One Piece is a successful franchise in every definition of the word. It's sparked a long-running anime, countless toys, themed soft drinks, and entire stores (and even an amusement) dedicated to it in Japan. However, if there was ever something to call a series a blockbuster hit, it would be the blockbusters themselves. Like many other successful Shonen, One Piece has a slew of movies bearing its name.
It's not enough to just decorate bookshelves and televisions everywhere. One of the most successful Shonen series must have, at one point, grace the big screen. Fortunately for the fandom faithful, One Piece has done this 14 times. And while not every movie may have similar financial success, they've all entertained fans within their own way. As such, before another film peeks out the corner, this list will be ranking its top 10 movies.
10 The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle
The seventh film for the franchise, this one is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it does tell a full, fun story of the Straw Hats on the hunt for a legendary treasure, battling against mecha-based enemies.
On the other, it doesn't really say much or even get the viewer attached to the story in any way. The riddles and search for the treasure are fun, the new characters are quirky, and the film even gives a slight backstory for how Luffy learns Gear Second, but it is a real shame that there really isn't much of an emotional investment within the movie.
9 Episode of Chopper: Bloom in the Winter, Miracle Sakura
This is not exactly the most inviting of all the films. Its premise is pretty much just remaking the Drum Island work while (for some reason) including Franky, Nico Robin, and the Thousand Sunny. These and other changes do keep the film a little sour in some people's mouths just for the intent and absurdity of it all, but this one still gets major points for the core story behind it, as one gets to relive in updated fashion the backstory of a certain blue-nosed reindeer.
8 Episode of Alabasta: The Desert Princess and the Pirates
While also a story arc remake, this movie makes up points for being a significantly more faithful one than Episode of Chopper and for focusing on one of the series' most seminal arcs.
For essentially just reanimating and heavily editing some of the best scenes from Alabasta, there really isn't much to say about this film; but if you're looking for some series nostalgia or want to efficiently get a friend into the series without intimidating them, this film would be a good place to look.
7 The Curse of the Sacred Sword
The series' fifth film, The Cursed Holy Sword brings great focus to (Who else?) the Going Merry's resident swordsmen, Roronoa Zoro. Telling a tale of hate, betrayal, and curses, there are quite a few turns in this one, as Zoro raises his swords against the crew as he reconnects with someone from his past.
This one gets major points for featuring some genuinely interesting scenes of Zoro going against crew, as well as an interesting legend of a sword being hone in hate and a look back at a little known portion of Zoro's past.
6 Dead End Adventure
The fourth film really attaches itself to the root of the series: adventure. The Straw Hats here enter a pirate race, dashing excitedly against rough waters, as they clash with a variety of foes and their eccentric ships. In doing so, they come face-to-face with the ex-Marine Gasparde, who plots against the pirates of the race, as well as the bounty hunter trying to capture him. The most seabound/pirate ship based setting of any movie or One Piece adventure, the fourth film really stands out as an exciting entry, especially with Captain Gasparde's Candy-Candy Devil Fruit.
5 Film Gold
Getting into the absolute gems of this list, Film Gold is very much a part of One Piece's (and even Funimation's) revival and expansion within the West, as it was the first of the series to have a U.S. theatrical release.
It focuses on the Straw Hats clashing with the world infamous casino owner, Gild Tesoro, as he's tricked the Straw Hats, among others, to be in his debt, as Tesoro builds an empire of gold, luxury, and slaves. This film is the complete One Piece package, featuring adventure, comedy, eccentric villains, epic fights, tiebacks to some of the series' core themes and dilemmas, and a barrage of cameos (Keep your eyes open. Some are easy to miss.).
The freshest entry on this list (by mere days for the Western theatrical releases), the series' fourteenth film was not only a box office success but a major celebration for One Piece fans everywhere. The 20th Anniversary piece really sets the stage, as it tries to not only cram in a bunch of historical Straw Hat references but an absolute encyclopedia's worth of cameos.
Old friends meet new foes, as Stampede just throws fast-paced action and adventure at the viewer's eyes. With great action, wonderful uses of its cameos, and surprisingly well-paced and tight plot structure, Stampede is certainly one of the series' best movies.
3 Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
For better or worse, the series' sixth movie really stands out to audiences for both its dark themes, as well as its challenge to the status quo of the series. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Wolf Children), Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is one of the acclaimed filmmaker's earliest works and a fine example of his auteur style. The film plays out like a horror movie, as the Straw Hats come to the mysterious island to accept its ruler's challenge.
What they didn't expect was an entire plot to break up the crew and have each one of them captured for a sinister ritual hidden in the dark shadows of the island. The sixth film stands out as a great piece for its willingness to challenge the themes of friendship and loyalty within One Piece, subsequently making the viewer appreciate them even more. It's also filled with Hosoda's unique animation and an absolutely mesmerizing final sequence that will have viewers' at the edge of their seats.
2 Strong World
The tenth film for the beloved pirate crew gets major points for being one of the most adventurous of the franchise. The "Golden Lion" Shiki has begun a rampage on the world's seas, as he brings his floating island and its ravenous wildlife across the waters to wreak havoc on the East Blue.
Wanting to stop him from destroying the homes of most of the crew, the Straw Hats invade the island, exploring its beautiful and harsh landscapes, coming to odds with the monsters on it, and learning of the island's unique history and that of one of Gold Roger's most infamous rivals, Shiki himself. This film is a wonderful mix of genuine, canon world-building, emotional stakes, and the eccentric flavor of style and action that only the Straw Hats can bring.
1 Film Z
Still regarded by many to this day as the best film in One Piece history, Film Z is a wonderful culmination of not only what One Piece is but of what One Piece is best at. It brings the viewer to an incredibly realized and sentimental villain, Z, as he tries to bring the world of pirates to an end, even if that means burning the world for everyone.
Luffy and the crew here come to odds with a man who sincerely clashes with the values of pirates and adventure, as Film Z brings an interesting dialogue equally among its story and action to make the fight against Z both an exciting and challenging one. This film also features great tie backs and cameos, costume changes galore, and an interesting way of stringing the themes of youth and growth through the story's action. If there was ever a One Piece movie to recommend, it would be this one.