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Archetypes in One Piece

Joekido January 3, 2014 User blog:Joekido

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Another blog I imported from Wordpress. It discuss the use of Archtype in One Piece. Please be sure to have a good health insurance because it's gonna hurt.

Some fans believe that One Piece is free of archetypes. But they are wrong, One Piece is not 100% free of archetypes. The only archetype Oda avoids is a black and white archetype; where a hero is always good while a bad guy is always bad. In One Piece, they’re are good pirates and bad pirates while there are bad marines and good marines. However One Piece is a pirate manga, where we are following the adventures of a pirate who are normally bad but the Straw Hat Pirates are good pirates, fighting marines who are normally good people

What is an archetype? An archetype is an analysis or writing of stories in the same structure. Common in mythologies. The most well known archetype is the “Hero with a Thousand Face” (Someone needs to teaser Joseph Campbell for coming up with that idea.) When providing the example of archetype, there would be 3 people to provide the archetypical analysis; Christopher Volger, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell but it was Akira Toriyama who actually influenced the series the most.

Carl Jung claimed the existence of archetypes in the “collective unconsciousness” of the human race, as well as theorists on writing and mythology. Oda has his characters have different personalities and ideals, he is not so deep as Jung. I don’t think Oda cared about that anyway.

Christopher Vogler provides the concept of an archetypical characters such as Hero, Trickster, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Shapeshifter, and a Shadow.

Akira Toriyama, best known for his Dragon Ball series provides the higher archetypes that is found in One Piece. Toriyama himself wanted to break free from the western influences and focus on bringing back the eastern influences and decided to write a story basing on Chinese folk novel by Wu Cheng’en called “Journey to the West” which is Dragon Ball. Because Oda loves the series, he often boosted that without Dragon Ball he would had never created One Piece so every characters that is found in One Piece often mirrors a characters in an archetypical way.

Joseph Campbell(Shoots him) serves as a fine example due to Hero with a Thousand Face that stories such as Star Wars.

So what is it like with Campbell? In Hero with a Thousand Face, it’s like this:

Departure

  • “Come on let’s go on an adventure”
  • “No Way!”
  • “Suddenly something bad happened”
  • “Fine I’ll go, dammit”
  • “The Hero is born”

Initiation

  • Roads of Trials
  • Meet the Goddess
  • Woman Temptress
  • Atonement with Father
  • Aware of an new reality
  • Aware of your goals and good

Returning

  • Refuse to come back
  • Magic flight and pursuit
  • Rescue
  • Threshold of returning
  • Masters of old and new
  • Granting of the boon

Are you glad One Piece is not like that?

Now let’s compare the four persons with Oda’s work, of course, One Piece. But take note that how Oda wrote the story, it was not like Oda sat down and said “I’m going to take examples from Campbell, Jung and Vogler so someone will take my story in a literary way spent hours and hours to analyze my work!” (or someone like me to write this blog) instead he wrote the story because he wants to but upon closer look he did add efforts in the series. He manage to avoid some shonen cliches and eastern archetypes.

One important word to remember the most is “defamiliarization”, the series is riddled with this. This means the reader was to see common things in a different way, which makes it hard for archetypes to come by. For example instead of an story about good marines hunting down bad pirates, we get good pirates beating up bad pirates and bad marines.Now let’s begin

Characters

Hero: Luffy. Even when he’s a pirate, he never do what common pirates do but he had did many good deeds throughout the series, he freed an island, saved a kingdom, saved sky island, beated up the CP9 but all of that was only because if his crews or friends are in danger, he will do something to help them.

Mentor: A person who guides a protagonist, sometimes throughout the series or for a short amount of time. In One Piece there are mentors for each crew members, except for Brook and Usopp. Each mentors has inspired the specific Straw Hats to go and fillfull there dreams. However the role of the mentor can be played by everyone with proper knowledge irrespective of moral alignments.

  • Robin: Clover, Saul and Olivia
  • Luffy: Shanks
  • Zoro: Kunia’s father
  • Sanji: Zeff
  • Chopper: Hiruluk and Kureha
  • Franky: Tom
  • Nami: Bellemare

Now the mentors with knowledge

  • Hatchan: Serves as a mentor of how to cross the Red Line and guided the Straw Hat Pirates to Sabaody and gave a warning not to strike the World Nobles
  • Conis and Payaga: Serves as mentor for the workings of Skypiea
  • Vivi: Serves as a mentor on how the weather pattern in the Grand Line work. However Oda later parody this when she failed to give the crews any warnings on the dangers of the Arabastan desert

Herald: An herald announced a new information, story element or a new directions in the storyline that will make the main character act. Such as Nyon who told Luffy about the execution of Ace in Marineford, causing Luffy to change his mind about going back to Sabaody to reunite with his crews and instead goes to Impel Down to rescue him but ended up going to Marineford.

