"Straw Hat Pirates" has been featured, meaning it was chosen as an article of interest.
In the beginning of the manga, Luffy claimed that he wanted at least ten people to join his crew before entering the Grand Line (not counting himself). This was changed after Usopp told Luffy that after "the chef" joined them, they would rescue Nami and go to the Grand Line.
Although this is long past the expiration date, it can still serve as evidence that there will be at least ten Straw Hats at one point of the manga (excluding Luffy himself). Luffy also claimed in the beginning of the manga, that he would gather a crew strong enough to surpass his childhood hero Red-Haired Shanks.
Usually when he asks someone to join, Luffy is turned down completely; though the way of which he is turned down varies. Luffy never forces people to join his crew against their will. When Luffy asked Brook during the Thriller Bark Arc, Brook said yes immediately. Luffy did not directly ask Usopp to join the Straw Hats, however when Luffy, Zoro and Nami were about to sail off, Luffy assumed that Usopp would join them as they had just fought off Kuro. The only exception was Franky who was stated to be too stubborn to ever accept joining Luffy willingly (his swim briefs had to be stolen just to lead him back to the Straw Hat Pirates), but ends up joining willingly anyway after being moved by Iceburg's words.
However if the person really interests Luffy, he will still try to get them to join anyway regardless of their initial decision. While most people turn down Luffy's offer regardless of how hard he tries, only those convinced enough will join for reasons of their own. However, even if he is rejected, Luffy will treat the person as if they were already a crew member, much to their annoyance. He'll sometimes act as if it is his decision and not theirs whether they join or not (though it is worth noting that when Luffy's decided someone is joining they do eventually join).
The major exceptions to this rule are Usopp, who was thrilled to be asked to join and accepted immediately, and Nico Robin, who invited herself into the crew and had to convince the crew to let her stay. Also notable was Brook, who actually accepted Luffy's initial invitation to join the crew but later claimed that he could not honor it due to his lack of a shadow, which would result in his death should he step into sunlight, as well as unfinished business with the zombies of Thriller Bark. However, after the Straw Hats and Brook finally defeated the zombies, Brook later asked if they would honor his initial acceptance and Luffy gladly welcomed him into the crew, though everyone else were shocked by Brook just asking like that. Jinbe also wanted to join after being asked but stated he had unfinished business to do (which is to leave his alliance with the Big Mom Pirates), but did state if they still want him to join after that's done, he will gladly join the Straw Hats.
Luffy does not seem to mind if someone he wants to recruit has a profession or not. He allowed Usopp to join, and later on names him the team's sniper, and considered Vivi and Carue members even though her only "profession" would be princess. He also did not know that Chopper was a doctor and wanted him to join for his seven transformation abilities. He also offered Gaimon and several Thriller Barkzombies the chance to join his crew, when they had no apparent usefulness to the crew aside from experience and their uniqueness respectively. Also, when a crew member finally joins, they are often run out of their home by loved ones.
Luffy's tendency to ask people who interest him to join often led him to attempt to recruit bizarre creatures into his crew at a whim (such as Chopper, Brook, Unigaro, MocDonald and Ashimaro), which would annoy the rest of the crew, prompting them to snap at him to stop.
Though most adventures in One Piece are random, there seems to be a 'process' for recruitment:
First, a situation arises where someone new is needed. The crew comes across someone who fulfills the criteria (i.e. Chopper the doctor, Nami the navigator, Franky the shipwright, Sanji the cook etc.). Luffy offers the person a position, and is usually turned down initially (which usually causes Luffy to comically "refuse this refusal").
Meanwhile, a situation arises where, some way or another, Luffy ends up battling a 'boss' character, and the would-be crewmate battles an underling (i.e. Luffy vs Don Krieg after Sanji battles Gin and Pearl, and Luffy vs Wapol as Chopper battles Chessmarimo). The would-be crewmate typically defeats one of the villain's henchmen, or otherwise plays a crucial role in the Straw Hats' victory (for example, Brook defeats Tararan and reveals the zombies' weakness, despite losing to Ryuma).
During the arc in which the new crewmate is introduced their backstory and dreams are revealed, (although Nami and Robin's back stories were revealed later) thus convincing them to join the Straw Hat Crew.
