One Piece Character Analysis
Representing Freedoms Part 1
Okay so, as a Writer, a UX designer, a Game Designer, and a Character Designer, I am going to show you a different side of some of our favorite characters in One Piece & the deeper meaning of each character, how they represent some kind of freedom or liberation from something. With that being said spoilers for anyone who isn't caught up on the manga, the current chapter is 1049/1050. So, do not pass go if you don't want anything spoiled for you.
Of course, we're going to start with our main cast of pirate liberators the Straw Hat Crew. After that we are going to go over some of the important characters in the main story, then the 7 warlords & the Yonko, and then finally we are going to go over the Marines.
Luffy - true freedom, in everything he does, Luffy does it in the name of freedom even if it's not his intention. Hell, his embodiment of freedom is so strong that to activate 5th Gear he has to make his heartbeat to the rhythm of liberation. His dream is to make a world where his friends can eat anywhere, to him, that means he has to become the freest man in history, that's a step above pirate king if you ask me. That also means things have to be stable enough to be able to eat anywhere cause he can make friends anywhere he goes. Food is the center point of all cultures after all. Everything we do is revolved around getting what we need to eat, everything else comes after that, even sleep. Hell, we have even seen this man eat in his sleep, it's that damn important to him. Of course, he is going to get into the politics of wherever they're at if they can't eat freely. You're touching the one thing he doesn't want to share so he is going to make sure there is enough for everyone and then himself so no one has to touch his food. Like that's the kind of freedom this man wants for everyone. I personally don't mind the idea of not having to pay for food anywhere you go. I think it's a weird idea that we have to pay for such a basic necessity at this point anyways. I'm with Luffy & American Chavez on this one, let's make a world where food is free!
Zoro - Freedom to pursue Strength, because let's face it, this man is pure Strength in everything he does. You cannot break this man. I really do think he has a devil fruit inside of Enma. It would explain so much about that sword. You cannot be the greatest swordsman if you're not constantly pursuing your own strength and pushing past your own limits. This man is so strong that Oda has to injure him before every big fight to make things even for his opponents. That's like Sun Wukong's levels of strength where Buddha himself had to drop a mountain on him to stop him. Oda, One Piece god himself has to handy cap Zoro before every big fight. Plus his moment on thriller bark. By the gods, this man is just the pure embodiment of a strong silent type. Everything about this man screams strength. He is also strong at math but has a terrible internal compass.
Usopp - Freedom through Self Reflection. Nobody more so than Usopp knows how strong he really is compared to the monster fighters that are on the crew. It's because he knows how weak he really is that allows him to be stronger in other areas, his ability to self reflect and see the reality of things gives him an upper hand in fights cause it forces him to be more creative and focus on what is good at doing, which is shooting things, giving support, and faking it till you make it. This man tells stories to others but then goes and follows through with them. These stories are really to hype himself up, he tells himself these things by telling others these things, over and over and over again until the moment when he has to prove what he has been saying backing out at first but the self hype eventually gets to him cause as much as he lies, he hates doing it, he doesn't want to be a liar. So, what he does is self-reflection of if he can live with the choice of running away from the situation or not. Every time this man's self-reflection kicks in he frees himself from making those same mentality choices again and again and allows him to become that much closer to his dream of being a real brave warrior of the sea. If you're a coward who wants to be brave you do it by changing the way you think not by the actions you take. You change the way you think through Self Reflection. Making Usopp free through Self Reflection.
Nami - Freedom from the Unknown, This is expressed through her goal of mapping out the whole Sea in One Piece along with her ability to read the weather. She doesn't ever want to be caught off guard & wants to know what's coming no matter what so she can always be prepared for it. I would say she is financial Freedom if it wasn't for the fact that she has purpose and meaning behind her reasoning to get rich and that's to take care of herself and her family, the Straw Hat Pirates. She makes sure the crew always has their budget done perfectly for everyone and has enough left over to prepare for unfortunate events. She even makes sure there is enough for them to spend on every island they go to. She takes care of them in her pursuit of being prepared for the unknown allowing them to be free from a lot of unknown future stresses.