Threshold Guardian: Pell and Chaka. Both were Vivi’s guardian and both were heros in return

Shapeshifters: A character with identity or allegiance is unclear, thus letting us know that it’s not what it seems to be. Hancock, Squard, Vivi, Aokiji, and Robin serves as a good example.

Shapeshifters would provide an unpredictable love interest of the opposite sex to the hero. Since romantic is toned down to the subtle level, it’s hard to find that unless you count Hancock to fill that role

Also it can be a quality of other archetypes, however the closest to this is Aokiji who spoke in a manipulative way, causing characters to act yet his intentions were not clear until after Robin’s flashbacks

The Zoan fruit users are literal shapeshifters

Shadow: Opposing force of the hero, also provides fear and danger to the storyline, the good example of an shadow is between the Straw Hat Pirates and the Blackbeard Pirates. On the larger scale, the Baroque Works, CP9, Marines, and the World Government fits the role.

Trickster: A person who serves a comedy relief and wit. Usopp fits the role as he was know for many humorous moments and is known for his sharp wits with his sniping skills.

Damsel in distress: Keimi is the perfect example as she is always getting kidnapped.

Brash, angry, young kids: kids who shows up mostly to whine about how they hate pirates/marines, yet whatever bad pirates/marines showed up, the Straw Hat Pirates would save him/her, changing his/her view on them. They often have dead parents, or they lust for revenge. They are often found in One Piece anime, perfect examples would be Apis. In the manga there are only few of them, such asCoby and Chabo. Chabo himself had a dead father and swore revenage on Arlong. However Oda twisted this archetypical pattern on most kids by having them actully play a role such as Rika who appeared to serve ori giri to Zoro and Kappa who was angry at the king and was willing to fight but he end up witnessing something that ended the war.

Mysterious, solitary person: a person with a tragic past, has unrequited love. He/she often journeys with a lead character but would be obessessed to surpass the lead character, they would be emotional often but in One Piece, there are few of them but none of them wanted to beat Luffy. Dragon and Robin serves a good example. Nero was a parody of this archetype.

However One Piece has an unique archetypical characters such as:

Hot-tempered thief, cool swordsman, love cook, and a hyperactive captain.

Storyline

Because Oda did not follow the archetypical chapter examples of Joseph Campbell instead he twist it to his own archetype, thus the entire point of this debate: avoiding the black and white archetype. Meaning that in One Piece there is no archetypical good vs evil, instead it’s good vs. good or evil vs evil. Take note that the story did not work like some TV series instead One Piece is very smooth and straightforward (well not 100% as it’s known for it wild twists and turns).

Chapter 1: Departure

  • Luffy was willing to go out into an adventure, he was influenced by Shanks
  • Luffy had to wait for 10 years before setting out
  • No bad things needs to happen to change his mind, the entire Sabo thing does not count
  • Luffy was not reborn a hero, in fact he does' nt like to be a hero.

Chapter 2: Initiation

  • Gathers his crews
  • Beats up pirates and bad marines
  • In a literal manner, being eaten by Laboon upon first entering the Grand Line is a perfect example of the hero's journey archetype. Being enveloped by the unknown upon setting out, the first step into the true adventure, etc.
  • Meets higher authorities: Meets Fleet Admiral Sengoku on the execution platform while rescuing Ace.
  • Meets hardship down the road: For example Luffy and Usopp argue over the ship, leads Usopp to quit the crew
  • Luffy has yet to meet his father but he has no issues with him
  • Hancock is in love with him but Luffy does not love her back
  • Luffy realize he is weak and sents out a message to his crews to train for 2 years

Chapter 3: Return

  • Dreams fillfulled
  • Luffy to pay his tab to Makino

Oda’s storyline is more closer to Dragon Ball:

Dragon Ball

  • Goku lives in his dead grandpa’s shack
  • Goku sets out to gather dragon balls
  • Goku invaded the Red Ribbon HQ
  • Goku fights a masked man, this man turns out to his dead grandpa
  • Goku enters an fight arena
  • Goku loves to eat
  • Goku becomes a man
  • Goku and his friends trains a lot
  • Goku beats up aliens, androids, and humans

One Piece

  • Luffy was born in Fuusha Village
  • Luffy stays with Dadan in a shack
  • Luffy loves to eat
  • Luffy does not need to train in every arc
  • Luffy enters only two fight arena
  • Luffy sets out to gather 10 crewmates and search for One Piece
  • Luffy meets a masked man who turns out to be his grandpa. The only different is Garp is not dead
  • Luffy invaded Enies Lobby to save one of his crewmates
  • Luffy beats up pirates and marines, rarely does he beats up someone who is not an pirate or marines

I find it funny how Americans don’t want to touch One Piece because it lacked archetypes but One Piece does have archetype, it just has it’s own archetypes and does not follow the common archetype.

There is nothing wrong with trying out something new. There are many other reasons as well.

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