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Best ‘One Piece’ Movies, Ranked

They are not all good. But some of them are great.

Luffy watching Uta's concert in One Piece FIlm: Red

One Piece celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The length of the series has come to be a joke in and of itself, with people who have not been Converted wondering if the 1000 episode-plus anime or nearly 1100-chapter manga could possibly be worth it. (It is.) So, if you want to dip in your toe, you might think about checking out one of the One Piece movies. The problem is that, with the release of One Piece Film: Red, there are 15 of those. Which one, if any, are worth a watch?

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I’m someone who was encouraged to start watching One Piece after first watching some of the movies. So I can tell you from experience that, while none of the films are canonical, they can be an excellent way to get you excited about One Piece‘s universe and characters. Not all of them are worth watching, though. Some are very bad. Here are the ones that I’d recommend checking out, in order of excellence.

7. Dead End Adventure

Dead End Adventure is basically the first good One Piece movie, heralding all the way back to 2003. Honestly, it’s been a hot second since I’ve seen this one, but the fact that I still remember the very striking final fight—which takes place on a decaying ship—speaks to the film’s strength. Even though it drags a bit in the middle, it also does a good job of letting the Straw Hats shine, which tends to be important in these films.

First OP-friendly? Sure? But I’d watch the higher-ups on this list first.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Pre. No Franky or Brook even.

6. Stampede

To be honest, Stampede barely makes this list. The computer animation clashes with the hand-drawn aspects, the narrative hangs on by a thread, and the new character/villain isn’t interesting in the slightest. The only reason to watch Stampede is if you’re a diehard One Piece fan who wants to say hi to all your faves. Which, to be fair, is something we One Piece fans really love to do, which gives it a modern viewing edge over Dead End Adventure. Even though Dead End Adventure is probably a better film overall. Seriously, cameos are crammed in here at the direct expense of the plot. But it at least culminates in a battle where Luffy, Law, Sabo, Hancock, Smoker, Crocodile, and Buggy all fight on the same side, which is (mostly) a delight.

First OP-friendly? Absolutely not.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Post, but no Jinbe.

5. Z

One Piece Film: Z is many fans’ favorite One Piece film. I think it depends on what aspect of One Piece you like the most. If you love a good shounen fight, you probably love Z. If you’re more interested in watching bizarre narrative situations go down, the first two choices on this list will probably rank higher for you, as they did for me. It does have an extended scene of the men in a hot spring, which is a nice change of pace. Otherwise (in addition to?), Z strikes me as pretty macho.

Also, to be honest, the ending credit song for this film is Avril Lavigne covering Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me,” which felt like I had been suddenly doused with freezing cold water as I was cuddling with my cats on the couch. The fact that Avril Lavigne is wildly popular in Japan to this day only helps a little. Because then you learn that she was dating Nickelback’s singer at the time this film was done. Which is weird, right—to cover your boyfriend’s song for the “theme song” to a major motion picture? And then pair that with another, but better-chosen, cover—of Joan Jett’s “Reputation”?! And then you find out that Oda personally wrote her a letter thanking her?! I talked more about this than the actual film. As you can see, it continues to blindside me. Z is fine.

First OP-friendly? Yes, but I’d try another one first, personally.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Post, but no Jinbe.

Related: The 10 Best One Piece Characters on Attack of the Fanboy

4. Strong World

There are a couple very good reasons to like Strong World. One is that, until Red, it was the One Piece movie which mangaka Eiichiro Oda was most heavily involved with: he produced it, helped with the script, etc etc. It’s also the One Piece movie which introduced the concept of giving the Straw Hats epic as hell Outfit Changes, which is very good. Their entrance at the climax of the film is truly something to behold, because it involves black coats and everyone having a rifle for some reason.

But the biggest reason to love One Piece Film: Strong World is Billy. In a series which some very memorable animal pals, and in particular some truly incredible ducks—shout out to my wonderful boy Karoo—Billy stands out. All hail Billy, the King of Ducks. He’s even got a little booger coming out of his bill. Can you deny his majesty?

First OP-friendly? Yes. Great choice.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Pre! It was the last thing Oda wrote where Luffy was still a teenager.

3. Gold

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7R4j49o1FA

The plot of Gold can be sold in one incredibly intriguing sentence: “One Piece does Ocean’s Eleven.” Indeed, Gold is set in what is basically Las Vegas and is a heist film. I actually saw Gold before I ever saw Ocean’s Eleven, and I think Gold is way better. There, I said it. Do you have car races in Ocean’s Eleven? No. Do you have a character trapped in gold in a way incredibly reminiscent of Hans Solo? No. Are the security cameras living snails? No. Ergo, Gold is better.

As all of that suggests, One Piece Film: Gold does a great job of showcasing the over-the-top and zany attitude makes One Piece so great. It also has the best introductory montage of the Straw Hat crew that currently exists, except for perhaps Episode 1000 in the anime.

First OP-friendly? Hell yes. I would actively recommend this be your first One Piece film. Get ready for the fanservice, though.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Post, but no Jinbe.

2. Baron Omatsuri And The Secret Island

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUehpiluAvs

Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island holds a special place in cinema history, in One Piece-dom, and in my heart respectively. To start with the latter, this is the first bit of One Piece media I ever saw. Ever. To the second, it’s the only thing in One Piece‘s oeuvre (until Red) to take a psychological, reality-twisting approach to its narrative. Baron Omatsuri even borders on horror. And to the former point: Baron Omatsuri was the first film ever directed by Mamoru Hosoda. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he went on to found Studio Chizu and direct hits like Belle, Mirai, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

The result is a narrative which fully and delightfully grasps the absurdness of One Piece‘s universe, while also stretching the series’ heartwarming devotion to friendship to a horrifying conclusion.

First OP-friendly? It was mine, and look at me now! So yes!

Pre- or post-timeskip? Pre. Not even Franky or Brook is in this one.

1. Red

You might see the date of this article’s publishing and assume I’m high of my first impressions of Red’s North American release on November 4th, but the truth is that I’m still high off of the first time I saw Red in Japan two and a half months ago.

Like Baron Omatsuri, Red pushes the boundaries of what One Piece “typically” looks like by making the film a full-fledged musical with relatively little fighting. But by doing that, Red‘s not only pushing the boundaries of One Piece; as I wrote in my review, it’s pushing the boundaries of the entire shounen genre. In other words, it’s ambitious as hell, and it succeeds.

Red is a spectacle with spectacular animation and even more spectacular music which celebrates how far One Piece has come. But its focus isn’t Luffy; it’s the new character, Uta. And seriously, each song in Red is genuinely phenomenal, and the lyrics tie into the narrative with mind-blowing detail and ease. I say this as a bonafide music snob, too.

First OP-friendly? Yes! As long as you know One Piece doesn’t usually have pop star-worthy bangers everywhere. There are some post-Whole Cake spoilers casually dropped, too.

Pre- or post-timeskip? Post! And wow, look, it’s Jinbe!

Image credit: Toei Animation

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Author

Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.

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