The Manga series “One Piece” follows an adventurous pirate known as “Monkey D. Luffy,” who sets out to sea in hope of finding the One Piece. Left by the Pirate King Gol D. Roger, the One Piece is a mysterious grand treasure all pirates hope to discover. Over the course of Luffy’s voyage, Luffy gathers a swashbuckling crew, known as the “Strawhats,” who assist in fulfilling his dream of becoming the Pirate King. The journey is jovial, as the crew travel to several imaginative and fun islands. Primarily through the perspective of the Strawhats, the story is happy and fun. However, as we dive deeper into the story, darker themes unravel, with political corruption and slavery emerging within One Piece’s world. This article will uncover the dark morality of One-Piece’s political climate.
In the world of One Piece, the only governing body is the World Government. The World Government is a vastly powerful political and military organisation that oversees the entire world. Nations desire to be allied with the World Government, for they can grant them safety through their military force, the “Marines.” This means that in the event of pirates attacking their nation, Marines can be called to fight them off. Unfortunately, allying with the World Government comes at the cost of a “Heavenly tribute”. The Heavenly tribute is a frequent payment that must be paid to the World Government in order to be recognised as (and receive the benefits of) an allied nation. This payment has led to great disaster in the world of One Piece.
The Vodka Kingdom is a victim of the World Government’s order. Small nations with fewer resources and smaller populations simply cannot afford to pay the Heavenly tribute due to their low wealth. As a result, these nations do not have protection and safety from the World Government. This means that they are an unguarded nation, unprotected against the pirates or invaders. This misfortune led to the president of the Vodka Kingdom deciding to attack other small nations, stealing treasures and valuable resources, in order to accumulate enough revenue to pay the Heavenly tribute. This detrimentally affected other nations as they were economically damaged. Their infrastructures and lands were pillaged. This means that these nations are unlikely to generate more money, therefore their likelihood of paying the Heavenly Tribute, and receiving the World Governments benefits, is lessened. Ultimately, the World Government has caused a negative externality, which means that third parties (in this case: other nations) have been affected as a consequence of another party’s actions.
THE POLITICAL CORRUPTION OF THE WORLD GOVERNMENT:
In Pangaea Castle (a royal castle for the world nobles of the one-piece world), there is a room where the Empty Throne stands. The symbolic meaning behind this Empty Throne is to show that no individual ruler sits on the throne. It indicates to the citizens that the world is peacefully ruled by all the kingdoms, all united within the World Government. This creates the illusion to the entire world that the World Government is a moderate and fair organisation. This belief is embellished through an event called the “Reverie.” This event features a plethora of kings/queens from every World Government-affiliated nation meeting together, for a seven-day conference. Supposedly, the leaders of every nation have a fair say in what policies and procedures the World Government carries out going forward. This provides nations some control into what policies the World Government could enforce. However, what’s more important is how the World Government gives the impression they are an ethical operation. For example, at the Reverie itself, slaves are physically powering the very buildings and infrastructures underneath the city. This is unbeknownst to the attendees of the Reverie, who blissfully enjoy the city. This is a visual comparison of how the World Government is perceived versus the reality of their ways. The Reverie is simply a facade, made in order to keep the kings, queens and citizens of nations believing that the World Government is ethical.
Ultimately, the most corrupt part of the World Government is the fact that their misdemeanors are not revealed to the World. This is because the World Government is so powerful to the point that they can manipulate the news itself. They can trick society into believing whatever story that benefits them as an organisation. This is what has kept this monopolistic political organisation standing for so many years. It is the fact that people fail to recognise the wrong doings of their government, which has led to them believing that the organisation is crystal clean and pure. Citizens have disregarded the idea that the World Government might commit immoral actions. Instead, the blame has entirely been scapegoated upon pirates, who are deemed the “bad” individuals of the One Piece world. Ultimately, the World Government’s brainwashing has allowed them to assert their political power and status for centuries.
THE FUTURE OF ONE PIECE’S POLITICS:
By the end of the story, citizens who have ignored the vulgarities of the World Government need to comprehend the corruption that exists within it. This ignorance is what has dampened the strength of revolutions over the years, as a revolution can only be strong when people genuinely believe and want to fight for the cause. What if the true colours of the World Government were explicitly shown to the world? This may strengthen the desire for people to revolt against the World Government, boosting the revolutionary army’s forces. With the Revolutionary army’s forces bolstered, the self-proclaimed “gods” of the One Piece world may be overthrown, which would create a socially fairer society.
Currently, One Piece’s political climate is growing more tense, as a revolutionary known as Sabo has inspired the spirits of thousands of followers to support Anti-World Government nations. This was due to his alleged assassination of a World Noble known as Nefertari Cobra. Additionally, during Sabo’s invasion on Pangaea castle, he discovered that there was a ruler who sat upon the Empty Throne. This disregards the symbolism of the Empty Throne altogether. The Empty Throne should signify that no individual obtains power among all the nations. However, Sabo saw a ruler named Im-Sama sitting upon that very throne. Once Sabo delivers this information to the entire world, people could start to lose trust in the regime. Because they have been lied to, people may begin to wonder what other other evils the World Government has kept hidden. This revelation could lead to more individuals rebelling against the World Governments regime. It will be interesting to see whether or not the World Government will be entirely extinguished, or whether parts of the organisation will remain. Ultimately, Justice needs to be served to the damaged nations and people who have wrongfully been impacted by the World Government’s policies. This will mainly be the revolutionary army’s fight; however, it will be interesting to see how our main protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, involves himself into this fight, and how he and his team of Strawhats could tackle an all-powerful and corrupt political organisation.