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Merfolk

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Merfolk
Mermaid Cove Infobox
Statistics
Japanese Name: 人魚
Romanized Name: Ningyo
English Name: Merfolk
First Appearance: Chapter 195 (cover page); Episode 306[1]
Features: Fish-like tail
Homeland: Fishman Island[2]
Slave Price: Young female: Beli70,000,000
Parted females: Beli10,000,000
Males: Beli1,000,000[3]

Merfolk are one of the two major races that inhabit the sea (the other being the Fishmen). Both races seem to be ruled by the Great Knight of the Sea, King Neptune.

AppearanceEdit

Like the mermaids and mermen of folklore, their upper half is that of a human while the lower half is that of a fish. As demonstrated by Kokoro, mermaids may walk normally on land as when they are thirty years old, their tails split into two. Like the fishmen, they are based on the different fish of the sea; for example, Kokoro is an ice fish mermaid and Hyouzou of the New Fishman Pirates is a poisonous blue-ringed octopus merman. Two mermaids of a similar species can also have very different looks; such as Mero and Shirahoshi, who are both smelt-whiting Mermaids.

It appears the mermen can retain more fish-features in the upper body than the mermaids, as shown by the royal princes or the two Ryugu Palace Ministers of the Right and Left. For example, the Minister of the Right has ridges from the top of his head down to his back resembling a seahorse's, his mouth however protrudes outward like a seahorse's mouth. It is also possible for merfolk to have webbing between their fingers like fishmen, as seen with Den. Additionally, from what has been seen of obviously older mermen like King Neptune, it seems that the tails of male merfolk do not split with age like those of their female counterparts.

GalleryEdit

Kokoro Rescues Straw Hats
Kokoro was the first mermaid the Straw Hats met. Though they comically 'erased this from their memories' after meeting Keimi.
Hyouzou Before Transformation
Hyouzou was the first merman to appear.
Minister of the Right Anime Infobox
Merfolk can have a lot of fish features in their upper body, as seen with Minister of the Right.
Keimi Anime Post Timeskip Infobox
Their size can vary greatly: here, Keimi, who is the same height as an average human, is seen with the tiny Medaka Mermaid Quintuplets.
Luffy Encounters Shirahoshi
Their size can vary greatly: here, Princess Shirahoshi, who is on par with giants, is seen with Luffy, an average-sized human.
Ryugu Royal Family
An infant can grow bigger than a parent very quickly after their birth, as seen with Shirahoshi and her mother Otohime.
Ryugu Kingdom Princes
The species and appearance may differ even in the same family, as seen with the Neptune family.
Mother and Son
Their genes have strong memory: if an octopus mermaid has a shark merman son, it can mean that one of her ancestors was a shark merfolk.
Merfolk Baby
Merfolk can have children with fishmen: here, a fishman father plays with his merman son.

BiologyEdit

They are capable of breeding with humans as Kokoro was known to have had a human husband and bore a son with him. However, as seen with her granddaughter, Chimney, just one generation after the initial interbreeding, continuing to breed with humans may result in all merfolk features being lost. However, despite losing the merfolk features, they retain their ability to swim well. Humans, fishmen, and merfolk also share the same blood types. Unlike fishmen, merfolk do not eat meat or fish of any kind, aside from shellfish, so they remain primarily vegetarian.

Pappug explained that merfolk (mermen and mermaids) can have children with fishmen (fishmen and fishwomen). However, the child's race is up to chance between fishmen and merfolk. It is possible that there may be some hybridization, and grey area between the two races despite the clean separation indicated by Pappug's explanation. There are many merfolk who bear physical traits normally unique to fishmen, like Den's webbed hands and Shyarly's fangs. Furthermore, fishmen can sometimes demonstrate powers usually unique to merfolk, such as Jinbe's ability to communicate with whale sharks.

Even with merfolk and fishmen in the same immediate family, the primary species (merfolk or fishman), subspecies (type of fish) and appearances may differ. The reason is that they still carry the genes of their ancestors, so the species is not determined only by the parents, but it can be any one type among all the species of the ancestors.

Mermaids split their tail when they turn thirty as shown by Kokoro, Otohime, and an unknown mermaid Luffy saw while riding on a fish taxi. However, this does not apply to their male counterparts as their tails will not split even after the age of thirty.[4] Oddly, in the anime, several members of the Neptune Army were shown with tails and they always appear bipedals.

So far, all known merfolk subspecies have been real world species, and not any of Oda's made-up species.

Known Merfolk and Their SpeciesEdit

Inter-species RelationshipsEdit

Unlike the fishmen, the merfolk are peaceful, and prefer their race to remain a secret. They often are rumored to aid drowning sailors, plucking them from the sea and taking them to safety.[5] However, some can be violent and hateful, such as the individuals who joined the New Fishman Pirates, who look down on humans.

Mermaids and mermen are friends to the fish of the sea, fun loving, and usually get along with most people, including fishmen (even though some fishmen can often take advantage of the merfolk's good nature).

Like fishmen, merfolk face dramatic discrimination in certain areas due to past history between them and humans. While the World Government has attempted to bridge the gap, with Jinbe's appointment into the Shichibukai being an attempt to strengthen the bonds between the races (but due to his resignation, that ended in failure),[6] they are still considered valuable in areas where slavery is still legal in this world. A captured female mermaid under 30 (when their tail splits and they can walk on land) that is sold through auction in the Sabaody Archipelago can go for a starting price of Beli70,000,000. Parted females (those over 30 years old) are worth Beli10,000,000, and males are worth Beli1,000,000.[3] Saint Charloss of the World Nobles spent as much as Beli500,000,000 for Keimi, who is younger than 30. The wealthy who buy them usually keep them as a trophy.

