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The Shichibukai, the full title being Oka Shichibukai (王下七武海 Ōka Shichibukai?, literally meaning "Royal Seven Military Seas"), are seven powerful and notorious pirates who have allied themselves with the World Government.
The Shichibukai is an organization of seven pirates turned privateers in the service of the World Government. Although they work for the World Government, the Shichibukai themselves typically do not care about nor respect the Government (excluding Bartholomew Kuma, who was later modified into their puppet) or even other Shichibukai, and are often considered by the Marines to be no different from any other pirate. On the other hand, they are known as "government dogs" and are despised by other pirates, but are still feared and respected for their infamous reputation and strength which they gained before, and even after they become Shichibukai.
The Shichibukai seem to be a mixture of the more chaotic Yonko and the more orderly Marines. The majority of the Shichibukai are composed of New World veterans; those who have met the Yonko or even fought against them.
There is an enormous range in the bounties between the members due to differences in circumstances under which they were recruited, with Edward Weevil, who had a bounty of 480,000,000, and Blackbeard, who had no bounty at all. It should be noted that these are their former bounties, and do not represent the current threat they could achieve as active pirates. Jinbe's bounty, for example, jumped from 250,000,000 to over 400,000,000 after his resignation. Another example is Crocodile, who, with a bounty of 81,000,000, was imprisoned in Level 6 of Impel Down, while Luffy with a bounty of 300,000,000 at the time was put only at Level 5.
The terms that the Shichibukai are on with each other is best described as very unstable. They have very little (if any) respect for each other and will for the most part not accept help from one another, apparently due to a firm sense of pride. During the meeting of the Shichibukai where only two members are absent (Hancock and Jinbe), it was stated that the very notion of them working together as a team is entirely unthinkable. However, Kuma and Doflamingo do not disregard the notion of allying with another Shichibukai: Kuma offered Moriah assistance in defeating the Straw Hats and Doflamingo offered Crocodile an opportunity for a partnership. Both offers were refused due to pride.
During Boa Hancock's visit at Impel Down's Level 6, Jinbe stated that he did not know much about her, possibly suggesting that only some of the Shichibukai are familiar with each other or even have personally met all the other members. Despite this, as of chapter 575, all of the Shichibukai (including former) fought at the war between the Whitebeard Pirates and the Marines.
Most of the Shichibukai have a jaded attitude of the world, as their vast amounts of experience have disillusioned them. Crocodile and Moriah both disregard Luffy's arrogant behavior, saying that he is too inexperienced to know what the world is truly like; Mihawk behaved in a similar fashion in his duel with Zoro, though he hopes that he will be successful. Doflamingo, spoiled by his former Celestial Dragon heritage and twisted by being repeatedly tortured afterwards, believes that there is no true justice in the world, and that both the Marines and Pirates are foolish if they think that they are upholding it. Hancock, through her horrid experience as a slave, considers all men of the world to be scum, outside of Luffy, with whom she is in love (and anyone whom Luffy is on good terms with); Rayleigh, who is her "benefactor"; and Fisher Tiger, who was responsible for liberating her from slavery.
Methodology of the "Government Dogs"Edit
Becoming a ShichibukaiEdit
A pirate may choose to join the Shichibukai if a space becomes vacant (which means that at least one Shichibukai must resign or be expelled from the group, the former being Jinbe's case and the latter being Crocodile's case). However, in order for one to become a Shichibukai once this position opens up, one must be able to exhibit their strength against other pirates  while choosing to pledge loyalty to the World Government (this ironically encourages pirates to gain infamy to become a Shichibukai) by making a pact with the Gorosei. If the pirate in question can be used as intimidation, the position may be offered to them, if no other pirate has accepted the position or proven to be more of an asset to the World Government. As expected, most members were already notorious pirates with high bounties, but even relatively unknown pirates can be admitted if they accomplish a feat to prove their strength. Blackbeard's victory over Portgas D. Ace and Trafalgar Law obtaining and sending the hearts of 100 pirates to Marine Headquarters are examples. The World Government can also be blackmailed into giving the position, such as when Doflamingo, held the tax money meant for the World Nobles hostage to become one.
