The World and Roger’s Legacy | Was Hannaybal Right?

So I often read about how Hannaybal’s speech to Luffy in Impel Down gives a nuanced perspective on the One Piece world and Luffy’s character. While I agree, I’ve always struggled with the assertion that Hannyabal was completely right. Or more precisely, that it’s as cut and dry as Hannaybal says.

Let me try to make some sense of my thoughts.

Most of the criminals in Impel Down are likely terrible and a threat to regular citizens. On the reverse, the system that keeps the prison in place is corrupt. Point in case, we have seen one of its officials create false evidence for a personal agenda. Namely Spandam, when he framed the Fishman Tom with Franky’s discarded battleships to ensure that Tom was arrested and taken into Government custody.

At the end of the trial, Tom is set to be shipped off to Impel Down.The mermaid Kokoro says “‘No criminal who’s been taken there has ever come back alive'” (Oda, GN 37, 219).  It is that notorious.

And in the case of the subject of Hannybal’s speech, there is the contradiction that Ace could never have been anything except a top priority criminal even if he lived quietly at home and was never a pirate. The trouble is that, with the way the world interprets the extremity of Roger’s criminal status, there was nowhere really for him to go. Being on Whitebeard’s crew was literally the safest place he could be.

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Glory of Positivity, Heroes, and Gumption | Character Reflection Essay 

I’ve written a lot about Aladdin: his movie, his character, his gender, his final wish, his contrast to his literary counterpart. But I’ve never written much about Hercules. Yes, I’ve written about him at least once in a relationship essay and other snippets of things. But I’ve never paused to step back and think about his character individually.

When I first saw Hercules in theaters, I loved it. Part of that was Greek mythology; its allusions to different myths and the inaccuracies tickled my fancy. Another part was that I liked the characters, or at least Megara and Hercules.  More precisely, Hercules himself meant a lot to me. So I thought I would explore why.

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What Does it Mean to Be a Mother in One Piece?

written for Mother’s Day 2013

Last year, I wrote up an honorary piece for the mothers in One Piece: Belle-mére, Portgas D. Rouge, Banchina, Nico Olvia, and Otohime. Since beginning my “Philosophy of One Piece” I have had to reflect, however loosely, on two of these women, which led me to wonder: what is the role of mothers in One Piece?

Including anyone who not only gave birth, but also raised children, with the exception of Kureha and Dadan, very few mothers survive flashbacks. What does this mean about what a mother is supposed to represent? And in the case of those exceptions, they are not portrayed as serene or motherly as the others (though is that actually true?). To answer these questions, let’s look at the various mothers in One Piece and their function within the story.

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A Mother’s Love

from Mother’s Day 2012

Happy Mother’s Day, world. As this blog has, thus far, focused primarily on One Piece, and since I was thinking of it when I woke up, it seems apropos to briefly mention and remember the few mothers in One Piece. If I’ve forgotten anyone, someone please let me know and I will add her.

Anything post chapter 550 and chapter 626 may be considered Major SPOILERS

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Go the Distance and the Missing Piece 

This is a special essay that’s going to count for Disney and One Piece because there’s a repost essay I want to post in May. Enjoy.

Last August (August 2016), I watched Hercules and I was surprised by how much proto-One Piece sentimentality I saw in it. More strikingly, I realized that, as much as Hercules still means a lot to me, it’s message lacks some quality that would make it feel fully accessible and meaningful to me as I am today. I want to compare its message to One Piece since I feel there is overlay between the two and see if I can unlock what this missing piece is.

“Haven’t you ever had a dream? Something you wanted so bad you’d do anything?”

When Hercules made this plea to Philoctetes (or Phil), I was struck. Not because I didn’t know the line was coming, but by how much I couldn’t help thinking of One Piece. To have a dream that means so much to you that’s very little you wouldn’t endure, attempt, or fight to keep it alive – that is a core component of One Piece. Or at least a core component of the earliest sentimentality it impressed on me.

I admit that this sentiment of extreme, almost reckless, devotion to a dream unnerved me when I first started reading One Piece. The arc that best encapsulates this early feeling is the Baratie Arc when Zoro challenges Mihawk…and loses. His dream was so important that he risked death and injury rather than back away from it. That was some powerful stuff for a decade-younger me.

So then, how are dreams dealt with in Hercules and One Piece; how are we supposed to understand their content and meaning?

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Philosophy of Life in One Piece | Part 1: Dreams “Bond of Emotions”


Previously, it was ascertained that dreams are fueled by an inner spark, a fire that inspires or propels one to believe in it. Along with that, there is the addendum that one needs to have conviction in a dream; if one simply has a spark, it’s not enough to simply feel it, but one must stick to it. This kind of good conviction may possibly be related to affection, but at the moment I’m open to seeing where this idea goes and how it develops.
In an effort not to waste space, let’s continue with point 1, #3 and contemplate…

dreams have non-material value; they offer richness that is not physically bound

To begin, in what way can a dream have immaterial value? Well, in One Piece this shows itself most regularly as the gumption to keep slugging through life no matter how bad things become or how hopeless they appear. This can be summed up simply by how the Straw Hats (generally) never give up.

For example, when Nami is still affiliated with Arlong as his navigator, she calls him out on his underhand attempts to keep her from getting 100 million belis so she can free her village. In response to the accusation, he retorts that she has to prove he did it. When did he break his promise? After all, it’s only Nami’s word against his, and she has no proof that he’s buying off Nezumi (the marine who confiscated her stored up belis) to ensure that she won’t ever be free. (Arlong does admit as much to his shipmates, but Nami – naturally – isn’t there to hear it, even if she suspects it.)

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Street Rats and Categorically Good Ambition

I would wager that Aladdin and the King of Thieves wants us to think Cassim’s greed led to his bad behavior. For as Aladdin tells Genie after Cassim and Iago have been sent to prison for trying to steal the Oracle: “The Oracle was right. My dad was trapped in the world of the Forty Thieves. Trapped by his own greed” (transcript). Cassim’s greed is reprehensible, and he is at fault for having fallen under its influence.

But this statement begs the question: what about Iago? Despite all his complaining and money-making schemes, he’s on the side of the good guys. Therefore, it’s not that Cassim is specifically interested in treasure or the Hand of Midas, but that he chose treasure over something more sentimental and meaningful: his family.

The cause for his bad behavior is Cassim’s need for wealth. It could be theorized that the driving force behind his search for the Hand of Midas was to 1. lift himself out of the stigma of being a street rat, 2. give his family the best possible living conditions, and 3. compensate for the latter lost of his family. After all, if he hadn’t been hunting for the Ultimate Treasure, he might not have lost them.

But this makes me wonder why Cassim’s ambition to have money and a better life is presented as the wrong choice?

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