Red-Haired Shanks, an iconic figure in the world of One Piece, stands out as the captain of the Red Hair Pirates and an influential member of the closed circle of the Four Emperors, titans of the seas.
His legacy is steeped in legend as he was once a bold member of Roger’s Pirate crew, the only crew to have triumphed over the mythical Grand Line. This hero of the seas, whose fame transcends time, is the primary inspiration for Luffy, our straw-hatted hero, in his saga to become a legendary pirate.
It was Shanks who, by a twist of fate, laid his hands on the precious and powerful Gum-Gum Fruit, originally stolen from a World Government ship.
This fruit, consumed by Luffy in pure gluttony, marked the beginning of his epic adventure. Shanks, with his charisma and extraordinary power, has climbed the ranks to join the pantheon of the Four Emperors.
His influence and strength are a central pivot in the One Piece universe, captivating fans with every appearance.
His origin :
The exact origin of Shanks has not been fully disclosed in the manga or anime. It is known that he hails from the West Blue and began his pirate life as a member of Gol D. Roger’s crew, the Pirate King.
Thanks to the One Piece Red movie, the name « Figarland » has come to the forefront, suggesting that Shanks might be a Celestial Dragon.
Shanks, nicknamed Red-Haired, is the very embodiment of serenity.
This pirate captain, far from the image of a tyrannical freebooter, prefers to sail the four corners of the globe with his crew rather than hasten endlessly from one conquest to another.
He is the very definition of charismatic aura, wielding a natural authority not through force but through a presence that commands respect.
This high-caliber pirate has managed to preserve his soul as an adventurer thirsty for freedom, even while sitting at the top of the pirate hierarchy.
His friendly and open-minded personality makes him a character that even the gravest and most serious, such as Dracule Mihawk, can’t help but join in joy and amusement.
But beware, beneath this affable exterior lies a complex mind and sometimes enigmatic ideals.
He is one of those men who believe that in the face of diametrically opposed ideologies, separation is sometimes the wisest of paths.
Indifferent to judgments, Shanks demonstrates an inner strength in treating offenses with disdain, preferring to share laughs with his close ones.
The loss of his arm perfectly illustrates his altruistic heroism, a sacrifice he considers trivial in the face of the safety of his comrades, for whom he tolerates no threat.
Shanks and his crew are often found in the joy of festivities, glass in hand, living life to the rhythm of banquets and celebrations, an image of the good life that Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, recognizes as his fictional reflection.
Beyond this zest for life, Shanks stands out for his profound disgust for senseless violence. He only engages in battle to defend a friend or a noble cause. His courage and his admiration for the bravery of others are evident when he recognizes the merit of the young Koby during the tumultuous Marineford war.
His mastery of diplomacy is unmatched, having orchestrated a decisive ceasefire between the Whitebeard crew and the World Government, thereby influencing the outcome of conflicts of cataclysmic proportions. He has even been able to bend the will of Sengoku, a figure of authority in the Government, to accept his terms for the funerals of Ace and Whitebeard.
Shanks also possesses a talent for teasing, a character trait he shares with the young Luffy, his former « protégé ». Despite his status as a globetrotter, he remains convinced that nowhere else but in his native West Blue can one find a sake of better quality.
Regarding his current crew:
The name of his crew is the Red Hair Pirates. Within the Red Hair Crew, harmony prevails, even though only a few members have been highlighted, among whom are Yasopp, the ace sharpshooter, Lucky Roo with his legendary reactivity, Benn Beckman, the cool-headed intellectual, and Rockstar, the ambitious recruit.
All have an unwavering respect for Shanks, whom they see not only as their captain but also as their guide.
For Shanks, his crew is paramount above all else, watching over each member with paternal care, refusing the very idea of recruiting a child among them, and standing against any affront to the honor of his men, which in turn strengthens the unity and solidarity that binds them.
His past with the Roger Pirates:
This brotherhood is even more evident when one recalls the glory days within the crew of the pirate legend, Gol D. Roger. The specific relationships between Shanks and the other members of Roger’s crew are largely unrevealed.
However, through flashbacks to the past, we see a young Shanks often engaged in playful skirmishes with Buggy, his comrade in arms. This tumultuous camaraderie is even recognized by the Marines, who refer to them as brothers. Whitebeard himself noted that the two were inseparable in their youth.
Despite the divergent paths they have taken, Shanks still sees Buggy as a friend, a living remnant of his past and his adventures with Roger. Shanks, through his closeness with Roger, has formed a bond that transcends even death. Deeply affected at Roger’s execution, his tears bore witness to a connection that went far beyond respect or admiration.