Meanwhile, Luffy's current crew would assist him in battling various enemies generally in rank of abilities and overall strength which is matched by whoever they are battling (i.e. Zoro vs Kaku, Sanji vs Jabra, Chopper vs Kumadori, Nami vs Kalifa), the enemies fought also have similar fighting styles (Zoro vs Hachi who are both swordsman, Sanji vs Kuroobi who are both melee fighting experts, and Usopp vs Chew who are both ranged weaponry experts), this is more consistent when it concerns Sanji and Zoro (and later on, Franky, against close combat experts).
This process also led many fans to think Vivi would become a permanent crew member.
The only crew members not to follow this process were the female members, Nami and Robin, both of whom never helped fight an enemy during their joining and had their backstories fully revealed later on, despite initially being hinted at. Nami's official recruitment was when Luffy, Zoro, Usopp and Sanji defeated Arlong and his pirates. Robin was the first to initially willingly join, and officially joined after Luffy's crew came to her rescue from CP9.
Jinbe's recruitment process is quite different as he officially joined the crew after several arcs from the first time he fought an enemy alongside the entire crew.
As a side note to this process, Luffy has several times stated the need for a musician, because he believes that "pirates love music" due to him being influenced by Shanks the captain of the Red-Haired Pirates whom are mostly seen singing and partying. As a result, whenever the need for a new crew member arises, Luffy would usually bring up the musician position despite it being completely unrelated to the problem at hand. While Franky plays the ukulele in addition of being a shipwright, Luffy's plea was finally fulfilled when Brook joined the crew. There are still lots of roles on the ship that need to be filled.
Luffy is the captain as he founded the crew.
The numbers given to each crew member are:
Usually when numbering the crew on color spreads however, Oda will include Luffy as #1 thus the crew members get +1 added onto their numbers. For most of the crew members, Oda designates their number in the title of the chapter in which they join. For some like Nami and Usopp, their numbers were designated after they returned to the crew for previously leaving it. So far, only Chopper, Robin, and Jinbe have no chapters whose titles designate them. In the case of Robin, though she has yet to have a number chapter, she however was numbered as the 7th one in the anime. This however refers to her being the seventh character in the crew which includes Luffy.
Returning to the Crew
If a Straw Hat crew member leaves the crew without Luffy's permission, Luffy does his best to recruit them back. So far, Nami, Robin, and Usopp have all chosen to leave the crew in the past, before returning. Additionally, Chopper and Sanji have been coerced by third parties to leave the crew despite their wishes, with Chopper returning soon afterwards. The situation with Sanji, however, lasted for around a week.
Nami rejoined after the defeat of Arlong, who blackmailed her into betraying the crew, while Robin rejoined the crew after they convinced her that they would stand by her even if it meant declaring war on the World Government, and saving her from Enies Lobby and probable incarceration at Impel Down. However, while Robin and Nami were never on bad terms with the crew when they left, any suspicion that they had betrayed the Straw Hats was soon proven false.
Usopp was a different case; he had officially left the Straw Hat crew, over a dispute concerning the Going Merry (yet returned to the crew in his alias "Sogeking" to help in the rescue of Nico Robin) and his own insecurities about his strength. Afterward, Usopp originally planned to make the crew beg for him to return, but Zoro had given the crew a stern speech about him rejoining them on their terms, not his, and would accept him only if Usopp begged them after a thorough apology. After being ignored while they were fighting off Garp, Usopp finally apologized, and Luffy happily and tearfully accepted him back into the crew.
After losing the first game of the Davy Back Fight, Chopper was selected by Foxy to join his crew; as part of this, Chopper was required to swear allegiance to his new captain. However, after Zoro and Sanji defeated the Groggy Monsters in the second game, Luffy reclaimed Chopper into the crew.
During the Zou Arc, Sanji disappeared following the revelation of his arranged marriage to Charlotte Pudding. It was explained by Pekoms to Luffy that, if and when the marriage is formalized, Sanji will automatically cease to be a member of the Straw Hats and will become a member of the Big Mom Pirates. However, it turns out to be false, as Big Mom's true intention is to assassinate Sanji and the entire Vinsmoke Family during the ceremony. During the prelude of the marriage, Sanji, under duress, acted thoroughly disrespectful to Luffy and Nami in an attempt to get them to give up on him, though Luffy did not buy it, seeing Sanji's insincerity, and eventually managed to assist him to escape without consequence.
↑One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol.
1 Chapter 5 (p. 19) and Episode 3,
Zoro agrees to become Luffy's crewmate.