Different people want different things out of their anime movies. Because none of the “One Piece” movies are canon, they are free to give audiences stories they don’t get from the manga or anime, like character team-ups and fights that couldn’t be done in the source material. This means that most of them end up doing a lot of fanservice one way or another, and none do fan service as well as “One Piece: Stampede.”
Released to commemorate the anime’s 20th anniversary, “Stampede” simply asks, “What if we got every character together in one place and let them interact?” More specifically, the film takes place during the Pirate Festival where pirates from all around the world get together for a treasure hunt. This year, the prize is a treasure belonging to Gol D. Roger, King of the Pirates. Of course, things aren’t that simple, and both a dangerous pirate villain as well as the entire Marine force get involved, but most of the movie is actually a big party full of cameos. This is in no way a negative, mind you. If you’re going to do a big 20th anniversary celebration, you might as well have fun with it. Even if the script isn’t all that, the animation is decent, and the fight scenes are exciting.
What makes this a special treat for fans and one of the best “One Piece” movies is the ability to see characters reunite after literal years of absence in the anime and manga. Seeing Crocodile call Robin Miss All Sunday, or Luffy’s fan club meet-up of Boa Hancock and Bartolomeo when the source material hasn’t shown them in months or years, is what makes this movie worth watching.