A pirate in the world of One Piece is anyone who raises a Jolly Roger, whether they commit an act of piracy or not. This is not, however, usually enough to give anyone a bounty, but is enough to be arrested by the Marines. Bandits are said to be the opposite of pirates. The two have not been known to get along with each other too well.
Types of PiratesEdit
There is also another kind of pirate, known as "rookie" pirates, which the Straw Hats fell under before the timeskip. In fact, all the so-called "Super Rookies", along with the Bellamy Pirates from two years prior the current timeline are considered to be rookies. It is unknown what qualifies a person or crew to be a rookie, though the word generally means that they are new-comers or new recruits. This may mean that these pirates have only been active for a short time and are relatively new, though there is a case of a pirate being considered a rookie even after three years.
Female pirates, though unusual, are by no means rare. More often than not, the women tend to be the captains of their crew, with certain exceptions, like with the Straw Hat Pirates, the Bellamy Pirates, the Donquixote Pirates the Foxy Pirates, the Beasts Pirates, and the Whitebeard Pirates.
Though technically illegal, children have been known to create pretend pirate crews with their own Jolly Roger as shown by the Usopp Pirates and non-canon Pumpkin Pirates. Though these crews are usually kids playing pirate, they are technically criminals for raising a Jolly Roger and some may go on to become real pirates as shown by Usopp or become entangled in conflicts with real pirate crews, which occurred with both the Usopp and Pumpkin pirate crews. However, as long as they do not attract the attention of the Marines or World Government, they are presumably left to their own devices. As shown by the non-canon Pumpkin Pirates, it is possible for members of these crews to join the Marines as all the former members save for one grew up and joined the Marines. However, most Marines tend to discourage children from viewing pirates as anything but criminals and undercover Marine Donquixote Rosinante even acted like he hated children to prevent them from joining the Donquixote Pirates.
Pirates usually plunder towns, steal treasure and supplies, and commit atrocities that make them placed into the bounty list by the Marines and World Government. For example, the Candy Pirates committed atrocities as soon as they disembarked on an island before they were stopped by Rob Lucci and the others. The Straw Hat Pirates are unique since they never commit any atrocities and the damage inflicted on an island is because of the fight that determines such place's freedom, which makes Sakura Kingdom and Dressrosa as examples.
Some pirate crews have their own methods and requirements to recruit new crew members. The Rumbar Pirates for example required that new members must love music. The Whitebeard Pirates on the other hand allowed anyone to join on their own will. The Straw Hat Pirates recruit members through Luffy's decision.
A pirate crew gains its name depending on the captain's liking, and mainly follows any of the following trend:
- named after the captain of the crew, such as Buggy's Delivery, Bellamy Pirates, and Barto Club.
- named after the captain's epithet, such as Red Hair Pirates, Whitebeard Pirates, Straw Hat Pirates and Big Mom Pirates.
- named after a personal motif of the crew's captain, such as Heart Pirates, and Cook Pirates.
- named after a theme that runs in the crew, such as Black Cat Pirates, Sun Pirates, and Firetank Pirates.
- named after the crew's location of origin, such as Giant Warrior Pirates, Space Pirates and Kuja Pirates.
- named after a crew that desires to continue a legacy of any sort, may be the same crew that captaincy is inherited via generation shifts, such as Flying Pirates, New Fishman Pirates and Happo Navy.
Hierarchy of the SeasEdit
The Four BluesEdit
Generally outside of the Grand Line, most pirates operating in the blues are considerably weaker than those inside. Often, they are left untouched by the Marines because their attention is drawn towards the Grand Line rather than the East, West, North, or South Blue oceans.
That is not to say that they do not have their share of villainous pirates, as even in the weakest of the blues, the East Blue, powerful men like Don Krieg and Arlong were found. Generally, few people in the four blues have access to Devil Fruits or general knowledge of them. Most pirates seen before the Straw Hat Pirates entered the Grand Line fight by using of some form of weapon, the only exception being Buggy (whose Devil Fruit was found by the Roger Pirates, in the Grand Line).
The Grand LineEdit
Generally, the weaker pirates are often weeded out by the Marine or Shichibukai before they can progress any further. The unfortunate crews do not even make it to their first island due to not understanding on how the weather works in the Grand Line. The Grand Line is where one is most likely to encounter or confront Devil Fruit users, both in and out of pirate crews.
In the second half of the Grand Line the most powerful pirates are the Yonko. The second half of the Grand Line is their playground and it forms a rather dangerously balanced part of the One Piece world.
Any rookie pirate who has earned a bounty of over 100,000,000 is considered impressive, and can be considered as a "Supernova" (超新星 Chōshinsei?). The Worst Generation (最悪の世代 Saiaku no Sedai?) of Supernovas were during the Golden Age of Piracy, when eleven of them almost simultaneously appeared on Sabaody Archipelago, each holding a bounty of over 100,000,000, and each member had caused a great influence within the New World, as well as earning themselves much notoriety.
