U.S. Release for ‘One Piece Film: Red’ Announced Via Marching Band, Changed Later
I’m in Japan right now, and One Piece is mainstream culture over here. As such, I’ve gotten quite used to One Piece advertisements. My personal favorite is a men’s shampoo ad in the Tokyo subway in which Luffy and Shanks are mirrored, shirts open and hands running sexily through their hair. My runner up is a TV ad for a phone game in which Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy all say Luffy will become king of the puzzles. This is all to say that you’d have to really work to surprise me with a One Piece ad at the moment. And yet, Toei and Crunchyroll have truly outdone themselves.
UPDATE: Here’s perhaps the weirdest thing about this whole story: even though it took place just one week prior to the announcement of a specific release date, the date was wrong. One Piece Film: Red will be releasing in the US and Canada on November 4, 2022. Not, as this little campaign teases, “October.” It is true that November 4th is close to October. But it is, sadly, after October.
Anyway, I don’t know which party was responsible for the announcement venue over Labor Day weekend, but they announced a slightly more specific release date for One Piece Film: Red in the States: “October.” This is a bit better than “fall” and follows what the series’ producer let slip at Anime Expo, but, again, just one week later turned out to be wrong. It really says something that the slightly narrowed down release window for Red in the U.S. isn’t really what grabs me about this story. It’s that they decided to announce the release window via college marching band.
Yes. Someone in PR enlisted the University of Southern California’s marching band, the Spirit of Troy, to play “New Genesis,” “We Are!,” and “Over the Top” at a college football game. They killed it. I had plenty of friends who did marching band; do you have any idea how hard it is to essentially dance while playing the goddamn trumpet?! But, still … why college football, exactly, here?
“Wait,” you might be thinking, “is there some significant crossover between One Piece fans and football fans that I didn’t know about? Is that why this happened?” Sure, anime has become more of a part of mainstream American culture in the last decade, and One Piece in particular has had an uptick in Stateside fans within that. (I’m proof.) And yeah, college football is a big venue that millions of people watch if you’re going to announce something. But, overall, I think the answer to your question is “No, not really.”
And if you think Luffy himself wasn’t dragged into this, you are wrong.
Honestly, it’s not the words “Spirit of Troy” exiting from the future King of the Pirates’ mouth in a really disorienting world-meshing that gets me. It’s the demonstrable lack of excitement or even acknowledgement of any kind from every single person sitting in front of that screen as Luffy says the words, “Whoa, you can feel the excitement in the stadium!” It’s so uncomfortable that it makes my heart hurt a little.
Anyway, I’m glad we finally know exactly Red comes to the U.S. I’ve already seen it—again, I’m in Japan, where the movie is so hyped up that they just announced there will be “silent support screenings” where you can dance along and bring light-up pens and fans and stuff. (I will be going, obviously.) But I’m immensely relieved that a future where I can actually talk about the contents of the film with my friends is in sight. You guys. It’s so good.
(featured image: Toei Animation / Eiichiro Oda)
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