In inheriting Roger’s famous straw hat, Shanks received not just a material possession, but also the torch of a legacy, an ideal of freedom and adventure that would later inspire a new generation of pirates with Luffy at their helm.
The youth of Shanks and Buggy on the Oro Jackson under the command of Gol D. Roger was a formative period, tinged with a frivolous but sincere rivalry. These two cabin boys, with diametrically opposed characters, often quarreled, symbolizing through their incessant disputes the duality between innocence and ambition in the world of piracy.
Upon Roger’s death, their paths separated, each taking a different direction, with varying fortunes.
Buggy, often seen as the less serious of the two, had mocked Shanks’ innocence and optimism, doubting his ability to navigate the treacherous waters of piracy. Fate, however, proved ironic.
Shanks evolved to become one of the four emperors of the sea, a pirate whose very name invokes respect and fear, while Buggy, despite his talents and a knack for gold, remained at the helm of a far less powerful crew, often relegated to the role of comic relief.
The confrontation between the two men at Marineford served as a revelation. Despite the years passed and the changes that had occurred, their interaction remained surprisingly familiar. Shanks, with a maturity and serenity that contrasted with Buggy’s still exuberant behavior, played on their old camaraderie.
He cleverly manipulated Buggy, entrusting him with Luffy’s straw hat, knowing full well that this act would rekindle the embers of their ancient complicity.
Buggy’s reaction, though theatrical and emotional, did not hide an underlying affection, betraying a complex but enduring relationship. Although Buggy and Shanks diverged in their pirate paths, their shared love for partying and the pleasures of life reveals a common philosophy, a vestige of their shared past under the Oro Jackson’s flag.
It is noteworthy that, in the changing world of « One Piece, where alliances and enmities are made and unmade by the waves, the bond between Shanks and Buggy remains an eloquent reminder of the enduring influence of their shared past.
While Shanks continues to sail with the gravity of an emperor, Buggy follows his own current, with the hope, perhaps, of crossing paths with Shanks again, not as an adversary, but as a comrade from a bygone era, forever engraved in the history of the great age of pirates.
For Monkey D. Luffy, Red-Haired Shanks is much more than an accomplished pirate; he is an icon, a childhood hero, and the embodiment of the ideal he aspires to surpass one day.
Initially, Shanks saw Luffy as a child with disproportionate ambitions, treating his dreams of piracy lightly. However, faced with Luffy’s undeniable bravery, who challenged Higuma and his gang without flinching, Shanks recognized in him a spark deserving of seriousness.
In a gesture laden with meaning, Shanks entrusted to Luffy his precious straw hat, the same one that once graced the head of Gol D. Roger himself. This hat thus became the symbol of a sacred promise: Luffy would return it once he became a legendary pirate.
The promise between them is inviolable, to the point that Luffy defends the straw hat with a fervor bordering on the sacred. When Shanks found Luffy unconscious at Marineford, he chose not to reclaim his property, perceiving that Luffy’s quest was far from over.
Shanks, just like Luffy, awaits with palpable anticipation the day of their reunion, a day when Luffy will have kept his word and raised his name to the pantheon of great pirates.
Shanks’ recognition of Luffy extends well beyond words. He is effusive in praise when he speaks with Whitebeard of the young pirate’s potential and the loss of his arm, an investment in the future he does not regret in the slightest.
The announcement of Luffy’s first bounty elicits from Shanks a pride so profound that it transforms into a resounding celebration among his crew.
After the dark events of the summit war, Shanks hopes for a renewed strength in Luffy, a strength capable of overcoming Ace’s loss and steadfastly pursuing his path toward the great dream.
Their imminent meeting is a continual topic of conversation and an ever-vibrant goal for Luffy, who did not fail to proclaim it before his departure from Fish-Man Island.
In the meantime, Shanks and his crew watch with undisguised pleasure the meteoric rise of Luffy, especially after the revelations of the Whole Cake Island Arc.
Shanks, aware of Luffy’s exponential growth, knows that the time of their long-awaited meeting is just a matter of time. The legend of Luffy is being woven at a dazzling pace, and Shanks, as a keen observer, rejoices at the thought of the approaching day when he will greet Luffy not as a protégé, but as a peer in the extraordinary saga of piracy.
The relationship between Shanks and Makino is a testament to the positive influence that the pirate has left behind, even in a place as remote and peaceful as Fuschia Village.
Despite the often negative reputation associated with pirates, Shanks has earned the respect and affection of Makino, the young barmaid who symbolizes the innocence and simplicity of village life. Their interaction highlights a facet often overlooked in the tumultuous world of « One Piece: the ability of pirates to forge genuine and positive connections with the residents of the various territories they visit. The mutual respect between Makino and Shanks is evident.
