It’s about time! A new One Piece anime movie will come out in summer 2016. The announcement was made after the credits of the Episode of Sabo rolled yesterday in Japan. This will be the 13th movie in the franchise.
There’s no more information for now so all that we can do for now is speculate: Will it be canon? Will Eiichiro Oda collaborate? Will it follow the events after Dressrosa? Who will be the big bad for Luffy to defeat this time?
You could say the last two movies, Strong World (2009) and Film Z (2012) marked a change in One Piece movies. There was a clear improvement both in animation, originality of characters and story and, yes, merchandising and promotion. Oda participated in the process and both the movies included canon characters like Shiki and Zephyr. Although there still exists some discussion on how canon those movies actually were. For now, we can only guess that the same will apply to the 2016 movie.
However, when in the timeline will this movie take place in? Strong World was set right after Thriller Bark and before Sabaody while Film Z was supposed to be right after the Straw Hats entered the New World, before Punk Hazard. If you take into consideration that the Dressrosa arc will be pretty much finished in the anime by next summer, will Trafalgar Law be a part of the main cast? Will Team Sunny be in it too? So far, all the movies have featured the entire crew so I can only hope that Sanji, Nami, Chopper and Brook will be there after not having seen them in the anime for so long!
One Piece movies have also followed a pattern in which Luffy ends up fighting and defeating the big bad at the end of the movie. In Strong World we had Shiki, an ex-yonkou and rival of Gol D. Roger. And in Film Z there was Zephyr (Z), the leader of the Neo Marines and an ex-admiral. That makes an ex-yonkou and an ex-admiral. All “ex-“s from the old era, which brings us the question: why is it that Luffy keeps fighting people from the old generation who are no longer at their best? How about Luffy fighting someone from the new era this time? But at the same time, how will the writers create a canon character so strong and make him/her fit in the New World even though they have never been mentioned in the manga?
We are still a year away so we can only hope more information and even some teasers to come out in the following months. It’s going to be an exciting wait, that’s for sure!
Also, stay tuned for our review of Episode of Sabo!