In some of my more levelheaded moments, when I'm not off on a tangent and still thinking about One Piece, I begin thinking philosophically about it. I don't just think about things like what if this guy's really this or maybe this guy has that power, I think about the overall series and why we think the way we do about it. I got to thinking, what is the series trying to convey? There are the obvious themes of romanticism and justice. I got to thinking one day, which is right? I want to examine both sides of these issues in this blog.
I'll start off easy and go with romanticism. We all know what it is, going on an adventure, the idea of freedom, living by your own accord with no regrets, staying alive only by your wits and determination. Everyone wants something like that. That's what Luffy is doing. It seems fun. I know Oda's message isn't telling you to steal a boat and sail the high seas, but there is a message about living free, especially of regret. Living for yourself and someone else seems to be another big message. After all, that is why (and everyone in college can relate to me here) we want to get out from under our parents rule and live on our own and it is why we have committed relationships. I agree with the idea of romanticism but I don't support it as a practice. You would probably end up in jail if you lived your life without taking orders from anyone. But we like adventure because life can get boring, that's why vacations and holidays are so much fun, because you do things you normally wouldn't.
Then there is justice. This is the topic I probably think about the most. I usually come back to the same question, who is right? The Whitebeard War really made me think about this more than usual. Is preventive detention without probable cause really that key to ending crime? Let me rephrase it to put it into context, what the hell did Ace do to get himself arrested? What did he do in the long run that made the government see him as an enemy? There are some characters in One Piece whose actions immediately justify punishment. Arlong ran a racketeering operation, Moriah stole people's shadows and amassed a zombie army, Spandam was a prick, stuff like that. But, before Enies Lobby, what did Luffy do that truly justified him being labeled a danger? He freed a few villages from their tyrannical pirate rulers, stopped a conspiracy to overthrow a kingdom, and saved a restaurant from being destroyed. If I were the government or the Marines, I'd be thanking him. Thanks for doing our jobs in East Blue for us and keeping tabs on tall, slick, and scar across the center of his face. Luffy did that, yet he is considered a threat. I suppose the government can see it as vigilantism. I want to look at everything from the government's side for a little bit. The government combines some modern practices with an eighteenth century mindset, or maybe that's the other way around. I guess what I'm really asking is why do we cheer for things in One Piece that are illegal? Another thing that grabbed my attention in relation to this was the coverstory "CP9's Independent Report." The agents had done nothing wrong and yet the government was hunting them down with Spandam taking all the credit. Also, what were the agents running from? Instead of beating up Very Good, you'd think they would explain to the government how corrupt Spandam is. It's 7-2 in favor of CP9 on that part. Yet they ran. There are so many loose ends to be tied up in justice.
(On a side note, I'd like to apologize for how choppy the last paragraph is. With this kind of thing it can be hard to get my thoughts straight).
As of right now, I can think of two possible reasons Oda made things like this. He either wants to point out the corruption of government (any gov't, not just Japan's), and the latest sagas symbolize how limited freedoms have become and asking if some punishment is justified. I would also like to throw in how it could mean that no government is without its faults. The wrongly convicted get executed all the time in the real world and no one's ever been pronounced guilty at Enies Lobby. Also, the government has skeletons in its closet, ie the Void Century. Parallel that with conspiracies like the JFK assassination, Roswell, etc. Or, he wants us to realize a more corrupt side of ourselves by bringing it out through our views toward certain characters. Of course, this won't be explained until the end of the series. But there will be a moment where you will think "How the hell did I come to cheer for this guy?" So, before I finish, let me ask you one thing, who is right?