I’m a newbie when it comes to One Piece. After a couple years of seeing One Piece on my peripheral (it’s impossible not to notice, especially when you’re deep in the Dragon Ball fandom) I put aside my hesitations (the length is scary to an outsider!) and began to watch.
Everyone in the One Piece fandom knows this already, but Oda truly is a genius. After hearing for years how complex the world of One Piece was, I STILL wasn’t prepared for how intricate the story is, yet it manages to work within the boundaries of a battle shonen.
When watching One Piece, I got the sense that Nami and Zoro love and understand their Captain the most. Please hear me; I’m not saying the other Strawhat’s don’t love Luffy, because they most certainly do, but the other Strawhat pirates seem to focus on the group as a whole with Luffy at the center. However, it’s Zoro and Nami that constantly keep their attention on Luffy specifically.
Zoro made this clear to me during Thriller Bark Arc. Sanji was there and willing to risk his life, but it was Zoro who gladly accepted Luffy’s pain. He wasn’t doing it for the crew, he did it for Luffy. Zoro’s love for Luffy isn’t the romantic sort, but it’s steeped in admiration, belief, and loyalty. Zoro may be one of the quietest crew members, but his silence doesn’t mean apathy.
Zoro’s protection of Luffy carries a lot of weight, because I would argue that Luffy is one of the most vulnerable out of all the Shonen heroes. Despite the fact I know Luffy won’t die (well…at least, not in the middle of the story, but that’s another discussion) I’m afraid for him. I think the last time I saw a shonen hero get his ass kicked as thoroughly as Luffy did pre-time skip was Goku when he was a child and faced off against Piccolo Daimao. But One Piece REALLY hammers in Luffy’s weakness in that section of the story. And Luffy overcomes a lot and is very strong, but in a world full of overpowered opponents who want to see Luffy dead, there’s a true sense of vulnerability. He isn’t the strongest, not by a long shot.
Nami, on the other hand, seems to feel just as protective of Luffy as Zoro, but her reason for this is entirely different than Zoro’s.
Unlike a lot of other relationships in Shonen manga, Nami and Luffy’s relationship is built upon mutual trust. They respect one another. Nami believes in Luffy and her faith is unwavering, but she also knows Luffy will charge into a situation without even thinking about the consequences to himself. She cares for his wellbeing more than he cares for it, and this attention to Luffy’s person only seems to grow as time goes on in the story. Of course, Nami cares for everyone in the crew, but I don’t see her focus constantly on the wellbeing of other members.
More and more often I see Nami turning to Luffy first, asking about him first, and putting her life on the line for him first. Nami also shares her vulnerabilities with Luffy. In WCI, I see this mutual dependence, trust, and focus on one another deepening.
And honestly, this is how healthy relationships work in the real world. If you want to have a meaningful relationship, it has to be about more than attraction. It has to contain trust, common goals, common interests and security.
Which is why I’m puzzled by Sanji/Nami shippers. I don’t mean to be disrespectful towards anyone’s ship, but I can’t see why anyone would want Sanji and Nami to be together. Sanji, as much as I enjoy his character, fawns over every single beautiful woman he sees. I don’t deny that Sanji seems to place a greater emphasis on Nami (ex. he always puts her name first before Robin’s) but to me, this isn’t a good enough reason for them to have a relationship. Sanji likes Nami because she’s beautiful. If she was an ugly woman, would Sanji even give Nami the time or day?
I highly doubt it.
In contrast, Luffy’s trust and focus on Nami has nothing to do with her looks. It’s because of who she is as a person. Luffy, whether he realizes it or not, feels a pull towards Nami, and it’s something I began to notice this more and more the further I got into One Piece. Luffy also has confidence in Nami, but he still feels…rather protective of her. Even in the beginning of One Piece when I wouldn’t really call any of their interactions romantic, they’re both focused on each other.
I love Luffy and Nami. Their care for each other is what makes me root for them. I want them to find happiness in romance because they already have everything they need to succeed. Every king needs his queen, and Nami is more than worthy of the title. I love how strong, brave, and selfless she is.
I find it quite interesting how Oda used Strong World and Gold to re-emphasize Luffy and Nami’s relationship. I know their relationship isn’t the focal point of One Piece, but Oda could choose to write about anything, especially when it comes to movies. For Strong World, he had complete creative control since he wrote the script. For Gold, Oda served as executive producer for the movie and rewrote the ending for Gold.
With Oda being such a calculated writer, it doesn’t seem possible that he’d write Nami and Luffy with these moments “just because” or without meaning. Oda is a planner. A small example would be him revealing his idea for Fishman Island in the chapter 121 SBS volume to a kid who asked about Fishman Karate. Oda said, “It’s halfway down the Grand Line which I will tell you about at some point. Please be patient”. The crew didn’t make it to Fishman Island until chapter 608.
I recognize that many Mangaka tease relationships but ultimately have them go nowhere or stay unofficial (I’m looking at you Hiro Mashima), so it’s entirely possible Oda will do the same, though I have faith he’s a better writer. But if that happens and someday far down the line One Piece ends without anything happening between the two, I will still ship them, and I will thank Oda for writing such a meaningful friendship.
But I really hope Luffy and Nami have explicit romance in their future. That would be rather wonderful, don’t you think?
Dear every single person who has ever told me “Chichi never stops hating Piccolo,” or something to that effect,
I call bullshit.
Here is a picture I snapped from volume 12 of the Dragonball Z manga. Obviously, it is the English translation. While I acknowledge and accept that no translation is perfect, and that there may be discrepancies, I simply cannot believe that anyone could possibly screw up that particular speech bubble so badly that the entire meaning behind Chichi’s words is changed.
As you can see, Chichi is offering the boys a packed lunch, and saying, “Gohan, Goku, Piccolo, you all be careful now!” Please, please explain to me how Chichi still vehemently hates Piccolo. He has lived and trained with her family for three years - possibly checking on Gohan prior to Goku’s return from Space - and not caused any trouble that was worth mentioning since his resurrection.
Admittedly, this is the only scene available, but based upon it, I cannot see how she could still hate him after living in presumedly close-quarters for that length of time.
Chichi includes Piccolo in her list of well wishes. While that may just be out of courtesy, I highly doubt Chichi would include Piccolo should she wish him harm. It just makes no sense to me.
I am by no means claiming that Chichi has completely forgiven Piccolo for the atrocious actions of his past, nor even that she completely trusts him to not whisk Gohan away on a whim. I am merely stating that Chichi, canonically, by this point in the storyline, does nothate Piccolo.
AKA a huge geek who is fed up with seeing Chichi hate (particularly in Piccohan fanfics), and receiving hate for shipping Chiccolo (Piccolo x Chichi)
PS: Chichi is the best and I will defend her until I no longer need to do so