or How Much Does Biology Create Personality
“Gold Roger, the “King of the Pirates” had achieved it all. Wealth, fame, and power had all been his. Not surprisingly, the final words he spoke before they lopped off his head inspired adventurers throughout the world to sail the seas. ‘My treasure? Why, it’s right where I left it… It’s yours if you can find it…but you’ll have to search the whole world!’” (GN 1, 5).
So opens Eiichiro Oda’s epic juggernaut One Piece, a manga about pirates. Roger’s final words instigate the Great Era of Piracy. Fueled by the promise of treasure, hundreds set out to sea. Twenty-two years later, the story’s protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, sets out to find one piece – Roger’s treasure – and claim the title “King of the Pirates” for himself. In that sense, Roger is the story’s inciting incident; his dying words, his treasure, and his title are what generate the plot. But what the readers discover as the story progresses is that his name is not Gold Roger, but is, in fact, Gol D. Roger.
This “D” appears significant, although its full meaning has yet to be revealed in story. Aside from those two, the Ds thus far introduced include: Monkey D. Dragon, Luffy’s father and the “Most Wanted Man in the World”; Monkey D. Garp, Luffy’s grandfather and the “Hero of the Navy”; Portgas D. Ace, the Whitebeard Pirates’ 2nd Division Commander and Luffy’s older brother; Marshall D. Teach (Blackbeard), a defunct Whitebeard Pirate and central antagonist; Jaguar D. Saul, an ex-marine giant; Portgas D. Rouge, Ace’s mother and Roger’s lover; and (since my initial draft) Trafalagar D. Water Law, Captain of the Heart Pirates and a former Warlord of the Sea.
Of all the Ds, the one I’m interested in is Portgas D. Ace. While he is Luffy’s brother, they do not, as may be apparent from their names, share any conventional biological ties, such as parents. Ace’s biological father is Gol D. Roger, the very man who began the Pirate Era. In the chapters following this revelation, two different takes on Ace’s relation and therefore inbred similarity to Roger are said by two very different characters. The first makes the claim that Ace is nothing like Roger; the other claims that Ace, due to his upbringing, is similar to Roger.