She took care of him after the incident with Higuma, showing her concern and respect, regardless of his status as a pirate. In return, Shanks did not hesitate to step in to help Makino, cleaning up the mess caused by Higuma, an act that well illustrates his altruistic nature.
Makino’s gratitude towards Shanks for saving Luffy is profound, and she expresses it not only with words but also with actions, taking care of Ace and teaching him the importance of recognizing Shanks’s sacrifice.
This demonstrates a recognition that transcends social conventions and prejudices against pirates, recognizing the true hero in Shanks for his selfless act. Makino’s admiration for Shanks, despite the loss of his arm, also shows that she judges people not on their appearance or their losses, but on the strength of their character and the purity of their actions.
Shanks represents for her, as for many others in the village, not fear and violence typically associated with pirates, but rather adventure, protection, and a spirit of sacrifice.
This reflects the recurring theme of « One Piece: that a person’s actions and intentions are what truly determine their character, not the labels imposed by society.
In the grand narrative of « One Piece, » the interaction between Shanks and Makino remains a sweet and positive memory, a harmonious note in the chaotic symphony of piracy, reminding us that even in a world dominated by the struggle for power and wealth, acts of kindness and genuine human connections still hold a cherished place.
The relationship between Shanks and Ace, although less developed in the narrative of « One Piece, » is tinged with mutual respect and a deep sense of honor.
Their interaction highlights the complexity of relationships in the pirate world and the influence of the previous generation on the new. When Ace went to meet Shanks, the latter was on guard, ready for a confrontation, which denotes the constant tension that exists between the powerful pirates of the « One Piece world.
However, the tension quickly dissipates when Ace reveals his true intention to thank Shanks for saving Luffy. This revelation transforms their potential rivalry into a more friendly one, based on respect and recognition.
Shanks’s concern for Ace during his pursuit of Blackbeard underscores his awareness of the magnitude of the stakes in their world and shows that he has a long-term vision, understanding the risks associated with Ace’s quest for vengeance.
By trying to persuade Whitebeard to recall Ace, Shanks demonstrates his wisdom and concern for the lives of young pirates, as well as for the balance of power in the pirate world. Shanks’s gesture of intercepting Kaido while he sought to take advantage of Whitebeard’s vulnerability speaks volumes about his character and his role as an Emperor. Shanks does not act solely out of personal interest but also aims to maintain stability and the balance of powers.
He takes initiatives that go beyond his own safety and that of his crew to protect the entire pirate world. Regarding Ace’s lineage with Roger, Shanks shows no explicit sign of being aware of this information before it is revealed to the world.
However, after the revelation and Ace’s death, Shanks makes parallels between Ace and Roger, noting their tendency to never back down, especially when it comes to defending those they love. This may indicate that he may have had suspicions or an intuitive understanding of their link, which would not have been surprising given his closeness with Roger and his ability to observe similarities in character.
Shanks thus appears as an almost paternal or at least mentor-like figure for the next generation, embodying values such as honor, wisdom, and compassion, which contrast with the usual stereotypes associated with pirates.
His relationship with Ace is just one example of how Shanks positively influences those around him and plays a central role in the events that shape the world of One Piece
The dynamic between Shanks and Marco reflects the complexity of relationships between different pirate crews and their captains in the world of One Piece.
Initially, Marco sees Shanks as an enemy, which is understandable since Shanks is the captain of a rival crew and arrives on the battlefield with unknown intentions.
The moment when Shanks knocks out the Whitebeard pirates with his Haki is a testament to his strength, but it is also perceived as a hostile act by Marco, who fiercely protects his captain and his crew.
The tension between them is palpable when Marco reprimands Shanks and rejects his offer to join his crew, an offer that could be seen as mockery or a lack of respect towards Marco’s loyalty to Whitebeard.
However, when Shanks arrives at Marineford to end the war, he demonstrates his preeminence and influence by asking the remaining combatants to withdraw, a request that Marco and the others comply with.
This act illustrates the respect that even Shanks’ enemies have for him as a powerful Sea Emperor and as a figure who seeks balance rather than blind destruction.
Marco’s reaction after the war, when he apologizes to Shanks and thanks him for organizing funerals for Whitebeard and Ace, shows a significant evolution in their relationship.
Through this interaction, Marco not only acknowledges the greatness of Shanks but also the honor and decency of his actions. This recognition transforms their relationship from hostile to respectful, and even allied.
