What's your top 5 saddest OP background/flashback/scene/past and why?
This question is so difficult to answer… I find ALL OP backstories terribly sad! ;_____; Well on a more serious note, personally I don’t like ranking sad scenes by intensity because I think each scene is the saddest in it’s own right… if you know what I mean. Also, I don’t know if it’s only me but I find scenes of crying children way sadder than character death scenes. I don’t know it’s just… Oda’s so talented at drawing children cry in tragic moments that I’m lost for words every time I see them. So many OP characters suffered at a very early age what they should never even witness for a lifetime and I think in a way that’s more tragic than death itself. I’m going to introduce a few of those scenes that broke my heart - note that the order is from the oldest to the most recent.
I’ll start off with Nami’s past. What’s unique about her backstory is that we get to witness the entire process in which an innocent child’s life in a happy environment (aside from being poor) crumbles into the deepest misery and despair, almost in an instant. Characters like Usopp, Sanji and Robin were already partially broken when their flashbacks started, but there was nothing broken about Nami when her childhood was first introduced to us. She used to know nothing about the world’s darkness but in the panel above? Everything that had protected her from the cruelty of the world has been so easily destroyed with the arrival of Arlong, and she’s so young to even process what’s happening to her. She doesn’t understand why she has to leave the only home she knows, and the only reason she can think of is that her family is poor. Being poor is hard for anyone of course, but children realizing that they can’t be protected because they have no money? I think that’s the saddest thing and that’s exactly what happened to Nami (though the fundamental cause of her tragedy wasn’t exactly money).
I did say I don’t like ranking sad scenes but I do feel Nami has the most tragic past out of all Straw Hats, only being second to Robin. She had to work for the villain who had killed her mother right in front of her eyes and had thought that the villagers had disowned her for 8 years straight… gosh, I can’t even imagine the extent of her trauma. So yeah, Nami’s past is terribly traumatic but maybe that’s why I like it so much - even more so than the character itself.
Who can talk about sad OP backstories without mentioning Robin? If Nami’s tears were sad in that they represented the loss of her childhood innocence, here Robin’s tears are heartbreaking because they show she’s still a baby. Kid Robin was introduced as a precocious child maturer and smarter than adults but here? She’s only an 8-year-old little girl who sorely missed her mother’s hug.
Even after learning about Sanji’s past, I still think Robin’s past is the most tragic in that she had absolutely no one to trust and rely on for most of her life. The crying girl in the panel above is just too young to shoulder the cruel fate that awaits her for the next two decades… and it’s so heartbreaking to think that was the last time she cried her heart out in someone’s loving embrace.
Next up is Koala. She’s not a Straw Hat but I just had to include her in this post… since she was so damaged that she couldn’t even drop her fake smile. No matter how many times I see it, Koala’s soulless, almost mechanical smile never fails to creep me out. We don’t know what exactly happened to her when she was a slave but I don’t even want to imagine. When Koala finally cries thanks to Fisher Tiger all kinds of suppressed emotions are liberated through her tears - gratitude, relief, happiness, grief… everything. This is the moment of her emancipation but it’s still terribly sad to watch nevertheless. We don’t know much about Koala’s character yet but I really wish she plays an important role in the future along with Sabo… Her childhood trauma holds too much gravity for her to not play a major role.
Law’s not a Straw Hat either (though he’s almost the same as Luffy’s nakama XD) but his past is also awfully tragic :( Personally, watching him finally break into tears like that was way more heartbreaking than the moment of Corazon’s death. Until this moment Law had acted like he didn’t give a damn about slowly dying, but when he finally shows his tears in front of Corazon, all the tough front he has been putting up breaks down to reveal the unbearable despair and loneliness he has been enduring alone. No matter how much he had talked about not being afraid of death, at the end of the day he was only a little child too scared and too lonely to even cry. But Law could cry like that because in spite of all that he had witnessed and endured, deep down he still hoped to live, to be happy and live a normal, healthy life with his loved ones.
…And finally we’re down to Sanji! Is it only me or doesn’t he look particularly small and helpless in this scene? ;_; I blather so much about him on a regular basis (ahem) so I won’t go into much detail here, but note that this is right after Judge told him that he doesn’t mind him disappearing. He finally got the opportunity to escape his horrible family but isn’t happy about it at all; he can’t get over Judge’s cruel words even at the major turning point of his life, so the only thing he can do is to weep his heart out uncontrollably. The adult Sanji is nothing but furious toward Judge, but here Sanji is just too little to be even properly mad at his father. He’s way too hurt and heartbroken and traumatized that there’s no room for anger in his bleeding heart.
Phew… I enjoyed writing this but it was also extremely draining to go through all those emotional scenes so I hope I don’t have to do it again…:D And oh yeah, though I didn’t mention it before I also find Brook’s past terribly sad - just for the sheer amount of years he had to wait in isolation. But I still feel like Robin and Nami went through the worse because Brook had the memory of his nakama and the existence of Laboon to help him endure. But like I said in the introduction, every single OP backstory is the saddest in its own right so I’m not trying to spur an argument about who’s story is the most tragic or anything. This is just my personal take so you guys are free to feel differently about it!