D. Garp and Fleet Admiral Sengoku. Apparently in order to intimidate them, which proves that Shiki doesn’t really get them. Anyways, Shiki then flies off in his flying ship after that demonstration in an apparent hit-and-run style.

The scene in One Piece: Strong World then cuts to the Straw Hat Pirates (at this point consisting of Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Sanji, Usopp, Chopper, Robin, Brook, and Franky) at last. Most of them are wandering around some random floating islands, constantly fighting off giant mutant animals that want to kill/eat them. All except for Nami, who’s busy being a prisoner of Shiki.

"One Piece: Strong World" still featuring Sanji and Usopp running from a giant caterpillar.
You’d think the giant caterpillar would want slower prey, but I guess not.

Fortunately, the story then transitions to a flashback by Nami to explain how they all got there. Apparently, the Straw Hats, specifically Nami, helped the Golden Lion Pirates out of hitting a sudden storm. Shiki, after executing his head navigator out of sight of the Straw Hats, then decides to give them a lift to their next destination, which is the East Blue after reading news articles about mysterious attacks on random towns there. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a mistake, as Shiki uses the opportunity to kidnap Nami for his own crew and to scatter the Straw Hats all across his floating islands.

With that explained, One Piece: Strong World then jumps back to the present day in Nami’s prison. Fortunately, she isn’t content to stay a prisoner. With the help of a new electric peacock-duck-thing (who Luffy later names Billy), she escapes out of the prison’s swimming pool and meets back up with most of the other Straw Hats in a village of feathered bird-people. The town only has children and elderly women left, because apparently, Shiki took everyone else to be slaves.

Things then take a turn for the worse when Shiki himself shows up, courtesy of a big camera snail watching everyone. He beats up the Straw Hat crew present in the village and holds them hostage. This gets Nami to agree to go back with him. For added evilness, Shiki then destroys the village by ripping up the trees protecting them. Thus allowing the monsters to get in and destroy everything. It seems like at this point in One Piece: Strong World that Shiki has won.

Except, not really. Nami actually uses her agreement as a ruse to plant bombs on the trees protecting Shiki’s own compound. Shiki’s agents catch her in the act, but she still manages to detonate the bombs anyways, thanks to Billy. The trees’ destruction allows the monsters to get in and destroy the compound. Combined with the rest of the Straw Hats invading, and Shiki’s compound and army are soon no more. Which he thinks is horrible, given that he was going to use them to conquer the East Blue…somehow.

Soon though, even Shiki himself is no more, having even been knocked into the sea by Luffy to drown. The floating islands fall back into the sea to bob like oversized corks. The Navy arrests what’s left of the Golden Lion Pirates, and tries to arrest the Straw Hats too. They fail though, and the Straw Hats continue on their adventure. Oh, and the bird-people survive by taking to the air when the islands started falling, and they rebuild their village with Billy as their new guardian. The monsters are even peaceful now that Shiki isn’t enraging them with drugs anymore. And that marks the end of One Piece: Strong World.

One Piece: Strong World ~ The Good

Nami in "One Piece: Strong World".
The true heroine of this adventure.

The main highlight of One Piece: Strong World is, in my opinion, Nami. She not only gets a lot of screen time, but she’s a major, major character who drives the plot too. At first, she initially seems to be a stereotypical damsel in distress character who has to be rescued by the other Straw Hats. However, she soon subverts that by breaking out of her prison herself. And even when recaptured, it was just all a ruse to sabotage Shiki from the inside. Basically, she turns full-on Guile Heroine here, and I’m definitely loving this depiction of her.

Other than that though, the entire story of One Piece: Strong World feels characteristically, well, One Piece. It features a nice balance of fantasy action, drama, and wacky comedy that the series is best known for. In fact, the whole film feels like an entire canon arc compressed into a single 115 minutes long anime film. Not surprising really, with Eiichiro Oda himself writing the story. In fact, this film is the only one of the films to feature a story by Oda himself. Savor it.

One Piece: Strong World ~ The Bad

"One Piece: Strong World" still scene that wasn't actually in the film.
For everyone who watched the film: guess who shouldn’t be in this still scene?

My only complaint here isn’t actually directly related to One Piece: Strong World itself. During this film, Nami demonstrated that she can be a perfectly capable Guile Heroine, using her smarts and abilities to make up for her lack of raw strength and Devil Fruit powers. I just wish that she’d demonstrate it a bit more often in canon.

Source: Publicity Partners, Fathom Events