This turnaround is significant in the world of One Piece, where alliances and rivalries are often fluid and can change based on circumstances.
Shanks, once again, is seen as a stabilizing force who, even in competition and conflict, maintains a code of honor that earns him the respect of his peers, including those who were once his enemies.
Mihawk, a Special Status
The relationship between Shanks and Dracule Mihawk is one of the most intriguing in One Piece.
They were once fierce rivals, and their duels were so epic that they have become legendary among pirates and the inhabitants of the Grand Line.
This indicates that Shanks, before losing his arm, was at a level where he could match the greatest swordsman in the world, which speaks volumes about his combat skill.
However, after Shanks lost his arm, Mihawk ceased to see him as a worthy rival. This could be seen as a sign of respect from Mihawk, who does not want to take advantage of a weakened opponent.
This decision shows that Mihawk seeks fights that challenge him, and victory only has value for him if it is obtained against an opponent at their peak.
The mutual respect between these two powerful characters is underscored by their ability to set aside their former rivalry.
Mihawk accepts Shanks’ invitation to join the party to celebrate Luffy’s first bounty, which is remarkable since Mihawk tends to stay away from parties and revelry.
This demonstrates not only a form of friendship between them but also a shared interest in Luffy’s journey.
The interaction at Marineford is also telling. Mihawk, having agreed to participate in the war as a Shichibukai, was ready to face Luffy, showing that there are no personal favors in battle. However, upon Shanks’ arrival, Mihawk withdraws, respecting their unwritten agreement and indicating that he has no interest in fighting Shanks or opposing him.
This complex and nuanced relationship between Shanks and Mihawk is an example of the depth of characters in « One Piece, » where alliances and rivalries are often based on principles of strength, respect, and personal honor rather than blind hate or hostility.
Blackbeard, the Threat
Shanks regards Blackbeard, aka Marshall D. Teach, as a serious threat, much more so than any other adversary or pirate known to date.
This concern is based on personal experience, as it was Blackbeard who inflicted Shanks with his three scars on the left eye, and this seems to have occurred while Teach was still part of Whitebeard’s crew.
This suggests not only Blackbeard’s strength and skill but also his unpredictable and dangerous nature. When Shanks makes his appearance at Marineford, he does so with a severe attitude towards Blackbeard, signaling to everyone the seriousness he attributes to the latter’s presence.
Shanks is ready to step in and fight Blackbeard and his crew, underlining Shanks’ willingness to take direct action against those he sees as a threat to the stability of the world or who represent an exceptional danger.
Shanks’ concern about Blackbeard is profound and seems to go beyond simple personal grudges or past confrontations.
He is aware of Blackbeard’s destructive potential, especially after he obtained Whitebeard’s Gura Gura no Mi fruit, thus becoming the user of two extremely powerful devil fruits. Shanks warned others about Teach well before his rise truly began, indicating his ability to assess future threats and act accordingly.
In summary, Shanks’ vigilance towards Blackbeard is a recognition of his strength and ambition, as well as the potential threat he poses not only to Shanks himself but to the world at large.
It seems that Shanks is one of the few characters who fully understands the threat that Blackbeard poses and is prepared to face him accordingly.
The World Government + Navy:
The World Government and Shanks maintain a complex relationship tinged with cautious respect. As a member of the Four Emperors, Shanks is one of the most powerful pirates in the world, which inherently makes him suspect and potentially dangerous in the eyes of the Government.
However, Shanks’ personality, his actions, and his approach towards conflicts set him apart from other pirates of his caliber. The Government is aware of his power but also of his tendency not to disrupt the world order on his own, which makes him less dangerous than he might otherwise be.
The fact that Shanks managed to meet with the Council of Five Elders—a hearing that would have been unthinkable for any other pirate—indicates that he enjoys a certain respect, and even a certain trust, from the higher echelons of the Government.
The details of this meeting and the nature of their discussion remain nebulous, but the mere fact that the meeting took place reveals that Shanks possesses exceptional influence or charisma, enabling him to cross the barriers that usually separate pirates from the World Government.
In terms of the Navy, the relationship between Shanks and Sengoku is characterized by mutual respect, rare between a pirate and a high-ranking Marine official. Sengoku himself, by recognizing Shanks’ integrity and agreeing to end the Marineford war at his request, shows that there is a form of recognition for the honor that guides certain pirates, particularly Shanks.
This does not diminish the fact that Shanks is seen as a pirate and therefore, in theory, an enemy of the Government and the Navy, but it indicates a level of complexity in their interactions. Vice Admiral Garp, for his part, sees Shanks in a more personal and conflictual manner.