Duties of the ShichibukaiEdit
They do not express open defiance to the authority of the World Government, but are not obligated to follow its orders either. They are technically only allowed to attack other pirates, and must also compensate the Government with a portion of their plunder, although this regulation is not followed most of the time. Each member of the Shichibukai must also have strong intimidation skills and a fearsome image to put off others becoming a pirate and make them fear them. In addition, given the discussion between Bartholomew Kuma and the Gorosei, it can be assumed that once someone becomes appointed to the Shichibukai they must be undefeated to maintain their position, or at least are not allowed to have a widely known debacle or scandal that affects their reputation.
Some of the members do various tasks for the government, such as conquering new islands for the World Government (described as "liberating") and protecting nations, but their ultimate purpose is to keep other pirates in check. Most importantly, the Shichibukai provide assistance to maintain the balance of The Three Great Powers.
Technically speaking, the Shichibukai are considered allies of the government, and in times of war are obligated to collaborate with the Marines. Still, many Marine officers (for example Vice Admiral Smoker, Admiral Kizaru and former Fleet Admiral Sengoku) despise them and consider the Shichibukai to still be pirates. Several high-ranking Marines expressed surprise that even two of the Shichibukai actually bothered to show up when summoned for the meeting about Crocodile's removal, and they were very shocked when a third arrived; tellingly, of the others besides Kuma that showed up, Doflamingo came out of sheer boredom (passing the time before the meeting by nearly forcing two marines to duel each other), and Mihawk came only to hear about the pirates being discussed in the meeting. When they are not under orders of the World Government, they have no commitment to assist the efforts of the Marines. Most of the Shichibukai appear to show general apathy towards the World Government and in some cases even hostility. During the battle with the Whitebeard Pirates, Moriah stated he does not care who wins  and Boa Hancock openly attacked both Marines and pirates.
Benefits and ConcessionsEdit
In exchange for these services, the Shichibukai are pardoned for their former actions and any existing bounties are rescinded.
The Enemy Ship Capture Warrant (敵船拿捕許可状 Tekisen Daho Kyoka-jō?) allows Shichibukai to legally plunder other pirates and uncivilized lands (most likely referring to countries not affiliated with the World Government), so long as they give a portion of their loot to the Government.
As the Shichibukai are no longer outlaws, they can make money through legitimate business, as well as bounty hunting. Some, however, are content to simply float around the sea on their ships. The government does not seem to mind, and the Shichibukai are granted a great deal of autonomy in how they operate, at least thus far. Other benefits include access to resources normally out of bounds to normal citizens and pirates, such as the use of Seastone equipment.
Boa Hancock, in particular, has a treaty that acts as a restraining order for all ships that come near Amazon Lily. Jinbe and his entire crew were given a pardon for their captain, Fisher Tiger's attack against the World Nobles, and their status as slaves nullified. Donquixote Doflamingo also managed to operate the Human Auctioning House with the government fully ignoring it before passing it to Disco. Buggy also utilizes the perks of his position to run Buggy's Delivery, an organization that rents mercenaries.
Crocodile abused the privilege of being no longer monitored so closely to build himself a large and powerful covert organization, while Boa Hancock, Blackbeard and Trafalgar Law exploited the benefits their statuses granted them in order to enter facilities that would otherwise have been unreachable to a pirate.
The privilege of protection and pardon extends to any of the Shichibukai's subordinates, as Jinbe was able to have Arlong released from Impel Down and the rest of the Sun Pirates to return to Fishman Island freely, while Caesar Clown, guilty of destroying Punk Hazard via illegal chemical experiments, was given a pardon simply for working directly under Donquixote Doflamingo. Prior to joining the Straw Hat Pirates, Nico Robin sought to be Crocodile's partner mainly for protection. Had Law said the Straw Hat Pirates were his subordinates instead of allies, the notorious crew would have been amnestied.
