A Story by One Piece Best Director Megumi Ishitani


The following article contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 1015, “Straw Hat Luffy! The Man Who Will Become Pirate King!”, now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Episode 1015 of A piece caused a stir among fans of the series. As an adaptation of the legendary thousandth chapter of the manga, the latest episode was acclaimed by all the fans.

With smooth animation, dynamic lighting, thoughtful editing choices, and deliberate shot composition, Episode 1015 is arguably the most beautiful episode in the series’ decades-long history. Many fans went so far as to compare it to a TV movie, wondering if the next One Piece Movie: Red can meet the high standards set by this episode.

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This is largely thanks to its director, Megumi Ishitani. The “Wano” arc in general received a lot of praise for its update A pieceThe visual design of and the three episodes Ishitani directed — 957, 982, and 1015 — were crème de la crème.

Ishitani’s talents have left many wondering where she came from and how a director with such a cinematic sense of scale ended up working on a weekly TV series. Megumi Ishitani’s credits before her A piece episodes are rare, but they paint a picture of a director who grew stronger and stronger with each project she took on.

Ishitani graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015. During her tenure, she made a number of student films, all of which are officially available on YouTube and Vimeo. His first movie, arts educationdepicts the rivalry between two artists and their protégés. Oh dear depicts a young girl struggling with her emotions which manifest as visions of strange creatures stalking her. Ishitani’s graduation film, Scutes on my mind, sees a woman mourn the death of a museum curator who left a huge impact on her as a child.

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Even so early in his filmography, Ishitani’s creativity and thoughtful cinematic choices are evident. It was for this reason that she landed a job at Toei Animation, her first credited job for the company seeing her provide the storyboards for Dragon Ball Superthe fifth end credits sequence, Yoka Yoka Dance.

While there’s a lot to criticize about its rushed production schedules, one thing that Toei Animation has earned a positive reputation for within the animation community is its willingness to nurture burgeoning talent. Most notable among his alumni is Mamoru Hosoda, who also started working on projects like dragonball and A piece.

After also scripting the seventh ending sequence, An evil angel and a virtuous devilMegumi Ishitani would make her dragonball her debut with her job as an assistant on episode 107 of Dragon Ball Super, which depicts the fight between Master Roshi and Frost. It’s one of the most visually stunning episodes of the Tournament of Power, with striking use of shadows and the strongest storyboarding the series has seen so far.

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Ishitani would really make his mark with Greatthe final episode of, where she had sole directing and storyboard credit. Depicting Goku, Frieza, and Android 17’s final battle against Jiren, the episode had a lot going for it, serving as a conclusion to both the monstrously long “Universal Survival” saga as well asGreatthe entire 131-episode series.

That says a lot about the talent of Ishitani who Dragon Ball SuperThe finale of exceeded expectations, delivering a fight that combined the smooth animation of previous Tournament of Power battles with a more tangible sense of geography. For the first time in the arc, the arena felt like a real place of immense size and the characters used its structure to gain the advantage in battle, leading to Greatis the most visceral and exciting fight.

Ishitani explained some of the creative process behind the episode in a series of Tweets, going into depth about how she chose to portray Jiren’s psychology through the visuals. It’s a fascinating insight into how Ishitani represents the interiority of characters through visual design, a constant motif throughout his work.

Between Dragon Ball Superand his work on A pieceIshitani reportedly directing an episode of Toei’s comedy series Oshiri Tanteias well as a short film entitled Jurassic! in which prehistoric creatures begin to materialize all over Tokyo, also officially available on YouTube.

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Ishitani caught the attention of A piece fans with his debut in episode 957 – ”Big News! An incident that will affect the Seven Warlords’ – an adaptation of the manga’s 956th chapter. The story was exciting for its many major plot developments, but in terms of presentation, it was rather simple and explanatory, which usually wouldn’t require such intensive adaptation.

Directing and writing the episode, Ishitani managed to shatter fan expectations with the franchise’s most visually arresting episode to date. The basic exposition scenes were given plenty of cinematic flourishes, culminating in the episode’s climax, a recap of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.

A piece usually draws on stock footage from previous episodes when flashback to previous events, making this footage – where the major events the warlords took part in are abstractedly depicted as a long take weaving seamlessly from Warlord to Warlord – all the more impressive.

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The extremely meticulous storyboards of said sequence have been published on the official Japanese website A piece Twitter, and illustrate how elaborate Ishitani’s eye for detail is. Rarely are storyboards as detailed as Ishitani’s here, demonstrating just how fully his vision for an episode is formed, even at such an early stage of production.

Ishitani would later return to directing and storyboarding A piece982nd episode, ”Kaido’s Trump Card!! The Tobi Roppo appears!”. While featuring impressive direction throughout, the episode’s standout scene comes in the form of the Queen and Apoo concert that opens the Onigashima Golden Festival.

Ishitani turns four fairly basic pages into an incredibly vivid sequence, presented diegetically like a music video. His keen eye for lighting comes into play here as Queen, Apoo, and the rest of the audience are all bathed in stage lights, making for a very atmospheric prelude to the Straw Hats’ raid on Onigashima.

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The fact that Ishitani was able to extrapolate such an inspired interpretation from the original and fairly basic manga scene not only illustrates his creativity, but also makes him a wise choice for A piece specifically. Since it releases at a faster rate than the manga, the anime’s production team is often forced to stretch scenes to fill an episode’s runtime.

Whenever she’s forced to do so, Ishitani takes the opportunity to make sure the sequence in question is visually engaging, in service of the overall atmosphere of the episode, or just plain fun, which means her material never looks like padding. This approach elevates the source material, making full use of the medium to create an experience that manga is simply unable to provide.

This was demonstrated in spades in Episode 1015. Whether it’s the dreamlike scene in which Yamato realizes Luffy and Roger’s dreams were the same, with the Emperors and the Worst Generation members rearing their heads against each other while being drenched in the red light of Prometheus, Luffy defiantly walking between Big Mama and Kaido to help scabbards or Luffy reminiscing about the whole trip to Wano before knocking Kaido down with Red Roc, every scene was a a definite improvement on the already phenomenal manga chapter being adapted – and a complete showcase of Ishitani’s incredible talent.

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The day after the release of episode 1015, Ishitani took to Twitter to thank the rest of the team that put it all together. As incredible as she is, a female director, anime is a collaborative effort, and her episodes and the rest of the “Wano” arc were the result of many talented and hardworking animators, directors, and writers who gave their all . the A piece the anime is in a wonderful place right now, and no doubt the upcoming Onigashima Raid episodes will be a treat for fans everywhere.

As for Ishitani herself, I hope her work on A piece this is only the beginning. If she’s able to produce such high quality work within the confines of a single TV episode, there’s no doubt she’d skyrocket if given the chance to direct an entire series, or even direct. a feature film. Given the accolades she’s received from her peers and the wider anime community, it’s only a matter of time before Megumi Ishitani emerges as one of the best creative voices around. Of the industry.

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