Throughout the entire Shonen verse, One Piece is undoubtedly the loudest figure of piracy, led by the great captain of the Straw Hats’ crew, Luffy. However, he’s not a « Jack Sparrow » or any other archetype of a pirate that is well known in folklore and pop culture.
So it’s perfectly fair to ask the following question: « Is Luffy a pirate? » in a realistic way.
Today, we will focus on the reasons that make Luffy a pirate as opposed to the stereotypical definition of a pirate. Including the motive of his actions, his moral code and his impact on the world of One Piece.
As always, it’s a pleasure to have you with us as we explore the limits of the definition of a pirate. It’s another milestone in my journey as a One Piece fan, which began 15 years ago.
So, enough talk, let’s set sail!
Why do we wonder if Luffy is a real pirate?
« Arrr, I’ll be king of the pirates, my friends! »
Not at all the emblematic motto of the Captain of the Straw Hats.
But that’s how Luffy should express himself, according to the traditional concept of pirates.
Whether in children’s stories or popular fiction, pirates represent the greatest of the « human » threats of the sea.
They are the greedy, lawless, malevolent villains who constantly pillage coastal villages and rob ships.
A special nod to Barbossa and his peers in the Pirates of the Caribbean series…
It seemed almost unimaginable that pirates could have an ounce of kindness in their stone hearts. However, One Piece managed to accomplish this feat.
And so began the era of pirates who were not nightmares of the sea, but more charismatic symbols.
The most notable being our beloved Captain, Monkey D. Luffy.
Challenging the old ideal, his existence is that of the ideal pirate, bringing hope and joy instead of fear and terror.
The uniqueness of Luffy’s Pirate Crew
What is a pirate captain without a crew? And especially a pirate captain without a unique crew?
Master Oda put all efforts into making Luffy a unique character as peace main pirate, and as well for his crew members.
Each member of the Straw Hats is guided by a dream that testifies to their vision of piracy and vibrates with the aura of « good pirates.
You might think that Nami’s greedy berry eyes are evidence of the traditional concept of piracy.
But not to worry, everyone has a sinful indulgence, right?
Being surrounded by all these inspiring comrades, each with their own big dream, keeps them from going on aimless adventures guided by evil and malice.
Besides, they are too busy dealing with the crazy situations Luffy puts them in to think about being mean.
Furthermore, as the captain, Luffy plays a crucial role in shaping the crew’s identity and goals.
In Piracy, the captain is the figure who leads his crewmates to a bright and hopeful future.
It’s actually quite logical that Luffy’s positive vision of piracy is heavily influenced by that of his crewmates.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at his moral code.
Does Luffy have a seamless moral code?
The idea that Luffy does not fit the old pirate archetype has already been explained above.
But does that mean that Luffy is clean in all areas?
That’s a trickier question, of course…
We’ve seen Luffy declare war on the world government in Enies Lobby, go on a rampage in Impel Down, rebel during the Summit War, and so on.
Considering all this, you’d think he’d be as amoral as the popular concept of pirates would have you believe.
Yet every one of his misdeeds involves his family, friends, or crew.
Whether it’s Robin or Ace, Luffy holds them all in high esteem in the face of all sorts of threats.
Furthermore, never killed anyone in the whole story, because it doesn’t serve any purpose in his dream.
On the other hand, One Piece also has its share of evil pirates, the prime example being Blackbeard.
Greedy, lawless, obsessed with power and glory at all costs: this is what we generally expect from a pirate.
This is in stark contrast to Luffy’s adventurous vision of piracy, which is driven by far nobler dreams.
However, he must learn to resist the seductive urge to steal gold, as he did in Skypiea.
Joking aside, let’s assume that this was part of One Piece’s delirious dose of humor.
In any case, as always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
What is Luffy’s vision of Piracy?
In the world of One Piece, justice is administered by the Marine, a representative of the world government.
As we’ve delved into the story, evidence has proven that such an authoritative force hasn’t always protected citizens and applied a truncated version of justice. The case of Ohara is a fact.
Anyone who goes against their plans, tries to escape, is their « oppression« , called « pirate ».
And if a significant threat, receives a bounty.
Given this, it’s clear that pirates are mostly outlaws to the world government, not necessarily criminals.
As for our Straw Hat, Luffy seeks freedom through piracy.
Influenced by his role model Shanks, he saw pirates as the closest lifestyle to his great desire for freedom.
And what better way to express his freedom than to become not just a pirate, but the king of pirates?
What is Luffy’s impact on the World as a pirate?
Throughout the series, Luffy has influenced both admirers and enemies among pirates, marines, and other factions.
Also, Admiral Fujitora was very impressed by Luffy when he saved the citizens of Dressrosa from immediate death. No wonder he is held in high esteem by the « Blind Justice » samurai.
In addition, Luffy’s rebellious exploits have freed many people from tyrants such as Crocodile and the Heavenly Yakuza Doflamingo.
In addition to the people of the aforementioned countries, Luffy was also of great help to the people of Fish Man Island and the people of Wano Land.
Last but not least, Luffy’s quest has inadvertently exposed deep-seated corruption within the World Government and the Navy Organization.
Undoubtedly, he will have more echoes when his Gear 5 is fully mastered, in accordance with his « Vow of Freedom« .
Is Luffy a pirate ? Final words :
As he continues to challenge the traditional definition of a pirate and redefine the concept of freedom, Luffy’s journey resonates with fans and readers around the world.
On the track, he will continue to spread freedom to everyone he meets and become the new Joy Boy of his era.
And we’ll be there to see it!
So stay tuned, Otakus!