Dismissal or ResignationEdit
Even if they violate the law, the World Government and Marines may choose not to take any notice. Doflamingo used to own the Human Auctioning House before giving it to Disco. Crocodile seemed to have gone unsupervised for an extremely long period of time, as he had created a large, malevolent organization that the World Government was completely unaware of, while Moriah was abducting civilians and Marines alike to create an army of zombies without the Government raising any complaints. Because of the risk involved with maintaining the Three Great Powers, the Government tolerates the illegal activities of any Shichibukai and attempts to protect them if possible (or at least maintain their fame).
That is not to say they would not dismiss a Shichibukai for such actions. There are several Shichibukai who have been dismissed from their positions for several reasons. Crocodile's actions in Alabasta left the World Government with few options other than his dismissal, although, in fact, Luffy dealt with him (and his bounty was raised for that).
Moriah's defeat was met with horror by the World Government as they had only just replaced Crocodile's loss. Fearing what would happen if another fell, the World Government attempted to cover up his defeat by killing all of the survivors of Thriller Bark before word got out. Even though Kuma (the one sent to deal with the problem) chose to disregard the order of the Gorosei, Moriah was able to retain his status for a time, later answering the call to arms against the Whitebeard Pirates. However, after the war, the government finally deemed Moriah to be too weak to continue as a Shichibukai, and decided to annul his pact and eliminate him, under the pretense of Moriah dying in the war to preserve the Shichibukai's reputation of strength.
Jinbe forfeited his position as a Shichibukai for his refusal to assist in the war against the Whitebeard Pirates and was incarcerated in Level 6 of Impel Down. After Monkey D. Luffy helped him escape, he assisted the young pirate in breaking free from Impel Down and traveling to Marineford and cooperated with Whitebeard's faction during the battle choosing to abdicate his position permanently and again became a willing enemy of both the Marines and the World Government.
Blackbeard only wanted to be a Shichibukai so as to be able to reach Impel Down in order to release several Level 6 prisoners and create a stronger crew. As soon as he achieved this goal, he was no longer interested, and resigned from his Shichibukai title.
Dismissal from the Shichibukai holds not only the individual's loss of title, but in cases also the breakdown of possible politics affiliated to the Shichibukai. As Boa Hancock was warned, while she obeyed the World Government, her nation's treaty with the World Government would be respected. However, if she did not heed the call of the World Government, then the treaty with her home island of Amazon Lily would be made void. Smoker has implied that Hancock and her people will suffer repercussions for helping Luffy during the war; however, throughout the war, events related to her were often interpreted incorrectly by the Marines and others, thus her status as a Shichibukai seems to not have been brought into question.
Doflamingo has participated in several illegal activities such as the Human Auctioning House for the slave trade, but having disowned it did not seem to affect him. He also stated he would quit the Shichibukai should they bore him with menial assignments. He also placed a deep cover agent in the Marines, Vergo, and has the rogue Marine scientist Caesar Clown to produce weapons for him in the underworld in the New World.
These crimes could easily revoke his status, but he has managed to keep this from being discovered. However, after Law blackmailed Doflamingo into forcing him to renounce his title to retrieve Caesar lest he face Kaido's wrath, Doflamingo was left with no choice but to resign his Shichibukai status. This provoked international uproar (though it was later revealed to be a deception). By designating Caesar as his subordinate instead of associate, Doflamingo was able to maintain his position while releasing Caesar from his status as a wanted criminal. Doflamingo's ability to make the world falsely believe that he resigned is a privilege beyond any Shichibukai, and Law suggested it was something that only a World Noble can accomplish. However, Doflamingo's status was eventually revoked when he was taken into custody of the Marines after he tried to destroy the entire Kingdom of Dressrosa to conceal his vast crimes and his subsequent defeat by Luffy. In a way, Doflamingo was parallel to Crocodile's downfall from the Shichibukai two years ago.