He is Luffy’s grandfather and sees in Shanks the man who inspired his grandson to become a pirate rather than a Marine, often putting him in danger and against Garp’s own will. However, despite this, there is a form of tacit respect, probably due to Shanks’ strength of character and influence.
Shanks’ intervention to save Koby shows his respect for acts of bravery and his willingness to protect those who share his values, even if they are on the other side of the conflict, like Koby, a mere Marine soldier.
This act also highlights Shanks’ more nuanced approach to piracy and justice, acting according to his principles rather than blind allegiance to one cause or another.
Shanks’ Combat Power:
Red-Haired Shanks remains an emblematic figure in the tumultuous world of « One Piece, » where his fame as a member of the Four Emperors of the New World attests to his significant strength and influence.
Even after the dissolution of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, a decision that redefined the balance of power on the seas, Shanks’ stature as one of the most powerful pirates remains unchallenged.
His power is recognized not only among the other Emperors but also by the higher echelons of the Navy and even the World Government, all of whom consider him a major protagonist in maintaining the balance of power.
The respect between Shanks and such imposing figures as Whitebeard was palpable, as evidenced by their encounter.
Shanks did not just challenge Whitebeard’s authority but proved through his imposing aura and his Conqueror’s Haki that he was the equal of this legendary man.
He is renowned for his exceptional mastery of Haki, capable of intimidating and subjugating the most robust of minds and causing unprecedented physical damage.
The Marineford conflict revealed Shanks’ diplomatic stature and weight, where his mere arrival was enough to conclude hostilities, illustrating his role as a stabilizing force, even in moments of utter chaos.
His confrontation with figures such as Akainu also demonstrated that his combat power must be taken seriously, even by a Navy admiral of Akainu’s stature.
As the One Piece universe continues to expand, the mystery surrounding the full extent of Shanks’ combat skills continues to captivate fans’ imagination.
Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the series, deliberately maintains this mystery, suggesting an epic unveiling to come.
What can be stated with certainty is that Shanks represents a pirate ideal that combines phenomenal power with a keen sense of justice and integrity, thus consolidating his position as one of the most respected and fascinating characters in One Piece.
His mastery of Haki:
Shanks has mastered all three forms of Haki, a talent that even earned the praise of Whitebeard when he demonstrated it during their meeting.
He has revealed his skill in using the Conqueror’s Haki as well as the application of Armament Haki.
Shanks possesses the rare ability of the Conqueror’s Haki, an elite skill so exceptional that it is estimated to manifest in one out of a million people.
In saving Luffy from the clutches of a sea creature, Shanks used his Conqueror’s Haki to instill terror in the beast with a mere fierce glance.
More impressively, when he set foot on Whitebeard’s ship, many members of the latter’s crew—hardened pirates who had lived through the rigors of the New World—lost consciousness under the overwhelming effect of his Conqueror’s Haki.
The very structure of the ship began to alter under the pressure of his presence, proof of the colossal power he exudes.
Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, revealed in his SBS notes that Shanks has the ability to neutralize 100,000 opponents with his Conqueror’s Haki, a feat that Luffy was able to perform halfway by incapacitating 50,000 enemies during the Fish-Man Island Arc.
During the titanic clash between Shanks and Whitebeard, their confrontation was so intense that the very heavens split apart, attesting to the extraordinary power of the Armament Haki that both Emperors had concentrated in their weapons.
In the heart of the Marineford battle, Shanks infused his sword with Armament Haki, allowing him to counter an offensive of Akainu’s Logia nature.
Shanks also masters Observation Haki, and his level of skill in this area is such that he can detect an unfamiliar presence among the citizens of Wa Island.
His skill is so refined that he is capable of anticipating events in the very short term, giving him a considerable advantage in foreseeing and reacting to imminent dangers or surprise attacks.
His mastery of the sword: Shanks is often depicted wielding a sword, and although his sword skills have only been briefly exposed, his ability to counter an attack from Whitebeard head-on, despite being one-armed, testifies to the exceptional power of his strikes.
He also demonstrated prodigious strength in stopping a punch of magma from Akainu, using his sword reinforced by Armament Haki.
Considering that Mihawk is recognized as the greatest swordsman in the world and that Shanks was once his equal in a duel, this underscores even more the extent of his swordsmanship.
Before losing his left arm, Shanks seemed to favor the use of that arm, as evidenced by flashbacks where he is seen wielding his sword with his left hand. It is therefore often assumed that he was left-handed before this tragic incident.
Shanks is recognized for having used only one sword in the fights observed so far. His weapon of choice, named Gryphon, is an imposing saber with a unique and sharp blade.