“Honestly, it was a real fun”: A few days after Japan premiered “One Piece: Red” a movie derivative of the manga phenomenon, it was released on Wednesday in France, the second market for Japanese manga and animation, for its largest. Some unaccustomed fans are happy to go to the cinemas.
The film shouldn’t be released until the fall in the US, but it’s already visible in 631 French cinemas, according to distributor Pathé. Something to delight audiences, including 119,311 who have already taken part in a preview, in 481 cinemas in recent days.
This is the 15th original film in the series that has celebrated its 25th anniversary since the end of July.
“The movie is really +heavy+ (awesome, editor’s note). I had an intro because I was told it was kind of a musical comedy, but in the end it works really well. It’s well balanced, the music was really +heavy+. Honestly, it was fun. Real, admits AFP Alexandre, 21, a Parisian student and avid reader of “One Piece”.
He is one of about 7,000 spectators who made the trip before midday to see the film in cinemas in Paris and its suburbs, according to the first available figures. At Pathé Wepler, Place de Clichy in Paris, “One Piece: Red” from the first morning session attracted about fifteen fans of all ages, from teenagers but also impatient parents with their children.
The cheers and the lack of applause contrasted with the weekend previews, which gave way to scenes of jubilation, even some popcorn-throwing explosions in Marseille, according to videos broadcast on social networks.
“I was afraid to see my film get damaged because I saw a session in which it was a bit messy. I said to myself, ‘Maybe I’ll go there in the morning as well, I’m sure there won’t be any problems,'” says Alexander, who came to the cinema with his friend before leaving on vacation.
– ‘Private’ manga –
Since the publication of the first volume in 1997, the quest for “One Piece”, the treasure coveted by all pirates and primarily Luffy, the protagonist of the series, has now had over 100 volumes to its credit and doubled sales records.
With 490 million copies sold, Ichiro Oda (47) holds the “Guinness Book of Records” in the “Most number of copies of the same comic book published by a single author” category.
On the occasion of the release of Volume 100 in France last year, publisher Glénat produced a print edition of 250,000 copies, such as the Prix Goncourt.
How do we explain this success?
“What makes this manga so special is the script above all,” Ryoji Kochi, president of Toei Animation, the Japanese company that has produced the animated series since 1999, told AFP, on the occasion of the release. Episode 1000 last November.
Excessive industrialization, racism, slavery, geopolitical intrigues… Besides the themes addressed and its lovable characters, the massive world of “One Piece” runs through cultural and geographical references (Ancient Egypt, Venice, Medieval Japan…) it is a dimension worldwide.
Manga movie adaptations have also been a hit since cinemas reopened last year. In addition to attracting an audience unaccustomed to frequent darkrooms.
The phenomenon of “Demon Slayer”, which broke all revenue records in Japan, for example, broke more than 300,000 admissions in France in the first week after its launch in May 2021.
“Paying 10.50 euros to go to the cinema is too much,” says Clement, the 21-year-old Parisian student at the Whipler exit. “But for movies like +One Piece+, I’m making an exception.”