When Law's alliance with the Straw Hat Pirates was in the news, his seat as a Shichibukai fell into jeopardy. Eventually Fujitora revoked his status as a Shichibukai.  As a result his bounty was reinstated and raised to 500,000,000.
|Dracule Mihawk||Bartholomew Kuma||Boa Hancock||Buggy||Edward Weevil|
|Crocodile ‡||Donquixote Doflamingo ‡||Gekko Moriah ‡||Jinbe ‡||Marshall D. Teach ‡|
|Trafalgar D. Water Law ‡|
|Name||Age||Height||Birthday||Former Bounty||Abilities and Powers||Epithet||Animal Theme||Status|
|Dracule Mihawk||43|| 198cm|
|Donquixote Doflamingo||41|| 305cm|
|Bartholomew Kuma||47|| 686cm|
|Marshall D. Teach||40|| 340cm|
|August 3||No bounty||None*||Resigned|
|Gekko Moriah||50|| 688cm|
|September 5||320,000,000||None||Gecko, Bat ||Revoked|
|Boa Hancock||31|| 191cm|
|Trafalgar Law||26|| 191cm|
|October 6||440,000,000||Spotted seal||Revoked|
Most Shichibukai seem to have only limited knowledge of each other, such as Jinbe never meeting Hancock before her visit to Impel Down. However, some others, such as Doflamingo and Crocodile, converse as though they are familiar with each other. In fact, Doflamingo is knowledgeable of Kuma's participation in the Pacifista program, yet does not know of his past relationship with the Revolutionaries. During these interactions, most of them are hostile, such as Jinbe and Crocodile snarling at each other over matters with Whitebeard. At times, however, they might be courteous, such as Kuma offering to help Moriah in fighting against the Straw Hat Pirates, though the latter angrily refused. Law used to be Doflamingo's subordinate, but eventually, after joining, Law openly betrayed and blackmailed his former superior to resign from the Shichibukai, threatening not just the man but the balance of the seven once again.
|Name||Personal affiliation||Friction against World Government||Yonko|
|Marshall D. Teach||
In terms of power, the exact relationship between the Shichibukai, Marine Headquarters and the Yonko is unknown. However, considering that these factions are stated to be in balance and the fact that the loss of Crocodile threatened said balance, the most reasonable conclusion is that each organization is approximately equivalent in strength. At least two of the Shichibukai (Gekko Moriah and Dracule Mihawk) are said to have been rivals of Yonko members Kaido and Shanks, respectively. Bartholomew Kuma has also allowed himself to become part of the Pacifista project. The strength of at least one Shichibukai, Boa Hancock, has been acknowledged by former-Fleet Admiral Sengoku himself. This, in addition to the fact that losing a single member of the Shichibukai can disrupt the balance of the world powers and cause distress to the World Government, indicates the extreme power each individual has. The strength of a Shichibukai is so great, that should they be imprisoned for any reason, they would be sentenced to Level 6 of Impel Down, the lowest and most secure level of the prison (as both Crocodile and Jinbe were imprisoned there). The only exception to this may be Buggy, who appears to have gained the position through his reputation and influence, being on casual talking terms with the Yonko Shanks and commanding a large number of Impel Down escapees, rather than actual fighting strength. Although it remains to be seen if Buggy's fighting abilities has changed at all during the 2 year time-skip.
Because of their pact with the World Government, the Shichibukai are considered "Government Dogs" by other pirates. At the same time, they are also feared by them because all of the Shichibukai are insanely strong, each capable of destroying an average pirate crew on their own with no effort, as seen with Mihawk and Crocodile. They have such a fierce reputation that even other powerful and famous pirates are unnerved by them, as seen when the captain of the Kid Pirates, Eustass Kid, actually seemed heavily disturbed when he witnessed the arrival of a Pacifista cyborg (mistaking it for the real Kuma) on the Sabaody Archipelago, close to where his crew were, despite the fact that his bounty was higher than Kuma's former bounty, demonstrating how their strength is even greater than that implied by their frozen bounties in the eyes of others.