Great Pirate (大海賊 Daikaizoku?) is a term used for some of the most powerful and infuential pirates in the world. It is unknown what is required of one to gain this label, but Bartolomeo suggested that with the 5600 members of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet as his subordinates, Luffy would be openly recognized as one of the Great Pirates.
So far, the term has been used for the following individuals within the manga:
The Pirate KingEdit
The Pirate King (海賊王 Kaizoku-Ō?, also called King of the Pirates in the English versions) is a title given to the strongest pirate alive and owner of the legendary treasure that was later dubbed as "One Piece".
Before his death, Pirate King Gol D. Roger hid One Piece. It was rumored to be located at Raftel, the island at the end of the Grand Line. The frenzy over discovering and owning such a massive treasure sparked the "Great Age of Pirates". Until One Piece has been claimed, there will be no current Pirate King.
Until his death, the closest person to becoming the Pirate King was Whitebeard. One of the Shichibukai, Donquixote Doflamingo, believed that had Whitebeard truly wanted to become the Pirate King, he would have already. Many people who had met Luffy, such as Vivi and Koby, believe that he will become the Pirate King; Kokoro also addressed Luffy as the Pirate King and Shakuyaku has stated that both she and Silvers Rayleigh were rooting for Luffy to achieve this goal.
The reasons for a person wanting to be the Pirate King vary, Gekko Moriah and Blackbeard wish to acquire it for the power and influence the title would come with, while others like the Yonko are considered candidates for it because they are extremely powerful and very close to it, but of the Yonko, only Blackbeard and Big Mom have shown interest. Still others like Luffy and Crocodile (prior to the event that caused him to let go of it) wish to become the Pirate King because it is a dream of theirs. Luffy (and Crocodile in his youth) seem to want it for the adventures that are involved with becoming the Pirate King. The Pirate King is said to be the ruler of the sea (Enel asks Luffy about the country the Pirate King rules [after Luffy says that he will be one], Luffy answers this by saying that the Pirate King is the king of the sea, Enel then says that it would be a very interesting title).
When talking to Silvers Rayleigh, Luffy said that the Pirate King is not the most powerful or wealthiest person in the world, but simply the person with the most freedom on the sea. After hearing this Rayleigh smiled to himself, possibly because Roger himself had also stated this being his primary value.
History of PiratingEdit
Before the Golden AgeEdit
Pirates have long been a part of the way of life in the One Piece world. The oldest known group of pirates mentioned were the ones under Dorry and Brogy from more than 100 years ago. However, despite pirates existing back then, none of them were known to be noteworthy enough to shake the world.
Then all that changed with the arrival of the great pirate Gol D. Roger (and others like Edward Newgate and Shiki). Roger set about to do what no one had done before - conquer the Grand Line. He succeeded and in doing so made his way to Raftel and left behind something somewhere in the world, his most prized possession, One Piece. Roger brought about an air of romance about being a pirate and upon his death his final words sent others to sea to become a pirate. Things would never be the same again.
The Golden Age of PiracyEdit
The death of Roger sent many pirates to the Grand Line, hoping to find his treasure and become the Pirate King. However, with the new wave of pirates came a new change that even Whitebeard noted.
Over the next few decades the old figures of the pre-pirate age began to disappear due to the span of time. This left fewer and fewer people aware of the days of piracy before Roger's death. Many old values shared by the pirates of the pre-pirate age slowly began to die. Even once commonly sung songs like Binks' Sake have begun to fade out of memory, save from the minds of those who still remember the olden days of piracy (such as those like Brook and Shanks). Although newer pirates still adopt these values, some completely go in a different direction, the most prominent is Bellamy who speaks of a New Age where pirates should stop dreaming.
With the Great Age of Piracy spiraling out of control, the World Government became deeply concerned. In response, they created the Shichibukai and sent them out to kill other dangerous pirates. The World Government also allowed themselves to easily be manipulated by Spandam into a machination to acquire Pluton to combat the increase in pirate activity, unaware that he had ulterior motives in mind.
The New AgeEdit
At the start of the storyline, the New Age was fast approaching. This New Age of Piracy was brought upon by changes in the world. Various characters who have mentioned it either spoke of a world on the verge of chaos, or a great age where pirates no longer chase their dreams.
Related to this oncoming age in particular was the capture of Whitebeard's 2nd division commander Fire Fist Ace by the Marines. This significant action resulted in the Shichibukai and Marines assembling together in preparation for a war against Whitebeard himself. During the war, Ace was killed and Whitebeard attempted to take down Marineford. It was also notable that before Whitebeard died, his famous last words proclaimed the real existence of One Piece that may also aid in increasing the amount of pirates going onto the sea for the treasure. Finally Whitebeard, who held the Age of Pirates together, died, leaving his vast territories for conquest by other pirates in the New World. It may also be noted that after Blackbeard took Whitebeard's Gura Gura no Mi powers, he said that this age will be "his age" shouting aloud for everyone in Marineford and Sabaody Archipelago (viewing via visual Den Den Mushi) to hear. The "New Age" is a phrase used to emphasize the fact that the world is changing, and different pirates obviously have different ideas about what the coming age will be like. Bellamy believed the coming age would be an age without dreams, while Blackbeard believes just the opposite.
