One Piece has grown into one of the fundamental franchises of modern anime. The original anime — based on the manga of the same name — began in 1999, with Funimation providing the English language dub for over 850 episodes. Even as it continues to draw attention to the episodic adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew, the characters are also blowing up the big screen with their fifteenth feature-length film, One Piece Film: Red — which is already one of the biggest films in the history of Japanese cinema even before its full global release.
CBR took part in a red carpet event to celebrate the release of One Piece Film: Red before its American premiere on Nov. 4, getting the chance to speak with stars AmaLee, Sonny Strait, Stephanie Young, Ian Sinclair, and Rachel Robinson, the film’s ADR Anthony Bowling, and One Piece veteran Christopher Bevins. The group dove into the film’s unique place in the franchise and what it means to see the series continue to grow even as the dub for the long-running series approaches its 1000th episode.
CBR: You’ve been in One Piece before, albeit not in such a quietly important role. What was it like coming back?
AmaLee: I voiced Queen Otohime in the Fish-Man Island arc a long time ago, so I’m really happy to be back. I love this series; it brings a lot of good memories. So I mean, I had seen art for Uta, and I had kind of seen some music and stuff. So when I got the email or the phone call that was like, “We’d like to have you as Uta,” I was like, “Oh my god, are you sure?” I love her so much. I think she’s my favorite One Piece character. I’m not even saying that because I’ve played her. I just love her so much. I feel like fans are just gonna be enamored by her when they come see the movie.
It was super fun. Sadly, we didn’t get to dub the songs, but it was super fun to hear them and to be able to play off of them for the scenes. I’m just really happy to be a part of it. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s good to have all the characters being brought together in a huge movie. There are so many characters in this movie, and I think fans are going to be able to find someone that they love in every single shot. I think that’s really amazing, and the music just ties it all together. I think it’s a really amazing feat that they pulled together really well.
What excited you the most about bringing this chapter in the One Piece saga to fans in places like the United States?
Anthony Bowling: This has been… I know people say this all the time. It sounds like a trope, but it truly is a labor of love. Adapting One Piece Film: Red, bringing this version to English audiences, working with this cast and crew — I’ve gotten to work with them on the series — it’s a joy… going from that and seeing the radical change, it’s…