Each member has some ability or power, the majority of which are Devil Fruits, with Jinbe and Mihawk being the only exceptions so far. These abilities can oftentimes vary depending on the Shichibukai's theme. Some of their abilities appear to conflict with each other: for example, Blackbeard's power involves drawing people to him, while Kuma's involves rejecting people away from him; and Doflamingo's power allows him to control the motions of other people to his will, while Hancock immobilizes them by turning them into stone; also, Buggy has the ability of splitting apart his own body, while Law can split apart the bodies of other people. In the case of Crocodile and Jinbe, this opposition also extends to the environment where their abilities reach their full zenith (i.e. being a Fishman, Jinbe's fighting abilities are at their peak in the deep and open sea, while Crocodile, having consumed the Suna Suna no Mi, favors the arid desert). It should be noted that Mihawk and Jinbe are the only two known Shichibukai to rely on their own abilities, as they are not Devil Fruit users.
In relationship to each other, it is not entirely known how they compare in strength. However, during the Battle of Marineford several members and former members battle each other and none manage to defeat or significantly injure each other in any fight. Although while most appeared evenly matched, after Moriah was defeated by Luffy, he was deemed a liability and it was decided that he could no longer continue as a Shichibukai. As a result, Doflamingo was ordered to exterminate Moriah along with a group of several Pacifista.
They are loosely based on the privateers of the old European naval superpowers. The privateers were approved pirates, considered heroes in their homeland and pillagers in others. Their main goal was to plunder ships and towns of rivals and enemies of their allied nation. Historically, Sir Francis Drake and Don Miguel Enríquez were among the most successful, with their earnings surpassing the equivalent of a hundred million dollars by modern standards and their political influence reaching the royalty of their time.
Translation and Dub IssuesEdit
The title of Shichibukai is a Japanese term created by Oda which literally means "Seven Military Seas" when translated directly into English. Due to its meaning being lost when literally translated into English, various translations used slightly modified titles in order to convey the term in English. Early scanlations used "Seven Gods of Pirates" while the Viz, 4Kids, and FUNimation adaptations call them the "Seven Warlords of the Sea".
Meanwhile, the One Piece Green: Secret Pieces databook which was released in Japan in November 2010, includes, in the original Japanese version, several romanizations and English names for just about every character and group in the series. The Shichibukai are listed as "The Seven Worlds of the Sea". The word "Worlds" appearing in there is not a translation at all from the Japanese version, and is unexplained in the book. However, it does appear right in the area of the book where the two page spread was split, splitting it as "Wo" and "rlds". It is possible that either Oda prefers to call the group "The Seven Worlds of the Sea", or that this was a mistake, and the book intended to call them "Warlords".
As popular characters, they have made many appearances in the fan merchandise such as the Portrait of Pirates series. The Shichibukai have been featured in the series of One Piece Shichibukai Cellphone Strap, One Piece Super Deformed Figures, and One Piece World Collectable Figure series.
- While Yosaku was accurate in describing their immense powers and alliance with the World Government, the shadowy silhouettes he imagined in his head bore no resemblance to the actual members, aside from Mihawk.
- Their appearance on the cover of Chapter 532 was parodied in episode 39 of Gintama', where six of them made a silhouetted cameo, with Gintoki replacing Blackbeard eating a cherry pie but holding his wooden sword instead of a gun.
- The status of Shichibukai was offered to Portgas D. Ace, but he refused the offer. This is the only known time an invitation into the organization had been rejected.
- In the non-canon anime special, 3D2Y: Overcome Ace's Death! Luffy's Vow to his Friends, it was said that the Shichibukai were only established within the last 30 years prior to the current timeline.
- Although several Shichibukai have names based on real life pirates, none of those was a privateer, the real life equivalent of the Shichibukai.
- In the SBS of Volume 63, Oda drew all the known Shichibukai at the time (including former members) as children. Trafalgar Law was not a Shichibukai then, but he was shown as a child when Oda drew the Eleven Supernovas (which Law is also a member of) as children in the next SBS and when his past was revealed. Buggy and Weevil are the only confirmed Shichibukai to have yet be shown younger than adolescent.
- In the Volume 76 SBS, Oda drew the original seven known Shichibukai and Blackbeard as their opposite gender. Law was already drawn as a female in the Volume 72 SBS along with the Eleven Supernovas. Buggy and Weevil are the only Shichibukai to have yet be drawn as his opposite gender.