I saw a One Piece movie: Red in Japan about the same time in August. Red wouldn’t go out in the United States until November 4th. The end of red is that when the credits sank, my eyes were wide, my mouth was large and I was so frozen, it was as though I was still frozen. But I had to stand thatby myself almost three months. I didn’t see it anymore. Since Red released around the world, I could talk about the end of the thing. Because we really, really need to talk about this.
The article contains LOTS of spoilers for One Piece Film: Red.
One Piece really works at creating two kinds of villains you loathe in (for realizing Akainu, I cannot wait till he dies), and villains you feel much sympathy formany of whom eventually become a villain of some sort (like Robin). Reds Uta is his second. While removing the agency of other people and trapping them in a dream world isn’t morally correct, you should be referring to where they’re from. She was forced to live in almost total isolation for the most formative years of her life through terrible circumstances that weren’t ones faults (it was magic’s fault, stupid magic!). Besides that, she spent most of that period believing her tussle dad betrayed her and committed mass murder. Look at it and see how you technically did it! Ay yi yi.) In fact, I love Utai – she is a complex and captivating character. She says her songs are slapping.
As soon as I finished the movie, she slapped vital medicine out of Shanks hand and quickly saved everyone still trapped in the dream world. Sure, the whole film was a part of her plan to die so everyone would remain free of teddy bears and lollipops, even though many of those people turned into teddy bears and lollipops. To that end, some One Piece fans assumed the film would have resolved itself by saving Uta and everyone else. In the end, killing characters isn’t uncommon, but it’s very rare.
The final film of One Piece Film: Red is Luffy looking at the ship Shanks and seeing that entire crew gathered solely around what seems very, very close to the coffin. Uta is nowhere in the group. So we can assume who’s in the coffin.
Here’s where I lost all my anger. According to One Piece Spoiler on Twitter, Red scriptwriter Tsutomu Kuroiwa arranged an interview in which he said that Uta died from a bad wound to the life of the man. But then mangaka Eiichiro Oda, from the same source, said Uta wasn’t necessarily dead.
Here’s the other full mindfuck: One Piece Film: Red doesn’t depict canon events. But Utas exist in canon. In One Pieces history, a canon character died in a non-canonical film. What did it mean? I was referring to the review that Red wraps up in a satisfying way that makes sense for all its protagonists and that its not that bad or canonized, and that was what I was talking about. I don’t want Uta to be dead, but it feels like a significant and complete arc for an canon character. Utas would be lifeless at any time, and that would be like it is to be strange because Red was empathetic. But that doesn’t seem as weird as his dying in another accident.
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If Oda doesn’t confirm whether she died in the movie or not, can you bet that she won’t confirm whether or not she is dead in the Canon?
It’s like what happens when you make a non-canonical film that’s too good. Your heart is dark and wet.
I interpret the ending as a tragedy, meaning that Uta died and Shanks and his crew are mourning her. Everyone, including Luffy, thinks of it as serious, good-tempered. But what has happened and what’s going to happen to Uta in One Pieces the actual canon remains a very open question. When you do you want to be infuriated, even if you want to.
(featured image, Eiichiro Oda)