When three of the mermaids disappeared in Mermaid Cove, the Straw Hats quickly became suspects even though the mermaids who personally met them say that they are nice people. Though the guards were not quick to jump to conclusions, the conversation with the citizens present echoed the amount of mistrust in humans, especially pirates, and their greediness when faced with the selling prices of mermaids. Caribou quoted a Mermaid being sold for Beli10,000,000 and called the Fishman Island a "treasure trove", showing his lack of respect towards the race.

Because of their huge biological differences, they fail to understand completely the human view of family and habit of categorizing individuals. Humans also fail to understand the fishmen and merman differences.

After the death of Queen Otohime, Prince Fukaboshi told his people the time to repair the damage was too soon for the people to cope with. However, he noted that time will heal the pain they have experienced and that one day they will be able to do what she set about to do and destroy the circle of hate between them and the humans. He told all the people of Fishman Island to dream of the sun. To the horror of the island years later, while they had been working towards this goal, the Fishman District had been breeding the very opinion they were trying to overcome.

Overall StrengthEdit

Merfolk Fish Calling

Keimi speaking to fishes.

While merfolk seem to vary as much as humans do, many of the male merfolks carry tridents, and Hyouzou's strength was acknowledged by Luffy, as well as Kokoro being shown to use her tail-fin as a whip-like kick. Merfolk are the fastest swimmers in sea, as demonstrated by Keimi, surpassing even the flying fish and fishmen. The mermaids have the ability to talk to fish and call out to them with a sound wave, which is apparently only audible to them. Jinbe, despite being a fishman, also appears to have a similar ability, leading Crocodile to note the uniqueness. Despite this, however and for reasons as of yet unknown, mermaids are unable to talk with Sea Kings with the exception of an ancient mermaid princess of legend and the current princess Shirahoshi.

The fishmen race have many powerful individuals and to capture Vander Decken IX, Neptune had to resort to allowing his sons and the Neptune army to arrest him, which they were unable to do until Decken's defeat during the battle for Fishman Island. Despite the power of the Fishmen race, the Merfolk have a much stronger hold over Fishman Island. To overthrow the royal family, the New Fishman Pirates had to plot and form an alliance to achieve their goal. Mermen also seem to have developed a fighting style unique to their race (like Fishman Karate) known as Merman Combat which seems to involve the manipulation of water.

MerfolkEdit

See also the associated category: Merfolk.
[v · e · ?]
Merfolk
Citizens
Neptune Otohime  Shirahoshi Fukaboshi Ryuboshi
Manboshi Minister of the Left Minister of the Right Shyarly Keimi
Ichika Nika Sanka Yonka Yonka Two
Ishilly Kairen Hiramera Seira Mero
Lulis Adele Fillonce Sora Kokoro
Maria Napole Den Luca 
Pirates
Hyouzou Aladdin

  •  : the character is deceased.
  •  *: the character's status is unknown. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
  •  : the character is non-canon.
  •  : the character is no longer part of this group. Hovering the symbol may give further details.


Early One PieceEdit

Early Chimney and Kokoro

An early concept of Merfolk showing Kokoro "soaked in enough water"

An early setting of One Piece, as revealed in One Piece Green: Secret Pieces, said that if merfolk were to soak in enough water, they would return to their once beautiful forms.

Translation and Dub IssuesEdit

Often the term "fishmen" is mistranslated from Japanese to "mermen", however the two species are very different. This is because the Kanji for fishmen (魚人) is just the reverse of mermen (人魚). Their translated name, "manfish" is how the Japanese describe the mermen and mermaids of legend, and they do not have a word for it. This mistake was carried over to the 4Kids dub.

TriviaEdit

First Fishman Drawing
Luffy's first sketch of how a mermaid looked like.
Second Fishman Drawing
Luffy's second sketch of how a mermaid looked like.
Luffy's Concept of a Mermaid
How Luffy imagined Nami would look like as a mermaid.
Young Keimi
The mermaid imagined by Luffy (on the top-left corner).
  • Early on, Luffy drew what he thought a mermaid looked like. One was a just fish with four legs. The other was a fish standing up on two legs, looking more like a fishman than a mermaid. When Sanji wondered if Nami was really a mermaid, Luffy just added hair and wrote Nami's name on his second sketch.[7] Surprisingly, someone that looked like his drawing of "mermaid" Nami actually appeared in Chapter 626. However, it unknown if she was a fishwoman or mermaid since only the head and arms were seen.
  • The mermen so far are notably a lot less attractive than their female counterparts and so far it seems to reflect the traditional views of mermen in folklore, who are usually considered much wilder and less attractive than their female counterparts.
  • In folklore, Melusine is sometimes despicted as a two-tailed mermaid, although as noted a twin-tailed mermaid appears in other forms, usually holding one of her tails in each hand. This form is the basis of the logo for the coffeeshop chain Starbucks.
  • Shirahoshi and Mero are the only two known mermaids to share the same fish-half, both being smelt-whiting, besides the Medaka Mermaid Quintuplets.

ReferencesEdit

  1. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 21 Chapter 195, cover story: Hatchan's Sea-Floor Stroll Vol. 12 and Episode 306.
  2. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 62 Chapter 608 (p. 15) and Episode 527, The Mermaids' location is revealed in the infobox.
  3. 3.0 3.1 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 51 Chapter 501 and Episode 395, New tribes revealed by auction house price list.
  4. SBS One Piece MangaVol. 63, Oda confirms that males do not split their tails even after 30 years old.
  5. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 44 Chapter 423 and Episode 306, the Mermaid dream.
  6. One Piece Manga — Vol. 60 Chapter 594, One of the Five Elder Stars revealing the reason why Jinbe was appointed as Shichibukai.
  7. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 8 Chapter 69 and Episode 31, Luffy drew his "concepts" of fishmen and mermaids.

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