Sanji - Freedom to Love, Sanji has always been a character that was quick to chase a pretty kitty. Through his back story and the whole cake island arc, we finally find out why he has his attitude towards women and men. Being bullied by his brothers & tortured by his father while his mom & sister were the only ones being nice to him permanently affected his outlook towards people. Turns out the man just wants to be loved and accepted for who he is. He also wants to be free to cook whatever he wants or whatever his friends want. That's one of the reasons he wants to go to the All Blue. So, he can cook whatever anyone he cares about wants. A lot of people never asked why he wants to go to the All Blue. The answer to that question is; So, he can do what he loves to do most, He is a world-class chef, and what he loves doing most is using his cooking skills to feed his loved ones, what better way to do that than to go to the All Blue where you can make all of their favorite dishes with the best quality of ingredients there ever was.
Chopper - Freedom to pursue Medicine, everything around Chopper revolves around medicine. Through his back story, we find out that becoming the very best doctor and being a reindeer that ate a devil fruit that gave him human-level intelligence and self-awareness. Which in the grand scheme of things, sounds like a pretty bad deal if you ask me. Why would want to become aware of how much better you are than everyone else? It's like deciding to become a YouTuber or Article Writer and finding out what it's really like to have to build a following...
*Stops writing and looks up at you then goes back to writing*
But anyway I digress.. Chopper revolves around Medicine and trying to become the being who can cure any disease, just wait until he gets old enough to learn about STDs. We will see if he can still cure anything or if he quits. The very fact that there are things out there that people think aren't curable in the world of One Piece is his obstacle course and is his antagonist throughout the series. Most people would think it's impossible to be able to cure ANYTHING but not our boy Chopper. Most would give up. But not chopper, he wants to keep going. To keep pursuing cures for even newly developed diseases, he can never give up the pursuit so he is the freedom to pursue medicine.
Robin - Freedom to pursue Knowledge, Most of these characters either show it through their choices made during the current events of the series or in their dreams, Robin has a little bit of both as we get to see her following through with her dream as each time they get more information from the Poneglyphs. Unlike Nami, who is charting the seas, Robin's goals also tie into something much deeper on a personal level as she was charged with the inherited will of the Scholars at the Tree of Knowledge. The reason why they want her captured is to stop her from pursuing the knowledge of the void century. It's a death sentence for even doing such a "Taboo". So, it makes sense that she represents the Freedom to pursue Knowledge.
Franky - Freedom to Create, from the death of Tom to him having to repair his own body to the building of the Thousand Sunny to everything else he has done, it's been in because Franky feels free whenever he is creating something. Not only creating something but being creative with its design too. He shows us through his engineering work how free he is to create whatever he wants however he wants. He was even creating when he met Odin. He even took information from Vega Punk and added that to his engineering abilities to increase his creativity when he is creating something new. At his core, he is an artist. We're all at our freest whenever we get to create what we want. Developing our own style as we do it.
Brook - Freedom through Music, a good musician is well known, a great one will live forever. Brook is definitely one of the greatest Musicians in One Piece, until Film Red comes out and we see where he really sits in the world of music in One Piece. Being the last of the Rumbar Pirates, a set of pirates that made their whole purpose to bring smiles to children with music. Sounds more like adventures to me. How much nobler of character can you get in the world of One Piece? It's no wonder he is such a fan favourite. You would think it's freedom from death but nope that's actually another character & no, it's not Law.
Jembai - Freedom to choose your own path. At first, you wouldn't really see this but now it's clear to see as he joins the crew as the helmsman. He has always wanted to be free to walk his own path and eventually made that decision when he left the Big Mom Pirates to join the Straw Hat Pirates during the Whole Cake Island arc. He was first introduced in the Imperial Down Prison Break arc. That's when he gets his first chance at his goal to be free to pursue his own path. From that point forward he started working on doing what was necessary to allow him to be free to pursue his own path. He made plans to free himself of his regrets at Fishman island, he made plans to leave the Big Mom Pirates, he made plans to take Luffy upon his request, and he made those choices. He knows that he has the freedom to make the choices he wants now that he is a part of the Straw Hat Pirates. Hints why he is the helmsman of the Thousand Sunny. As he chooses the path to freedom going wherever Luffy goes.
Wow.. this article got long quick. So, I think I will stop here and go into more characters in other articles and make this a series of articles. About how different Characters represents a different kind of freedom. This will be part 1 of like 4... Maybe more if people enjoy reading them enough. I was planning on giving some bonus content about how each character represents a deity from each of the pantheons that Oda pulls inspiration from. But that's looking like it's going to be its own set of articles in itself. Thank you for reading & I hope you enjoyed my analysis of the Straw Hat's.