Between the Golden Age and the New Age, eleven top rookie pirates, with bounties over 100,000,000 from nine different pirate crews arrived in the Sabaody Archipelago before the Whitebeard War, each having made their names and reputations in public. They were dubbed by Shakuyaku as "The Eleven Supernovas", saying that one of the Supernovas could potentially be responsible for inspiring a whole new generation of pirates and also forge the New Age. All of the Supernovas (with the exception of Zoro) witnessed the Battle of Marineford, while Luffy and Trafalgar Law actively participated in the battle, afterwards heading towards the New World to make their marks.
With the start of the New Age, a new wave of pirates went to sea looking for One Piece, having heard Whitebeard confirm its existence. A number of pirates from the previous era escaped Level 6, and it was noted by X Drake that a new age also means that the Marines themselves now must change with this. However the exact direction this new era will take is still as of yet unknown.
The Eleven Supernovas and Blackbeard have become known as the "Worst Generation" to the world. Whenever any of them causes an incident, other pirate crews get involved and annihilated. Brownbeard and his crew were devastated by Basil Hawkins and his crew, the Kid Pirates wiped out and mercilessly crucified an unknown pirate crew that were trying to go back to Paradise. The Blackbeard Pirates defeated and captured the Bonney Pirates and allowed them to be arrested by the Marines. Although after the timeskip, Bonney was shown somewhere in the New World.
It has been hinted in the series, though, that it is going farther and farther out of the government's hands, with pirates everywhere, all of which appear to be less and less mindful of the government. Although to counter this it has been stated that the Marines have been granted unprecedented power by the World Government, along with Fleet Admiral Sakazuki moving Marine Headquarters to the New World to better combat the growing threats to these organizations of Justice. The people of Luffy's hometown noted the increase in pirate activity in the seas after the war.
Early One PieceEdit
First mentioned in Romance Dawn, Version 1, the two main types of pirate are Peace Main (ピースメイン Pīsu Mein?) and Morganeer (モーガニア Mōgania?). These terms were once again mentioned in Romance Dawn, Version 2, and in Wanted! Chapter 5, however they are not mentioned in One Piece itself. This is largely because most pirates are a combination of both peace main and morganeer. Even in the final version, a certain amount of pirates display these original concepts, though the actual terms are no longer used.
Described in Romance Dawn Version 1, a peace main is a pirate who goes on adventures and does not really care about amassing treasure or fighting other pirates. That is not to say that they will not steal treasure from others if it is there and the chance is open, but their primary goal is usually not to own it and greed is generally not their motivation. More often than not, a peace main pirate sees his or her own crew as their most valuable treasure.
The morganeer fight for treasure and personal ambition. They are greedy and love to fight just to cause other people pain and misery. Many of the other pirates Luffy and his crew meet are morganeers. Luffy dislikes them and only wants to recruit peace main pirates. The peace main pirates however, only steal from them, so it is safe to say that the relations between the two are not the best.
Translation and Dub IssuesEdit
There are a few notes about a name of a pirate crew to consider:
- Despite some of the crews names such as the Red Hair Pirates, most of the members will not have anything in common with their crews name (i.e. they will not be red haired), Red-Haired would be a direct translation as plurals do not exist in the Japanese language. The crews are almost always named after their captain, in this case "Red-Haired Shanks" and from indirect translation his crew would be "Red-Hair's Pirate Crew".
- Kaizoku though is the Japanese word for "pirate" translates literally to "sea thief" or "sea robber". "Kaizoku-dan" itself does not literally mean "pirate crew" but rather would translate to "band of pirates" or "band of sea thieves". Ultimately, a pirate crew should be written down as (for example) "Red Hair's band of sea thieves", to an English speaker, this name makes less sense than "Red Haired pirate crew". It is common for English speakers to use "pirate crew" rather than "band of sea thieves" as it makes more sense to other English speakers and has an easier ring to the name, similarly how "Whitebeard" is never called "White facial hair" despite what his name is trying to say.
- Privateers and pirates are often grouped together as one and the same. The only real difference was that privateers can be consider hired "pirates", who were contracted to work for their governments against other nations on the seas, and were generally allowed to do anything they wanted so long as they did not attack their own countries ships. Pirates however, work for no one and worked on their own accords. In One Piece, the Shichibukai are based on "Privateers", however the Straw Hats themselves have done actions that would fall into this classification as well; such as helping Alabasta against Crocodile (originally Nami only agreed to protect Vivi for a price).
- The "Age of Pirates" established by Gol D. Roger, is based on the real world's own golden age of piracy.
- "Pirate King" was a real historical title used by powerful Japanese pirates who operated in the Inland Sea.